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 seven-game slate starting at 7 p.m. ET.
Stephen Curry has been shooting the lights out to begin the season, making 55% of his shots form the field and 52.4% of his shots from 3-point range through his first five games. The result is an average Plus/Minus of +6.97 on FanDuel.
He’s in an interesting spot on Friday against the Knicks. The Warriors’ implied team total ranks third on the slate, but he has a difficult individual matchup against Frank Ntilikina: It results in an Opponent Plus/Minus of -4.53 on FanDuel. Curry still seems too cheap on FanDuel at $9,900 as evidenced by a Bargain Rating of 90%.
Chris Paul will likely be the preferred target at PG on Friday. The Rockets will be without James Harden, and Paul dominated with Harden off the floor last season: Paul saw a team-high usage bump of +5.4% and averaged 1.53 DraftKings points per minute. Unsurprisingly, he averaged more than 46 DraftKings points per game in nine games with Harden out of the lineup.
Paul has a tough matchup against the Clippers, evidenced by an Opponent Plus/Minus of -6.60 on DraftKings, but he’s a nice value at $9,200.
Patrick Beverley isn’t playing a ton of minutes to start the season but has averaged 0.95 FanDuel points per minute. He has a nice matchup against the Rockets, who rank in the bottom 10 in terms of defensive efficiency this season. He’s one of the few PGs available Friday who is a better value on FanDuel, where he has a Bargain Rating of 81%.
D’Angelo Russell has posted a positive Plus/Minus in each of his past three games on DraftKings, and he’s in a good spot to make it four in a row against the Pelicans. They’ve played at the fourth-fastest pace in the league to begin the season, and Russell averaged 1.14 DraftKings points per minute last season.
Malcolm Brogdon has seen a healthy workload for the Bucks, playing at least 31 minutes in three of his first four games. He’s not exactly an elite per-minute producer — he averaged only 0.78 DraftKings points per minute last season — but it’s hard to ignore that kind of workload at $4,600.
Zach LaVine has been a fantasy force to start the season, averaging 1.24 DraftKings points per minute and posting an average Plus/Minus of +10.90 through his first four games. Starting PG Kris Dunn will miss an extended period of time for the Bulls, which should boost LaVine’s fantasy stock: He saw solid upticks in his usage rate and fantasy production with Dunn off the court last season.
Jrue Holiday looks like one of the best values of the day at $6,900 on DraftKings. He’s yet to really dominate from a fantasy perspective this season, averaging a Plus/Minus of -1.01 on DraftKings, but there are reasons to believe he can improve. He’s shot only 31.6% from the field and has yet to make a 3-pointer (!), so he’s bound for some positive regression.
The Pelicans are in one of the best spots of the slate against the Nets, who were the sixth-worst team in defensive efficiency last season. The Pelicans’ resulting implied team total of 121.75 is the top mark on the slate.
Damyean Dotson has taken on a much larger role for the Knicks recently, playing at least 31.5 minutes in back-to-back games. He’s averaged an elite 1.05 DraftKings points per minute this season, which makes him a really strong value at $4,200.
The Raptors have the potential to be pretty short-handed in their backcourt on Friday, with Delon Wright and OG Anunoby already ruled out and Fred Van Vleet currently listed as questionable. That could result in a few extra minutes for Danny Green and Norman Powell in a great spot against the Mavericks. Dallas has allowed the third-most points per 100 possessions to begin the season, and the Raptors’ implied team total of 117.25 ranks sixth on the slate.
Bradley Beal looks like the best high-priced value on FanDuel, where his $7,600 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 93%. He has an excellent matchup against the Kings, who have played at the sixth-fastest pace to start the season, and the Wizards’ implied team total of 120.0 points ranks second on the slate.
Giannis Antetokounmpo has been an absolute monster, averaging 1.83 DraftKings points per minute and a Plus/Minus of +8.83 through his first four games. He’s scored at least 56.75 DraftKings points in each contest, and he currently leads the league with a usage rate of 37.5%. He’s already one of the best contributors in terms of his peripheral statistics, and his increased scoring potential makes him one of the safest bets in all of fantasy.
