Friday’s ten-game slate of games features a bunch of the best teams from the West, including Houston, Golden State and San Antonio. In other words, you have plenty of choices. Here are a few players to consider at each position and from every price range.
John Wall vs. BKN ($10,300) – With a chance that Beal misses this game against the Nets – and an almost certainty that he is limited if he does play – the Wizards will look to Wall to carry them offensively to an even greater extent than he typically does. On Wednesday he had 19 shot attempts, but also got to the line 13 times, and the Nets don’t have any answer for that kind of attacking style, which might mean he could come close to duplicating his 60+ fantasy point effort from last time out.
Other Options – James Harden ($11,700), Isaiah Thomas ($7,700)
T.J. McConnell @ DEN ($3,300) – Sergio Rodriguez has been ruled out for this game, which will move McConnell to the starting lineup and should mean he gets some extended minutes and additional opportunities on the offensive end. In the one game so far this season that he started with Rodriguez out (on December 11th in Detroit) he played 37 minutes and finished with 12 points, ten rebounds and nine assists, which is very useful production at the price.
Other Options – Reggie Jackson ($5,700)
James Harden vs. LAC ($11,700) – It’s been weeks since he’s been under 50 fantasy points. The Houston offense is fast-paced and efficient, and the entire operation flows through Harden on virtually every possession. This gives him opportunities to produce fantasy value in a number of ways.
C.J. McCollum @ SA ($8,100) – With Lillard out, he has basically doubled his assist output, with seven in each of the last two games after averaging just about three and a half for the season. He’s just not the same natural creator, but on top of the potential for a few extra assists, he is also taking more than 20 shots/night with Lillard out, because they really do need to rely on him for their scoring. In this matchup with San Antonio, he should be able to get himself more than enough room to get clean looks, and he’ll need to in order to keep up with the Spurs’ efficient scoring machine.
Other Options – Klay Thompson ($6,400)
Evan Turner @ SA ($4,700) – He seems to be getting a few extra minutes with Lillard out, and it makes sense – he has actually thrived in something of a facilitator role in the past, especially during his time in Boston. While not a traditional point guard, he can be an excellent passer, and his size allows him to operate from the high post and run the pick and roll perfectly – as long as he is shooting well enough to keep defenders honest. If he manages that, he could end up with 25-30 fantasy points, good value at this price for a cash-game option.
Other Options – Eric Gordon ($5,700), Nik Stauskas ($3,000)
Kevin Durant vs. DAL ($9,900) – Dallas is always going to try to force their opponents into a half-court game, and when the game slows down, Durant is the best option the Warriors have. Which is obvious really – no matter how good the other shooters on this team are, Durant is probably the best pure scorer in the game. All the Warriors’ prices are depressed because they are hard to predict and cut into each other’s production, but none of them lost any upside, making them all great GPP plays when the timing is right.
Jabari Parker @ MIN ($7,200) – He has been shooting over 50% from the field all month, and has seen his minutes start to creep upwards, up over 35 minutes a night from the 31-32 he was averaging earlier in the season. He has at least 27 points scored in seven of his last ten contests, and has become a great second scoring option for the Bucks. However, he doesn’t do much else to stuff the stat sheet, giving him upside in the high thirties or low forties, and making him more of a cash game option at this price.
Other Options – Carmelo Anthony ($7,300), Otto Porter ($6,100)
Justise Winslow @ BOS ($5,600) – His struggle from a fantasy perspective is that the scoring comes and goes – and right now, it appears to be gone. He has a total of eight points in his last two games, but Boston’s interior defense can be susceptible at times to players that like to be slashing through the lane, so he could find room for success here. Before these last two, he had been on a run of four out of five games with double-digit scoring, and when he can get there, he returns very good value for his price.
Other Options – Markieff Morris ($5,200), Robert Covington ($5,000)
Anthony Davis vs. NY ($10,500) – He had just 20 points and five rebounds last time out against the Clippers, but you don’t expect a repeat of that kind of performance with a player of his caliber, so he should bounce back quickly. Prior to that game, he had scored at least 28 points and grabbed at least 15 rebounds in four straight – much more in line with what you would expect. I think that should happen against a Knicks’ front court that doesn’t have anyone who can stay in front of a player like Davis.
LaMarcus Aldridge vs. POR ($7,300) – Aldridge has found some good success playing against his former team, including 18 points and 14 boards last time they faced off. Success in this matchup is not necessarily surprising considering that the Blazers have basically yet to replace him, instead relying on their backcourt for their production. And now they don’t even have Lillard – which is the only issue here, if the Spurs get out to a huge lead, his minutes and production could be limited.
Other Options – Harrison Barnes ($6,800)
Ryan Anderson vs. LAC ($5,600) – Anderson has benefitted from Clint Capela’s injury, and he is getting minutes at both PF and C, giving him a little extra time out on the court, as well as an uptick in chances down low to get some defensive stats and rebounds. His minutes have been cut down somewhat in his last two games just because they were easy Houston wins, but this game should be close enough to keep his minutes and his production up.
Other Options – Kenneth Faried ($4,600)
Karl-Anthony Towns vs. MIL ($8,900) – Coming off a triple-double in a matchup with the Nuggets last time out, he dropped 55 fantasy points despite only shooting 7-for-17 from the field. Considering he was 8-or-8 from the field against Atlanta just two days before that, clearly his upside goes even higher than the mid-50’s, shockingly impressive for a 21-year-old versatile center. He has scoring ability, he has double-digit rebounding potential over a whole season, and he can pass, racking up respectable assist totals for a big man just moving the ball out of a double team. On top of all that, he also has five blocks in his last two games, giving a nice extra boost to his upside on any given night.
Joel Embiid @ DEN ($7,300) – He sat out last night’s game to avoid big minutes in a back-to-back, but his time on the floor has actually been moving steadily in the right direction of late, with his average minutes over his last three games just over 27 minutes a night. In 29 minutes against the Kings on Monday, he dropped 25 points, his third outing with 25 or more in his last four tries, a stretch that included a 33-point outburst against the Nets in 33 minutes. Because his minutes stay down, so does his price – giving us a player with a ton of upside at a discount.
Other Options – Dwight Howard ($7,600), DeAndre Jordan ($7,300)
Al Horford vs. MIA ($6,700) – Horford has proved to be the perfect addition to the Celtics this offseason now that we’ve gotten to see a few games with the full roster available to Brad Stevens. He is protecting the rim, stretching the floor on offense, and grabbing a few boards. They are still a piece or two away from being real title contenders, but he allows them the flexibility to do what they want on both ends of the floor against most teams in the league. When the matchup is right, he can get you 40 or so fantasy points by producing in multiple categories.
Other Options – Marcin Gortat ($6,300), Greg Monroe ($4,500)
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.