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Michael Carter-Williams, PHI (vs. LAL), PG, ($7,600):
Offenses to Use
Los Angeles Lakers at Philadelphia Sixers: It's best to target both teams in this matchup, as they rank one and two in average points allowed. The Lakers will again be shorthanded, but that didn't stop them from putting up 119 points on the Cavs (eighth-worst scoring defense) on Wednesday. With a few more players back in the fold Friday, they should have no trouble eclipsing the century mark against a Philly defense allowing a whopping 110.0 points per game. And, really, the same can be said for the Sixers, as they'll look to attack a Lakers team sending out Robert Sacre, Chris Kaman, and Jordan Hill as its interior defenders. It wouldn't be a surprise if this one finished in the 120's.
Cleveland Cavaliers at Washington Wizards: The Cavs are an absolute mess in all facets of the game at this point in the season, and Wednesday's loss to a severely undermanned Lakers team only served to add insult to injury. Cleveland conceded at least 100 points in each of the last five games, and with the rotation seemingly fluctuating on a nightly basis the bleeding isn't likely to stop any time soon. Washington is a below-average scoring team (99.1 points per game), but bear in mind that the Cavs allowed 117 points to the Knicks (96.3 points per game) last week. The bottom line is these two teams are trending in opposite directions, and it isn't wise to count on Cleveland in any defensive category right now, so ride the Wizards for offense Friday.
Dallas Mavericks at Utah Jazz: Dallas has topped 100 points in 13 of its last 14 games, while Utah continues to flounder near the bottom of the Western Conference. The Jazz allow a league-worst 107.7 points per 100 possessions, while Dallas boasts the league's third-best offensive rating. Also working in the Mavs' favor is their third-ranked field goal percentage (47.5 percent) versus Utah's 26th-ranked field goal defense (46.4 percent). This one has blowout potential, but Utah has proven capable of keeping things close against playoff-caliber teams of late - at least into the fourth quarter.
Teams on a Back-to-Back Set
First game of a back-to-back: Utah, Denver, Detroit, Portland, Minnesota
Second game of a back-to-back: Brooklyn
Oklahoma City Thunder at Orlando Magic: If there is one game on Friday's docket that could get out of hand, this is it. Even without Russell Westbrook, the Thunder are playing arguably their best basketball of the season, reeling off 12 wins in their last 13 games. Over that span, Oklahoma City has wins over Miami, Memphis, Brooklyn, San Antonio, Portland and Houston, losing only to the Wizards on Feb. 1. When these teams met back on Dec. 15, Oklahoma City escaped with just a three-point victory (101-98), but don't expect the final score to be nearly as close this time around.
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As detailed above, Carter-Williams goes up against the league's second-worst defense and should be able to take advantage of the Lakers' especially poor defenders at the point guard position. His all-around production has tailed off a bit after a stellar month of December, but he still averaged 16.5 points, 5.6 assists and 5.5 rebounds in January. Carter-Williams will see major minutes and can be counted on to contribute across three or four categories on a nightly basis. Turnovers, however, remain a concern, as he's committed at least three in each of his last five games.
Other suggestions: Monta Ellis
, DAL (vs. UTA), PG/SG, ($7,500)
DeMar DeRozan, TOR (at LAC), SG, ($7,500):
After a brief, two-game absence due to an ankle injury at the end of January, DeRozan hasn't missed a step, scoring at least 18 points in his last four games. In three February contests, the 24-year-old is averaging 25.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and a whopping 6.7 assists (thanks in large part to handing out 12 against Portland last Saturday). DeRozan has had his fair share of big performances this season, but many have come against superior competition. He was limited to just 21 minutes against the Clippers on Jan. 25, when he suffered the ankle injury, but at this point he's virtually a lock to provide around 20 points and 10 combined assists/rebounds.
Other suggestions: Brad Beal, WAS (vs. CLE), SG, ($6,300), Kevin Martin
, MIN, (at NO), SG, ($6,200)
Jeff Green, BOS (vs. SAC), SF, ($6,600):
Following a five-game streak of forgettable shooting nights, Green broke out of his mini-slump Wednesday, going for 36 points, eight rebounds, two assists and two blocks in a win over the Celtics. He certainly shouldn't be counted on to replicate that performance, but it's reasonable to believe he could have another big night against the league's third-worst defense. With plenty of big-name small forwards availalbe Friday (Durant, Anthony, George, Gay, etc.), Green could be a sneaky value play.
Other suggestions: Carmelo Anthony
, NY (vs. Den), SF, ($10,100), Rudy Gay
, SAC (at BOS), SF, ($8,200)
Anthony Davis, NO (vs. MIN), PF/C, ($9,800):
Davis checks in as DraftKings.com's fifth-ranked power forward Friday, making him a solid value play, even at a high salary. He'll be facing a depleted Minnesota front line that will likely match him up with either Dante Cunningham
or Ronny Turiaf
, in order to keep Kevin Love
out of foul trouble. Either way, it should be a major mismatch for Davis, both offensively and defensively, so he could be in for a big night across the board.
Other suggestions: DeMarcus Cousins
, SAC (at BOS), PF/C, ($9,200), Serge Ibaka
, OKC (at ORL), PF/C, ($7,400), Kenneth Faried
, DEN (at NY), PF, ($6,300)
Brandan Wright, DAL (vs. UTA), PF/C, ($4,100):
Arguably the most important aspect when targeting value plays in daily games is ensuring a player will see minutes. Wright is averaging 22 minutes over his last three contests, scoring in double-figures in all three while posting 7.0 rebounds per game. He won't give you much in terms of blocks or assists, but as long as the playing time trend continues, he's an excellent value at the center spot, particularly if you plan on splurging on one of the high-priced forwards active Friday.
Other suggestions: Jordan Hill
, LAL (vs. PHI), PF/C, ($3,900)
(hamstring) will sit out Friday to rest his legs and will be day-to-day after Friday.
(rest) is getting the night off Friday and should play Sunday against the Pelicans.
(ankle) will miss the last game of the Lakers' road trip, with his next chance to return this Sunday.
(shoulder) will likely return as a starter when the Clippers play the 76ers on Sunday.
(knee) could remain sidelined for up to another month, and will miss the 2014 All-Star game
(groin) will miss the next couple of weeks.
sustained a non-displaced fracture of his patella as well as a bone bruise in his left knee during Wednesday's win in Cleveland and will be out a minimum of two weeks
(should/hip) has been playing hurt and will take some time to heal and assess his injuries.
(ankle) is out of his walking boot, but still without a timetable.
(knee) is not expected back until after the all-star break.
will be away from the Blazers indefinitely following the death of his sister
(wrist) got some shots in after wrist surgery, but is still without a timeline.
Gel Mekel (knee) is expected to begin practicing following next weekend's All-Star break
(ankle) is in a walking boot and said he'll likely be out until after the All-Star break.
(bruised thing) has been hampered by injuries since his return from an elbow injury and will be a game-time decision Friday.
(back) has missed Utah's past two games after taking a hard fall, but should be rested enough to play in Dallas on Friday evening.
(hip) has not played since January 27th, but is expected to play Friday in Dallas.
(ankle) did not practice Thursday and is questionable against Sacramento.
(personal) is expected to return to the team after the birth of his son to play in New Orleans.
(ribs) went through shootaround, but still experienced pain and is a game-time decision Friday.
(head) missed Wednesday's game with a headache, but should be good to go Friday in Philadelphia.
(illness) did not participate in the morning shootaround, and is questionable for Friday night in D.C.
J.J. Recick (hip) missed the Clippers' last game and is doubtful Friday against the Raptors.
(back) left the Buck's last game with back pain, and is considered day-to-day with the injury.
(soreness) missed Thursday's practice and is not expected to play Friday against the Kings.
(hip/knee) came out of Wednesday's game after a tough fall, and is questionable Friday in Boston.
(illness) has missed five consecutive games without any updates on his status.
(foot) missed Wednesday's game and is a game-time decision Friday against the Celtics.