Friday features a three-game slate starting at 7 p.m. ET.
Let’s dive into some of the top plays 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. Consult the Player Models directly for any updates as we get closer to lock.
NBA DFS Point Guard Picks
Injuries have been a huge factor so far this postseason, and there will be some key players missing from Thursday’s slate. Khris Middleton is currently dealing with a sprained MCL, and the Bucks will be without his services for at least the next two weeks. That’s a massive blow for the defending champs, who are coming off a loss in Game 2 vs. the Bulls.
Jrue Holiday figures to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of his absence. He’s seen a +4.8% usage bump with Middleton off the court, resulting in an average of 1.23 DraftKings points per minute. The Bucks’ implied team total of 112.75 is also the top mark on the slate.
The other big injury on Friday’s slate involves Devin Booker. The star guard is currently dealing with a right hamstring strain, and he’s already been ruled out for Game 3 vs. the Pelicans. He’s also reportedly not expected to play in Game 4, but he could return at some point this series.
Cameron Payne could see a few additional minutes in his absence. He’ll likely still come off the bench, but Payne has increased his production to 1.08 DraftKings points per minute with Booker off the floor. He’s currently projected for 19 minutes in our NBA Models, but that feels like a conservative estimate.
Chris Paul will also benefit from Booker’s absence. He’s increased his usage rate by +3.0% with Booker off the floor this season, resulting in an average of 1.19 DraftKings points per minute. He’s also one of the best pure values of the day on DraftKings, where his $8,900 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 96%.
Trae Young could be a bit overlooked due to CP3 and Holiday, but he’s still an elite option in his own right. He’s the best value of the bunch on FanDuel, leading all point guards with an 87% Bargain Rating, and his 12 Pro Trends also rank first at the position.
NBA DFS Shooting Guard Picks
C.J. McCollum has been fantastic for the Pelicans during the postseason. His usage rate hasn’t been particularly high – he’s posted an average usage rate of just 26.8% during the first two games – but he’s made up for it with his work in the peripheral categories. He’s averaged 8.0 rebounds and 7.5 assists, both of which represent significant increases from his regular season averages.
Even if McCollum sees some regression in those departments in Game 3, he should still be able to pay off his current price tag. He’s averaged 1.11 DraftKings points per minute this season, and he’s currently projected for 41 minutes in our NBA Models.
Alex Caruso deserves attention at just $5,000 on FanDuel. He’s coming off 37.4 FanDuel points in his last outing, and he racked up nearly 38 minutes of playing time. He’s projected for another 36 minutes on Friday, and it’s hard to find cheap players with that much playing time upside during the postseason. Historically, players with comparable salaries and minute projections have averaged a Plus/Minus of +4.48 (per the Trends tool).
Zach LaVine is coming off just 24.7 FanDuel points in his last outing, and his production has decreased to 0.91 FanDuel points per minute over the past month. That’s a significant decrease from his average of 1.06 FanDuel points per minute over the course of the year. Still, LaVine racked up 37.5 FanDuel points in Game 1 of this series, so he has some buy-low appeal at just $7,200.
Landry Shamet could potentially draw the start in place of Booker, and he’d be an interesting value option in that scenario. He’s priced at just $3,800 on DraftKings, so he doesn’t need a ton of playing time to potentially provide value.
NBA DFS Small Forward Picks
The Scott Foster vs. CP3 matchup got most of the attention in Game 2 of that series, but Brandon Ingram is the reason the Pelicans won. He was phenomenal in that contest, finishing with 37 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists over 39.2 minutes. He ultimately racked up 65.7 FanDuel points at just $7,700, good for a Plus/Minus of +32.04.
His price has come up drastically for Game 3, but he still stands out as a solid option. He’s currently projected for 40 minutes in our NBA Models, and he’s averaged 1.20 FanDuel points per minute over the past month.
Pat Connaughton is very affordable at just $4,000 on DraftKings, and he should be busy on Friday. He’s coming off just 22.6 minutes in Game 2, but he figures to see a large increase in playing time with Middleton out of the lineup. He’s currently projected for 32 minutes in our NBA Models, making him a very appealing value option.
Patrick Williams is another strong option, particularly on DraftKings given his 75% Bargain Rating. He’s been an excellent fantasy option recently, posting an average Plus/Minus of +7.18 over his past 10 games, and he’s increased his production to 0.80 DraftKings points per minute over the past month. He should see around 30 minutes in Game 3, which is more than enough for him to provide value.
Bogdan Bogdanovic is coming off a monster performance in his last contest, finishing with 40.5 DraftKings points in just 28.5 minutes. He shot the ball extremely well in that game – he was 12-18 from the field and 5-10 from 3-point range – so we probably shouldn’t expect a repeat performance. Still, he’s underpriced at $5,500 given his average of 1.07 DraftKings points per minute over the past month.
NBA DFS Power Forward Picks
It’s going to be really tough to avoid Giannis Antetokounmpo on DraftKings. He’s tough to avoid on any slate, and there are plenty of reasons to like him a bit more than usual on Friday. For starters, his $11,200 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 86%, which is one of the top marks at the position. His matchup vs. the Bulls also results in an Opponent Plus/Minus of +3.78, which is also an outstanding mark.
Of course, the biggest factor working in his favor is the absence of Middleton. Giannis figures to see a bump in per-minute production minus his star teammate, and he could also see a few additional minutes. Giannis is currently projected for 40 minutes in our NBA Models, and that’s a scary proposition for anyone who fades him. He averaged 58.5 DraftKings points in just 32.9 minutes per game during the regular season, so he can do some serious damage with that much playing time.
Cameron Johnson figures to be one of the highest-owned value options on the slate. There’s a chance he starts in place of Booker, but he should see a few additional minutes even if he comes off the bench. If Johnson clears 30 minutes in this contest, he should be an excellent value at his current price tag across the industry. He’s averaged 0.87 DraftKings points per minute this season, and he’s posted an average Plus/Minus of +7.64 on FanDuel in 47 career games with at least 30 minutes.
DeMar DeRozan is another outstanding value at the position on DraftKings. He’s priced at just $8,600, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 88%. His 10 Pro Trends rank first at the position, and he’s coming off 60.75 DraftKings points in his last outing.
Don’t forget about Jae Crowder for the Suns. He should see a few additional minutes on Friday, and he’s been a nice source of value to begin with recently. He’s posted an average Plus/Minus of +3.94 over his past 10 games on FanDuel, and he’s returned value in eight of those contests.
NBA DFS Center Picks
Nikola Vucevic is the clear top option if you’re paying up at center. He’s typically a far better value on FanDuel than on DraftKings, but the opposite is true on Friday. His $7,700 salary on DraftKings comes with a Bargain Rating of 79%, which is tied for the top mark at the position. His 11 Pro Trends also ranks first among centers, while his +5.27 Opponent Plus/Minus ranks second. Vucevic has posted a Plus/Minus of at least +11.59 in each of his past two games, so there’s no reason he can’t do it again.
JaVale McGee is priced at basically the minimum on FanDuel, and he’s only expected to see around 15 minutes on Friday. That would be enough to exclude most players, but McGee is one of the best in the business on a per-minute basis. In fact, his average of 1.31 FanDuel points per minute this season is the top mark among Friday’s centers. He’s a very interesting punt play given his Bargain Rating of 89% and minimal projected ownership.
Brook Lopez leads the position with an Opponent Plus/Minus of +8.2 on FanDuel, and he’s posted a positive Plus/Minus in six straight games. He’s coming off a whopping 35.2 minutes in his last outing, and Lopez has averaged 0.99 FanDuel points per minute over the past month. That’s a really nice combination.