FantasyDraft NBA: Friday Picks
FantasyDraft NBA: Friday Picks

This article is part of our FantasyDraft NBA series.

The NBA kicks off the last weekend of the regular season with a solid, 10-game slate that features an interesting mix of motivated and potentially tanking teams in action. Some of the clubs that have no postseason aspirations are starting to show some significant variance with their rotations, so we'll mostly steer clear of those except for the lower-risk affordable tier. Luckily, with so many games, there's still plenty of options at each level that offer a certain degree of reliability with respect to playing time. Without further ado, let's examine some of those selections further:

GUARDS

Ben Simmons, PHI vs. CLE ($16,900): Simmons is averaging a solid 14.0 points, 7.7 rebounds, 6.7 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.0 block across 34.3 minutes in three prior meetings with the Cavaliers this season, and he's scored between 40.50 and 63.50 fantasy points in six of the last eight games. Cleveland has shown vulnerability to point guards throughout the season, as well, allowing the fifth-most fantasy points (43.7) to ones on the season, including 51.8 over the last five. Moreover, even with Dario Saric's expected return from an elbow injury Friday, it's worth noting that Simmons is sporting a 25.7 percent usage rate and averaging 1.23 fantasy points per minute with Joel Embiid (orbital) on the floor this season.

Bradley Beal, WAS vs. ATL ($14,500): Beal owns a 29.1 percent usage rate and is averaging 1.06 fantasy points per minute without John Wall on the floor this season, and the latter is listed as doubtful for Friday's contest due injury management reasons. The sharpshooting two-guard has scored 33.00 to 41.50 fantasy points in the last three games, and has been red-hot with his shot over the last four overall, draining 49.2 percent of his 15.3 shots per game during that stretch, including 52.0 percent of his 6.3 tries from distance. The Hawks make for a tantalizing target as well, as they've allowed the second-most fantasy points to shooting guards on the season (45.1), including 54.8 over the last 10. Furthermore, Atlanta is allowing the fourth-highest percentage of scoring from three-pointers (31.9), including 34.5 percent over the last three.

Malik Monk, CHA at ORL ($8,500): The Grizzlies' MarShon Brooks ($10,900) is also a very appealing option at the high end of the affordable tier, as is the Hawks' Marco Belinelli ($8,900) for those who have a few extra hundred. Meanwhile, Monk has increasingly seen his role expand of late, having scored 22.25 to 31.00 fantasy points in the last three while seeing more than 20 minutes in each of those contests. With the Hornets eliminated from playoff contention, Monk is likely to see some extended run again against a vulnerable opponent, as the Magic have allowed the seventh-most fantasy points (43.3) to two-guards on the season, along with the sixth-highest offensive efficiency rating (21.7). Monk's aggressiveness over the last three is also worth noting, as he's averaged a whopping 15.0 shot attempts over a modest 24.0 minutes in the aforementioned three-game sample.

FORWARDS/CENTERS:

Karl-Anthony Towns, MIN at LAL ($17,600): Towns still managed a 26-point, 13-rebound double-double against the Nuggets on Thursday despite fouling out late, and with the Timberwolves having put their playoff positioning in further peril by ultimately dropping the contest, he should see sky-high usage again Friday. The big man is averaging a double-double of 15.7 points, 13.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 2.3 blocks and 1.0 steal across 33.0 minutes in three prior games against the Lakers this season, and Los Angeles comes in allowing the most points in the paint (48.8) on the campaign. Towns is logging nearly half of his scoring (48.2 percent) in that area of the floor, and he should also greatly benefit from L.A.'s second-highest pace of play (104.6 possessions per game).

Anthony Tolliver, DET vs. DAL ($11,000): There are a number of attractive options at this price level, including Otto Porter, Jr. ($12,500) and Marquese Chriss ($11,400) above Tolliver and Taj Gibson ($10,000) at $1K cheaper. Meanwhile, Tolliver has thrived in his starting tenure in place of Blake Griffin (ankle), scoring 23.50 to 39.00 fantasy points over the last six contests. Despite some rumblings about Griffin possibly returning at some point before the end of the regular season, that's highly unlikely to transpire Friday, setting Tolliver up for another potentially strong return in a favorable matchup. The Mavericks have allowed 52.7 fantasy points to power forwards over the last 10, nearly 13 more fantasy points per contest over their 40.1 season figure. They're also yielding bottom-10 figures to the position in multiple other categories during that stretch – including shooting percentage (49.0) – while Tolliver I shooting a blistering 59.6 percent over the aforementioned six-game sample, including 54.8 percent on an average of 7.0 tries from distance.

Ivan Rabb, MEM vs. SAC ($7,300): Rabb could make for a rewarding, cost-savings tournament play Friday, considering that both JaMychal Green (knee) and Jarell Martin (ankle) will both be out. That should set up a starting assignment for Rabb, who's already scored over 20 fantasy points in the last two games, on three occasions over the last five overall despite coming off the bench. He'll walk into a favorable matchup as well, considering the Kings have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to power forwards on the season (40.6), including the seventh most (57.8) over the last five. Given what should be a workload of at least 25 minutes and his price, Rabb stands a strong chance of generating a strong return.

UTILITY

Josh Jackson, PHO vs. NO ($13,900): Jackson is expected to draw yet another start for Devin Booker (hand) on Friday, putting him firmly in play against a Pelicans squad that's allowed the most fantasy points to shooting guards on the season (45.4), including 49.8 over the last five. They're also yielding bottom-five figures in multiple categories to the position on the season, while Jackson is averaging a solid 17.0 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.5 steals across 26.5 minutes in two games against the Pelicans this season. Jackson has scored no fewer than 31.75 and as many as 54.50 fantasy points in nine straight games, solid-to-excellent returns on his current price. The dynamic rookie should also benefit from what should be a breakneck pace of play, as both the Suns and Pelicans rank in the top three in possessions per game.

Nikola Mirotic, NO at PHO ($10,400): Mirotic is an intriguing play on the other side of this matchup, considering he could well draw another starting assignment at power forward and would be doing so in a highly favorable matchup. The floor-spacing big man compiled 36.75 fantasy points over 27 minutes against the Grizzlies over 27 minutes on Wednesday, his second tally of over 30 fantasy points in the last three games. The Suns also come in allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to power forwards on the season (41.0) – including 52.5 over the last 10 – along with the highest offensive efficiency rating (29.2) to the position on the campaign. Mirotic should be another beneficiary of what should be an ultra-fast pace, giving him an opportunity to offer a strong return on a price that remains modest relative to his upside.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Juan Carlos Blanco plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: jcblanco22, FanDuel: jc_blanco22, DraftPot: jc_blanco22, FantasyDraft: jc_blanco22, OwnThePlay: jcblanco22.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Juan Carlos Blanco
Winner of the FSWA 2016 Newcomer of the Year Award, Juan Carlos Blanco has been playing fantasy sports for over 20 years and covers NBA, MLB, NFL, CFL and Arena Football for Rotowire.com, including serving as the beat writer for teams in multiple sports. He has previously written for KFFL.com and remains an avid season-long and daily fantasy player in multiple sports as well.
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