The NBA Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each day’s slate using the FantasyLabs Tools and metrics to highlight notable players.
Friday features an eight-game slate starting at 7 p.m. ET.
Kemba Walker has posted a perfect 100% Consistency Rating over the past month, but that hasn’t stopped DraftKings from decreasing his salary by $1,100 over that time frame. He’s currently priced at just $8,200 for tonight’s matchup vs. the Washington Wizards, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 93%.
The Wizards have also been one of the best teams to target in DFS this season. They rank seventh in pace and 27th in defensive efficiency, and the Hornets’ resulting implied team total of 115.0 represents a significant increase compared to their season average (110.8). Kemba also has a strong individual matchup, resulting in an Opponent Plus/Minus of +2.06.
There’s lots of value at the PG position today, and Emmanuel Mudiay might be the top overall option. Dennis Smith Jr. has been ruled out for tonight’s contest vs. the Spurs, which should give Mudiay a big boost in value. Mudiay has led the team with a usage rate of 27.3% with Smith Jr. off the court since the All-Star break and has averaged 0.96 DraftKings points per minute this season. The Spurs have also struggled against opposing PGs, resulting in an Opponent Plus/Minus of +2.25. He’s priced very fairly across the industry and is a steal at just $4,200 on DraftKings.
De’Anthony Melton is priced at the absolute minimum on FanDuel, which makes him an interesting punt play. He could potentially move into the starting lineup to replace the injured Tyler Johnson, and he’s currently projected for 26.6 minutes in our NBA Models. He’s averaged 0.93 FanDuel points per minute over the past month.
The Rockets are going to be without Chris Paul today, who will get the night off vs. the Phoenix Suns. That will likely result in a few additional minutes for Austin Rivers, who is priced at just $3,100 on DraftKings. Rivers has averaged 22.41 DraftKings points per game in 16 games without Paul this season, which would be more than enough to return value at his current salary.
It’s impossible not to like James Harden today with Paul out of the lineup. He has been absolutely dominant in 22 games without CP3 this season, averaging 39.2 minutes, a 44.7% usage rate and 67.97 DraftKings points per game. His salary has also decreased by $600 over the past month on DraftKings, bringing his price tag to a very reasonable $11,000 for tonight’s matchup vs. the Suns. The Suns are an elite matchup – they rank just 29th in defensive efficiency this season – and Harden torched them for 72.0 DraftKings points in their first meeting. He should command massive ownership, but he’s almost impossible to fade on today’s slate.
The Lakers have been decimated by injuries recently. Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram are both out for the rest of the season, and LeBron James will get the night off for “load management.” That doesn’t leave a ton of viable options for head coach Luke Walton vs. the Detroit Pistons.
Reggie Bullock should see a boost in playing time, and he’s priced at just $3,600 on FanDuel. He’s currently projected for 29.5 minutes in our NBA Models, and players with comparable salaries and minute projections have historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +3.38 (per the Trends tool).
Eric Gordon is another member of the Rockets who should benefit from the absence of Paul. He’s increased his usage rate by +2.6% in games without CP3 this season, resulting in an average of 31.59 DraftKings points per game. He’s priced at just $4,900 on DraftKings, giving him big upside vs. the Suns.
Lou Williams has been a nice source of value recently, posting an average Plus/Minus of +4.03 over his past 10 games on DraftKings. He’s a boom-or-bust type of player, but he’s averaged 1.30 DraftKings points per minute over the past month and has been playing approximately 30 minutes per game in competitive contests recently. He’s in a nice spot tonight vs. the Bulls, who are tied for 25th in defensive efficiency.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is the definition of a contrarian stud on tonight’s slate. Virtually no one will roster him compared to Harden, especially since Giannis has posted a negative Plus/Minus in six of his past eight games on DraftKings.
That said, he still offers upside given his average of 1.71 DraftKings points per minute this season. The Bucks are also just five-point favorites vs. the Miami Heat, while the Rockets are 12-point favorites vs. the Suns. There is definitely a scenario in which Harden sees reduced minutes in a blowout and opens the door for Giannis to score more fantasy points. There is also enough value available that you could potentially play Harden and Giannis together in the same lineup.
Maurice Harkless has been ruled out for the Portland Trail Blazers, which is creating some value at the SF position. Jake Layman should see a few additional minutes, and he’s averaged a Plus/Minus of +2.21 over his past 10 games on DraftKings. His salary has also decreased to just $3,300 on DraftKings and $3,700 on FanDuel, which makes him a very reasonable option across the industry.
Al-Farouq Aminu also deserves some attention, particularly on DraftKings given his Bargain Rating of 77%. He hasn’t been as effective as Layman over the past month, averaging just 0.71 DraftKings points per minute, but he’s locked in to a bigger role in the rotation.
Both players own wonderful matchups vs. the Pelicans, and the Blazers’ implied team total of 121.25 ranks first on the slate.
Gerald Green is another viable option if you’re looking to load up on the Rockets tonight. He’s priced at the absolute minimum on FanDuel and has averaged 26.4 minutes per game with Paul out of the lineup this season.
Mikal Bridges has been an awesome value recently on DraftKings, posting an average Plus/Minus of +4.00 over his past 10 games. He’s also posted a positive Plus/Minus in eight of his past nine contests. He could potentially replace Johnson in the Suns’ starting lineup today – Devin Booker would shift to PG in that situation – but he should see a few additional minutes regardless. His $3,700 salary on DraftKings comes with a Bargain Rating of 86%.
Blake Griffin’s salary continues to drop like a rock. He’s seen a price decrease of $1,200 over the past month on DraftKings, and he’s priced at just $7,700 for tonight’s matchup vs. the Lakers. The price decrease has been warranted – he’s averaged a Plus/Minus of -6.54 over his past 10 games – but it’s still too cheap for a talented player like Griffin. This is the first time he’s been priced below $8,000 on DraftKings all season, making it an excellent buy-low opportunity. The Lakers have also played at the fourth-fastest pace this season, making this an excellent matchup.
Marvin Williams very rarely posts an eye-popping performance, but he’s been one of the most consistent producers at the PF position recently. He’s posted a perfect 100% Consistency Rating over the past month on DraftKings, yet his salary has still decreased by $200 over that time frame. He’s in an elite spot today vs. the Wizards, who rank just 29th in team rebound rate in addition to struggling on the defensive end.
Kyle Kuzma is a strong bet to lead the Lakers in usage on today’s slate. He’s posted a usage rate of 26.4% in 13 games without LeBron this season, resulting in an average of 30.35 FanDuel points per game. He’s also one of the better values at the position on FanDuel given his Bargain Rating of 82%.
The 76ers have one of the best matchups of the day vs. the Sacramento Kings, who have played at the second-fastest pace this season. Tobias Harris is underpriced at just $6,900 on FanDuel, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 91%. He’s not the sexiest option on the slate but should be a reliable target for cash games.
Andre Drummond is coming off a poor performance in his last game but was limited to just 24 minutes in a blowout loss vs. the Heat. That said, he’s still posted an average Plus/Minus of +5.07 over his past 10 games on DraftKings, and he’s in an elite spot today vs. the Los Angeles Lakers. They’ve struggled against opposing big men all season, giving Drummond an Opponent Plus/Minus of +2.49. He’s an excellent value on DraftKings as well given his Bargain Rating of 96%.
Today’s slate is loaded with value, including at center. Willy Hernangomez should draw the start for the Hornets in an excellent spot vs. the Wizards. He’s averaged 1.16 FanDuel points per minute this season, so he doesn’t need to play much to potentially pay off his $3,600 salary. His Opponent Plus/Minus of +2.34 is one of the top marks at the position.
Deandre Ayton has been priced down to just $6,100 on DraftKings, which is just too cheap for the talented young center. He’s averaged 1.15 DraftKings points per minute this season and is currently projected for 32.5 minutes in our NBA Models. That combination gives him the potential to be one of the strongest plays on the entire slate.
Finally, don’t forget about Joel Embiid. His average of 1.76 DraftKings points per minute over the past month is actually the top mark on the slate regardless of position, and he owns an Opponent Plus/Minus of +2.40 vs. the Sacramento Kings. He’s also priced at just $9,900 on DraftKings, giving him a Bargain Rating of 93%.
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Pictured: Rockets G James Harden
Photo Credit: Marcio Jose Sanchez- USA Today Sports