Tonight’s main NBA DFS slate features 9 games. In this breakdown of Friday’s action, I pick my favorite plays at each position by tier (studs – $7.5k higher, mid-range -$5.4k-$7.5k, and value – less than $5.4k) All pricing is for Fanduel.
Kyrie Irving ($8,500): Even with tonight’s slate featuring Russell Westbrook and Stephen Curry, Kyrie Irving grades out as one of the best PTS/$ plays at the PG position. The Magic have given up the 3rd most points (Fanduel scoring) to point guards this season and Kyrie boasts a massive 29.9% usage rate on the season, which is right in line with Westbrook and Steph. Coming off of a tough loss to the Heat on Wednesday night, this is a spot where I can see Kyrie Irving shouldering the load on offense and having a massive game.
Kemba Walker ($8,200): Kemba has some notable home/road splits throughout his career and is usually someone we like to target at home but when you get a match-up against a severely old and slow Cavs defense, those stats can safely be ignored. The Cavaliers are 23rd against opposing PGs this season and this game features a 220 total (Cavaliers favored by 5.5). Kemba is the number one option in this offense and this is a spot where 30 actual points is firmly in play. Oh – and he might get some Jose Calderon defense? Yes, please.
Dennis Schroder ($7,400): The Atlanta Hawks offense is really nothing to get excited about but in a home match-up against a Knicks team that has yet to prove itself on the road season, I’m inclined to target a player and hope this game stays close. Schroder has a MASSIVE 30.1% usage rate this season and he will likely be looking at Jarret Jack’s defense for half of the game. I think we can peg him for 40+ point upside against a Knicks team that has given up the 5th most fantasy points to opposing PGs this season.
Point guard is loaded in the mid-range tonight. I am very likely to play a few guys in the $6-$8.5k range on this slate. Outside of the 3 players listed, I will give a long look at Jeff Teague, Reggie Jackson (vs. Westbrook and OKC’s pace up offense), and Goran Dragic. There are much better positions to target value.
There isn’t a lot to love at the top of the SG position tonight. Demar Derozan is severely overpriced on Fanduel at $9,000 and Victor Oladipo’s price and (projected) ownership are inflated after a massive 73 points revenge game against the Magic. Pass.
Tyreke Evans ($7,300): I’ve ended up watching more Grizzlies basketball than I would care to admit over the past few weeks and one thing I’ve noticed is that Tyreke Evans despises the act of “passing” the basketball more than anyone I’ve ever seen. He has a 27% usage rate but I swear it could be a lot higher than that. Without Conley in the lineup the price still feels a bit too cheap. The Nuggets defense is not going to be the same without Paul Millsap and I can see 40+ point upside off the bench for Tyreke in this spot.
Tim Hardaway Jr. ($6,600): THJ is coming off of a 60 point game against the Raptors on Wednesday and because of that his ownership will likely be in the 25-30% range but I’m not sure I can fade here. This is Hardaway Jr.’s first game in Atlanta since signing with the Knicks and this Hawks team is BAD, ranking dead last in points allowed to the SG position. In a spot where his teammates will be giving him extra looks, THJ is one of my favorite plays on the board at any position.
Jeremy Lamb ($5,500): Nicolas Batum (ulnar nerve contusion) has been ruled out of Friday’s game against the Cavs. This is a prime spot to target Jeremy Lamb-chalk against a defense that is ranked 27th against the SG position this season.
Justin Holiday ($5,200): This is a spot where the player’s price is too cheap relative to his usage and minutes. Holiday’s game log has been all over the map but despite that he is sporting a usage rate over 20% and is locked in to 30-35 minutes a night, regardless of the outcome. Tonight’s game against the Warriors is sure to be over in the third quarter but I still like Holiday to deliver a 30 fantasy point outing in a spot where Vegas is projecting the Bulls team total to be 5 points higher than their season average.
Lebron James ($11,900): I’m going to be honest here, I am not targeting Lebron in this spot but leaving him out of this write-up feels weird. He has the highest ceiling at the SF position and is firmly in play if you want to fade Anthony David and/or Demarcus Cousins against the Suns. He’ll likely be matched up with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (a good defender) but this is Lebron James we’re talking about. He’s match-up proof.
Kevin Durant ($10,500): After a disappointing return trip to Oklahoma City on Wednesday night, KD gets a match-up against the Chicago Bulls at home. The Bulls have been surprisingly average (18th DvP) against small forwards this season but they aren’t facing Kevin Durant every night. This is a spot where he can easily reach 50 fantasy points. It just comes down to whether or not your roster construction can get you here.
