Friday’s fantasy basketball slate has nine games. The biggest point totals on DraftKings Sportsbook are in Philadelphia for Sixers-Hawks (232 points) and Washington for Wizards-Bucks (231 points).
Notable players whose statuses will need to be monitored during the day include Giannis Antetokounmpo (hip/quad), Damian Lillard (elbow), Myles Turner (shoulder), Zach LaVine (ankle), Derrick Rose (ankle) and J.J. Redick (back).
For up-to-the-minute news, analysis and lineups, download the DK Live app, as NBA news, injury reports and betting lines can change throughout the day. Value also unexpectedly can open up due to late lineup changes and late injury news, making it important to stay up to the minute with the DK Live app until lineups lock.
Let’s take a look at some plays fantasy owners can consider using on DraftKings.
Donovan Mitchell, UTA vs. LAL, $7,900 — The Jazz ruled Raul Neto (groin) out of Friday’s game, and with Ricky Rubio (groin) and Dante Exum (ankle) also remaining out, the Jazz are down all three of their point guards on the depth chart. That likely will force Mitchell into more ball-handling and facilitating Friday. Mitchell is third on the Jazz in potential assist creation with roughly seven per game, a number that will be a candidate to rise with the Jazz so thin at ball-handler. The Jazz face the Lakers, who are third in the league in pace, creating extra possessions for Mitchell to score and assist. The Lakers’ fast pace has them allowing points to opponents at a higher-than-average clip.
Other Options — Steph Curry ($9,900)
CJ McCollum, POR vs. CHA, $6,300 — Damian Lillard ($8,700; elbow) is questionable, and if Lillard can’t play, McCollum is a candidate for an expanded role with more volume in the offense. McCollum has a strong 30 percent usage rate in minutes with Lillard off the court this season, up from his season average of 25 percent.
SG/SF Evan Turner ($4,000) and PG/SG Seth Curry ($3,600) are also candidates to benefit if Lillard is out. Turner is second on the team in facilitating this season, creating about eight potential assists per game, behind only Lillard and his 11 potential assists per game. Turner is also second on the team in passes per game and points created off assists, making him a candidate to facilitate more in Lillard’s absence.
A matchup against the Hornets is good, as the Hornets rank in the bottom third in points allowed to opponents. The Hornets also have allowed the fourth-most wide open 3s based on the league’s player tracking system, which measures the closest defender to the shooter, so the Blazers could get some good looks from deep today. Download the DK Live app for up-to-the-minute news on Lillard’s status.
Other Options — Trae Young ($6,000)
James Harden, HOU vs. CLE, $12,500 — Harden’s ridiculously heavy usage in the absence of Chris Paul (hamstring) and Eric Gordon (knee) has been very well discussed; he has a 43 percent usage rate over his past five games. Harden remains in line to continue his heavy volume Friday against a horrific Cleveland defense. The Cavs have by far the league’s worst possession-adjusted team defense and have been terrible around the basket, allowing opponents to shoot a league-high 66 percent within five feet of the basket while allowing the fourth-most field goals per game in that zone.
Harden also has been launching a ton of 3-pointers lately, taking 17 3s per game since Paul went out of the lineup, up from 11 per game previously. Cleveland has allowed the fourth highest shooting percentage on 3s this season. Harden should have no issues getting to the rim and hitting 3s against this vile defense, although his minutes could be an issue as the Cavs own the league’s worst point differential and have been blown out frequently. Cleveland’s slow pace, which ranks second slowest, is also an issue as it creates fewer possessions.
Other Options — Victor Oladipo ($8,200)
Joe Ingles, UTA vs. LAL, $5,700 — As mentioned above, the Jazz are down their top three point guards on the depth chart, which could force Ingles into more ball-handling duties. Ingles ranks second on the Jazz behind Rubio in potential assists created with roughly 8.5 per game, a number that could rise Friday as the Jazz will need to rely on others to facilitate. The Lakers’ fast pace, which ranks third, will help create extra possessions for Ingles to record fantasy points.
