The NBA Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each day’s slate using the FantasyLabs Tools and metrics to highlight notable players.
Friday features a nine-game slate starting at 7 p.m. ET.
Ben Simmons has been a reliable option recently, posting a Consistency Rating of 85% on DraftKings over the past month. He’s in one of the best spots of the day vs. the Atlanta Hawks, who have played at the fastest pace in the league, and the 76ers’ resulting implied team total of 122.25 is the top mark on the slate. His 11 Pro Trends are tied for the top mark at the position on DraftKings.
The Milwaukee Bucks appear to be a massive source of value tonight. Not only will they likely be without Giannis Antetokounmpo, they also have an elite matchup vs. the Washington Wizards. The Wiz rank just 27th in defensive efficiency this season, and Milwaukee’s implied team total of 117.75 ranks second on the slate.
Eric Bledsoe is currently listed as questionable but is in a fantastic spot if he’s able to suit up. He owns an Opponent Plus/Minus of +3.30 on DraftKings, which is the top mark at the PG position. He’s also seen the largest boost in production with Giannis off the court this season, resulting in an average of 1.38 DraftKings points per minute. He’s particularly appealing on DraftKings, where his $6,100 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 90%.
Malcolm Brogdon should also see a boost in production regardless of Bledsoe’s status. He’s been a strong value over his past 10 games, posting an average Plus/Minus of +3.93 on DraftKings, and he’s seen a usage bump of +3.4% with Giannis off the court.
T.J. McConnell is coming off a down game, which could make this a nice time to buy low on him. He benefits from the same elite matchup as Simmons, and his $3,700 salary on DraftKings comes with a Bargain Rating of 99%.
Emmanuel Mudiay has been a nice value recently on FanDuel, posting an average Plus/Minus of +2.88 over his past 10 games. He’s averaged 1.03 FanDuel points per minute over the past month and is currently projected for 32 minutes in our NBA Models, which would make him a nice value at $6,000.
What’s left to be said about James Harden at this point? He’s well on his way to winning his second straight MVP, and his GM recently said he’s the greatest offensive player in the history of the NBA. He’s posted a ridiculous average Plus/Minus of +11.42 over his past 10 games on DraftKings and has posted a Consistency Rating of 100% over the past month. His salary has increased quite a bit over that time frame, but he still seems like a value given his massive floor and ceiling every time he takes the court.
He has an interesting matchup today vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers. On one hand, they’re absolutely terrible defensively, ranking dead last in defensive efficiency, and the Rockets’ implied team total of 115 ranks fifth on the slate. On the other hand, both the Cavs and Rockets play at a really slow pace, so this game will likely have the fewest number of possessions of the day. There’s also a tremendous amount of blowout risk every time the Cavs are in play – the Rockets are currently 13.5-point favorites – so it’s possible Harden could spend the fourth quarter watching this game instead of playing. He offers the highest ceiling on the slate by a landslide, but his floor might be a little lower than usual.
Khris Middleton gets to be an honorary stud today with Giannis out of the lineup. He’s seen a massive usage bump of +9.1% with Giannis off the court this season, resulting in an average of 1.29 DraftKings points per minute. He will likely be one of the highest-owned players of the day, but it’s impossible not to like him vs. the defensively-challenged Wizards.
This feels like a day to pay up at the position, but one exception could be Kevin Huerter. He’s seen a big boost in production recently with Taurean Prince and Kent Bazemore out of the lineup, scoring at least 28.5 FanDuel points in back-to-back games. He’s a slightly better value on FanDuel, where his $4,900 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 60%.
The SG position on today’s slate is absolutely loaded. Harden and Middleton stand out as the best options, but there is no shortage of guys to pay up for:
- Bradley Beal: Continues to dominate with John Wall out of the lineup, averaging 49.53 DraftKings points per game. He’s priced at a discount at $8,600, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 97%.
- Donovan Mitchell: Projected for a slate-high 40 minutes in our NBA Models for a Jazz team that is really shorthanded in the backcourt. He’s scored at least 49.3 FanDuel points in two of his past three games and has an excellent matchup vs. the Lakers.
- Luka Doncic: Leads the position with 14 Pro Trends on FanDuel and should benefit from the absence of Dennis Smith Jr. He’s averaged 44.39 points per 36 minutes in games without DSJ this season.
