The NBA Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each day’s slate using the FantasyLabs Tools and metrics to highlight notable players.
After a two-game appetizer on Thursday, the NBA DFS is back in full-swing on Friday. There is a six-game main slate starting at 2:30 p.m. ET.
Luka Doncic has been one of the most dominant players in fantasy for most of the season, and he gets a great matchup in his first game of the restart. He’s taking on the Houston Rockets, who have played at the third-fastest pace in 2020. They’ve also gone all-in with a small-ball approach after trading away Clint Capela, which has hurt them on the defensive end of the court. They’ve allowed 111.8 points per 100 possessions over their past 17 games, all of which have come with Capela out of the lineup.
The Nets are going to be a very important team on today’s slate. They have been absolutely decimated by injuries and withdrawals, which opens up a ton of opportunities for the rest of the roster.
Chris Chiozza is one of their more intriguing rosters. He hasn’t played a ton this season, but he’s been super productive when on the court. He’s averaged 1.19 DraftKings points per minute this season, and he’s currently projected for 25.9 minutes in our NBA Models. He’s a steal at just $3,900 on DraftKings given his Bargain Rating of 98%.
The Wizards have been a team to target all season. They rank sixth in pace and 29th in defensive efficiency, which is an awesome combination for fantasy.
They figure to be even worse during the restart without Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans, which puts Ricky Rubio squarely on the radar at PG. He’s scored at least 36.75 DraftKings points in nine of his past 10 games, and he’s eclipsed 45 DraftKings points in four of them. He has a huge ceiling at a pretty reasonable price tag across the industry.
The Bucks are going to be without Eric Bledsoe in their first game, which means George Hill should slide into the starting lineup. He’s seen the largest usage bump on the team in games without Bledsoe, and he’s posted an average Plus/Minus of +3.7 on DraftKings in those contests.
James Harden headlines the SG position, as he has for most of the season. He’s averaged 59.2 DraftKings points per game, and the Mavericks haven’t exactly been a defensive juggernaut. This game has the highest over/under on the slate at 229.5 points, and the Rockets’ implied team total of 114.5 ranks third. Harden crushed the Mavericks in his only previous matchup this season, scoring 75.0 DraftKings points.
He should also benefit from the absence of Eric Gordon. Harden has increased his usage rate by +1.8% in games without Gordon and Capela, resulting in an average of 61.01 DraftKings points per game.
Shabazz Napier has SG eligibility on DraftKings, and he should be asked to carry a big workload for the Wizards. He’s only played 13 minutes without Beal and Bertans this season, but he’s posted a ridiculous 41.5% usage rate over that time frame. He probably wont post that type of a mark over a full game, but someone is going to have to provide some offense for the Wizards. Overall, Napier has averaged 1.58 DraftKings points per minute in that situation.
The Nets brought in a bunch of reinforcements for the restart, but this still figures to be Caris LeVert’s team. He’s been a monster with Kyrie Irving and Spencer Dinwiddie off the court this season: He’s seen a usage bump of +9.9%, resulting in an average of 1.32 DraftKings points per minute.
The Mavericks are another team that will be somewhat shorthanded in Orlando. They will be missing Courtney Lee and Jalen Brunson in the backcourt, and they are still without Dwight Powell in the frontcourt. That should result in a bump in playing time for Seth Curry and Tim Hardaway Jr. Both guys are capable of producing when on the court – Hardaway has averaged 0.92 DraftKings points per minute, Curry 0.88 – so both guys have appeal in what should be the best fantasy game of the day.
The Spurs will be fighting for their playoff lives in Orlando, and they’ll have to do it without LaMarcus Aldridge. Bryn Forbes has also been ruled out for Friday’s contest vs. the Kings, so the rest of the roster has some sneaky upside.
It starts with DeMar DeRozan, who has been excellent with Aldridge and Forbes off the court this season. He’s increased his usage rate by a team-high +4.1% in that situation, resulting in an average of 1.30 DraftKings points per minute.
Dorian Finney-Smith is another member of the Mavericks who deserves some attention. He doesn’t possess a ton of upside, but he’s currently projected for 30.7 minutes at just $4,100 on DraftKings. Historically, players with comparable minute projections and salaries have averaged a Plus/Minus of +3.14. He also has an excellent individual matchup vs. the Rockets given his Opponent Plus/Minus of +3.67.
The Celtics represent one of the better values on FanDuel, and Jaylen Brown stands out as one of their best options. He’s priced at just $5,800, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 98%, and he’s averaged 1.02 FanDuel points per minute this season. The Bucks play at one of the fastest paces in the league, so Brown and the rest of the Celtics have some upside as well.
Speaking of the Bucks, Kris Middleton is an interesting option given the absence of Bledsoe. He’s increased his usage rate by +1.7% in games without Bledsoe this season, resulting in an average Plus/Minus of +3.1.
Giannis Antetokounmpo has PF eligibility on DraftKings and SF eligibility on FanDuel, but he’s a certified monster everywhere. He’s averaged 60.1 DraftKings points per game this season, despite the fact that he’s averaged just 30.9 minutes per game. That’s good for an average of nearly 2.0 fantasy points per minute.
Giannis is another member of the Bucks who should see a bump sans Bledsoe: He’s increased his usage rate by +1.1% in games with Bledsoe out of the lineup this season.
Rodions Kurucs is dirt-cheap at just $3,300 on DraftKings, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 95%, and he should see a decent handful of minutes for the Nets. He’s currently projected for 22.9 in our NBA Models, and Kurucs has historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +4.93 with a comparable salary and minute projection.
Rui Hachimura has been priced up all the way to $7,400 on DraftKings, but he remains very affordable at $5,600 on FanDuel. He’s going to be tough to pass up at that price given the Wizards’ current roster. He has a chance to lead the team in usage and minutes in Orlando, and he’s averaged a respectable 0.85 FanDuel points per minute this season.
The Blazers are going to be thin on the wing in Orlando with Rodney Hood injured and Trevor Ariza opting out. That could mean a lot of work for Carmelo Anthony. He’s in a nice spot today vs. the Grizzlies, who have played at the seventh-fastest pace this season.
Nikola Vucevic has been solid all season for the Magic, averaging 43.4 DraftKings points per game. He’s a prime target today vs. the Nets, who have struggled vs. opposing centers all year. Centers projected for at least 30 minutes have posted an average Plus/Minus of +3.78, which makes them the third-friendliest matchup for big men.
On the other side of that game, it’s hard to ignore Jarrett Allen. He’s been in a timeshare with DeAndre Jordan for most of the season, but Jordan did not make the trip to Orlando. That should result in a bump in playing time for Allen, who has averaged 1.11 DraftKings points per minute. He’s an elite target on DraftKings, where his $5,800 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 94%.
Kristaps Porzingis is another big man value on DraftKings given his Bargain Rating of 91%, and he will have a massive size advantage on the interior vs. the Rockets. They don’t start anyone taller than 6’7”, so Porzingis will have roughly half a foot on the entire lineup. Unsurprisingly, he has an Opponent Plus/Minus of +3.97.
Porzingis also really started to heat up prior to the shutdown. He averaged 25.2 points, 10.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.3 blocks over his final 15 contests, so he has an excellent ceiling for his price tag.
Jakob Poeltl will likely draw the start in place of Aldridge for the Spurs, and he has thrived in that role at times this season. Overall, he’s averaged 1.14 DraftKings points per minute with Aldridge and Forbes off the court, and he has played over 30 minutes when starting in place of Aldridge in the past. He’s definitely in play at his current salary across the industry.
Pictured above: Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks
Photo credit: Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images