There is a full 15-game NBA slate on Friday after a day off for the league on Thanksgiving, but with the Celtics and Spurs facing off at 1:00, those players will be the only ones unavailable to you. With all those options, you can go a lot of different ways with your lineup construction. Here are a few names from each position and why you might want to consider them as your building blocks.
Giannis Antetokounmpo vs. TOR ($9,100) – The issue with players who produce in fantasy by filling multiple categories on the stat sheet is that there is usually more variance in production, since you’re relying on more things going right. But that only means you might be more inclined to play someone like Giannis in a GPP than a cash-game, because the upside is certainly there – with three games of 55 or more fantasy points in his last five, it’s clear he can help raise your ceiling when the matchup is right.
Damian Lillard vs. NO ($8,500) – Coming off a 40-point night against Cleveland on Wednesday, he should be riding plenty of confidence coming into tonight’s matchup with New Orleans. He might not see the double-digit assists he got Wednesday very often, but he has demonstrated that these kinds of scoring outbursts are to be expected, and he should be able to free himself up on the outside and get to the line again tonight.
Other Options – Russell Westbrook ($12,000), Eric Bledsoe ($7,000)
Jrue Holiday @ POR ($6,700) – He is only playing between 22 and 30 or so minutes a night thus far, but he is clearly the second best player on this team. The bright side is that his reemergence hasn’t signaled the end of Tim Frazier’s productivity, but even in just 25 minutes a night he is getting more than enough chances, averaging 16-7 on double-digit shot attempts.
Other Options – Jordan Clarkson ($5,400), Matthew Dellavedova ($3,900)
James Harden @ SAC ($11,700) – You could probably find a way to build a lineup that includes both Westbrook and Harden, but for more fantasy owners, the choice will come down to one or the other. For tonight, Harden is my choice. The savings of a few hundred dollars seems to be because Harden’s most common “bad” game is in the mid-50’s instead of the low-60’s. However, both of these guys are elite options, and the upside of a scoring explosion as part of a triple-double is there for both of them.
Jimmy Butler @ PHI ($9,300) –He has 45 or more fantasy points in five of six, and 57 or more in three of those. He is coming into his own as the leader of this Bulls team – again – and he will be the best player on the floor in this one. Philly doesn’t have anyone to stop him from doing everything he likes to do, meaning he should be able to surpass his averages in every category, and for a guy who averages 26-7-4 with more than a steal a game, that means some serious fantasy production is in order.
Other Options – Victor Oladipo ($6,600), George Hill ($6,500)
Klay Thompson @ LAL ($6,200) – He got seven three point attempts up on Wednesday against the Lakers, and hit four of them – not surprisingly, since they were, for the most part, wide open. Assuming the Warriors don’t win by almost 50 again tonight, he should see more than 24 minutes, which could allow him to once again surpass his 20 ppg scoring average tonight, making him a solid value play.
Other Options – Darren Collison ($5,600), Eric Gordon ($4,800)
LeBron James vs. DAL ($9,400) – Whether you want to slide him in at SF or PF depends on some other choices you make, but getting him in there somewhere makes sense to me. In a game that could grind down to a half-court affair, LeBron’s ability to create his own looks whenever he wants should earn him a higher-than-usual usage rate while he is out there, giving him the upside to be used in any type of contest, even if the game stays relatively low-scoring.
Paul George vs. BKN ($8,000) – He is a great cash game option, averaging 21 points, 7 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game and getting you close to all those figures every single night, giving him a solid floor in the mid-30’s. And his upside could come from anywhere – a handful of steals and blocks, an above average scoring night, or randomly getting to double-digit rebounds – any and all of which is possible in this matchup with the Nets.
Other Options – Kevin Durant ($9,600), Rudy Gay ($7,000)
DeMarre Carroll @ MIL ($3,600) – He has still been rested during back-to-backs, but coming off a day off for the whole league, he should be good to go. And over the past week, when he has been active, he has seen an average of just about 30 minutes a night, up from his season average of 25. He has used that opportunity to score 17 and 20 points in his last two, obviously good for extreme value at this price.
Other Options – Vince Carter ($4,200)
Anthony Davis @ POR ($10,700) – He went for 45-10 Wednesday against Minnesota, and against this Portland team, he will be forced to score to keep pace. He will be very capable of it against their front court, making him another huge upside play in the mold of Westbrook and Harden, for a little bit of a discount.
Kristaps Porzingis vs. CHA ($7,700) – With 40+ fantasy points in three of his last five, he is averaging 25 points, 9 rebounds and a couple of threes made a night. He is routinely out there for 35+ minutes, the anchor of this Knicks team when the other starters and when the bench players are out on the floor. The Hornets don’t have a defender to keep a hand in his face and keep him from getting clean looks, so I expect his recent growth in value to continue for another night.
Other Options – Blake Griffin ($8,200), Kevin Love ($7,800)
Ersan Ilyasova vs. CHI ($4,200) – Announced as the starter for Monday’s game, he played 31 minutes and then followed that up with 40 on Wednesday, compared to a season average of only 25 minutes a night – and now Embiid is scheduled to sit tonight. Ilyasova responded to the increased minutes with 30+ fantasy points in both of those contests and has another favorable matchup tonight. If those trends continue, this is a great value price for tonight’s action.
Other Options – Myles Turner ($6,500), Terrance Jones ($5,800)
Draymond Green @ LAL ($7,900) – He left Wednesday’s game against the Lakers in the third quarter after getting poked in the eye, and didn’t return, but that was mainly because the Warriors were in the process of dropping 149 points on the Lakers in a 43-point blowout. He is expected back for tonight’s rematch, and Wednesday, he managed 36 fantasy points before exiting despite scoring only 5 actual points, ending up with 11 dimes and 9 boards.
Dwight Howard @ UTA ($7,200)- He has actually been having a remarkably consistent season, a virtual lock for double-digit boards every night, with the potential for a lot more than just ten. He has 18 or more in three of his last four games – a great base to work from in terms of fantasy production. He has been able to supplement that with a fair amount of scoring from time to time, just with a little less consistency. But on a night where he can approach 20 points scoring, he is going to be a huge asset at his price point.
Other Options – Andre Drummond ($7,300), Karl-Anthony Towns ($8,400)
Robin Lopez @ PHI ($5,700) – He is averaging just about 32 minutes a night over the past ten days, an increase over what he was seeing at the beginning of the year, and with the success Chicago has had at the same time, there is no reason to expect that to change any time soon. He is a lower-end cash game option in my opinion, but with averages in the high single digits in both points and rebounds, he is a threat for a double-double every night, so he’s an enticing option when the matchup is right, like it is against Philly with a resting Embiid.
Other Options – Clint Capela ($6,000), Jonas Valanciunas ($5,700)
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.