WATCH: 3 IN THE KEY – NIKOLA VUCEVIC
In a nine-game slate of NBA fun Friday night, you have plenty of choices to make for your DraftKings lineups. Here are a few names to consider from every position, and from every price range. Good luck!
John Wall @ SA ($8,400) – San Antonio is the perfect combination of factors to boost the fantasy production of a guard like Wall. 1) They are fast-paced – creating more volume for the slower paced Wiz. 2) The Spurs are high-scoring, so Wall will need to assert himself offensively to try to keep up, rather than only act as a distributor. 3) They don’t have elite individual defenders in the backcourt, so he will be able to find his way into the lane almost at will here.
Kyrie Irving @ CHI ($7,400) – Kyrie is going to need to attack the Chicago guards on the offensive end to keep them on their heels and make room for his teammates to do their thing. If you let Jimmy Butler patrol the perimeter unchallenged, this defense can make it hard on shooters, but Kyrie’s ability to consistently drive the lane makes that almost impossible to accomplish. I expect him to be able to create assist opportunities with his dribble, but eventually the lanes will lead all the way to the hoop, giving him a chance at a big scoring game himself.
Other Options – Chris Paul ($8,800), Isaiah Thomas ($7,500), Ish Smith ($5,000)
James Harden @ DEN ($11,900) – I love this game for fantasy. For Houston, you know the players who contribute, and you should expect a fast-paced game that allows all of them to meet or exceed their averages, making them all value plays at their price. For Denver, it’s harder to predict who will produce, but the pace of this one will likely mean that if you choose right, you could be grabbing the guy who wins you the night.
Dwyane Wade vs. CLE ($6,400) – I have a hard time imagining him not at least trying to show up in a big way against LeBron, and he has shown an ability to keep firing no matter what lately, with at least 15 shot attempts in nine straight. So while the production has been up and down, the opportunity is there, and that has led to three 40+ fantasy-point games over that span, and three more with over 30, giving him plenty of upside at the price, even if you wouldn’t trust him for a cash-game lineup.
Other Options – DeMar DeRozan ($8,300)
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope @ ATL ($5,200) – With 40+ fantasy points in each of his last two games, 30+ in five of his last six, and a nice matchup with Atlanta, you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone in this price range with a better combination of consistency and upside, at least based on recent returns.
Other Options – Darren Collison ($5,400), Marcus Smart ($5,000)
Jimmy Butler vs. CLE ($8,700) – Chicago is going to need production from Butler tonight on the offensive end, and when he increases his scoring output, his fantasy value can easily outpace his price tag. As long as he doesn’t defer too much to Wade, the opportunities should be there, and he averaged just under 20 points and just about eight rebounds a game in three matchups with Cleveland last year. I wouldn’t expect a big upside night, but he will be involved enough in everything happening on the court to make him a candidate for 35-40 fantasy points and to be someone you can trust in a cash-game lineup.
Wilson Chandler vs. HOU ($6,800) – He is capable of filling a lot of different roles for this Denver team, and as a result he is getting plenty of minutes and opportunities to contribute in lots of different statistical categories. This should be a high-scoring affair, so a player like Chandler who has taken 17 or more shots in the last three games, hit six threes and grabbed 26 boards over the same span, should benefit greatly from the matchup in this one, making his price just, for me, seem way too low. He will make it into plenty of my lineups.
Other Options – LeBron James ($9,400), Carmelo Anthony ($8,300)
Marcus Smart ($5,000) – As someone with multi-positional eligibility, it’s a bit easier to find room for him in your lineup. You’ll likely only want to consider him in a cash game lineup, because he has not exhibited the upside of a truly big scoring night or anything along those lines, but it does seem as if his floor is gradually getting a bit higher. With his ability to contribute in multiple stat categories, 20+ points is very attainable every night, and 30+ is not hard to project in the right matchup.
Other Options – Brandon Ingram ($4,400)
DeMarcus Cousins @ BOS ($10,700) – Maybe my favorite play on the board tonight, he comes in a little cheaper than Harden or Anthony Davis, but has all the upside you could ask for against this weak Celtics frontcourt. They simply don’t have anyone to stop him from doing what he wants to do, so if he gets into a groove here, you could easily be looking at a continuation of the last couple of nights on the road (73 points and 31 rebounds combined against the Nets and the Wizards).
Kevin Love @ CHI ($8,000) – There has been a nice trend developing in Cleveland so far this year, and it’s not only that Kevin Love has looked phenomenal, it’s also that the roles of the three superstars are becoming more clearly defined, with Kyrie penetrating and probing defenses all night long, and both he and LeBron being capable of immediately exploiting any weak spot into an open look for someone. More often than not, that has benefited Love, who is once again a force inside while still keeping defenses honest with his range.
Other Options – Anthony Davis ($11,700), Kristaps Porzingis ($7,900)
Dario Saric vs. ORL ($4,000) – His minutes seem to have gotten more consistent, and while you might wish he had landed on getting more run than he does, it’s nice to feel like he will at least be out there for 20+ minutes every night. Lately, he has been able to turn that chance into reasonable production, getting you 20+ fantasy points most nights, when he is getting his fair share of looks.
Other Options – Kenneth Faried ($5,600)
Karl-Anthony Towns @ NY ($8,900) – While Towns and Porzingis won’t actually be matched up on each other, it will be interesting to watch the juxtaposition of their two very different styles, because they could both be extremely successful in this matchup. If Minnesota manages to feature him and get him the ball in good positions, Towns should have the physicality to overpower the Knicks on the boards and be able to score in close and facing the basket against their big men.
Dwight Howard vs. DET ($7,300) – He is consistently playing 30+ minutes a night and turning that into 30+ fantasy points. Not too many people probably thought we were going to get here again with Dwight, but there is no reason not to trust it while it lasts. He looks healthy, and we know he has the talent, and right now that’s manifesting itself in a dozen rebounds a night with enough scoring to make him a threat for a double-double every time out.
Other Options – Joel Embiid ($6,700), Al Horford vs. SAC ($6,500)
Clint Capela @ DEN ($5,700) – I don’t mind taking a look at anyone who is going to get minutes in this matchup, which should feature plenty of scoring. And with Capela averaging over eight boards a night, when he gets his scoring number up, he has legitimate upside to get you 35+ fantasy points, a very nice value for the price, and definitely attainable tonight.
Other Options – LaMarcus Aldridge ($6,300), Jonas Valanciunas ($5,500)
Nuggets Players To Watch
SF Wilson Chandler vs. HOU ($6,800) – He is capable of filling a lot of different roles for this Denver team, and as a result he is getting plenty of minutes and opportunities to contribute in lots of different statistical categories. This should be a high-scoring affair, so a player like Chandler who has taken 17 or more shots in the last three games, hit six threes and grabbed 26 boards over the same span, should benefit greatly from the matchup in this one, making his price just, for me, seem way too low. He will make it into plenty of my lineups.
PG/SG Jamal Murray vs. HOU ($4,300) – He seems like a legit shooter, a skill that is enough to keep anyone in the league for a long time, and right now, it’s enough to be earning him more time out on the floor. He has attempted 25 threes in their last four games, and he has hit ten of them. Just a week ago he was coming off a streak of four straight games of 18 or more points scored, and he’s young – he’s not going to keep up that pace all season long, but it did seem more like a sign of things to come than just a fluke.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theasquad) 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.