WATCH: PAYTON, PORTIS COULD BE VALUABLE TARGETS FRIDAY
After back-to-back nights with five games, the NBA kicks things up a notch headed into the weekend with eight games on the hardwood tonight. Of the 16 teams in action, only the struggling Oklahoma City Thunder are playing for the second night in a row. The headline matchup for tonight is the Milwaukee Bucks visiting the San Antonio Spurs in Eric Bledsoe’s likely debut, but there are several other interesting contests as well. As you check out each matchup for the best fantasy basketball options, make sure to consider these top targets and values.
Damian Lillard ($9,400) – Lillard struggled badly against Memphis, shooting just 4-16 and finishing with 26.75 DKFP. Before that, though, he had at least 46 DKFP in five straight, including a pair of games with over 64 DKFP, showing he has the high ceiling to be a building block for your lineup. He should be set up to bounce back in an up-tempo game against the Nets in Portland.
Elfrid Payton ($6,900) – Payton returned from his hamstring injury on Wednesday and jumped right back into fantasy relevancy, posting a solid 43.5 DKFP on 11 points, 11 assists, two steals and two blocks in his 29 minutes. Payton gets an outstanding matchup against the Suns tonight, and he should continue to get a heavy workload with no D.J. Augustin (hamstring, out).
Other Options – D’Angelo Russell ($7,600), Reggie Jackson ($6,200)
Lou Williams ($5,200) – Williams already has been a solid mid-range contributor, and he could be in for a heavy workload tonight as the Clippers deal with injuries in their backcourt. Austin Rivers is questionable after spraining his ankle in practice, and Patrick Beverley and Milos Teodosic have both already been ruled out. If Rivers is out, Williams will get as many minutes at PG as he can handle, but he should be heavily involved either way given his recent production. He has at least 17 points and 27 DKFP in three of his last four games, playing 30 and 27 minutes in the Clippers’ last two contests.
Terry Rozier ($4,000) – Rozier has made the most of his expanded playing time this season. On Wednesday, he played 28 minutes and had 27.0 DKFP, posting 14 points, eight rebounds and a block against the Lakers. He has at least 17 DKFP in three straight and five of his last six. Tonight, as the Celtics host Charlotte, he could get even more time if Boston is forced to go small with Al Horford (concussion) out and Jayson Tatum (ankle) questionable.
Other Options – Jerian Grant ($4,800), Ish Smith ($3,500)
Victor Oladipo ($7,500) – Oladipo has hit a shooting slump over his last three games, making just 21-of-59 FG attempts (36 percent). His slump has coincided with the Pacers’ four-game losing streak, but the encouraging sign for Oladipo is that he’s still getting plenty of minutes and shot attempts. He should be able to bounce back tonight in a cushy matchup against the Bulls.
Khris Middleton ($6,700) – While Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo ($10,500) will have to adjust to the addition of Eric Bledsoe ($6,000), I still think Middleton is a solid play at this price against the Spurs, who haven’t been as great on defense without Kawhi Leonard (quad, out). Middleton has played at least 39 minutes in each of the first three games on the Bucks’ road trip and produced big numbers. He dropped 43 points and 62.25 DKFP in Charlotte to start the trip and had 20 points, 11 assists and 52.75 DKFP in his last game on Tuesday in Cleveland.
Other Options – C.J. McCollum ($7,400), Jaylen Brown ($6,500)
Donovan Mitchell ($5,200) – Mtichell shot just 3-for-21 against the 76ers on Tuesday, finishing with 17.75 DKFP, but the rookie has shown plenty of promise and continues to get plenty of chances coming off the Utah bench. Mitchell had at least 17 points and 29 DKFP in three straight contests before Tuesday’s letdown, and he’ll continue to have the green light against the Heat tonight in Utah, making him a boom-or-bust play loaded with upside.
Danny Green ($4,700) – Green is helping the Spurs to fill in the gaps on both offense and defense with Kahwi Leonard (quad) out. Green is coming off a season-high 24 points against the Clippers on Tuesday, when he had 33.75 DKFP. He has scored at least 10 points in six of his 11 games while averaging 23.4 FPPG on 11.6 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game.
Other Options – Taurean Prince ($5,500), Allen Crabbe ($4,200)
Aaron Gordon ($7,600) – Gordon had a disappointing fantasy night Wednesday despite scoring 21 points against the Knicks. In his 37 minutes, he only had four rebounds, one assist and one block to total 31.5 DKFP. His non-scoring numbers are typically much higher, which is how he has averaged 37.3 FPPG this season. He should be able to get back on the glass tonight against the Suns in a favorable matchup.
