LeBron James

We’ve got a small slate by Friday standards, with seven games going on across the NBA. This slate is pretty loaded with key injury/suspension news and narratives, so there should be plenty of strong plays. Here’s your cheat sheet by position:

BETS TO CONSIDER

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Point Guard

Target worth paying up for: LeBron James ($10,300) vs. POR (14th)

James is averaging 57.8 DKFP in two games against Portland this season, and Friday has the potential to raise that ceiling. The Kobe narrative is also obvious. LeBron should be going all out in this one.

Best value: Jaylen Brunson ($3,800) at HOU (29th)

Luka Doncic (ankle) is the most crucial absence on this slate, and it opens up a ton of value on Dallas. It comes in a spectacular matchup against Houston, giving his teammates even more upside. Brunson’s going to get a ton of run in this game, and he has shown 10X value in this spot before.

Positional Strategy 

PG is loaded with value and pay-up spots. Dallas is a key place to target at almost every position, but PG is the most important one to capitalize on. Damian Lillard’s ($9,900) salary surprisingly dropped after his fourth straight 70-DKFP game. He’s got a tough matchup against the Lakers, but he is worth considering.


Shooting Guard

Target worth paying up for: Devin Booker ($9,100) vs. OKC (14th)

OKC came as close as you can to shutting Booker down the first time these teams played, but the “missed All-Star” narrative is real in the NBA. Bradley Beal and Booker are the only players to average over 27 PPG and not be named an All-Star in over 35 years. Beal went off for 62.25 DKFP last night, and I expect similar from Booker.

Best value: Malik Beasley ($3,300) at MIL (5th)

Beasley’s been playing solid minutes for the shorthanded Nuggets. Denver’s injury report is still up in the air, but Beasley’s been playing a pretty consistent role, yet his salary is down $2,200 in six games. Shooting just 6-of-24 from the field in his last three games, a bounce-back game from the field could provide some strong value. The blowout potential in Milwaukee could also help Beasley play more towards the end of the game.

Positional Strategy

Booker is a consideration, but SG is really a value position. There are tons of plays under $5,000 here, including Seth Curry ($4,800) as another high-ceiling play without Doncic.


Small Forward

Target worth paying up for: Brandon Ingram ($7,400) vs. MEM (21st)

Ingram has his struggles with Zion Williamson ($7,000) entering the lineup. But the first-time All-Star got back on track with 38.75 DKFP in his last game against the Cavs. This is a great matchup to take it up another notch, with both teams playing very fast-paced. Ingram dropped 43.5 DKFP against Memphis earlier in the season, and his salary is affordable because of Zion.

Best value: Nassir Little ($3,000) at LAL (3rd)

Carmelo Anthony (personal) was ruled out early for this one, which could provide Little with some extra minutes. Little is pretty involved, to begin with for a minimum priced player, averaging over 16 minutes per game in his last four. The absence of Melo gives Little a shot to play 30 minutes.

Positional Strategy 

SF is another position flooded with value. If you’re paying over $5,000, LeBron and Ingram are my only considerations.


Power Forward

Target worth paying up for: Kristaps Porzingis ($6,800) at HOU (9th)

No Doncic leaves Porzingis as the go-to-guy for Dallas, which has been a good spot to be in recently against the Rockets. KP had his best stretch of the season the last time Luka went down, and his price skyrocketed. He also scored 51.75 DKFP in his lone matchup against the Rockets this season.

Best value: Kyle Anderson ($3,800) at NOP (7th)

Jaren Jackson Jr. (suspension) is out, and Brandon Clark (hip) is very unlikely to play. Plenty of frontcourt minutes to go around here, and Anderson is a cheap way to absorb a bunch of them. It’s been a while since we saw a huge game from Anderson, but we know he has it in him. He scored 27 DKFP in 29 minutes three games ago against Phoenix, and he has a great matchup.

Positional Strategy 

Porzingis is just such a cheap stud play in this spot. Capela being ruled out also helps his value. The suspensions/injuries for Memphis also create strong value in a perfect matchup. I don’t see myself going away from Dallas or Memphis at PF on this slate.


Center

Target worth paying up for: Nikola Jokic ($9,400) at MIL 7th)

Jokic isn’t in the best spot, playing in Milwaukee on the second night of a back-to-back. But given Denver’s lack of healthy bodies and the dip in his salary, he’s still in play here. The boost in usage has essentially led to five straight 50-DKFP games, with two going over 60.

Best value: Jonas Valanciunas ($6,300) at NO (23rd)

More trickledown effect with the Grizzlies here. Two key frontcourt pieces missing should really help Valanciunas’ role against one of the worst teams defending centers. Jonas is already averaging 43 DKFP over his last two games.

Positional Strategy 

Valanciunas is one of the best cash plays on this slate, and worth eating as a chalk play in tournaments. That makes most other center plays contrarian, so do as you please if you’re fading Jonas, and it’ll probably be contrarian.


Key news to monitor on DK Live:

QUESTIONABLE

Jamal Murray (ankle)
Donte DiVincenzo (ankle)
Markieff Morris (illness)
Paul Millsap (knee)
Gary Harris (personal)

PROBABLE

Tim Hardaway Jr. (back)
Kris Dunn (quad)
Tomas Satoransky (ankle)
Luke Kornet (ankle)
Chandler Hutchison (shoulder/hip)
Denzel Valentine (hip)

DOUBTFUL

Brandon Clark (hip)
Daniel Gafford (thumb)
DeAnthony Melton (hand)

OUT

Luka Doncic (ankle)
Clint Capela (heel)
Carmelo Anthony (personal)
Jaren Jackson Jr. (suspension)
Marc Gasol (hamstring)
George Hill (hamstring)
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (ankle)

Get all the news and analysis up to the minute on DK Live.

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is jedlow) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.