Friday’s fantasy basketball slate has 10 games. Notable players whose statuses will need to be monitored during the day include Chris Paul (hamstring), Andre Drummond (concussion), Deandre Ayton (ankle), Derrick Rose (ankle) and Larry Nance Jr. (knee). Drummond cleared the league’s concussion protocol and is listed as probable to play. De’Aaron Fox (toe) is not listed on the Kings’ injury report and is expected to play.
For up-to-the-minute news, analysis and lineups, download the DK Live app, as NBA news, injury reports and betting lines on DraftKings Sportsbook 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 on Friday.
Kemba Walker, CHA at MIL, $8,100 — A matchup against a lengthy Bucks defense that ranks as the league’s best pace-adjusted team defense isn’t appealing on the surface, but the Bucks’ style of defense could benefit Walker. The Bucks are excellent at protecting the rim but allow a lot of space around the 3-point line.
The Bucks have allowed the second-most wide-open 3-pointers per game based on the league’s player tracking system, which measures the closest defender to the shooter. Walker has taken the third-most 3-pointers per game of all players and is shooting a strong 43 percent on wide-open threes this season, up from his season line of 36 percent on all 3s. The Bucks also have allowed opponents to sink the most 3s per game.
Walker has had success in two previous games vs. the Bucks this year, averaging 48 DKFP per game on 47 percent from 3 and 31 points per game. Milwaukee’s fast pace, which ranks fifth highest, also helps offset some of its defensive strengths in terms of fantasy scoring.
Other Options — D’Angelo Russell ($8,600)
Jerryd Bayless, MIN at UTA, $3,600 — Derrick Rose left Thursday’s game with a sore right ankle, leaving Bayless as the Timberwolves’ primary healthy point guard due to injuries to Jeff Teague (foot) and Tyus Jones (ankle). Depending on the statuses of Rose, Teague and Jones on Friday, Bayless could be in line for a large minute load if all three are unable to play. Download the DK Live app for up-to-the-minute news on the Timberwolves’ point guard situation.
Elie Okobo, PHO at DEN, $3,000 — A matchup on the second night of a back-to-back in Denver against the Nuggets generally isn’t appealing, but if fantasy owners are looking for a punt play at the minimum price, Okobo could be in line for an expanded role Friday. De’Anthony Melton ($3,500) sprained his ankle in Thursday’s game, which forced Okobo into playing 28 minutes, up from just four and six minutes in his prior two games. Okobo scored 25.75 DKFP in his 28 minutes. If Melton is ruled out, Okobo would be a candidate to play another expanded minute load.
Other Options — Kris Dunn ($6,600)
James Harden, HOU vs. TOR, $13,800 — After another epic 97 DKFP performance Wednesday, Harden’s price is a season-high $13,800. Harden has been a fantasy monster with the Rockets shorthanded and has failed to break 75 DKFP just once over his past seven games. Every single one of Harden’s field goals made over his past five games have been unassisted, which is an incredible testament to his elite scoring in isolation.
Harden has a matchup Friday against a Raptors defense that ranks in the top 10 and is expected to get elite wing defender Kawhi Leonard (rest) back in the lineup, although Harden is matchup proof with his recent volume.
The most notable aspect of his matchup Friday is the Rockets have listed Chris Paul ($7,000; hamstring) as questionable to play. If Paul returns, Harden is a candidate for a drop in volume in the Rockets’ offense, which is about the only thing that can slow Harden’s fantasy barrage. Harden’s usage rate sits at 32 percent in minutes with Paul on the court with him this year, down from 42 percent in minutes with Paul off the court, making paying $13,800 for him far less appealing. Keep it locked into the DK Live app for up-to-the-minute news on Paul’s status Friday.
Other Options — Donovan Mitchell ($8,700), Zach LaVine ($7,200)
Shabazz Napier, BKN vs. NY, $3,600 — Spencer Dinwiddie (thumb) is listed as questionable to play, but a report from The Athletic states he has torn ligaments in his thumb and might need surgery. It seems unlikely Dinwiddie would play Friday given the injury, and his absence would thrust Napier into an expanded role. Napier has a better-than-average 15.8 player efficiency rating this season. Download the DK Live app for up-to-the-minute news on Dinwiddie’s status.
Other Options — Andrew Wiggins ($5,700)
Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL vs. CHA, $10,700 — The Bucks face a Hornets team that has allowed points to opponents at a higher-than-average clip and ranks as a below-average rebounding team by the percentage of missed shots they rebound. The Hornets also have allowed the second-most assists to opponents in the league and have showcased worse-than-average basket protection, allowing the 10th-most field goals per game within five feet of the basket.
Antetokounmpo has had success in two previous games vs. Charlotte this year, averaging 59 DKFP on 22.5 points, 15.5 rebounds and 8.5 assists per game, and his $10,700 price tag is tied for his lowest price all season.
Other Options — Luka Doncic ($8,400)
Aaron Gordon, ORL vs. WAS, $6,500 — Gordon has a matchup against a Wizards team that is playing on the second night of a back-to-back and has been the league’s worst rebounding team by the percentage of missed shots they rebound. In two previous games against Washington this year, Gordon is averaging 40 DKFP.
Other Options — Josh Jackson ($5,500)
Kawhi Leonard, TOR at HOU, $9,500 — Leonard is expected to return to the Raptors’ lineup Friday after missing their past four games due to load management. Assuming he’s back, Leonard will face a Rockets team that has been very poor defensively since starting center Clint Capela (thumb) went out of the lineup, allowing 115 points per 100 possessions, three more points than their season average. The Rockets’ basket protection also unsurprisingly has gotten worse in Capela’s absence, allowing the second-most field goals within five feet of the basket per game since Capela went out of the lineup, up from fifth-most on the season.
The Rockets also have played a faster pace in part due to playing smaller lineups, playing just less than 101 possessions per game, up from 97 possessions per game prior to Capela’s injury. Download the DK Live app for up-to-the-minute news on Leonard’s playing status.
Other Options — Blake Griffin ($9,900), Tobias Harris ($8,200)
Jaren Jackson Jr., MEM vs. SAC, $5,400 — Jackson faces a Kings team that ranks second in the league in possessions per game due to their fast pace. The Kings have allowed the fourth-most points to opponents due to their fast pace combined with a bottom-third team defense. The Kings also rank as the fifth-worst rebounding team by the percentage of missed shots they rebound. Jackson is averaging a strong 36 DKFP in three previous games vs. the Kings this year, and his ability to run the court helps fit against the Kings’ frantic style of play.
Other Options — Dragan Bender ($4,600)
Nikola Jokic, DEN vs. PHO, $10,600 — Jokic has a strong matchup against a Suns team that is flying into Denver on the second night of a back-to-back after playing in Phoenix on Thursday. The Suns rank as the league’s second-worst rebounding team by the percentage of missed shots they rebound and have allowed the fifth-most points to opponents, making the matchup excellent both on the glass and for scoring for Jokic. Jokic is averaging just less than 60 DKFP per game in three previous meetings vs. the Suns this year.
Other Options — Nikola Vucevic ($9,700)
Kenneth Faried, HOU vs. TOR, $5,300 — Faried, who recently joined a depleted Rockets team after a buyout from the Nets, started at center in the Rockets’ most recent game Wednesday, playing 26 minutes and scoring 33.5 DKFP. Faried has a better-than-average 19.6 player efficiency rating in his career, with it at 20.1 through 14 games played this season. Another start with an expanded minute load would make Faried a viable salary relief candidate against a Raptors team that has been mediocre on the glass.
Other Options — Jarrett Allen ($5,800)
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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