This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
DraftKings is featuring both the full, nine-game slate and a reduced, six-game slate that begins thirty minutes later. This article will cover all nine games.
Cleveland is the only team on the tail end of a back-to back, and after a demoralizing loss to the Raptors in Toronto they'll face another road test against the Pacers. While the Pacers pose less of a challenge, the Cavs might be a team to avoid on Friday.
Vegas disagrees, as the Over Under for CLE/IND is a blistering 223, which is the third-highest O/U on the slate. The HOU/PHO game holds the highest total (226) with GS/MIL not too far behind at 223.5. Obviously, these games merit some additional consideration.
Notable lengthy travel days include Utah traveling to Charlotte, Portland heading to New Orleans, and the Warriors flying to Milwaukee.
Let's first take a look at the 10k-plus elites that reside at the top of Friday's slate. Seven players are up there, but with James Harden out, the number is reduced to six. Probably one of the biggest questions is whether or not that number will be five instead, as Steph Curry ($10,400) is carrying a questionable tag.
While we'll have to wait until the morning shootaround to be sure, most feel like Curry will return against the Bucks. Either way, Kevin Durant ($10,200) will also be in the mix, but he'll most likely be guarded by Giannis Antetokounmpo ($10,500). I don't see these two canceling each other out, but it might not be the best night to tempt fate with either of them, especially when you add the possibility of Draymond Green giving Giannis fits all evening.
All signs point toward Chris Paul ($10,600) having a big day against the Suns, as Phoenix ranks 23rd against opposing point guards and Paul has scored at least 46 DKFP over the last four games. With a plentiful slate full of centers, I don't know that DeMarcus Cousins ($10,800) is essential versus Portland, but he did score 68.4 DKFP against them when they last met. It remains to be seen if Anthony Davis ($9,800) will take the floor to join him.
Finally, another quandary is whether to spend up on LeBron James ($11,500) or look elsewhere. Although he lit up the Pacers for 60 DKFP previously, the slate has too many options to spend that much. There's no doubt that LeBron will have a chip on his shoulder, though. Obviously, everyone I've mentioned will have GOOD games, but meeting value against their price is another matter entirely.
I'll now feature three players at each position, including some non-highlighted players that hold equal weight in my predictions. I'll do my best to provide players at a variety of price points.
Victor Oladipo, IND vs. CLE ($9,000): The Pacers will face an angry LeBron James, who's probably fuming after the beatdown his team took on Thursday, but the Cavs simply can't contain most backcourts they face, which is why I think Oladipo will swoop in and feast on these guys tonight. He's dismantled the Cavs for an average of 46.5 DKFP over two contests, so while I'd like to see a slightly higher total than that at this price. I'm confident in his floor.
Eric Gordon, HOU at PHO ($7,400): Once again Gordon tops my predictions as a red-hot option in a great matchup against the Suns. He'll be a good bet to make 40-45 DKFP here as he's recovered from a shooting slump last week that hurt his averages a bit. While I recommended Paul above, this is the cheaper way to get a piece of this potentially high-scoring matchup.
Gary Harris, DEN vs. MEM ($5,800): I took a chance on Harris in my seasonal league and I'm glad I did. Though he's come along slowly, he's started to hit his groove of late, which has left Will Barton riding the pine a bit more than usual. While his 44 DKFP against the Hawks is probably too much too expect, the Grizzlies have let most backcourts walk all over them – I think Harris and the Nuggets will be no exception.
Draymond Green, GS at MIL ($7,800): After studying forwards in this range and finding compelling reasons to keep them non-highlighted, I kept coming back to Green. Sure, he'll be in a duel with Giannis, but I think this will only motivate Draymond more. I predict super-low ownership for him tonight, which makes him an ideal tournament option.
Domantas Sabonis, IND vs. CLE ($6,400): With Myles Turner out once again, Sabonis will absorb the lion's share of that output against the Cavs, and it's no secret that the Cavs have issues inside. Love has had an up-and down couple of weeks, and Sabonis will have fresh legs to dominate under the basket. He's a double-double candidate on Friday.
Dragan Bender, PHO vs. HOU ($4,300): OK, I will jump on the bandwagon since most of my counterparts seem to love him in this game. If you read my article with any regularity you know that Trey Lyles ($5,800) has practically had his own parking spot in this section, and let me be the first to say that I like him again against Memphis tonight. Still, you can't deny the beast of a game Bender had against the Thunder, and with Marquese Chriss still out, Bender has another opportunity to crush value at this dirt-cheap price.
Nikola Jokic, DEN vs. MEM ($8,100): I revert to Jokic as my top pick at this level because Karl-Anthony Towns feels like Luke Skywalker wandering through Bespin with Enes Kanter waiting to freeze him in carbonite. It's a trap! Seriously though, I do think Towns will have trouble in New York, and though Marc Gasol is no slouch, Jokic had no problem against Memphis in their last matchup, as he double-doubled with 28 and 13.
Clint Capela, HOU at PHO ($7,100): I wish Capela played more minutes. He's so good when he gets 30, but that's only happened once in his last five games, and that's the only knock I have on this pick. I want in on the high production possible at all positions in this matchup though, so Capela gets the nod as my mid-range pick.
Enes Kanter, NY at MIN, ($5,800): As previously stated, Towns is a big offensive threat but he has a lot of work to do defensively, which makes Kanter a great pick. He could see double-double type numbers here, and at this price you won't find that often.
That's it for Friday! Be sure to check your lineups before tip-off to avoid (or take advantage of) any late scratches or other developments.