With nine NBA games on tap for Friday night, there are plenty of choices to be made at every position. Here are a few names for you to consider for your rosters, from every position and price range.
Isaiah Thomas @ ATL ($9,000) – Thomas is getting even more looks than usual with Bradley out (at least 19 field goal attempts in each of his last three, including a 14-for-29 night last time out). With 50+ fantasy points in five of his last seven and the best matchup tonight, his price isn’t high enough to keep him out of my lineups in any contest format.
Kyle Lowry vs. BKN ($8,500) – Tonight is tough, because some of the very best options in the league are available at the guard spots, but there are so many attractive mid-range players that it’s not easy to decide where to spend your money. If you’re looking away from guys like Westbrook and Harden, Lowry averaged 24.4 points per game in December and has kept up the pace so far this month.
Other Options – Russell Westbrook ($12,700), Giannis Antetokounmpo ($10,100), Kyrie Irving ($7,700)
Reggie Jackson @ UTA ($6,400) – Utah is not a great matchup on paper, but their ability to slow down guards has more to do with pace and style than it does with any one particular shut-down defender. And for Jackson, a slow pace and steady style are already built into his price, as the Pistons and the Jazz employ some very similar tactics in that regard. Jackson should be able to get his shots in a half-court set against the Jazz, which should allow him to get back to the 20+ point scoring trend he was on until this week, when his five game streak was snapped with 19 points against the Kings on Tuesday.
Other Options – T.J. McConnell ($5,300)
C.J. McCollum vs. ORL ($7,900) – He has hit at least three 3s in five of their last six games, a stretch which sees him, not surprisingly, averaging just a touch over 50 fantasy points a night. Facing another team with shaky defense on the perimeter, he should have all the clean looks he needs for a repeat performance.
Marcus Smart @ ATL ($6,300) – Smart has been the primary beneficiary of Avery Bradley’s continued absence, averaging just over 35 minutes/game for the last three while Bradley has been gone, up from 30 per game on the season. He has had 35 or more fantasy points in three of his last four games, having hit six threes and contributing in several categories.
Other Options – James Harden ($11,400)
Dion Waiters @ MIL ($4,400) – With Josh Richardson’s injury, Waiters was out there for 38 minutes against the Warriors on Tuesday. It only led to 8 points, 3 rebounds and 8 assists, so you’re not exactly looking at huge upside here. But I think he makes a great cash option because if that usage and production continues, this price tag is definitely going up.
Other Options – Victor Oladipo ($5,900), Malcolm Brogdon ($5,700)
LeBron James @ SAC ($9,700) – With a similar floor to Russell Westbrook and James Harden at $2-3,000 savings, you’re getting all the consistency, without all of the upside. It’s rare he’ll have that 70-point explosion, but his ability to show up every night and give you 45 fantasy points for this price should make him a cash-game staple in my opinion.
Gordon Hayward vs. DET ($7,000) – He managed 28 points on 10-for-12 shooting on Tuesday against the Cavs, his second strong showing in a row coming off a few down performances. He can shoot the three well enough to give you as much upside as you can find for this price, but when his shot isn’t falling, he isn’t always doing enough other things on the court to redeem his fantasy value, making him more of a GPP play than a cash-game choice for me.
Other Options – Jabari Parker ($7,300)
Allen Crabbe vs. ORL ($4,500) – He has scored in double-digits in seven of Portland’s last eight games, including 24 and 30 points in games earlier this week. But more importantly, this success seems to be carving him out a sustainable role. His shot attempts seem to be creeping up steadily as well, especially from behind the arc, where he has put up at least five in four of their last six games.
Other Options – DeMarre Carroll ($4,500), Dario Saric ($4,100)
DeMarcus Cousins vs. CLE ($10,300) – When these two teams met in Sacramento last year, Cousins finished with 29 points and 11 boards, as if he was trying to show the rest of the league how useful he could be on a contender. He’s still in Sacramento, but he is at 50 fantasy points or more as consistently as anyone over the past few weeks, and will likely try to show he’s no worse than the second best player on the floor in this one.
Paul Millsap vs. BOS ($7,600) – You really just have to love an involved big man against this Celtics team. The best looks for the Hawks tonight are going to come in close, and there should be more than enough rebounds for Millsap to push for a double-double, which would be his third in their last six games.
Other Options – Kevin Love ($8,000)
Enes Kanter @ MIN ($5,600) – Coming off back-to-back double-doubles against Chicago and Memphis (and three double-doubles in his last four), he’ll be looking to continue the momentum against Minnesota tonight. He is getting plenty of looks from the field, averaging almost 14 shot attempts a night over that span, and that extra involvement on the offensive end seems to have restarted his motor on the glass as well. If it keeps up, this price is going up in the near future.
Other Options – Serge Ibaka ($6,200), Marvin Williams ($4,900)
Joel Embiid vs. CHA ($8,100) – Already scheduled for an off-day tomorrow, he should get plenty of usage tonight as long as he enters the game at 100%. He is consistently putting up 40+ fantasy points in just over 25 minutes of playing time, and Charlotte just doesn’t have the kind of athletic big man with length you need to stop him from getting to his spots. He’s up there with LeBron as one of my top cash game plays on the board tonight, even if his upside is limited by his minutes.
Dwight Howard vs. BOS ($7,300) – Howard is another big who should be able to find plenty of room to operate inside against Boston tonight. He doesn’t have the scoring upside of Millsap, but he should be able to supplement his production with a couple of blocks serving as the rim protector inside (at least one rejection in six of his last seven) against Boston’s smaller lineups.
Other Options – Hassan Whiteside ($8,400), Andre Drummond ($7,000)
Jonas Valanciunas vs. BKN ($5,900) – He doesn’t have as many scoring opportunities when Lowry and DeRozan are playing well, but as the rock in the center of the Raptors’ lineup, he contributes in a lot of ways. Against this Brooklyn team, that way should be with a double-double, pretty easily, making him someone I could see hitting 35 or more fantasy points tonight.
Other Options – Rudy Gobert ($6,500)
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.