He’s in a nice spot today against the Timberwolves, evidenced by an Opponent Plus/Minus of +4.85 on DraftKings, and the Bucks’ implied team total of 118.25 ranks fourth on the slate. He’s one of the most expensive players on the slate at $11,700 on DraftKings, but he still owns a Bargain Rating of 90%.
Kevin Durant might be the preferred stud option on FanDuel, where his $9,900 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 86%. He leads all players at the position with 12 Pro Trends and has averaged 1.39 FanDuel points per minute, but his overall production has been dragged down by blowouts in his past two games. He’s seen a salary decrease of $700 to start the season, so this could be a prime buy-low opportunity.
Gerald Green should be one of the most popular value options on the slate because of the injury to Harden. Green is currently projected for 29 minutes in our NBA Models and averaged 0.78 FanDuel points per minute last season. He increased that production to 0.84 FanDuel points per minute with Harden out of the lineup, which makes him an appealing target at his price tag across the industry.
Carmelo Anthony could be another interesting target for the Rockets. He’s seen a usage bump of +5.3% with Harden off the floor this season and is currently projected for 35 minutes against the Clippers.
Danilo Gallinari has posted a positive Plus/Minus in each of his first four games and has scored at least 35.75 DraftKings points in each of his past three. The Clippers could also be without Luc Mbah a Moute on Friday – he’s questionable with a knee injury as of writing – so he could see a few additional minutes as well.
Anthony Davis vs. Giannis is one of the biggest questions on Friday’s slate. Davis is $100 cheaper on DraftKings but has arguably been the better player to start the season. He’s averaged an elite 1.88 DraftKings points per minute and has played close to 40 minutes in the two Pelicans’ games that have stayed competitive this season.
Davis is obviously a great play, but I would give the slightest of edges to Giannis if you can play only one. Davis has shot a ridiculous percentage from the field and has piled up blocks and steals to begin the season, so any regression could lead to a mortal fantasy performance.
The Bulls are decimated with injuries at PF right now, with Bobby Portis and Lauri Markkanen out for the foreseeable future. That likely means an increased workload for Jabari Parker, who has averaged 1.02 DraftKings points per minute to begin the season. He’s an absolute disaster defensively, but his ability to put the ball in the basket gives him a lot of fantasy value.
Pascal Siakam is another candidate to see an increased workload for the short-handed Raptors. He’s averaged 0.98 DraftKings points per minute and is currently projected for 20 minutes in our NBA Models, which would make him a decent value at $3,900 on DraftKings.
Predicting what the Kings are going to do on a nightly basis is almost impossible at this point, especially when it comes to Marvin Bagley. He’s played as many as 32.5 minutes or as few as 12 minutes to start the season, but one thing that has been consistent is his production. He’s averaged 1.17 FanDuel points per minute, so he has big upside if he sees the high-end of his minute range.
The center position is one of the weakest on Friday’s slate, with only two players priced above $7,800 on FanDuel.
One player who seems worthy of consideration is Clint Capela. He’s stumbled in two of his first four games this season, but one was in a brutal matchup against the Jazz and the other was a blowout loss in whih he saw just 26 minutes. He should have no such problems against the Clippers, evidenced by an Opponent Plus/Minus of +2.41, and his salary has decreased by $500 since the start of the season on DraftKings. This could be an excellent time to buy low on him.
The Bulls’ injury situation will likely force them to play Wendell Carter Jr. heavy minutes in Friday’s contest. He hasn’t exactly dominated to begin the season, averaging only 0.77 DraftKings points per minute, but it’s hard to ignore any center projected for more than 30 minutes at $4,300. He also has a strong matchup against the Hornets, who figure to be one of the worst teams in the league against big men after losing Dwight Howard in the offseason.
Some were skeptical about how Davis, Nikola Mirotic and Julius Randle would fit together in New Orleans, but they’ve made it work to begin the season. Randle has averaged 1.37 fantasy points per minute off the bench and looks like one of the best center options of the day on FanDuel: His 10 Pro Trends rank second at the position.
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 above (left to right): Bucks SF Giannis Antetokounmpo and Pelicans PF Anthony Davis
Photo credit: Bob Donnan- USA Today Sports