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 7:00 pm ET.
Friday’s slate features two of the league’s best PGs in Russell Westbrook and Stephen Curry. Both PGs are stronger values today on FanDuel, where each has a Bargain Rating of at least 81 percent.
The Thunder continue to struggle on the offensive end of the court, ranking just 21st this season in offensive efficiency despite featuring some elite offensive talent. That said, there is reason for optimism with the Thunder moving forward. Westbrook in particular has started to look like his old self, posting an average of 62.4 FanDuel points over his last five games. He’s increased his usage by roughly 2.5 percent and has averaged approximately three additional minutes per game, culminating in an average Plus/Minus of +15.11. He does have a tough matchup with the Minnesota Timberwolves, resulting in an Opponent Plus/Minus of just +1.11, and his salary has increased by $1,400 on FanDuel over his last five games. That said, he’s a scary fade today given his current play.
Stephen Curry hasn’t been nearly as good as Westbrook recently and might still be a bit overpriced after playing a stretch of games without Kevin Durant. Still, he has arguably the best matchup of the day against the Orlando Magic, who have allowed the second-highest Plus/Minus to opposing PGs this season:
Both the Warriors and Magic rank in the top-six in pace this season, and the Warriors’ implied team total of 119 points rank first on today’s slate.
Rodney Hood missed his second consecutive game on Thursday and is currently questionable for tonight’s matchup against the Pelicans. If he can’t go, Ricky Rubio stands to be one of the biggest beneficiaries: No Jazz player has posted a bigger increase in usage with Hood off the court this season:
Rubio has scored over 30 fantasy points in each of the past two games without Hood, and that kind of production would make him a solid value at his current $5,400 salary on FanDuel.
Kyle Lowry has quietly dominated over his last 10 games:
His average of 1.25 fantasy points per minute over the past month trails only Westbrook’s and Curry’s among PG-eligible players on DraftKings, and the Raptors’ implied team total of 111 points ranks second on today’s slate.
Jrue Holiday has been excellent over his last two games, playing at least 38 minutes and scoring at least 42.5 DraftKings points in both. Despite his production, his salary has actually decreased for today’s game against the Utah Jazz. While playing the Jazz is never fun, they’ve not been nearly the same team defensively after losing Rudy Gobert.
Bradley Beal had one of the weirder games on Wednesday you’ll ever see: He left with an eye injury in the first quarter, only to return and foul out because his team started intentionally hacking Ben Simmons. He totaled just 31.5 DraftKings points in that game, although the fact that he played just 23 minutes actually makes that result somewhat impressive. He still figures to be a usage monster given the injury to John Wall, averaging a usage rate of roughly 33 percent with Wall off the court this season:
He has a solid matchup today against the Detroit Pistons, resulting in an Opponent Plus/Minus of +3.29, and his back-to-back poor performances could result in reduced ownership.
People will likely flock to Alec Burks today at $3,600 on both FanDuel and DraftKings after dropping over 53 fantasy points on Thursday. He’s really benefited from the injury to Hood, with only Donovan Mitchell playing more minutes for the Jazz yesterday. While it will be tough to avoid Burks in cash games at his current salary, his projected ownership makes some fade consideration warranted for guaranteed prize pools (GPPs).
Jimmy Butler leads the SG position with 11 Pro Trends on DraftKings, where his $7,300 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 95 percent. He’s averaged a Plus/Minus of +4.28 on DraftKings over his last 10 games, and no one at the position is projected to play more minutes than Butler’s 36. That said, he does have a brutal matchup against the Oklahoma City Thunder, resulting in an Opponent Plus/Minus of -1.42.
Nicolas Batum played a season-high 32.5 minutes on Wednesday but managed to convert those minutes into only 18.70 FanDuel points. Kemba Walker is currently questionable for today’s game, and if he were to miss Batum would stand to be one of the biggest beneficiaries. Last season, he averaged over 42 FanDuel points per 36 minutes in three games without Walker:
He has a solid matchup today against the Miami Heat, resulting in an Opponent Plus/Minus of +3.74 on FanDuel, where his $5,600 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 93 percent.
Update: Walker has been ruled out of Friday’s contest.
Kevin Durant leads the position with a $9,600 price tag on DraftKings, but that still likely represents a solid value given the kind of production he’s shown. Historically, Durant has been able to exceed value when comparably-priced:
The Magic have been slightly better against SFs than they’ve been against PGs, but it’s still a juicy matchup for Durant, resulting in an Opponent Plus/Minus of +3.02 on DraftKings. Paying up for Durant will provide some safety at an otherwise weak position: He leads all SFs in median, ceiling, and floor projections.
Bojan Bogdanovic has been a steady contributor for the Pacers recently, averaging a Plus/Minus of +3.38 on FanDuel over his last 10 games. He’s played big minutes in games that have stayed competitive, playing at least 35 in five of his last seven games.
JaMychal Green has SF eligibility on DraftKings in addition to his PF eligibility across the industry. He hasn’t shown any sort of a ceiling this season, scoring no more than 27.75 DraftKings points in any game, but he has posted a positive Plus/Minus on DraftKings in each of his last six contests. He doesn’t need to do much to pay off his current $4,300 salary on DraftKings, where he has a Bargain Rating of 99 percent.