TJ Warren ($7,600): If you’re not in love with the top SF options and looking to save a bit of salary, TJ Warren is a good building block. The Suns are facing off at home against a Pelicans team that is ranked 28th against the SF position this season. A lot of people are going to gravitate towards Devin Booker in this match-up but that could be a costly mistake now that Jrue Holiday has shifted over to the SG position. TJ Warren has proven 50 point upside. For this price, he is someone that can win a GPP.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist ($5,100): Without Nicolas Batum in the lineup tonight, Jeremy Lamb and MKG are going to get a nice bump in usage at the wing positions. This is a matchup MKG will be sure to get up for tonight and he will be tasked with guarding Lebron James for most of the night. Obviously, foul trouble is a concern but if he can stay on the floor for 30+ minutes tonight, he can easily return 6x on his salary.
Anthony Davis ($11,300): The Pelicans are playing a Phoenix Suns team that is ranked second to last vs the Power Forward position tonight. ADay is averaging 53 fantasy points per game since returning from a head injury but he has faced two defenses that are much tougher than this (Spurs and Thunder). Anything less than 53 tonight would be a shock and the ceiling is in the 70s.
Note: This is a prime spot to crush for both Anthony Davis and Demarcus Cousins. I am going to highlight both but a lot of contests are going to be won and lost based on the performance of these two players, as there is not enough value on the board to play them together.
Kristaps Porzingis ($9,300): If you want to pivot off of ADay’s dream match-up tonight, Porzingis makes sense against a Hawks team that ranks 25th against the PF position. The Hawks front-court does not have the talent to slow down KP and Dwayne Dedmon will likely be faced with guarding Enes Kanter. With Porzingis’ usage rate at an elite 32.9%, there is going to be a ton of opportunity to exploit a weak Hawks team.
John Collins ($5,700): On the other side of the Knicks-Hawks game, John Collins is in a great spot to return 6-7x on his salary. He has been on fire over the last two games with 35.8 and 40.5 fantasy points, while also being shifted into the starting lineup. The biggest concern here is foul trouble. If he can limit his mistakes on his defense and play 30+ minutes, Collins should give a nice return on his salary.
Jayson Tatum ($5,800): Tatum is getting a pretty average grade in my model so this one is a pure gut call. While the Magic have been average against the SF position this season (where Tatum actually lines up), giving up the 13th most fantasy points, this is an exploitable matchup. Tatum has put up 32+ Fanduel points in four of the past five games and has shown 40 point upside. From a PTS/$, this is a great play on tonight’s slate.
Bobby Portis ($4,200): In a game that features the Bulls as a 19 point underdog, having their top big man off the bench might be a nice strategy for GPPs. In his last two games, Portis has averaged 27 Fanduel points and his minutes will likely be somewhere in the mid-twenties tonight. The Warriors defense has been suspect this year against PFs (26th in Fantasy points against) and if this game gets out of hand, he could be a garbage time all-star.
DeMarcus Cousins ($11,400): As I mentioned before, the toughest decision on tonight’s slate is figuring out what to do with Davis and Cousins tonight. The Suns are ranked 17th against Centers this season and Cousins owns an elite 33.0% usage rate. Despite seeing players like Tyson Chandler and Alex Len, this matchup is easily exploitable and we just saw Thon Maker go for 35 Fantasy points in this matchup on Wednesday. Boogie can easily go for 70+ in this spot.
Nikola Jokic ($9.200): After getting embarrassed in a road matchup against the Rockets on Wednesday, people are going to be quick to right off the Nuggets in this matchup against the Grizzlies tonight. There is still a ton of usage to go around with Millsap out for the foreseeable future and Jokic is likely to shoulder the load for this team. He has 50+ point upside in this matchup.
Kevin Love ($7,900): With our top center in the higher range tonight, Kevin Love grades out as a nice mid-to-high range option who could have ownership under 5%. The Hornets have ranked 6th against centers this season but Dwight Howard will likely have trouble keeping up with Love the perimeter. On the defensive end, Love has extra rebound upside with Howard likely staying near the basket. This is a nice 20 point, 15 rebound spot despite be tough match-up.
None. The best case for value can be made for the Phoenix Suns big men (Greg Monroe, Alex Len, Tyson Chandler) but it’s anyone’s guess how their minutes are going to shake out tonight. Len was a DNP-CD on Wednesday night and Tyson Chandler is healthy and performing relatively well. They will likely need the defense of Len and Chandler tonight against ADay and Boogie but foul trouble can be a concern. I’m going to pass.