Friday night slate! Tonight’s NBA slate features nine games and some of the top players in the league. After a small slate on Thursday that ended up producing some bland matchups, it is a relief to get back to a full slate of games with high totals and superstar players. The Warriors head to Milwaukee to take on the Bucks and the Blazers and Pelicans game should be fun to watch. Since there should be a decent amount of value on tonight’s slate, there should be enough cap room to target two or three top-tier players and a few solid mid-range plays.
As always, identifying great value is going to be key to building a winning lineup and affording someone like Giannis Antetokounmpo on tonight’s slate. I am going to identify my two favorite plays, regardless of price, at each position and then a few value plays that can help round out our lineups.
Damian Lillard (POR): $8,600 at NOP
Lillard didn’t miss a beat after returning from a two-game absence on Wednesday night, putting up 50.75 DK points in a tough road matchup against the Rockets. Tonight, he gets a matchup against a Pelicans team that has given up the eighth-most DraftKings points to point guards this season. Lillard will go from facing Chris Paul (ninth out of 94 point guards in defensive real plus-minus [DRPM]) to Rajon Rondo, who is ranked 76th in DRPM. In a matchup against the Pelicans in early December, Lillard put up 50.75 DK points. He should be able to get whatever he wants on offense against a Pelicans defense that ranks 24th in defensive efficiency rating this season.
Dennis Schroder (ATL): $7,200 vs. BKN
Schroder comes into tonight’s game in solid form, averaging 34.9 DraftKings points over the past three games. While he hasn’t been crushing value lately, Schroder is averaging 17.5 shots per game with a 29.8% usage rate this season and gets a great home matchup against the Nets tonight. Brooklyn is ranked 29th in DK points allowed to opposing point guards and plays at the fifth fastest pace in the NBA. Schroder’s high volume can lead to 40+ DK point upside in a game that has a 211 total and 3.5-point spread.
Cory Joseph (IND): $3,900 vs. CLE
Jarrett Jack is likely to pick up steam as one of the top value guards today, but if you’re looking for a pivot from him in tournaments, look no further than Cory Joseph. Joseph struggled on Wednesday night and put up a 9.75 DK point dud against the Heat on 2-of-8 shooting. However, in the two games prior to that with Oladipo in the lineup, Joseph averaged 25.6 DK points in 27.1 minutes per game. The Cavaliers have given up the ninth-most DK points to point guards this season and Raptors backup point guard Fred Van Vleet also went off for 38 DK points against them last night. Joseph will have 8x upside for minimal ownership.
Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL): $10,500 vs. GSW
Despite going through a mini-slump, Antetokounmpo is still my favorite player to pay up for on tonight’s slate. The Bucks get an up-tempo home game against a Warriors team that plays at the fourth-fastest pace in the NBA and the game has a projected total of 222.5. Giannis will be going toe to toe with Kevin Durant (33rd out of 87 SFs in DRPM) but the Warriors are actually ranked 25th in DK points allowed to SFsdue to their quick pace. Antetokounmpo should flash a ton of block and steal upside in a game that should have a few extra possessions. He should be able to bust out of his slump and reach 60 DK points in this matchup.
T.J. Warren (PHX): $6,200 vs. HOU
Over the past five games, Warren has averaged 36.7 DK points while scoring 24.2 actual points per game. For some reason, the DraftKings pricing algorithm has not been impressed and Warren’s price has decreased by $500 since the start of his hot streak. The Rockets are ranked 13th in defensive efficiency rating this season and Trevor Ariza is an above average defender, ranking 32nd out of 87 SFs in DRPM, but the game environment is too good to pass up. This game has a 226.5 total and only a seven-point spread with Harden out. With the Suns and Rockets playing at the third and eighth-fastest paces in the NBA, Warren’s cheap price tag is the best way to get exposure to this game.
Markieff Morris (WAS): $5,200 vs. ORL
Morris’ game has started to click over the past few weeks and he has averaged 30.3 DK points over the past four games. Tonight, Morris gets a plus matchup against a Magic team that has given up the 10thmost DK points to power forwards this season. The Magic are also ranked 27th in defensive efficiency rating and second to last in overall rebounding percentage. With Morris averaging 11 rebounds over the past four games, he has double-double upside in tonight’s matchup and should continue to roll.
Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN): $8,900 vs. NYK
Towns has been on fire recently, averaging 48.8 DK points over the past four games. Towns doesn’t have an elite usage rate but he has a strong 59.2% effective field goal percentage (eFG%) and is ranked 15th in the NBA with 10.2 points in the paint per game. Tonight, he gets to face a Knicks team that has given up the fifth-most DK points to centers, with Enes Kanter ranking 59th out of 73 centers in DRPM. The Knicks are also one of the worst road teams in the NBA, tied for last with four wins away from the Garden this season. Towns has 60 DK-point upside against a beatable Knicks frontcourt.
Domantas Sabonis (IND): $6,400 vs. CLE
Sabonis underperformed as a chalk play on Wednesday night but with Myles Turner set to miss another game, he is in a great spot against Cleveland. In the 787 minutes Sabonis has been on the court without Turner this season, he is second on the team (behind Victor Oladipo of course) with a 24.7% usage rate and 1.11 DK points per minute. The Cavaliers have given up the ninth-fewest DK points to centers this season but they are ranked 29th in defensive efficiency rating and will be playing on the second half of a back-to-back tonight. Sabonis should be able to exploit this matchup.