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.
Steph Curry has been a disappointment over his past 10 games, posting an average Plus/Minus of -3.74 on FanDuel. That said, his salary has decreased by $1,000 over the past month, and he’s in a wonderful bounce back spot against the Suns.
Phoenix ranks 29th in league in defensive efficiency, and Golden State’s resulting implied team total of 123.75 is the top mark on the slate by a significant margin. There is some blowout concern — the Warriors are 15-point favorites as of writing (see live odds here) despite playing on the road — but Curry is capable of returning value in three quarters at his current salary.
The Cavaliers were busy prior to the trade deadline, moving both Rodney Hood and Alec Burks for draft picks. That leaves them pretty thin in the backcourt, which should be a positive for Collin Sexton. He scored 40.3 FanDuel points in fewer than 42 minutes in his last game and is poised for another big workload. He’s currently projected for 35.5 minutes in our NBA Models and has a great matchup against the Wizards.
Dennis Smith Jr. should command the majority of the PG minutes for the Knicks, who are still dealing with injuries to Emmanuel Mudiay and Frank Ntilikina. Smith is coming off 39.25 DraftKings points in fewer than 40 minutes in his last game, and he’ll have the same matchup against the Pistons.
Khris Middleton will get the night off for the Bucks, while Nikola Mirotic is not expected to make his team debut.
That opens up some additional opportunities for both Eric Bledsoe and Malcolm Brogdon against the Mavericks. Bledsoe has seen a team-high usage bump of +5.2% with Middleton off the court this season, but Brogdon has seen the bigger bump in fantasy production. Both players are excellent values on DraftKings, where each owns a Bargain Rating of at least 86%.
It’s impossible to ignore what Luka Doncic has done recently. He’s posted an average Plus/Minus of +7.91 over his past 10 games on DraftKings and has exploded for at least 54.0 DraftKings points in five of his past seven games.
Doncic should benefit from the Mavericks’ activity before the trade deadline as well: He’s posted a usage rate of 35.3% and averaged 1.45 DraftKings points per minute with Smith, Harrison Barnes and DeAndre Jordan off the court this season. Doncic leads the position with 14 Pro Trends on both DraftKings and FanDuel despite owning a difficult matchup against the Bucks. The only concern is if Doncic will be able to suit up, as he’s currently questionable with a thigh injury.
Sexton isn’t the only player worth targeting in the Cavs’ backcourt tonight. Jordan Clarkson has been excellent this season, averaging 0.99 DraftKings points per minute, and he should see a solid handful of minutes. He played 26.5 minutes in the Cavs’ most recent contest, and that was with Alec Burks playing more than 37 minutes.
The Timberwolves could be another interesting source of value. Derrick Rose, Robert Covington and Tyus Jones remain out, while Jeff Teague and Jerryd Bayless are listed as questionable.
Andrew Wiggins has been a nice source of value recently, posting an average Plus/Minus of +3.85 over his past 10 games on FanDuel, and he’s coming off 51.3 fantasy points in his most recent contest. He’s very reasonably priced at $6,000 on FanDuel, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 85%.
Tim Hardaway Jr. is underpriced on DraftKings at $4,900, giving him a Bargain Rating of 95%. The Mavericks really don’t have a ton of options available in the backcourt against the Bucks, and he averaged 0.92 DraftKings points per minute in his first game with the team.
Giannis Antetokounmpo definitely deserves some consideration as the top stud on this slate. He’s been a fantastic value recently, posting a perfect 100% Consistency Rating over the past month and has scored at least 54 DraftKings points in seven of his past eight games.
He should also benefit from the absence of Middleton. Giannis has seen a usage bump of +1.5% with Middleton off the court this season, resulting in an average of 1.72 DraftKings points per minute. He leads the SF position with 13 Pro Trends on DraftKings and owns the highest ceiling projection in our NBA Models.
The Heat shipped Tyler Johnson off to Phoenix before the trade deadline, which leaves Justise Winslow to handle the majority of the PG minutes. He’s seen the second-highest usage bump on the team with Johnson and Goran Dragic off the court this season, resulting in an average of 0.84 FanDuel points per minute. Winslow also has an excellent matchup against the Kings, who have played at the second fastest pace in the league this season.
Luke Kennard is expected to start at SG tonight for the Detroit Pistons, which makes him an appealing punt option. He’s averaged a respectable 0.81 DraftKings points per minute over the past month and is currently projected for 28 minutes in a great matchup against the Knicks. He’s a particularly nice value at $3,500 on DraftKings, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 97%.
Mikal Bridges has been an excellent source of value recently, posting an average Plus/Minus of +5.67 over his past 10 games on FanDuel. He’s seen a pretty sizable price increase over that time frame, but his $4,700 salary still comes with a Bargain Rating of 88%. He should continue to see plenty of playing time for the shorthanded Suns.
Anthony Davis is a high-risk, high-reward option on this slate. He’s going to return to the Pelicans lineup after they were unable to trade him before the deadline, but he will reportedly see fewer minutes per game moving forward.
Davis has averaged 1.73 DraftKings points per minute over the past month, so he doesn’t necessarily need a ton of playing time to return value, but it will obviously lower his ceiling. He’s a better value on DraftKings, where his $11,200 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 98%. He’s an interesting option for guaranteed prize pools (GPPs) given his projected ownership of just 9-12%.
Dwight Powell should assume a large role for the Mavericks with Jordan no longer in town. He’s played at least 24 minutes in each of his past three games, including 27 in his most recent contest. He’s averaged 1.04 DraftKings points per minute this season, which makes him an excellent target at $4,400 on DraftKings.
Lauri Markkanen is the last man standing in the Chicago frontcourt. Wendell Carter Jr. is hurt, Bobby Portis was traded to Washington and Robin Lopez remains a buyout candidate. Markkanen has averaged 1.06 DraftKings points per minute with Carter Jr. and Portis off the court this season, and his $7,000 salary on DraftKings comes with a Bargain Rating of 95%.
Kevin Love is expected to make his return for the Cavs, albeit in a limited capacity. He’s averaged 1.18 FanDuel points per minute this season, so he won’t need to play much to potentially return value at $5,000 on FanDuel. He’s one of the best pure values of the day given his Bargain Rating of 99%.
Karl-Anthony Towns has been an awesome fantasy asset recently, averaging 1.63 DraftKings points per minute over the past month. He’s in an excellent spot against the the Pelicans, who rank sixth in pace and 25th in defensive efficiency. He has a strong individual matchup as well, resulting in an Opponent Plus/Minus of +2.13 on DraftKings.
Towns is an excellent value on DraftKings, where his $10,000 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 96%. He leads the position with 13 Pro Trends.
The Bulls might eventually buy out Lopez, but they’re going to need him against the Nets. Its an elite matchup, giving Lopez an Opponent Plus/Minus of +3.41 on FanDuel. Lopez has averaged 0.93 FanDuel points per minute over the past month, making him an excellent value at just $4,400.
It’s impossible to trust Hassan Whiteside, but he’s coming off back-to-back games with at least 30 minutes of playing time. It’s hard to envision a scenario where he fails against the Kings if he continues to see that much court time. He’s averaged 1.44 DraftKings points per minute over the past month, and the Kings have been destroyed by opposing centers all season. He’s a strong target on DraftKings given his Bargain Rating of 96%.
Ed Davis has been a nice source of value over his past 10 games, posting an average Plus/Minus of +7.03 on DraftKings. He’s in a nice spot against the Bulls, resulting in an Opponent Plus/Minus of +2.43, and he remains reasonably priced at just $3,600.
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: Cavaliers G Jordan Clarkson
Photo Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports