WATCH: 3 IN THE KEY – BROOK LOPEZ
Friday’s 14-game slate of NBA games gives you plenty of ways to go when you’re building your DFS lineups – here are a few names you can consider from each position and every price range.
Russell Westbrook @ BOS ($12,600) – Per usual, he has the most upside on the slate – he is the most expensive for a reason. The only question is whether you can afford him, not whether you want him. Coming off back to back games with 40+ points, he will look to dominate tonight against a Boston backcourt he has had plenty of success against in the past (he had 37-12 when they met a few weeks back).
Giannis Antetokounmpo vs. WAS ($9,900) – He has the kind of size and physicality that could give the Washington guards fits. While Wall and Beal are a bad matchup for most, in this game, it’s the other way around, because those two simply cannot stay in front of Giannis all night long. He has 29 free throw attempts in his last two games, and I expect him to get to the line with the same frequency in this one as well.
Other Options – Chris Paul ($9,400), John Wall ($9,100), Isaiah Thomas ($7,900)
Jamal Murray vs. ATL ($3,300) – Murray returned to action on Monday against Dallas, but only played 14 minutes. This was the fear: now that Gary Harris and Will Barton are both healthy, he wouldn’t have any minutes left. That fear may have been premature, however, as he bounced back Tuesday with 24.75 fantasy points in 27 minutes of action. A real smooth shooter, there is a chance he has earned his minutes no matter who gets healthy now, which would mean there is real value built into this bargain-basement price.
Other Options – Reggie Jackson ($5,400), Sergio Rodriguez ($5,200)
James Harden @ MEM ($11,800) – You have to consider him, but when you do, the first thing you have to ask yourself is what you think Westbrook is going to do. Because if they are both at their very best, chances are Westbrook is going to be worth more than the $800 Harden savings.
Nicolas Batum vs. CHI ($7,100) – He is having a good month, with six double-doubles in eleven games in December. Looking closely at those six games also gives you a peek into his versatility. In four of those games, Batum did it with points and rebounds, and in the other two, it was points and assists. Against Chicago, all of those skill sets could come together – even without a double-double, he should be able to finish with respectable totals in both rebounds and assists.
Other Options – Jimmy Butler ($8,400), DeMar DeRozan ($7,300)
Eric Gordon @ MEM ($5,700)- He has been over 35 fantasy points in three of his last four, with nineteen total 3’s made over that span. With two games in the last week with seven 3’s made, Gordon gives you as much upside as possible for this price tag.
Other Options – Klay Thompson ($6,200)
Gordon Hayward vs. TOR ($7,800) – Toronto has some individual defenders who match up well with Hayward, but with both of these teams in the top ten in terms of pacing stats, such as time per possession and total shot attempts, there should be enough production here for basically everyone to hit their averages. That leaves Hayward likely to fall somewhere in the 35-40 fantasy point range, making him (and most of the starters in this game) a solid cash-game option.
Jabari Parker vs. WAS ($6,800) – He has had 27 or more points in six of his last eight games, coming on well as a complement to Giannis on offense for the Bucks. Parker is not always doing a lot otherwise, but he has the potential to get you a half-dozen or so rebounds on any given night. This gives him legitimate 40+ fantasy point upside, something you can’t say for other players at this price.
Other Options – LeBron James ($10,100), Kevin Durant ($8,800)
Robert Covington @ PHO ($5,700) – He has been playing 30+ minutes a night, and getting up more than his fair share of shot attempts, not surprising on a team lacking options. He has attempted at least four threes in nine straight, and over the last four games, his 16-8 average puts him in range for a double-double.
Other Options – Will Barton ($5,500), Justise Winslow ($5,300)
Anthony Davis vs. MIA ($10,600) – Unless you’re scared of Hassan Whiteside blocking all of Davis’ shots, there is no one there who can even come to matching up with the Pelicans’ superstar on an individual level. He will be able to face the basket and get open looks whenever he wants in this game, giving him a solid chance of getting to the 40-10 he needs to up his streak of 60-fantasy point performances to three.
DeMarcus Cousins @ MIN ($10,400) – Last time these two teams met, Cousins seemed to want to prove a point against Towns, and he went off for 29 points. That was early in the season, but lately Cousins has seemed, if anything, even more likely to want to prove a point every time he steps on the floor. That might not be the best way for the Kings to win games, but it is definitely the best way for Cousins to come through with dominating fantasy performances.
Other Options – Paul Millsap ($8,100), Joel Embiid ($7,300)
Kenneth Faried vs. ATL ($5,000) – Denver is deep, with some interchangeable parts that make playing time hard to predict sometimes, especially on a back-to-back. But since that’s not the case tonight, Faried should be right around 30 minutes, and when that happens, he is very consistently up over 30 fantasy points. His price is depressed because of the nights when his minutes are restricted, so predicting value for him is as simple as correctly predicting the Nugget’s rotation.
Other Options – Tobias Harris ($5,100)
Hassan Whiteside @ NO ($8,900) – New Orleans is going to prefer to have Davis facing the basket on offense and staying out of foul trouble on defense, so he and Whiteside actually won’t be pairing off against each other too often in this matchup. That’s going to allow both of them the opportunity to go after blocks as help defenders, which should boost their upside. Since the New Orleans guards are more adept at slashing through the lane than shooting from the outside, Whiteside’s opportunity for supplemental stats is actually enough to give him the upside you would want for any type of contest.
DeAndre Jordan vs. DAL ($7,200) – With Griffin out, Jordan’s opportunity arises – it is something we’ve seen repeated several times over the past few years, and there is no reason to expect anything different this time around. It didn’t necessarily pan out that way against the Spurs last night, and Dallas is just about as bad of a matchup as San Antonio. However, Jordan can almost always grab a couple of blocks and double-digit boards when he has the time, so any increase in opportunities on the offensive end makes him a threat to grab you a double-double.
Other Options – Karl-Anthony Towns ($9,000), Draymond Green ($7,600)
Tristan Thompson vs. BKN ($5,200) – With Love continuing to be out, and the potential that Cleveland blows out Brooklyn anyway, Thompson could be a primary beneficiary of increased opportunities. LeBron and Kyrie might not need to play big minutes or carry a huge scoring burden, and beyond the big three, Thompson has as much of the coach’s trust as anyone on the roster (as evidenced by his high usage rates in the game against Memphis where the big three all sat). I like him to beat his season averages across the board in this matchup tonight.
Other Options – LaMarcus Aldridge ($6,400), Enes Kanter ($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.