Friday night presents a huge 11-game NBA slate, and below are some names I will be targeting at each position on DraftKings.
Worth Paying Up For: John Wall, Houston Rockets at Minnesota Timberwolves, $8,300
Victor Oladipo was finally traded away from Houston yesterday, finding a new home in Miami, and the keys to this Rockets offense belong to Wall and Christian Wood (below) for the rest of this season. Eric Gordon (groin) will also miss a few more weeks, and in the three instances he has played without Gordon, Oladipo and James Harden (traded to BKN), Wall has excelled with 44.3 DKFP per game.
In these starts, the former Kentucky Wildcat has led Houston with a 37.3% usage rate and a 43.8% assist percentage. From a fantasy angle, Wall will be in the top matchup in basketball tonight, facing the Wolves, who have yielded the most DKFP to points guards in 2020-21. He has 50 DKFP upside in this spot and is worth every penny.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Nickeil Alexander-Walker, New Orleans Pelicans vs. Denver Nuggets, $5,300
Lonzo Ball has missed the past two and exited Thursday’s practice early due to the hip injury. The point guard has been listed as questionable ahead of Friday night, but this tag seems overly optimistic and it’s hard to imagine he will be available this evening. If this turns out to be the case, we need to fire up Alexander-Walker in all formats.
In the absence of Ball, Alexander-Walker has started at point for New Orleans in these last two and contributed 34.75 DKFP in 32.5 minutes per game. Denver is a rough spot for point guards, allowing the 5th least DKFP per game to the position this year, but we shouldn’t let this stop us from rostering Alexander-Walker if Ball is ruled out.
Worth Paying Up For: Terry Rozier, Charlotte Hornets vs. Miami Heat, $7,600
Unsurprisingly, Rozier has thrived ever since LaMelo Ball (wrist) went down for the season. In these first two with the rookie inactive, Rozier has led the way for the Hornets, scoring 40.5 DKFP per game.
On paper, this matchup against the Heat rates very poorly (7th in defensive efficiency), but the Heat should be shorthanded tonight. After making a few trades yesterday, most notably acquiring Oladipo, along with Jimmy Butler (illness) and Goran Dragic (back) both being out, the Heat only had nine bodies in Thursday night’s loss to the Blazers. They gave up a whopping 125 points to Portland and tonight, even if Butler (questionable) plays, Miami will only be ten deep with the players they traded for and Dragic already ruled out. Plus, we can’t overlook this is their second game in two nights, and I think we see Rozier expose them for over 40 DKFP on Friday.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Tyler Herro, Miami Heat at Charlotte Hornets, $5,600
Speaking of the Heat, Herro finally broke out of his slump last night, posting a season-best 49.5 DKFP against the Blazers. His usage rate reached 31.9% and he logged 35.2 minutes off the bench with his team so depleted, and while his usage will take a hit if Butler is active, I still expect a very healthy rate over 25% and at least 30 minutes of work for Herro Friday vs. the Hornets.
He is better suited for GPPs if Butler is a full go, but if the forward misses his second straight game, Herro will enter must-play status at $5,600.
Worth Paying Up For: Anthony Edwards, Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Houston Rockets, $7,900
Edwards is an appealing way of paying up to be contrarian for this 11-game slate. I highly doubt he will gain much attention given the size of this card, and the rookie’s salary has reached a point that may make some DFS players uncomfortable. He just went off for 42.75 DKFP against the Mavs on Wednesday night, and this was Edwards’ fourth effort of over 40 DKFP in his past eight starts.
His usage has been at an elite level over this span (32.2%) and this is a plus spot for Edwards, with Houston sitting at 26th in defensive rating across their last ten. The 19-year-old should carve this defense up, and come with a single digit ownership in GPPs.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Will Barton, Denver Nuggets vs. New Orleans Pelicans, $6,200
The Nuggets got blown out by the Raptors on Wednesday, resulting in only 23 minutes for Barton (6.75 DKFP). But, in the prior 11, the wing saw a very stable role of 34.4 minutes per game, helping him produce an average of 32.9 DKFP. With Monte Morris (quad) remaining out, and R.J. Hampton and Gary Harris traded to Orlando for Aaron Gordon (who isn’t expected to make his Nuggets debut tonight), Barton should be asked to play nothing less than 35 minutes in this tight spread vs. the Pelicans (DEN -2 on DraftKings Sportsbook).
New Orleans currently ranks 3rd to last in defensive efficiency, and Barton should bounce back with 30-35 DKFP.
Worth Paying Up For: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks vs. Boston Celtics, $10,700
His 35.5 DKFP performance vs. the Celtics on Tuesday was an anomaly, and the two-time MVP will rebound tonight in a rematch with Boston. Yes, he did just return from a knee injury that held him out one game, but Antetokounmpo still saw 33 minutes in Tuesday’s win, and in his previous five, the superstar was amassing a whopping 64.6 DKFP per game.
Fresh off two days off rest, Antetokounmpo should effortlessly return value against this Celtics club that is going to be very shorthanded in their frontcourt, and hopefully some DFS players are scared off him after the dud Tuesday.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Khem Birch, Orlando Magic vs. Portland Trail Blazers, $4,400
After making some wholesale changes at the trade deadline Thursday, shipping out Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon, Evan Fournier, Al-Farouq Aminu and Gary Clark, the Magic will be extremely shorthanded tonight, assuming none of their new players are able to suit up. Even if Terrence Ross (questionable, knee) is active, that only leaves Orlando with nine players tonight against this weak Blazers defense that ranks 29th in defensive efficiency.
They are especially lacking big men, and Birch will likely enter the starting lineup tonight at power forward or center, and see upwards of 30 minutes. His game log is underwhelming, but Birch supplies 0.9 DKFP per minute this year when Vucevic, Gordon and Fournier are off the court, and if named a starter, he is a serviceable punt that should obtain five-times value in this positive matchup.
Worth Paying Up For: Christian Wood, Houston Rockets at Minnesota Timberwolves, $8,400
Wood has been the victim of back-to-back blowouts, limiting him to less than 30 minutes in each of his past two. However, in the two contests before these embarrassments, the Rockets were able to keep it close, and Wood balled out with 44.1 DKFP behind 32 minutes per game.
Facing a Wolves team that has lost 14 of their last 17, Houston should be able to make this a competitive enough affair that Wood gets back to above 30 minutes. In their past ten, Minnesota has rated as the 4th weakest defense in basketball, and this a great time to buy-low on Wood. Whenever he has handled at least 30 minutes this year, the center is collecting 45.6 DKFP per game.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Robert Williams, Boston Celtics at Milwaukee Bucks, $6,400
At the deadline, the Celtics made multiple moves, one being a three-way trade that sent Daniel Theis to the Bulls. In return, they received Moritz Wagner and Luke Kornet, but neither of these players are expected to make their Celtics debut Friday, and Tristan Thompson (health and safety protocols) is still in quarantine. This leaves the Celtics extremely thin up front, with Williams and Tacko Fall as the two remaining centers.
It would be shocking if Williams didn’t start in this situation and considering the lack of depth for Boston, the uber athletic big man should log near 30 minutes with room for more. Given that the 23-year-old is scoring 1.3 DKFP per minute this season, Williams has tremendous ceiling with this type of opportunity, regardless of the tough matchup (MIL is 9th in defensive efficiency). The center has only cracked the 25 minute mark twice this season, but has collected a tremendous 44.25 DKFP per game with the expanded role.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Hunta512) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.
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