We have nine NBA games to choose from Friday. We are in the funny portion of the season when injuries and tanking can provide fertilizer for some interesting lineups, so keep abreast of all the news. There are two games with a total over 230 (CLE/BKN and CHA/CHI) and one game with a double-digit spread (HOU/TOR).
Let’s break down some of the top studs and values at each position to help you build your DraftKings NBA lineups.
Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks at Miami Heat ($10,800) – Usually, I’d go to Luka Doncic ($12,200) here, but the risk of sitting or playing fewer minutes than normal are elevated against a tanking Portland team. Young has been on quite the heater lately. Over the last 15 games, he’s shot 48% from the field and averaged 30.2 points, 11 assists and 1.1 steals. He’s gone for at least 50 DKFP in 10 of those contests with five of those above 60 and a high of 76. Miami is one of the best defensive teams in the league, but they have boosted the FPPM to point guards by 4.68% above the league average. That said, the range of outcomes is high as he went for 17, 58.25, 26.75, 40.75 and 42.45 DKFP in five prior meetings with Miami this season. Young is just playing too well right now, though.
Other Options – Kyrie Irving ($10,200), Darius Garland ($9,400), Tyler Herro ($6,700)
Zavier Simpson, Oklahoma City Thunder at Los Angeles Lakers ($3,900) – Ah, the battle between two tanking teams. Unfortunately, only one of the teams is doing it on purpose. Simpson has started the last two games and played 44 and 39 minutes. The usage hasn’t been high at 14.5% and 16.2% respectively. That said, he has attempted 10 and 12 shots and is contributing a little something in every category. He’s gone for 28.25 and 26.25 DKFP.
Other Options – Malik Monk ($5,600), Vit Krejci ($4,400)
Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets vs. Cleveland Cavaliers ($10,200) – The Cavaliers were once one of the best defensive teams in the league. Due to injuries, they have been a sieve, posting the 20th-best defensive rating over the last 15 games. Not that Irving particularly cares because he can break down any defense and get his shot up against anyone. Irving has gone for 50.5 and 62.75 DKFP in his last two games and has played at least 40 minutes in seven of the last eight games. The usage rate has been at least 30% in the last three games.
Other Options – Cade Cunningham ($8,600), Tyler Herro ($6,700)
Talen Horton-Tucker, Los Angeles Lakers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder ($3,800) – With the Lakers out of the playoffs, it is highly unlikely that LeBron James, Anthony Davis or Russell Westbrook play the rest of the season. On Thursday, with all of them out, Horton-Tucker exploded for 40 points and 56.25 DKFP. He played 37 minutes and garnered a usage rate of 37.4%. This is not necessarily an outlier as this is the role that the Lakers have been grooming him for. When he was down in the G-League, the staff wanted him handling the ball, running the pick-and-roll offense and being the main catalyst on offense. When the Lakers are healthy, that’s not a role he can have, but he should be unleashed now. Horton-Tucker does have shooting efficiency issues, though, so it’s not all sunshine and unicorns.
Other Options – Malik Monk ($5,600), Vit Krejci ($4,400), Max Strus ($4,500)
Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets vs. Cleveland Cavaliers ($11,600) – I was going to write up Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,800), but I have a sneaky suspicion that he could sit today. The Bucks played last night and the spread on DK Sportsbook for the MIL/DET game is only five points. What to write about Durant? He’s awesome, amazing and splendiferous. He’s one of the best fantasy and real-life hoopers in the game. Over the last 14 games, he’s gone for at least 50 DKFP in 10 of those contests with six over 60 and four of those over 70! As with Kyrie, he’s been playing a ton of minutes with five of the last six games over 40 minutes. That’s beautiful when you factor in that he’s been averaging 1.5 FP/Min over the last month.
Other Options – Jimmy Butler ($8,600), Cade Cunningham ($8,600), Miles Bridges ($7,700)
Max Strus, Miami Heat vs. Atlanta Hawks ($4,500) – Strus has started the last five games. The production has been all over the map due to blowouts or poor shooting. He has scored double digits in four of those contests with a high of 23 points. He’s primarily a 3-point shooter, so the contributions in the periphery stats won’t be voluminous, but he has been racking up steals and there is 40-DKFP upside if and when he gets hot. On the season, he’s gone for at least 30 DKFP 12 times with two of those over 40.
Other Options – Talen Horton-Tucker ($3,800)
Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors vs. Houston Rockets ($9,600) – The Rockets were once the creme de la creme for fantasy but not so much anymore. They still play fast and have been third in offensive pace over the last 15 games, but they have improved defensively, from dead-last to 18th. That said, Siakam should still feast. He’s triple-doubled twice in the last five games and has gone for 76.75 and 62.25 DKFP in the last two contests. On the season, the Rockets have boosted the FPPM to power forwards by 1.97% above the league average.
Other Options – Kevin Durant ($11,600), DeMar DeRozan ($8,700), Jimmy Butler ($8,600), Miles Bridges ($7,700), Obi Toppin ($6,200)
Jaylen Hoard, Oklahoma City Thunder at Los Angeles Lakers ($5,600) – Hoard has started three of the last four games and played 40, 46 and 36 minutes. He’s produced 46.5, 61.75 and 39.75 DKFP. The usage rate has been a respectable 23.8% and 21.4% over the two most recent games and he’s scored over 20 points in each. He’s grabbed at least 20 rebounds in two of the last four games.
Other Options – Jericho Sims ($3,700)
Obi Toppin, New York Knicks at Washington Wizards ($6,200) – Obi has won the heart and mind of Tom Thibodeau as he has started the last three games, playing 31, 35 and 44 minutes. He’s scored 20, 20 and 19 points while grabbing some rebounds and dishing out some assists. That’s translated to 33, 37.5 and 38.75 DKFP. Over the last 15 games, the Wizards have been 22nd in defensive rating.
Other Options – Pascal Siakam ($9,700)
Jericho Sims, New York Knicks at Washington Wizards ($3,700) – Mitchell Robinson is out on Friday. On Wednesday, with Robinson also unable to play, Sims received the start and played 35 minutes, producing 10 points, 13 rebounds, two assists, one steal and three blocks. That was good for 38.25 DKFP. He should get a similar workload again on Friday.
Other Options – Jaylen Hoard ($5,600)
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