Friday’s NBA slate is pretty standard. There are eight 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.
Russell Westbrook, Washington Wizards at Cleveland Cavaliers ($11,000) – Westbrook continues to absolutely dominate from a fantasy perspective. He’s coming off 69.5 DKFP in his last game, and he’s exceeded salary-based expectations in 13 of his past 14 games. He’s in another strong spot Friday vs. the Cavaliers. Cleveland ranks tied for 22nd in defensive efficiency, and the Wizards’ implied team total of 117.25 points ranks fourth on the slate.
Other Options – Kyrie Irving ($9,400), Cole Anthony ($6,500)
De’Anthony Melton, Memphis Grizzlies vs. Orlando Magic ($3,900) – The Grizzlies are an interesting team on today’s slate. They’re in a solid spot vs. the Magic, and they’re also going to be a bit shorthanded. Jaren Jackson Jr. (rest) will get the night off on the first leg of a back-to-back, and Grayson Allen ($4,600; hand) is doubtful with an injury.
That means Melton should pick up a few additional minutes. He’s averaged 1.04 DKFP per minute this season, so he can take advantage of an uptick in playing time.
Other Options – Donte DiVincenzo ($4,700), Patty Mills ($3,200)
Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns vs. Utah Jazz ($7,900) – The Suns own a tough matchup on Friday vs. the Jazz, but Booker is simply too cheap to ignore at $7.9K. That represents a price decrease of $600 over the past month, and Booker has historically averaged 40.9 DKFP with a comparable salary.
Other Options – C.J. McCollum ($8,100), Jordan Clarkson ($7,300)
Desmond Bane, Memphis Grizzlies vs. Orlando Magic ($3,200) – Bane is another value option for the Grizzlies that I’m interested in. He hasn’t been quite as effective as Melton on a per-minute basis, but he’s still averaged a strong 0.86 DKFP per minute over the past month. He’s also slightly cheaper and could see a few additional minutes since he’s a candidate to replace Allen in the starting lineup.
Other Options – Dwayne Bacon ($4,300), Seth Curry ($4,000)
Tobias Harris, Philadelphia 76ers vs. Atlanta Hawks ($7,100) – Harris has played limited minutes recently, but the 76ers have played in three-straight blowouts. I’m expecting him to see a few additional minutes if today’s game is more competitive, which makes $7.1K an appealing price tag for him. That represents a price decrease of $1,600 over the past month, and Harris has still averaged 1.18 DKFP per minute throughout April. As soon as he returns to playing more than 30 minutes, he’s going to smash.
Other Options – Jaylen Brown ($8,800), Joe Ingles ($7,000)
Gary Harris, Orlando Magic at Memphis Grizzlies ($4,400) – Harris is coming off quite possibly his best game in years, finishing with 39.5 DKFP Wednesday vs. the Cavaliers. He was once considered a promising young player — he averaged 17.5 points per game in his fourth season — but he has become essentially an afterthought in NBA circles. Perhaps he can recapture some of that magic with his new team? He should be asked to take on a slightly larger workload on Friday with Chuma Okeke (ankle) out and Terrence Ross ($6,000; back) doubtful, which gives him a bit more upside than usual.
Other Options – Garrett Temple ($3,600), Devin Vassell ($3,100)
Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics vs. San Antonio Spurs ($9,800) – It is a tough slate to find studs to pay up for. Westbrook is an obvious choice, but after him, no one really jumps off the page. Giannis Antetokounmpo’s ($10,700; ankle) status is unknown after playing just one minute yesterday, and some of the other top options feel overpriced.
A price tag of nearly $10K is definitely expensive for Tatum, but he’s still worthy of some consideration on Friday. The Celtics are going to be without Kemba Walker (oblique) and Tatum has increased his usage rate by 2.3% with Walker off the court this season. He leads the team with an average of 1.29 DKFP per minute in that situation, which gives him a chance to pay off his elevated salary.
Other Options – John Collins ($7,300), Bojan Bogdanovic ($6,300)
Georges Niang, Utah Jazz at Phoenix Suns ($3,400) – Niang moved into the starting lineup in Utah’s last game, which they ultimately won by 49 points. I think it’s pretty safe to say that they’ll stick with that configuration again on Friday. Niang should see more than 20 minutes with Mike Conley (hamstring) and Donovan Mitchell (ankle) out of the lineup, and he’s averaged 0.90 DKFP per minute over the past month. He’s one of my favorite values of the day.
Other Options – Alize Johnson ($3,000), Mo Wagner ($3,000)
Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers vs. Atlanta Hawks ($10,200) – Like Harris, Embiid is another member of the 76ers who has been impacted by their recent string of blowouts. He’s been as dominant as ever over the past month, averaging 1.61 DKFP per minute, so he should be fine once he returns to his usual workload. There are more injury concerns with Embiid than with Harris, but he should still be able to eclipse 30 minutes if this game stays competitive.
Other Options – Jarrett Allen ($7,400), Jusuf Nurkic ($7,100)
Chimezie Metu, Sacramento Kings at Los Angeles Lakers ($3,600) – Metu is coming off logging 33.5 minutes in his last game, which is very appealing for someone at just $3.6K. He will likely lose some minutes to Marvin Bagley ($4,700) — who is probable after missing the past 23 games with an injury — but that should still leave Metu with plenty of playing time. He’s averaged 1.06 DKFP per minute this season, so 20-plus minutes should be more than enough to return value.
Other Options – Mo Bamba ($5,000), DeAndre Jordan ($4,000)
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