Other Options — Zach LaVine ($6,400)
Ben Simmons, PHI vs. ATL, $8,900 — Simmons faces a Hawks team that combines the fastest pace in the league with poor defense, which has them allowing the most points and most assists to opponents. The Hawks don’t contest shots well, allowing the third-most wide-open shots with the third-most wide-open 3s based on the league’s player tracking system, which measures the closest defender to the shooter, so Simmons’ teammates are candidates to get good looks off his passes. The Hawks are also poor on the glass, ranking in the bottom third in the percentage of missed shots they rebound. The game is a strong candidate to be played very fast with a lot of possessions, as Sixers rank seventh in pace and the Hawks rank first. The issue is the Sixers are 12.5-point favorites on DK Sportsbook, which could cut into Simmons’ minutes late, although Simmons scored 52 DKFP in just 26.5 minutes in his previous game against the Hawks this year.
Other Options — Luka Doncic ($8,400), Jimmy Butler ($7,600)
Andrew Wiggins, MIN vs. DAL, $6,800 — In Wiggins’ first game under new coach Ryan Saunders, he took a season-high 24 field goal attempts, got to the free-throw line a season-high 18 times, secured a season-high 10 rebounds and scored a season-high 40 points in an explosive 64.5 DKFP outing against one of the best defensive and rebounding teams in the league. Maybe that was just randomness, but it seems eyebrow-raising that all that would happen in Wiggins’ first game without Tom Thibodeau. Derrick Rose (ankle) remaining out of the lineup Friday would give Wiggins more shot volume clearance, and fantasy owners can consider Wiggins to see if his efforts under his new regime continue to some degree Friday.
Other Options — Jae Crowder ($4,400)
Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL at WAS, $11,300 — Antetokounmpo faces a Wizards team that has been terrible on the glass and very poor defensively. The Wizards rank as the league’s worst rebounding team by the percentage of missed shots they rebound, and their elevated pace combined with their poor defense has them allowing the second-most points to opponents and fourth-most assists to opponents. Both the Bucks and Wizards play fast, with the Bucks ranking sixth and Wizards ranking ninth in pace, making this game a candidate for a lot of possessions. Washington also ranks in the bottom third at protecting the basket, allowing the sixth-most field goals within five feet of the basket with the eighth highest shooting percentage there, which is the zone that Antetokounmpo takes most of his shots in.
Other Options — Kevin Durant ($9,800), Kawhi Leonard ($9,700)
Maxi Kleber, DAL at MIN, $3,600 — Dennis Smith Jr. (back) has been ruled out Friday, and with Smith out of the lineup in the Mavericks’ most recent game, Dallas elected to go big with Luka Doncic ($8,400) at point guard, which made room for Kleber in the starting five. Kleber played a season-high 34 minutes and scored 32 DKFP. If Dallas elects to give him a similar workload Friday, Kleber is a salary-relief candidate.
Thad Young, IND at NY, $5,600 — The Pacers face a Knicks team that is terrible defensively, ranking second worst in the league by possession-adjusted team defense while allowing the fourth-most points to opponents. The Knicks also rank in the bottom third of the league in team rebounding by the percentage of missed shots they rebound. In two previous games vs. the Knicks this season, Young is averaging 35 DKFP.
Other Options — Cedi Osman ($4,300)
Joel Embiid, PHI vs. ATL, $11,000 — Embiid has an appealing matchup for reasons similar to Simmons. The Hawks are poor defensively and allow tons of points to opponents, and they also are poor on the glass, which should create opportunities for Embiid to score points and grab rebounds. The game’s total points of 232 is the highest on DK Sportsbook. The biggest issue for Embiid is minutes, as the Sixers are substantial favorites, which could cut into his minutes late if there’s a blowout.
Other Options — Karl-Anthony Towns ($10,200), Domantas Sabonis ($7,500)
Tristan Thompson, CLE at HOU, $5,800 — Larry Nance Jr. (knee) is out, which could force Thompson into an expanded role as the Cavs are thin at big. Thompson faces a Rockets team that ranks as the sixth-worst rebounding team by the percentage of missed shots they rebound and rank as the second-worst defensive rebounding team by that metric, which could give Thompson an opportunity on the offensive glass. Houston also has the fifth-worst possession-adjusted team defense. The issue here is the Cavs have been getting blown out a lot and a lopsided game could cut into Thompson’s minutes late.
Other Options — Wendell Carter Jr. ($5,400)
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is timfinn521) 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.
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