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NBA Daily Games Cheat Sheet: Friday

Michael Chua

Michael Chua

Michael Chua is a basketball statistics expert from the Philippines. He has worked as a student manager for the University of Wisconsin Men's basketball team. He is also the basketball program consultant for his high school alma mater, Shanghai American School, in China.

TEAM ANALYSIS

Defenses to Avoid
Milwaukee Bucks at New Orleans Pelicans: The Bucks and the Pelicans take the stage for Friday night's "defenses" to avoid. Of course, it's rather common knowledge that neither team actually plays "worthy" defense, both being tied for second-worst in the league in opponent points allowed per 100 possessions at 107.2 apiece. Yet, despite having a game that could end up in a high-scoring slaughterhouse, fantasy production can't be guaranteed to the elect few. Two motivated Bucks could dash off to 15-point, six-assist performances, and four loaded Pelicans could explode for 20-plus points, four three-point bombs, and two swipes. However, it will take quite the talented eye to capture which members of the flock will produce golden fruit. I may be a fine juggler of words, but rest assured I'm keeping my hands off the Bucks and Pelicans tonight.

Offenses to Use
Sacramento Kings at Toronto Raptors: The Kings have become quite the revolutionary fantasy team ever since the trade sent Isaiah Thomas to the starting lineup and Rudy Gay to the roster, capping off the semi-Big Three. DeMarcus Cousins, Thomas, and Gay have been producing like machines this season, and despite the Kings' modest 22-39 record, their Big Three could match (or even beat) the Heat's trio in a fantasy showdown. Friday's matchup is bound to be an interesting one, as the Kings and the Raptors will face each other for the second time since the trade. In their first matchup of the season, the Kings reigned victorious, with the Big Three averaging 24.0 points, 7.7 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 2.3 steals, and 1.0 blocks apiece. Will their kingdom extend past the borders of the city, state, and country? Deploy to find out.

Teams on a Back-to-Back Set
First game of a back-to-back: Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Bobcats, Cleveland Cavaliers, Memphis Grizzlies, Milwaukee Bucks, New York Knicks, Utah Jazz
Second game of a back-to-back: Los Angeles Lakers

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Point Guard
Ty Lawson, DEN (vs. LAL), PG ($7,300): Lawson has been dealing with heel and rib injuries, though it's reported he's expected to play against the Lakers. Game-time decisions for fantasy stars are both a blessing and a curse in daily games—their price tag falls to a rather depressing number, but they always pose the risk of a late-scratch. Double-check Lawson's status at tip-off before deploying him at a discount. If he plays, there's quite a good chance he will explode against the Lakers, who have been playing some horrendous defense of late.

Other suggestions: Isaiah Thomas (at TOR), PG ($7,400), Brandon Jennings (at MIN), PG ($7,100), Mike Conley (at CHI), PG ($6,900)

Shooting Guard
DeMar DeRozan, TOR (vs. SAC), SG/SF ($8,100): DeRozan has emerged to become quite the breakout player this season, averaging 30.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, 5.5 assists, and 1.0 steals over his last four games. He doesn't appear to be slowing down, and his price tag is worth his production of late. Look for him to continue to impress as he plays against his former teammate Rudy Gay. Kings' shooting guard Ben McLemore hasn't exactly been putting up outstanding defensive performances, and DeRozan's high price tag could yield appropriate returns.

Other suggestions: Monta Ellis (vs. POR) PG/SG ($7,800), Lance Stephenson (at HOU) SG/SF ($6,600), Wesley Matthews (at DAL) SG/SF ($5,500)

Small Forward
Kent Bazemore, LAL (at DEN), SG/SF ($4,600): Bazemore has found himself quite a home with the Lakers, averaging 16.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.5 steals, and 2.1 three-pointers made per game on his new team. In eight games so far, his lowest-scoring outing saw him putting up 12 points, six rebounds, one assist, two steals, two blocks, and two three-pointers made, a performance that is certainly relevant in the fantasy realm. His price tag has shot up by $1,400 since the last time I put him up here, but he's certainly still worth every penny. Of course, this is given he doesn't pull off his first dud in the purple and gold on Friday.

Other suggestions: Rudy Gay (at TOR), SF/PF ($8,100), Chandler Parsons (vs. IND), SF/PF ($6,600), Wilson Chandler (vs. LAL), SG/SF ($5,700)

Power Forward
Terrence Jones, HOU (vs. IND), SF/PF ($5,300): It's always an insane idea to deploy players matched up against the Pacers. Yet, on a Friday night slate with the high-end power forwards either coming back from injuries, or playing against tough matchups, the gamble on the high-risk, high-reward mid-priced option is always a fun route. Jones is covering up for his atrocious play in February with a solid line in March, averaging 19.3 points, 11.0 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and 1.3 blocks per game. His fantasy potential is dazzling, but everyone knows his performance changes on a day-by-day basis. Deploy at risk.

Other suggestions: Kevin Love (vs. DET), PF/C ($11,400), Greg Monroe (at MIN), PF/C ($7,500), Josh McRoberts (vs. CLE), PF/C ($4,500)

Center
DeMarcus Cousins, SAC (at TOR), PF/C ($9,000): Cousins has been excellent in his breakout year, averaging 22.3 points, 11.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.5 steals, and 1.2 blocks per game. His price tag had at one point this season reached the elite five-digit figure, as he was performing above standards. Thanks to an injury and a slow recovery, his price tag took a dump over the past few weeks. Behold, the King could be had for $9,000 on Friday, and something tells me he'll finish the season a figure or so higher. Deploy by default.

Other suggestions: Spencer Hawes (at CHA), PF/C ($7,100), Tyson Chandler (vs. UTA), C ($6,500), Jared Sullinger (vs. BKN), PF/C ($5,500)

INJURY REPORT

Out
Jrue Holiday (leg) underwent successful surgery on his right tibia and is out for the season.
Ryan Anderson (back) is still without a timetable to return.
Anderson Varejao (back) will not play Friday.
Gerald Henderson (calf) is expected to remain out this week.
Kevin Garnett (back) will not play Friday.
Avery Bradley (ankle) is expected to return in two weeks.
Andrea Bargnani (elbow) is still without a timetable to return.
Kenyon Martin (ankle) is still without a timetable to return.
Larry Sanders (eye) will miss at least three more weeks.
Kobe Bryant (knee) will miss at least one more week.
Steve Nash (back) could miss the entire season.

Game-Time Decision
Stephen Curry (leg) is expected to play Friday.
Paul George (back) has been playing through pain and is expected to play Friday.
Ty Lawson (heel) is expected to play Friday.
Paul Millsap (knee) is a game-time decision Friday.
Zach Randolph (illness) is a game-time decision Friday.
Joakim Noah (thumb) is a game-time decision Friday.
Terrence Ross (ankle) is expected to play Friday.
Nick Young (knee) is questionable to play Friday.
Jordan Hill (knee) is questionable to play Friday.
C.J. Miles (ankle) is questionable to play Friday.
Vitor Faverani (knee) is questionable to play Friday.
Ekpe Udoh (ankle) is questionable to play Friday.
Thomas Robinson (knee) is questionable to play Friday.
Patrick Beverley (nose) is questionable to play Friday.