Our featured, 10-game slate is chock-full of high-paced action, so if youíre in one of those states experiencing some crappy weather on Friday, kick back, stay out of the elements and fire up some DFS contests with us.
Teams on tail end of back-to-backs: Timberwolves, Sixers
The team that concerns me here is Minnesota, as they continue on the road to Utah after a loss to Portland on Thursday. The game was a costly one as Taj Gibson (knee) got banged up, and although his injury could open up some value spots, the team will likely be compromised in the frontcourt tonight.
Games I like: Knicks-Lakers, Thunder-Suns, Memphis side of Nuggets-Grizzlies
Working backward, Iím a bit skittish of how things will play out with the return of Paul Millsap. Weíve gotten accustomed to guys like Will Barton, Gary Harris and Trey Lyles carrying the offensive load, and Millsapís return puts a lot of those players in flux. While Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray shouldnít be affected, I need to wait and see with any other Nugget until the dust settles. I like the Memphis side of the game, though, mostly due to the litany of injuries afoot that open up several value opportunities, which Iíll include in my predictions below.
All you have to do is look at past results for the Suns to see that itís always a smart call to look at who theyíre playing. The great thing about Phoenix is that theyíll still see great output from their stars. Russell Westbrook ($11,800) is the top player for me on the slate, as he should have an easy time dismantling the Suns, and with Paul George and Carmelo Anthony seeing usage dips of late, I like stacking Steven Adams ($7,200) with Westbrook to maximize that assists-to-points combo.
The Knicks-Clippers game sports a 226.5 Over/Under and has the makings of an offensive free-for-all. With the Knicks in Ďtanking-but-donít-tell-anyoneí mode, theyíre throwing a lot of darts at their starting lineup so a lot of value can be had, and the Clippers will send up their list of usual suspects for a big night on both ends of the floor.
Games I donít like: Warriors-Hawks, Pacers-Bucks
I think the Warriors will decimate the Hawks and it might end up as one of those self-coaching nights for Kerr and The Gang. While the marquee guys will still have decent nights, I think their performances will be hampered by leaving the floor early in a blowout.
Giannis Antetokounmpo took a big hit to the eye in Wednesdayís game against the Pistons, so he could be a bit off his game even if he does suit up, and his absence definitely compromises the Bucks. Even if Antetokounmpo suits up, guys like Eric Bledsoe ($7,200) and Khris Middleton ($6,600) should be looked at as players who will try to pick up the slack.
The Pacers have been a tough fantasy anomaly lately, as itís been difficult to surmise who absorbs Darren Collisonís minutes on any given night, and Victor Oladipo has been quite streaky. I could see myself picking up some value on both teams if Giannis is out altogether, but Iíll be looking elsewhere on the slate first.
With all of that information in mind, Iíll now select three players at each position, accompanied by a short list of other players at every spot that hold equal wright in my predictions. Wherever possible, Iíll include at least one budget selection per category.
Devin Booker, PHO vs. OKC ($8,400): Booker has been a fade for a lot of people due to the addition of Elfrid Payton, but a closer look at his stats reveals that in the last five games, Booker has thrown up at least 20 shot attempts. Heís also produced solid contributions in every other category. The Suns will be playing catch-up in this one and the Suns will use Booker for a full complement of minutes.
Kyle Lowry, TOR at WAS ($7,600): Lowry has been the better pick over DeMar DeRozan due in large part to the salary discrepancy, and although the point guard continues to creep up in price, I still like Lowryís potential ceiling in relation to his cost. Iím not opposed to DeRozan ($7,500) either, as he now comes cheaper than Lowry. Both should enjoy healthy stat lines in this matchup.
Trey Burke, NY at LAC ($5,100): Weíll likely see the Knicksí flavor of the month see significant minutes on Friday, as heís been automatic value in his last three outings. He hasnít yet reached Emmanuel Mudiayís salary, but his ceiling is definitely higher. I think Mudiay is still in line for a large role, but Mudiay is the tortoise and Burke is the hare. Ride Burke until his course corrects.
Other guards to consider: Donovan Mitchell, UTA vs. MIN ($7,500); Zach LaVine, CHI vs. DAL ($7,100); Dennis Schroder, ATL vs. GS ($6,600)
GUARD INJURY WATCH: Mario Chalmers ($3,500) for Andrew Harrison, MEM
Andrew Harrison is currently listed as questionable, and if he sits, Mario Chalmers becomes the only viable point guard on the roster and an immediate pivot if Harrison is out.
Tobias Harris, LAC vs. NY ($7,500): I return to this potentially explosive offensive matchup to feature Harris, who is thriving in his new role as a Clipper. Even though he had a lackluster game against the Knicks in a Piston uniform earlier in the season, Harris has a bigger upside in LA and will go to the rim early and often. I was tempted to slide to Blake Griffin, DET at ORL ($7,400) here, and I think they will both offer similar value at this price point.
Tim Hardaway Jr., NY at LAC ($6,200): Both Hardaway and Lou Williams have the potential to take over games on any given night, and this is one of those scenarios where both of them are going to be big factors in driving the total score up in the Staples Center on Friday. It should be a fun game to watch and I think Hardaway will thrive in this fast-paced affair.
Pascal Siakam ($4,400) and Norman Powell ($3,200): TOR at WAS: OG Anunoby (ankle) is doubtful to play on Friday, which could slide either player into the starting lineup. Powell could become a more consistent play down the stretch as Anunobyís tenure in the starting five hasnít quite worked out, and Powell brings considerable power and experience at the wing. Siakam has been on fire lately with the second unit, and he should also see an uptick in minutes on Friday.
Other forwards to consider: JaMychal Green, DEN at MEM ($6,600); Nicolas Batum, CHA at PHI ($6,500); David Nwaba, CHI at DAL ($5,400)
FORWARD INJURY WATCH: Gorgui Dieng ($3,400) for Taj Gibson, MIN
When Gibson exited the game on Monday, Dieng came in and finished it out, so if Gibson remains sidelined Dieng should see extended time at a dirt-cheap price.
I gave Steven Adams a nod earlier, and I like him with or without Westbrook.
Nikola Vucevic, ORL vs. DET ($7,600): Iím not fading higher-priced big men, but thereís some great value to be had further down so this position could be where I go a little cheaper. Vucevic lit up Detroit for 61 DKFP when they last met, so Orlando seems to know how to handle Andre Drummond. Vucevic is revving back up after returning from his hand injury, and he should be pleasantly reminded of his excellent outing against the Pistons earlier in the season.
Enes Kanter, NY at LAC ($6,500): My one knock on Kanter isnít really his fault. He rarely hits 30 minutes of floor time, but the pace of this matchup should offset that deficiency. Heíll have his work cut out for him against Tobias Harris and DeAndre Jordan, but he should post a decent stat line regardless.
Paul Millsap, DEN at MEM ($5,200): I did say to stay away from this one, but it was mostly due to Millsapís return at the expense of guys like Will Barton. With his dual-eligibility on DraftKings Iím willing to take a flier on Millsap despite his minutes restriction, as he doesnít have to do much to hit value at this price.
Other centers to consider: Marc Gasol, MEM vs. DEN ($7,900); DeAndre Jordan LAC vs. NY ($7,200); Cristiano Felicio, CHI vs. DAL ($4,000)
Iíve given you a few places to monitor leading up to tip-off so keep your ear to the ground on the latest developments! A great place to do that is right here at RotoWire, where youíll find all the latest updates on our DFS page.