Tobias Harris ($6,600) – Harris continues to carry the load for Detroit on offense and had his second straight game with over 38 DKFP on Wednesday, scoring 23 points to go with eight rebounds in just 34 minutes against the Pacers. With Jon Leuer (ankle, doubtful) and Stanley Johnson (hip, doubtful) battling injuries, Harris should continue to get plenty of playing time in a favorable matchup tonight as Detroit hosts the Hawks.
Other Options – Giannis Antetokounmpo ($10,500), Carmelo Anthony ($6,900)
Rudy Gay ($5,400) – Even though he is coming off the San Antonio bench, Gay has been a consistent contributor on offense and has scored 20+ points and over 35 DKFP in two of his last three contests. On Tuesday, he hit four 3-pointers against the Clippers on his way to 22 points, seven rebounds, three assists, two steals and 40.75 DKFP. He has a high ceiling if he goes off like that, and he’s almost always going to get at least 20 DKFP, making him a low-risk mid-range play.
Denzel Valentine ($4,300) – With David Nwaba (ankle) sidelined and Paul Zipser ($3,900) struggling, Valentine has seen a solid bump in minutes the last two games, playing 35 minutes against the Pelicans and 27 against the Raptors. He has provided a nice scoring spark off the bench for the Bulls and has double-digit points in three straight games and five of his last eight. He has at least 25 DKFP in five of his last six and should find ways to contribute tonight against the up-tempo Pacers.
Other Options – Joe Ingles ($5,100), Luke Babbitt ($3,700)
Blake Griffin ($8,600) – Griffin will be back in Oklahoma, where he starred in college, as his Clippers visit the struggling Thunder tonight. So far this season, Blake is averaging 42.9 FPPG and he had three straight games with at least 20 points and 40 DKFP before struggling a bit against the Spurs on Tuesday. He could catch a break, as Thunder center Steven Adams was forced to leave last night’s game with a calf contusion, and OKC would be very thin up front if Adams is sidelined tonight.
Bobby Portis ($6,100) – After serving his suspension for punching teammate Nikola Mirotic (face, out), Portis impressed in his return, dropping a double-double with 21 points and 13 rebounds against the Raptors on his way to 45.3 DKFP. With Lauri Markkanen (quad, questionable) and Robin Lopez (knee, questionable) battling injuries up front and Chicago’s need for offensive firepower, look for Portis to be heavily involved moving forward, starting with a favorable matchup against Indiana tonight.
Other Options – LaMarcus Aldridge ($7,900), T.J. Warren ($6,300)
Editor’s Note: Al Horford (concussion) has been upgraded to ‘Questionable’ for tonight’s game with the Hornets.
Marcus Morris ($4,600) – With Al Horford (concussion) out and Jayson Tatum (ankle) questionable, Morris should be set up for as many minutes as he can handle as he continues to work his way back from his own knee injury. He had 18 points in 25 minutes on Wednesday for 25.75 DKFP. He has over 25 DKFP in each of his last two games, and he should be good for around that many tonight as the C’s host Charlotte.
Other Options – DeMarre Carroll ($5,800), Jerami Grant ($3,500)
Andre Drummond ($8,800) – Drummond’s vast improvement at the free-throw line came to a screeching halt on Wednesday, as he went 0-7 from the charity stripe. He still had a solid game, though, because he hauled in 21 rebounds to go with his 14 points and finished with 47.75 DKFP. He has at least 44 DKFP in seven of his last eight games, and he’ll be taking on the Hawks, who won’t have Ersan Ilyasova (knee, out) and possibly Mike Muscala (ankle, doubtful). Dewayne Dedmon will have to shut down Drummond virtually by himself, which is a big ask given the way Drummond has been rolling this season — especially at home, where he averages 46.1 FPPG.
Jusuf Nurkic ($6,800) – After three strong performances resulting in 44+ DKFP, Nurkic struggled with foul trouble and a hard matchup against the Grizzlies on Tuesday, only finishing with 13.25 DKFP on six points and five boards. He should be set up perfectly for a big bounce-back game tonight against the Nets, who have been a great matchup for big men all season.
Other Options – Nikola Vucevic ($7,700), Myles Turner ($7,100)
Robin Lopez ($5,400) – Lopez is averaging a career-high 15.3 points per game and was able to return to practice yesterday, which is a good sign for his availability tonight against the Pacers. If he suits up, he’ll get a solid matchup as he looks to continue his strong start to the season that has seen him average 28.5 FPPG with at least 25 DKFP in each of his last four games.
Aron Baynes ($4,300) – Baynes played well Wednesday in Al Horford’s first game sidelined by a concussion. He totaled 34.5 DKFP on 21 points, eight rebounds and three assists in 23 minutes against the Lakers. He’ll be in a tougher matchup tonight against Charlotte, but he and Daniel Theis ($3,000) should continue to get plenty of playing time while Horford is out.
Other Options – Pau Gasol ($5,800), Dewayne Dedmon ($4,200)
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Z.Thompson) 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.