Friday features a nine-game slate starting at 7 p.m. ET.
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.
Consult the NBA Player Models directly for any updates as we get closer to lock.
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NBA DFS Point Guard Picks
With Terry Rozier still out, going right back to LaMelo Ball feels like a necessity as he plays against the Wizards for the second straight game. Ball has now played without Rozier twice and is averaging 32 points, 10 assists, and seven rebounds per game while shooting 53.3% from the field. His usage rate jumps to 32.6%, while Ball has a +9.38 DraftKings Plus/Minus boost with Rozier off the floor this year. Another triple-double is on the table for Ball, who has eight over the past two years.
The Hornets are three-point road underdogs, but this is the game to target for this nine-game slate. With a slate-high total of 240.5 points, expect a flurry of scoring opportunities between these two teams that rank in the top five of Pace and bottom five of Defensive Rating. Despite being significantly cheaper than his peers, Ball has the third-highest projected ceiling on DraftKings and fifth-highest on FanDuel. It is hard to envision the Wizards blowing out the Hornets in back-to-back games.
Starting point guard for the Timberwolves, Mike Conley, committed a turnover 43 seconds into the season but hasn’t turned the ball over since then. He leads the league with a preposterous 30.0 assists-to-turnover ratio. At $4,800 on DraftKings tonight, Conley has the highest Projected Plus/Minus at the position. His field goal attempts may be down, but Conley is averaging 24.4 DraftKings points per game while only having one game below 20 points. He is a stable cash-game option.
Conley is projected to play around 30 minutes and is in a phenomenal matchup against a Spurs defense that ranks dead last in Defensive Rating. The Spurs have also allowed a league-high 67.5% assist percentage while allowing 125.9 points per game. Prioritize Conley on DraftKings with his sub-$5,000 salary, but he looks like a strong play in all formats tonight.
Luka Doncic has the highest projected ceiling in our NBA Model for both DraftKings and FanDuel, but the matchup against a revamped and healthy Clippers team is a bit worrisome. However, averaging 61.7 DraftKings points per game with a 34.5% usage rate always warrants exposure. Surprisingly, this matchup has the second-highest total on the slate at 235.5 points, with the Mavericks implied for 118.5 points. Doncic is a contrarian pay-up option at his sub-5% projected ownership.
NBA DFS Shooting Guard Picks
Anthony Edwards has arrived. He is averaging a career-high 27.6 points per game while shooting 51% from the field and 43.2% from behind the arc. Edwards also leads the Timberwolves in assists with 5.3 per game, as he has a 32.4% usage rate. With 20.7 field goal attempts per game, Edwards has fully embraced being the Timberwolves’ No. 1 option this season.
Edwards has led the team in scoring in all but one game and has scored 50+ DraftKings points in three straight games. The Spurs have allowed opponents to shoot 50.5% from the field and a league-high 40.9% from the perimeter. Edwards has shown no fear throughout his career, so it wouldn’t be surprising if he tried to dunk all over Victor Wembanyama tonight, despite the rookie displaying elite rim protection abilities. Edwards is way too low-owned for this matchup against the Spurs.
Jordan Hawkins disappointed in his last game, putting up only 16.75 DraftKings points in 30 minutes. He scored 14 points on 4-for-11 shooting from the field, but Hawkins only had one rebound and one assist against the Timberwolves, who have the best Defensive Rating in the league. Tonight is a little bit better of a spot against the Rockets, as the Pelicans are still without CJ McCollum. Zion Williamson and Herb Jones are both questionable, so monitor their status’ as well in this spot.
Hawkins is still going to be a major priority on FanDuel as he has a slate-high +9.07 projected Plus/Minus at the shooting guard position. At his $4,700 salary, Hawkins has a 95% Bargain Rating and is projected for over 40% ownership. Even if Williamson and Jones suit up, Hawkins is worth going back to. The opportunity in this depleted backcourt is still very high.
Projected for a slate-high 40 minutes played tonight, Desmond Bane and the 1-7 Grizzlies are a four-point home favorite against the Jazz, who rank 27th in Defensive Rating. This is another matchup worth exploiting for Bane who is averaging a career-high 25.1 points on 20.5 field goal attempts per game. With Ja Morant out, Bane is the best scoring threat for the Grizzlies. He is projected for around 20% ownership across the industry, which is deserving for his upside in this matchup.
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NBA DFS Small Forward Picks
Everyone at the top of the small forward position is projected for low ownership once again. The public always routes to paying down at this position, so in tournaments getting exposure to the top of this range will set lineups apart from the rest. The Lakers got crushed last game against the Rockets but will look to rebound against the Suns tonight. LeBron James, against the Suns in their first meeting, nearly had a triple-double as he had 21 points, nine assists, and eight rebounds.
James may get the luxury of playing without Anthony Davis again, as he is questionable after missing the last game with a hip injury. In 19 games without Davis last season, James averaged 34.5 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 7.3 assists per game while shooting 53.3% from the field. Over that time, he also had a 36.1% usage rate. Priced under $10,000 on both DraftKings and FanDuel, James looks like a great contrarian option tonight and would look even better if Davis doesn’t suit up.
With shooting guard and small forward eligibility on FanDuel, Luke Kennard is one of the best value plays on the slate. Kennard has worked his way back from injury and has put together back-to-back games, scoring 13 and 15 points. He has a positive Plus/Minus in three straight games and is projected for the second-highest Plus/Minus at the small forward position tonight. Kennard’s minutes continue to be ramped up as he is projected for nearly 30 minutes despite coming off the bench.
The Jazz have allowed opponents to shoot 37 3-pointers per game, which is tied for the eighth-highest in the league. This sets up perfectly for the sharp-shooting Kennard who made a career-high 3.1 3-pointers per game last season on 54% shooting from downtown. Kennard has shot 7-for-12 from behind the arc in his last two games, which increases his value.
Jayson Tatum showcased his versatility last game as his shot wasn’t falling, but he still put up over 50 DraftKings points. Tatum finished with a massive 16-point, 15-rebound double-double with six assists and three steals. Still leading the Celtics in scoring, rebounding, and steals, Tatum is another great player to target in the upper-tier salary range. The last game was the first time in five games that Tatum failed to score 30 points. Expect him to get back on track against the Nets at home.
NBA DFS Power Forward Picks
As Kevin Durant‘s salary came down, his game went up. Durant has a positive Plus/Minus on FanDuel in three straight games, as he has stuffed the stat sheet with 32.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 5.7 assists per game. He has also been great defensively, with five steals and four blocks over that time. The Suns will likely get Bradley Beal back for his second game tonight while Devin Booker is out again. Don’t expect much from Beal in his second game, so this will be the Durant show.
In his last game against the Lakers earlier this season, Durant was dominant with 39 points and 11 rebounds totaling 57.25 DraftKings points. He shot 14-for-28 from the field, including 10-for-13 from the free-throw line. Durant and LeBron James have expressed how much they love playing against each other, and it shows. This is a great matchup against for Durant.
Injuries have taken a toll on the Nets, who will play tonight without Cam Thomas, Ben Simmons, and Nic Claxton. That is a ton of production to go around, as Thomas leads the team in scoring while Simmons leads in assists and rebounds. In his first season with the Nets, Trendon Watford looked great in the preseason, and his minutes are starting to ramp up recently with all the injuries. Priced at $3,600 on DraftKings, Watford is projected to be one of the highest-owned players on the slate.
The Celtics are a terrible matchup for any opposing player, but Watford is at least blowout-proof, as he has been coming off the bench. The Nets are double-digit road underdogs, and despite only being projected to play 18 minutes, Watford looks like a fantastic value play. With power forward and center eligibility on DraftKings, Watford is easy to fit into all lineup builds.
Jaren Jackson Jr. has by far the highest Projected Plus/Minus at the power forward position for both sites. In fact, Jackson Jr. has the highest on the slate for FanDuel at +10.83. He has taken on more of a scoring role as of late, scoring 27+ points in three consecutive games. With Walker Kessler out last game, the Jazz gave up 74 points in the paint and were nearly out-rebounded by the Pacers. If he can stay out of foul trouble, Jackson Jr. has a great chance to be in the optimal lineup.
NBA DFS Center Picks
Leading the league with a 36.2% usage rate, Joel Embiid is always a great pay-up option. Priced $1,000 cheaper on DraftKings, Embiid has an 81% Bargain Rating, which is tough to find at his $11,200 salary. The 76ers are 8.5-point favorites on the road against the Pistons, who have a formidable frontcourt led by Jalen Duren. This Embiid vs. Duren matchup is going to be exciting, but the veteran Embiid gets the advantage as he leads the league in scoring with 31.7 points per game.
After a close one-point loss on opening night, the 76ers have won six straight games in large part due to Embiid simply being the best player on the floor. In those six games, Embiid is averaging 33 points, 11.5 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 2.5 blocks, and 63 DraftKings points per game. Prioritize Embiid on DraftKings, but he is the premier pay-up option on this nine-game slate.
Bismack Biyombo is the best value on the slate for both DraftKings and FanDuel tonight. As previously discussed, the Jazz frontcourt is playing without one of the best young defensive centers in the league. The Grizzlies are also dealing with frontcourt injuries as not only are Steven Adams and Brandon Clarke out, but so is Xavier Tillman. Biyombo has started the last two games for the Grizzlies and is averaging nearly a double-double with 8.5 points and 10.5 rebounds per game.
At center-only on both sites, Biyombo looks like a much better play on DraftKings, where a lineup can have two centers and he is priced cheaper. At $4,900 on DraftKings, Biyombo has the highest projected ownership on the slate. He is projected to play over 30 minutes. There is some concern that Biyombo gets played off the court, but he is in too good of a spot to pass up.
Rudy Gobert leads the league in rebounding with 13.6 per game and has averaged a double-double for eight consecutive seasons. Gobert has recorded a double-double in all but one game this season and is coming off a 21-rebound performance against the Pelicans. He will battle against fellow Frenchman Victor Wembanyama tonight as the Spurs rank tied for 27th in Rebounding Percentage with 47.2%. They have given up 53 points per game in the paint, which sets up perfect for Gobert.