Friday features a two-game slate starting at 7 p.m. ET as teams battle for the No. 8 seed in the finale of the Play-in Tournament.
Let’s dive into some of the top plays on the slate using the FantasyLabs tools and metrics.
Note: Projections and Leverages Scores/Ratings may change throughout the day after this article is posted. The NBA DFS landscape changes quickly.
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NBA DFS Point Guard Picks
Josh Giddey has been outstanding for the Thunder down the stretch and comes significantly cheaper than Shea Gilgeous-Alexander on both DraftKings and FanDuel. Giddey has exceeded salary-based expectations on FanDuel in seven of his past nine games with an average Plus/Minus of 10.1 FanDuel points.
On Wednesday against the Pelicans, the 20-year-old Australian was outstanding with 61.25 DraftKings points and 57.8 FanDuel points on a 27.2% usage rate. He fell just one rebound short of a triple-double and played a team-high 42 minutes. he took the same amount of shots as SGA but handed out seven more assists. As you can see from the Gameflow, he came up huge in the second half.
Even if he doesn’t outproduce SGA as he did on Wednesday, getting him almost $2K cheaper makes him too good of an option to pass up. Giddey has the highest projected Plus/Minus at point guard and the second-highest projected Plus/Minus at shooting guard on FanDuel and should be an outstanding value with a high ceiling.
Just like the top two high-end options share a backcourt in OKC, the top two value backcourt options are both lacing it up for the Bulls as they visit Miami. Patrick Beverley has a slight advantage as a value on DraftKings, where he comes at $4,300 and brings the highest projected Plus/Minus at point guard and the second-highest at shooting guard.
He played 26 minutes against the Raptors and was highly owned but only managed three points, three rebounds, 12.25 DraftKings points, and 13.1 FanDuel points. With so much playing time, though, he should be able to put together a better number as the hustle monster in the Bulls’ backcourt. It should be a gritty game against the Heat, and that should skew toward Beverley’s style of play.
On FanDuel, though, Pat Bev is priced up and only eligible at PG, so his teammate Coby White, who is only $4,100, makes a little more sense. White trails only Giddey in projected Plus/Minus on FanDuel at point guard and is projected for a solid 25 minutes and a 19% usage rate.
He finished the season on a nice roll and had an Average Plus/Minus of 6.72 FanDuel points in his past 10 games. He also had a bit of a down game against the Raptors as the stars for the Bulls carried more of the offense, but he’s still a very solid value play on FanDuel.
If salary is no issue at the position, SGA still has the highest ceiling projection, but if you are looking to get the best Points/Salary, Giddey is the right option to build around. The Timberwolves have been very generous to opposing PGs, and Vegas expects that game to be the higher scoring of the two games on Friday’s slate.
The Kyle Lowry value fest from the Heat’s loss to the Hawks isn’t likely to be repeated since the veteran’s salary has spiked. He does still make a solid midrange play, but 33 points in 33 minutes is a throwback performance that will be very hard for him to duplicate based on what we have seen this season. If he’s more limited, that could mean more work and opportunities for Tyler Herro and Gabe Vincent at point guard, but of the three, Lowry is probably the safest play.
For the T-Wolves, Mike Conley is also a steady mid-range option, but I expect Anthony Edwards to bounce back from his bad night (more below), which could mean Conley doesn’t read the 43.5 DraftKings points and 42.8 FanDuel points he had in the first game of the tournament. He did carry a heavy workload in that game, though, and has produced 0.94 DraftKings points and 0.91 FanDuel points per minute over his past eight games.
NBA DFS Shooting Guard Picks
The fact that the Timberwolves lost to the Lakers was less surprising than the almost no-show from Anthony Edwards, who had been the picture of fantasy consistency for so much of the season. Sure, there were ebbs and flows due to the availability of his teammates, especially Karl-Anthony Towns, but overall Edwards averaged 42.75 DraftKings points and 41.76 FanDuel points per game at the rate of 1.19 DraftKings points and 1.16 FanDuel points per minute. Aside from two games that were cut short by injury, Edwards scored at least 10 points in 75 straight games before Tuesday’s woeful 3-for-17 shooting performance.
There’s almost no way Edwards isn’t much better in this matchup against the Thunder. He had a 19-point, 11-rebound double-double against OKC in their most recent meeting for 48.25 DraftKings points and 46.7 FanDuel points. He also had a 30-point double-double against them early in the season, producing 51.25 DraftKings points and 46.7 FanDuel points. Those games weren’t outliers, either. That’s just Edwards’ normal production.
Even if he does share some of the load with KAT, Edwards should be poised for a big bounce-back. He has the highest Projected Plus/Minus and the highest median and ceiling projection of all shooting guards on DraftKings and is behind only SGA in ceiling projection at the position on FanDuel.
After his clunker, Edwards brings a 91% leverage rating on DraftKings, where he’s projected for an ownership of just 22%.
Don’t be fooled by the recency bias and get scared off of Ant. I buy his breakthrough this season.
The Bulls’ backcourt options that are shooting guard eligible make sense as value plays, as discussed above. Beverley as shooting guard eligibility on DraftKings and White on FanDuel. You can also take a look at Alex Caruso, who is shooting guard eligible on both sites and had 27.75 DraftKings points and 32.6 FanDuel points while playing 31 minutes against the Raptors.
With the Bulls stars taking the scoring load, Caruso is a nice option to fill the floor and stuff the stats in other categories. He doesn’t have the pure upside scoring that White brings or the lockdown defense Beverley offers, but he is a solid producer in multiple categories and is projected to play 30 minutes against Miami.
The Thunder rode Giddey and SGA most of the game against the Pelicans, and they are expected to do much of the same in this contest against the Timberwolves. That leaves limited minutes for Isaiah Joe, Lindy Waters III, and Aaron Wiggins, who stepped up when playing expanded roles earlier this season. They come with flier upside, but they are high-risk since they may not see the floor often.
For Miami, Max Strus was crowded out by the Lowry Renaissance on Tuesday and only scored three points. There’s definitely some bounce-back potential for Strus, who averaged 0.67 DraftKings points and 0.63 FanDuel points per minute over his past 20 games. Victor Oladipo was even more eclipsed by Lowry’s return and played just nine minutes.
NBA DFS Small Forward Picks
On Both DraftKings and FanDuel, Jimmy Butler is eligible at both forward spots and brings very good projected value at only $9,000 on DraftKings and $9,900 on FanDuel. He has the second-highest ceiling projection on both sites, behind only SGA, and comes cheaper than the OKC star while also leaving more room for other guard options in your roster build.
Butler has always come up huge in the playoffs, and he continued that trend with another good performance on Tuesday against the Hawks. He exceeded salary-based expectations with 21 points, nine assists, and four rebounds in 38 minutes with a 31.1% usage rate. In a potential elimination game, Butler is projected for 29% usage in 38 minutes. He has the potential to go off for a double-double or even a triple-double against the Bulls, who he began his career with, adding another layer of intrigue and motivation for Jimmy G. Buckets on Friday.
With Rudy Gobert suspended and Edwards struggling, Kyle Anderson stepped up in a huge way for the Timberwolves on Tuesday, leading the team with 54.25 DraftKings points on 12 points, 13 assists, and five rebounds. Slow Mo has been great down the stretch for the Wolves, and he’ll keep getting all the work he can handle with Jaden McDaniels (hand) sidelined after punching a wall in the season finale.
With McDaniels off the floor, Anderson has produced 1.03 DraftKings points and 1.02 FanDuel points per minute since March 1. He does a little bit of everything and can stuff the stat sheet in different ways depending on what the team needs. Even though it’s unlikely he paces the team again since Edwards will likely bounce back, Anderson should be set to outperform salary expectations once again, as he has in six of his past nine games on DraftKings.
Zach LaVine is definitely an option to consider at either SG or SF as well, but I’d actually lean more toward DeMar DeRozan, especially on DraftKings, where he’s cheaper. DeRozan is a little less reliant on scoring a ton of points, although LaVine showed his upside with 39 points and 52 DraftKings points in the win over the Raptors on Wednesday. Both stars are worth a look, but ultimately, I’d lean toward Butler and Edwards over the two Bulls’ wings.
For OKC, Luguentz Dort has also been outstanding lately and is coming off 27 points and 37.5 FanDuel points on Wednesday. His defense is where he brings real value, though, and his offense can come and go, making him a high-risk, high-reward play as he tries to shut down Edwards and Anderson for the Wolves.
NBA DFS Power Forward Picks
At. under $8K on Draftkings, DeRozan brings a 96% bargain rating and 86% leverage. He let LaVine carry the load on Wednesday against the Raptors, but I think he’ll be more involved as the focus of the offense against Miami.
Against the Heat in mid-March, DeRozan had 24 points, 10 assists, and 53.75 DraftKings points in a 14-point win. He should be well-rested after taking some time down the stretch, and he can post a very high number if asked to serve as the primary scorer Friday. He has a ceiling projection of over 51 DraftKings and FanDuel points, but he is projected to be slightly under-owned after letting Lavine lead Wednesday.
I love that rookie Jalen Williams comes in a little under the radar after a quiet game in the win over the Pelicans. He’s only a power forward on DraftKings while qualifying at shooting guard and small forward on FanDuel. On both sites, though, he represents great value.
In fact, on FanDuel, Williams has the highest projected over/under on the entire slate at any position, edging out Anderson since he’s a little bit cheaper and carries a hefty 92% bargain rating. On DraftKings, Williams is priced a little more accurately, but he can still be a good play at power forward if you don’t slot in Butler, DeRozan, or Towns.
Over his past 20 games, Williams has averaged 18.7 points in 33.6 minutes per game and produced 1.03 DraftKings points and 1.01 FanDuel points per minute.
Kevin Love only played three minutes against the Hawks, but he might have to log more time against the Bulls, who play a little bit bigger while Butler plays more time at small forward. Caleb Martin played 29 minutes against Atlanta but didn’t have a single point.
Anderson will likely play most of the minutes at the four for Minnesota, with the option of sliding over for Towns if Gobert is able to return.
NBA DFS Center Picks
Karl-Anthony Towns has been very good since returning and has exceeded salary-based expectations in four straight games. In those four contests, he averaged 1.37 DraftKings points and 1.33 FanDuel points per minute, significantly higher than any other center on this slate.
Whether Rudy Gobert returns or not, KAT is the better fantasy option according to our projections, and he’s projected for 27.4% usage and 37.2 minutes. The Thunder don’t have a strong defensive interior, so it’s a great matchup for KAT. He and Gobert (if available) are the top two options on the slate in terms of opponents Plus/Minus, which indicates that they’re in smash spots against vulnerable opponents.
Jaylin Williams is the main bargain option on this slate since there aren’t cheaper plays that get regular minutes. Williams outproduced salary-based expectations in three of his past four games, including his crazy 8’s game against the Pelicans on Wednesday. He had 8 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists for 32.5 DraftKings points and 32.6 FanDuel points.
Williams doesn’t usually score a ton of points, but he produces enough rebounds, steals, and assists to still be worth considering if you can’t pay up for one of the star centers. He played 32 minutes on Wednesday and is projected for a similar workload Friday.
Like the other Jaylen Williams, this Jaylin Williams is a good place to go for value. He is an especially strong play on DraftKings, where he has a 92% bargain rating.
Bam Adebayo and Nikola Vucevic are both very strong plays, but they can’t touch the upside of KAT and Gobert based on their matchup. They’re projected to limit each other in the grittier game environment in Miami while leaving the Wolves’ big men as the top options on a Points per dollar basis.
Of the two, Vucevic actually has the better projections and Projected Plus/Minus, so if you pivot from KAT or use him at power forward and still have a salary, Vucevic is the stronger play of the two.