- Jimmy Butler: Has arguably the best matchup of the group vs. the Atlanta Hawks, resulting in an Opponent Plus/Minus of +1.67 on DraftKings.
The top of the SF position on today’s slate is pretty unappealing without Giannis. That said, Kawhi Leonard could be worth some consideration on FanDuel, where his $9,600 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 81%. He leads the position with 12 Pro Trends and has scored at least 59.2 FanDuel points in each of his past two games.
Utah’s current injury situation provides a lot of value at the SF position. Joe Ingles, Jae Crowder and Royce O’Neale all appear to be strong targets, and each one is priced at a different point on the spectrum.
Of the trio, O’Neale might be the best pure value. He’s currently projected for 31.5 minutes at the absolute minimum on FanDuel, and players with a comparable salary and minutes projection have historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +3.55 (per the Trends Tool).
Otto Porter continues to come off the bench for the Wizards, but that hasn’t stopped him from being a value recently. He’s averaged an elite 1.28 FanDuel points per minute over the past month and has scored at least 37.2 FanDuel points in two of his past three games. He has big upside at his current price tag across the industry.
Thaddeus Young has SF eligibility on DraftKings, which makes him an interesting target with Myles Turner out of the lineup for the fourth straight game. He dominated in his first two games without Turner, scoring 31.25 and 42.25 DraftKings points, before being limited in a blowout in his last contest. He’s in a great spot today vs. the Knicks, who rank 29th in defensive efficiency this season.
Sticking with the Pacers, Domantas Sabonis should continue to start with Turner out of the lineup. He’s been excellent in his past three games, posting an average Plus/Minus of +6.02, and owns a strong Opponent Plus/Minus of +2.17 today vs. the Knicks. Overall, he’s seen the biggest increase in fantasy production with Turner off the court this season, which makes him a really safe investment at $7,700 on FanDuel.
Maxi Kleber entered the starting lineup in place of Smith Jr. in his last contest and contributed 33.0 FanDuel points in 33.5 minutes. He’s been a strong asset all season when given extended playing time thanks to his average of 0.90 FanDuel points per minute. He remains affordable across the industry and should be a staple of cash-game lineups if he draws another start today.
Ersan Ilyasova is another member of the Bucks worth considering on today’s slate. He hasn’t been a huge factor in their rotation recently, playing 19.5 minutes or fewer in each game since returning from injury on Jan. 4, but he’s been one of the biggest beneficiaries with Giannis out of the lineup this season. He’s averaged 29.6 DraftKings points per game in two games without his stud teammate, resulting in an average Plus/Minus of +14.2 on DraftKings.
John Collins continues to go about his business for the lowly Hawks, pulling up a double-double virtually every time he takes the court. That includes going for 51.5 DraftKings points in his most recent contest, and he leads the position with 12 Pro Trends on DraftKings. He owns the highest ceiling projection among PFs, which makes him an appealing target for GPPs.
Clint Capela faces some of the same blowout concerns today as Harden, but he’s hard to ignore at just $7,600 on DraftKings. It results in a Bargain Rating of 99%, and his 12 Pro Trends are tied for the most at the position. Capela has been a strong value with a comparable price tag this season, averaging a Plus/Minus of +5.14 over 26 contests.
Kyle O’Quinn could be an interesting contrarian target for the Pacers. He’s seen solid off the bench recently and can gobble up fantasy points in bunches when on the court. He’s averaged 1.27 DraftKings points per minute this season and is in an elite spot vs. the Knicks.
Rudy Gobert has been an excellent fantasy option over the past month on DraftKings, posting a Consistency Rating of 100% and averaging 1.28 fantasy points per minute. He doesn’t figure to see the same boost in usage or playing time as some of his teammates with Rubio out of the lineup, but he’s in an elite spot vs. the Lakers.
Tristan Thompson is an interesting target if you think the Cavs can keep today’s game competitive. He’s priced at just $5,800 on DraftKings, and Thompson has averaged a ridiculous Plus/Minus of +7.36 with a comparable salary this season.
After this piece is published, FantasyLabs is likely to provide news updates on a number of players. Be sure to stay ahead of your competition with our NBA news feed.
Pictured: Milwaukee Bucks Guards Khris Middleton (22) and Eric Bledsoe (6)
Photo Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports