This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
We're at the point in the season where DFS can become increasingly difficult, as teams are more prone to rest players and blowouts can be more common. Nevertheless, I'll try to sort through the mess and recommend one player at each position for Friday's slate.
Tyler Ulis, PHO vs NOP ($5,600)
Starting point guard Elfrid Payton has been sidelined over the past four games, and is expected to miss Friday's game as well. His absences have allowed Ulis to step into the starting role and deliver quality performances – outpacing his price on every occasion. Over the past four games, Ulis has averaged 32.6 fantasy points by way of 16.0 points, 8.0 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 1.0 steal across 38.0 minutes. Though his price has jumped up significantly from the $4,900 he was at during the team's most recent game against the Kings, Ulis hasn't registered below 27.6 fantasy points over the past four games, so his floor remains high relative to his price. Also of note, the Pelicans have allowed the most rebounds and sixth-most steals to point guards over the past 10 games.
Ben McLemore, MEM vs. SAC ($3,800)
The list of players that will be sidelined for the Grizzlies on Friday is hard to believe: Marc Gasol (rest), Tyreke Evans (personal), Chandler Parsons (knee), JaMychal Green (knee), Andrew Harrison (wrist), Wayne Selden (knee), Jarell Martin (ankle), Mike Conley (heel). So, with nine players available, McLemore is bound to see significant run, and will likely see a significant share of the offensive workload as well. In the four games this season that McLemore has seen 30-plus minutes, he's averaged 14.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 2.3 steals and 1.0 block (33.5 fantasy points). Even if he doesn't reach that relatively high mark, his $3,800 price tag means he barely has to crack 20 fantasy points for him to reach value. Also, the Kings come in allowing the fifth-highest field-goal percentage to shooting guards over the past 10 games.
MarShon Brooks, MEM vs. SAC ($4,100)
Brooks is in the same situation as McLemore, with the Grizzlies down a huge number of players. In his three appearances with Memphis, Brooks has averaged 23.3 points, 3.7 assists, 2.0 rebounds and 1.7 steals in 25.0 minutes. Notably, in the team's most recent contest against New Orleans, he played 36 minutes and put up 17 shots, including 10 three-pointers, as well as dishing seven assists, grabbing four rebounds and a pair of steals. That led to a 44.3 fantasy-point total. Considering he's not afraid to shoot the ball and has shown some ability to pass and swipe steals, he's certainly worth a look for Friday's slate.
John Collins, ATL at WAS ($6,100)
Collins has been given true starter's minutes over the past four contests and has responded with starter's numbers. Over this stretch, he's averaging 10.8 points, 9.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists and a combined 2.0 blocks/steals (30.9 fantasy points) across 30.8 minutes. Collins is mostly known as a double-double threat who can throw in some defensive stats, but adding assists to his game raises his fantasy ceiling. The passing is a relatively new development, as two of his five best assist performances have come within the past four games. Though his opponent, the Wizards, have been great against power forwards as of late, they're coming off the first night of a back-to-back, having played the Cavaliers on Thursday. Plus, they still allow the fifth-highest field-goal percentage to the position over the past 10 games.
Karl Anthony-Towns, MIN at LAL ($10,000)
Though opposing center Brook Lopez (back) is probable, there seems to be a fair chance he won't see his usual workload, as the team likely wouldn't want to push the veteran too much with an injury, especially considering their place in the standings. As a result, Towns could be facing up against the undersized Julius Randle for much of the game, the less experienced Ivica Zubac, and/or the older and less athletic Channing Frye. Though Towns has his ups and downs, this appears to be a contest where he should be in line to have both a high floor and ceiling. Overall, since the All-Star break, the center is averaging 24.8 points, 12.7 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.2 blocks per game (47.2 fantasy points).