The NBA is offering up a huge slate of basketball on Friday. There are 10 games to choose from starting at 7:00 p.m. ET, so let’s break down some of the top studs and values at each position to help you build your DraftKings lineups.
Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks @ New York Knicks ($10,700) – This doesn’t feel like a night where you need to pay up at point guard, but I wouldn’t fight too hard if you wanted to go with Doncic. He possesses one of the highest ceilings in fantasy every time he takes the floor, and his $10,700 salary is reasonable. That said, his matchup vs. the Knicks is far from ideal. They rank fourth in defensive efficiency and are tied for 27th in pace, which is not a good combination from a fantasy perspective.
Other Options – De’Aaron Fox ($8,900)
Eric Bledsoe, New Orleans Pelicans vs. Atlanta Hawks ($5,300) – The Pelicans are playing on the second leg of a back-to-back, and they were without Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, and Lonzo Ball yesterday. All three will remain out again on Friday, and Josh Hart will also join them on the sidelines.
It’s nearly impossible to pass up on Bledsoe given the Pelicans’ injuries. He played nearly 46 minutes in yesterday’s overtime loss to the Magic, and he ultimately finished with 36.75 DKFP.
Other Options – Kira Lewis ($3,700), Jordan McLaughlin ($3,200)
Fred VanVleet, Toronto Raptors vs. Golden State Warriors ($8,200) – VanVleet has carried an insane workload for the Raptors recently, and that isn’t likely to change vs. the Warriors. He’s logged at least 37.5 minutes in six of his past eight games, and Kyle Lowry is expected to miss at least a week with a foot injury. VanVleet has averaged 37.7 minutes per game in nine games without Lowry this season, and he’s seen a team-high usage bump of 3.5 percentage points with Lowry off the court. He’s an extremely safe option vs. the Warriors.
Other Options – Khris Middleton ($8,000)
Nickeil Alexander-Walker, New Orleans Pelicans vs. Atlanta Hawks ($6,200) – Alexander-Walker is a bit more expensive than the typical “value” option, but he’s simply too cheap with Williamson, Ingram and Ball unavailable vs. the Hawks. He served as the Pelicans’ top offensive option with all three players out of the lineup yesterday, finishing with 31 points on 24 shot attempts. He ultimately racked up 49.0 DKFP, and he’s averaged 1.28 DKFP per minute with all three players off the court this season.
Other Options – Josh Richardson ($4,800), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ($3,600)
Kyle Kuzma, Los Angeles Lakers @ Sacramento Kings ($7,200) – $7,200 is definitely expensive for Kuzma, but he has a lot working in his favor on Friday. For starters, LeBron James and Anthony Davis both remain out of the lineup, and the newly acquired Andre Drummond will also be forced to miss tonight’s contest. Kuzma’s matchup vs. the Kings is also about as good as it gets. They rank dead-last in terms of defensive efficiency, so the Lakers should be able to put some points on the scoreboard.
Other Options – Jaylen Brown ($7,900)
James Johnson, New Orleans Pelicans vs. Atlanta Hawks ($3,000) – I’m going to continue to lean on the Pelicans for value. Johnson is someone who is always appealing in fantasy when he’s going to get an opportunity to play. He’s capable of racking up fantasy points quickly, evidenced by his average of 0.98 DKFP per minute over the past month. He played 28.3 minutes yesterday with Williamson, Ingram, and Ball out of the lineup and ultimately finished with 28.75 DKFP.
Other Options – Mikal Bridges ($5,100)
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks @ Portland Trail Blazers ($10,900) – Antetokounmpo has been quiet recently. He’s only played in four of the Bucks’ past six games, and he’s scored 47.0 DKFP or fewer in all four contests. That’s nowhere near the type of production we’ve become accustomed to from him.
However, he’s in a prime get-right spot vs. the Blazers. Portland has been dreadful defensively this season, ranking just 29th in defensive efficiency, and they have no one who can match Giannis’ combination of size and athleticism. He should have a field day in this matchup, and the Bucks’ lead the slate with an implied team total of 120.75 points.
Other Options – Kristaps Porzingis ($8,000), Pascal Siakam ($7,800)
Jaden McDaniels, Minnesota Timberwolves @ Memphis Grizzlies ($4,900) – McDaniels has quietly assumed a large workload for the Timberwolves recently. He’s played at least 33.0 minutes in four straight games, including at least 35.9 minutes in each of his past three. He’s responded with at least 29.75 DKFP in back-to-back games, including in a tough matchup vs. the Knicks on Wednesday. If he can find success against them, he should be able to put together another strong performance vs. the Grizzlies on Friday.
Other Options – Kyle Anderson ($5,400), Brandon Clarke ($4,800)
Deandre Ayton, Phoenix Suns vs. Oklahoma City Thunder ($6,500) – Ayton is coming off a poor performance in his last outing, but he has been a reliable fantasy producer of late. He’s scored at least 33.75 DKFP in six straight games prior to that performance, which makes him very reasonably priced at $6,500.
Other Options – Rudy Gobert ($7,900), Montrezl Harrell ($6,600)
Cody Zeller, Charlotte Hornets @ Indiana Pacers ($4,300) – Zeller was limited to just 20 minutes of playing time in the Hornets’ last game, but he should be looking at some additional playing time on Friday. The Pacers play two traditional bigs against most teams, which means the Hornets can’t really go small against them. Zeller has averaged 1.07 DKFP per minute this season, so he should be able to take advantage of a few additional minutes.
Other Options – Bismack Biyombo ($3,200), Aron Baynes ($3,000)
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