This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
Friday's NBA slate begins at 7:00 PM Eastern time and features nine games. This is just the second day back from the All-Star break, so all of these teams come in fresh.
Games to Target
Pelicans (-4.5) at Trail Blazers O/U: 237.5
Both teams sport top-eight offenses, as New Orleans scores 115.8 points per game while Portland averages 113.4. Both defenses are among the five most generous, with the Pelicans allowing 117.3 points per game and the Trail Blazers giving up 115.3. Given the fast pace, quality offense and porous defense involved in this one, it stands out as the night's most fantasy-friendly contest.
Celtics (-6.5) at Timberwolves O/U: 227.5
Boston's 11th-ranked offense at 113.1 points per game is set to exploit Minnesota's 27th-ranked defense at 115.9. Meanwhile, there's value to be found on the home side, as others will be forced to step up with the team's best player sitting out.
Games to Fade
Pacers (-6.5) at Knicks O/U: 212
This clash of bottom-10 offenses is better left ignored given the robust selection of available alternatives in this slate.
Thunder (-1.5) vs. Nuggets O/U: 215
While this game features more offensive talent than the previous entry, both teams still rank below average in terms of points per game and are capable of playing suffocating defense. Denver's D ranks fifth-stingiest with 106.7 points allowed per game, while the Thunder sits 10th-best with 108.0.
Center is the position to build around in this slate, featuring 11 healthy players who cost $8,000 or more. Even with a few prominent injuries, point guard remains deep as usual, with at least 10 healthy players priced at $7,000 or more. Power forward also has 10 such players, while shooting guard and small forward only have four apiece. Filling the wing spots will be toughest in this slate, while the other three positions offer plenty of options across the price spectrum.
Injury Situations to Monitor
Even with the benefit of a week off, the injury report features a number of prominent names.
Karl-Anthony Towns missed Minnesota's last game before the All-Star break with a wrist injury and will remain out for a few games moving forward as he seeks a second opinion.
Damian Lillard (groin) is expected to miss 3-to-4 games for Portland, so his teammates will be tasked with picking up the slack against the generous Pelicans' defense.
Deandre Ayton (ankle) is questionable for the Suns in Toronto after missing the All-Star festivities.
Elfrid Payton is questionable for the Knicks due to a sore ankle. This loss would be big considering he averaged 14.7 PPG, 6.5 RPG and 9.7 APG in his last six games before the break.
Kemba Walker's knee injury has resurfaced, so he'll sit out in Minnesota after missing three games earlier this month.
T.J. Warren is questionable for the Pacers due to a sore lower back.
Neither one of LeBron James ($10,500) or Anthony Davis ($9,900) is on the injury report, so both Lakers' stars should be all systems go for this home tilt against a Memphis team surrendering 114.7 points per game.
Nikola Jokic ($9,800) stuffed the stat sheet with 27.0 PPG, 12.0 RPG, 9.2 APG, 1.7 blocks per game and 1.8 steals per game in his last six before the All-Star break. The Nuggets star should pick up right where he left off against a Thunder team allowing the sixth-most fantasy points to centers.
Bradley Beal ($9,400) and Andre Drummond ($9,100) are both enticing options as Beal's Wizards get set to host Drummond's Cavaliers in a battle of underwhelming Eastern Conference teams. Beal has poured in 35.2 PPG in his last 11 games, while Drummond's averaging a cool 17.7 PPG and 15.8 RPG this season.
D'Angelo Russell ($8,600) spent much of the season as the go-to guy on a depleted Warriors team, and he finds himself in a similar position in Minnesota with Towns unavailable. The matchup is tough with the Celtics in town, but Russell should see all the volume he can handle and delivered 58.0 fantasy points in the first game of Towns' absence.
C.J. McCollum ($6,600) should take over primary ball handling and scoring duties for the Blazers with Lillard out. Expect the combo guard to outperform his season averages of 21.3 PPG and 3.8 APG, especially in a fast-paced affair against the Pelicans.
Zion Williamson ($8,000) is looking more comfortable at the NBA level and playing without restrictions. He topped 30 points in each of his last two games, delivering 31.5 PPG, 7.5 RPG and 3.0 APG. The rookie first overall pick could see his price continue to climb before long, so lock him in against the generous Portland defense.
Jaylen Brown ($5,900) has delivered fantasy production right in line with teammate Gordon Hayward ($7,000) — averaging 34.3 fantasy points to Hayward's 34.5 — yet he's $1,100 cheaper as the Celtics get set to visit a Timberwolves' team allowing 115.9 points per game. Brown, Hayward and Jayson Tatum ($7,800) should carry Boston's offense sans Walker, so take advantage of this buy-low opportunity on the shooting guard as he returns from a bruised calf.
Collin Sexton ($6,300) has developed into a consistent scoring threat, recording 23 or more points in seven of his last eight games. Cleveland's eighth overall selection from the 2018 Draft doesn't contribute much besides points, but that one category should be enough to make him a valuable option against a Wizards' team giving up a league-high 119.8 points per game.
Malik Beasley ($5,400) picked up the majority of the scoring load with Towns out Feb. 12 against Charlotte, finishing with 28 points to top Russell by two for the team lead. He's getting a chance to spread his wings in Minnesota and averaging 22.0 PPG, 6.7 RPG and 3.0 APG in three games since coming over from a much deeper Denver team. Beasley's valuation should only keep climbing from its current $5,400, making him a strong value play despite facing the stingy Celtics.
Anfernee Simons ($3,500) has previously stepped up when given an extended look in Portland's back court, making him a terrific cheap lineup filler with Lillard unavailable. Even with Lillard playing, Simons went into the All-Star break on a high note by delivering 22 points and seven rebounds in Memphis.
Utah's Bojan Bogdanovic ($6,000) has scored 30.0 or more fantasy points in five of his last six games, and he made up for coming up short of that mark by hitting the game-winning buzzer beater against the Rockets in the other one. The visiting Spurs are allowing 116.4 points per game on the road — sixth-most in the league — and Bogdanovic should take advantage of their vulnerable defense.