This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
We have a lighter slate than usual Friday night, as there are only six games on the docket. The action begins at 7:00 PM Eastern time - the Hawks will visit the Celtics, the Heat head to Orlando, and the Trail Blazers make a stop in Washington. We also have an interesting matchup to close out the night, as Anthony Davis will take on his former team. Tipoff between the Lakers and the Pelicans is scheduled for 10:30 PM Eastern.
It's a new calendar year, but the rules stay the same. Here is your friendly reminder that FanDuel has gone back to their old format, counting all nine of your player's scores within your lineup. With each selection counting towards your score, it'll be important to make each choice count.
With only six games on the docket, it'll be tough to avoid any one game. Instead, here's a matchup to target based on FanDuel's Sportsbook:
New Orleans Pelicans at Los Angeles Lakers (Projected Total: 223.0)
We have two top-10 scoring teams in action Friday night, so it isn't surprising to see a high projected total from the Sportsbook. The Lakers rank eighth in the league with an average of 112.6 points per game, while the Pelicans are close behind with a 10th-best 112.3. LeBron James and Anthony Davis (shoulder) represent one of the most dangerous duos in the NBA, but don't sleep on New Orleans as they lean on Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Jrue Holiday for scoring.
There are 12 teams set to hit the hardwood Friday night. So while this is a lighter slate than usual, there will be opportunities for lineup differentiation. I'll take you through each position, highlighting the depth of each position and a few value plays to target.
PG: We have a pair of dangerous point guards at the top of the list, with Damian Lillard ($9,300) and Russell Westbrook ($9,100) checking in as the priciest options. There's plenty of talent below, as Trae Young and Ben Simmons also represent stellar options. Keep an eye on Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas as potential value plays.
SG: James Harden is the lone shooting guard priced above $10K, and he's followed by Bradley Beal (leg), who's questionable for Friday's action. Jimmy Butler and Jrue Holiday may be safer choices when looking for a low-end elite play. RJ Barrett and Tyler Herro could be some cheaper options worth considering.
SF: LeBron James ($11,400) and Brandon Ingram ($8,600) are the top two here, with only a few elite choices on Friday's slate. Jaylen Brown (illness) and Kelly Oubre Jr. are the other two players priced above $7K. Danuel House Jr. and Troy Brown Jr. can both be scooped up for $5K or less and could be serviceable options if you're looking to go cheap at small forward.
PF: Anthony Davis (shoulder) is probable for Friday's matchup, so his $10,400 price tag shouldn't scare you away. Bam Adebayo comes in as another great option, though it's worth noting he'll be playing the back end of a back-to-back. We also see some mid-tier talent available in Julius Randle ($7,600) and Derrick Favors ($6,200). Al Horford can be picked up for $5,600 further down the list, a seemingly low price for a guy averaging a touch over 30 FanDuel points per game this season.
C: As we take a look at the situation at center, there's a good amount of depth considering the slate. Hassan Whiteside draws a favorable matchup against the Wizards, while Joel Embiid is valued at $9,200 for Friday's matchup in Houston. Deandre Ayton and Clint Capela are also solid options to save some cash.
Injury Situations to Monitor
Kevin Huerter, ATL
Huerter is on track to play Friday despite a back injury. Expect confirmation on his availability closer to tipoff.
Jabari Parker, ATL
Parker has missed the last three games due to a shoulder injury, but he's on track to return to the court for Friday's matchup with Boston.
Kemba Walker, BOS
Walker missed Thursday's practice and is questionable for Friday's tilt with Atlanta.
Jaylen Brown, BOS
Brown is probable after making it through Thursday's practice. It appears as though he'll return following a one-game absence.
Justise Winslow, MIA
Winslow hasn't taken the court since Dec. 4 due to a back injury. And while his status has yet to be updated for Friday's matchup, his availability will be worth keeping an eye on.
Aaron Gordon, ORL
Gordon will be a game-time decision for Friday's game against the Heat due to a left Achilles injury.
Mario Hezonja, POR
Hezonja carries a probable tag into Friday due to a back injury. He hasn't played since Dec. 20.
Bradley Beal, WAS
Beal's status is up in the air due to leg soreness. He's been deemed questionable heading into Friday.
Elfrid Payton, NY
Payton is questionable for Friday's matchup while dealing with a personal matter. The team should clarify his status closer to tip.
Ricky Rubio, PHO
Rubio was added to the injury report after tweaking his hip during Wednesday's game against the Lakers, but he appears on track to take the court Friday.
Anthony Davis, LAL
Once again, Davis has been added to the injury report due to shoulder soreness. The expectation is that he'll be ready to roll for Friday's clash.
We have three players priced at $10K or above Friday night: LeBron James, James Harden and Anthony Davis (shoulder). While these three are clear elite players, there is also plenty of elite talent to be had elsewhere.
Hassan Whiteside, Damian Lillard, Joel Embiid and Russell Westbrook all sit between $9K and $10K, while Trae Young, Brandon Ingram and Bam Adebayo are also enticing selections for just under $9K. You really can't go wrong with any of these options. If you're looking to go even cheaper for an elite player, Devin Booker ($8,000) and Jrue Holiday ($8,400) are also available.
The expected chalk on the slate will begin with superstars such as LeBron James, James Harden and Anthony Davis. These players are always near the top of the list when it comes to highly-owned selections.
The injury picture often plays a role in the expected chalk, but this isn't really the case Friday. A good majority of the players on the injury report are trending in the right direction, making it difficult to point out reserves would be more popular based on a potential for increased minutes. Looking at Boston's injury report, Kemba Walker and Jaylen Brown are dealing with their respective issues, potentially giving Brad Wanamaker and Marcus Smart more looks in the backcourt. Keep an eye on RotoWire.com for all of the latest injury news leading up to lineup lock.
I would also expect guys like Tobias Harris ($6,400) and Al Horford ($5,600) to be popular selections. For two players putting up 30-plus FD points per game this year, both appear underpriced. Marcus Morris could also fall under this category, averaging 29.2 FD points per contest.
Lonzo Ball, NO at LAL ($5,300):
This matchup has the potential for a revenge game from Ball, who was dealt to the Pelicans from the Lakers before this season. He's coming off one of his best performances of the year Sunday against Houston, registering a triple-double on the way to 57 FanDuel points. He's also been receiving plenty of chances of late, logging 30-plus minutes in each of his last three matchups. Ball will look to keep things rolling heading into his debut in the new calendar year.
RJ Barrett, NY at PHO ($4,800):
Barrett was held in check against Portland to kick off 2020, but I don't expect this to be the case against a Phoenix team that's allowing 110 or more points in each of its last three games. The Suns have also had a hard time containing opposing shooting guards this season, surrendering 55.4 FanDuel points per game. This looks to be a promising opportunity for Barrett, who is averaging 26 FD points over 33 contests this year - even while playing for one of the worst teams in the NBA.