Tyreke Evans has had his salary reduced below $7,000 on both sites and could be in line for a massive workload today against the San Antonio Spurs. Even with Mario Chalmers expected to rejoin the rotation, Evans has commanded a usage rate of 29.6 percent and averaged over 41 DraftKings points per 36 minutes with Mike Conley off the floor this season:
Stanley Johnson can be a maddening player to roster, with his minutes fluctuating as high as 38 and as low as 22 over his last five games. If he does play toward the high end of his minutes range, he could find success today against the Washington Wizards: He has an Opponent Plus/Minus of +3.04 on FanDuel.
Paul George leads the position with 12 Pro Trends on FanDuel, where his $8,500 salary represents a significant discount from Durant’s. He’s been extremely reliable as a member of the Thunder, posting a Consistency Rating of 92 percent over his last 13 games. That said, he will likely see the defense of Butler, who has graded out as one of the best individual wing defenders over the past few seasons.
Anthony Davis has been downright horrid recently, culminating in a first-half ejection in his last contest:
Davis was actually on his way to a strong outing before the ejection, recording a usage rate of 42.4 percent and racking up 21 FanDuel points in just 17.5 minutes. As a result of the string of poor outings, his salary has been reduced to a season-low $10,400, albeit in a tough matchup against the Jazz. The Jazz have held PFs to an average Plus/Minus of -3.13 on FanDuel this season, although a lot of that damage was done with Gobert in the lineup. They’ve been starting Jonas Jerebko at PF recently, which shouldn’t strike fear into the heart of Davis’ owners. Regardless of matchup, the thought of rostering Davis at his current salary might be too good to pass up: He’s historically smashed with a comparable price tag on FanDuel:
He leads the PF position with 10 Pro Trends.
The injury to Hassan Whiteside should potentially open up more minutes for James Johnson and Kelly Olynyk. Both players have averaged around 35 FanDuel points per 36 minutes with Whiteside off the court this season:
Johnson had played at least 29 minutes in three straight games prior to Wednesday’s blowout loss to the Knicks and has a Bargain Rating of 90 percent on FanDuel. Olynyk, meanwhile, posted a usage rate of 28.9 percent against the Knicks and 28.75 DraftKings points in 25 minutes of court time.
Derrick Favors has been a pretty massive producer from a fantasy perspective recently:
He should see all the minutes he can handle against the Pelicans’ big man duo, and his $6,500 salary on DraftKings comes with a Bargain Rating of 97 percent.
Serge Ibaka isn’t playing a ton of minutes for the Raptors at the moment, but he has an excellent matchup today against the Indiana Pacers. His Opponent Plus/Minus of +5.40 on FanDuel is the top mark of the day at the PF position, and he doesn’t need to do much to pay off his current $4,900 salary.
Aaron Gordon is coming off one of the best games we’ve seen all season, racking up 78.75 DraftKings points against the Oklahoma City Thunder. While that game was obviously an outlier, today’s game against the Warriors projects to be friendly for fantasy purposes: In addition to owning a strong Opponent Plus/Minus of +4.34, this game also results in a pace differential (paceD) of +3.1 for Magic players.
Andre Drummond didn’t really need to flex his muscles against the Suns in his last matchup, playing just 28 minutes in a 24-point win for the Pistons. As a result, he scored ‘only’ 35.9 FanDuel points, and FanDuel responded by lowering his salary by $600 for today’s game. Drummond does have a difficult matchup against the Washington Wizards, but matchups haven’t really mattered for Drummond over the past month: His Consistency Rating of 91 percent and Upside Rating of 58 percent are among the best marks on the slate. He leads the position with 13 Pro Trends on FanDuel, and centers with a comparable number of Pro Trends and salaries have historically provided excellent value:
Willie Cauley-Stein has been playing more minutes for the Kings recently, seeing at least 28 minutes of court time in five of his last seven games. He’s crushed in all five of those games, averaging a Plus/Minus of +16.69 on DraftKings, and he remains affordable at just $5,400. The only thing that has stopped him recently has been blowouts, but that doesn’t figure to be an issue today: The Kings are currently 1.5-point favorites against the Chicago Bulls.
Nikola Vucevic seems underpriced at the moment on DraftKings, where his $7,200 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 93 percent. That said, his track record against the Golden State Warriors is not pretty:
He did manage to exceed value in his first meeting with the Warriors this season, but he was limited to just 27 minutes of playing time in that contest. Despite the potential value in his current salary – he’s averaged a Plus/Minus of +3.48 when comparably priced on DraftKings – there’s a significant amount of risk in rostering him today.
Steven Adams has an excellent matchup today with the Minnesota Timberwolves, resulting in an Opponent Plus/Minus of +4.87 on DraftKings. The matchup with Karl-Anthony Towns could also result in increased minutes for Adams, who has seen his minutes fluctuate a bit recently. If he plays at least 30 minutes today, it’s hard to see a scenario in which he doesn’t pay off his current price tag.
After this piece is published, FantasyLabs is likely to provide news updates on a number of players herein mentioned. Be sure to stay ahead of your competition with our NBA news feed: