This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
We'll get the weekend started right with eight NBA contests, and there's a good chance we'll see plenty of players making their team debuts following the trade deadline Thursday. The action kicks off with the Mavericks and the Wizards and the Hawks at the Celtics at 7:00 PM Eastern time, and we'll witness Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers visit Donovan Mitchell and the Jazz to end the night at 10:30 PM Eastern.
Here's another 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.
There should be plenty of scoring on this slate, though there is one game in particular projected to outpace the other three. It can be beneficial to add players to your lineup who are expected to play in favorable scoring environments, especially if you're having a difficult time choosing between two value plays.
Portland Trail Blazers at Utah Jazz (Projected Total: 226.5):
Damian Lillard should be the star of the show in this one since he's averaging 44.9 points and 10 dimes over his last seven contests. He's coming off a tough matchup Tuesday against the Nuggets, so Lillard and the Blazers will be raring to get back on track in Utah. The Jazz also were recently shut down by Denver, but Donovan Mitchell and company rank in the middle of the pack when it comes to scoring with 110.8 points per game. Portland is in the top-10 in the NBA in this category, putting up 113.5 points.
If you're looking for another game to target, I'd set my sights on the Mavs-Wizards, as the Wizards own one of the worst defenses in the league but also one of the most high-scoring offenses. Dallas also possesses plenty of scoring power, though they are pretty banged up at the moment.
There are 16 teams set to take the court Friday evening, but we have just six players priced at $10K or above. That means we should be able to find plenty of value on this slate. I'll take you through the top choices along with some mid-tier and value plays below.
PG: With Luka Doncic (ankle) still on the shelf, Russell Westbrook is the top point guard for $10,100. It surprises me Damian Lillard isn't in the $10K range, so I'd feel good about adding the All-Star to my lineup even though his matchup isn't the best in Utah. Trae Young (ankle) also represents an elite option. I'd recommend pairing either Lillard or Young with a guy like Chris Paul ($7,100) or Goran Dragic ($5,300) if you're looking for a cheap second ball hander.
SG: James Harden ($11,800) sits atop the board here, followed by Bradley Beal ($10,300). If you're going with a top shooting guard, it would be smart to pair a Harden/Beal type with a guy like C.J. McCollum or a value play like Buddy Hield ($5,300). Hield has been in a bench role of late, but is always a threat given his shooting ability.
SF: There are limited elite options at small forward, with Pascal Siakam ($8,300) listed as the top player available. Your best bet is to roll with either Siakam or Kelly Oubre ($6,800) and then a value play. Danuel House ($5,600), Tim Hardaway ($4,900) and Dorian Finney-Smith ($4,800) are all players to consider for that second SF slot.
PF: The most expensive option at power forward is Kristaps Porzingis ($9,600), though he's questionable with a broken nose. Jayson Tatum is the safer option for $8,300, while Domantas Sabonis and Bam Adebayo are also on the table and in the $8K range. In the "value play" range, I like Brandon Clarke ($4,800) as he takes on a Philadelphia squad on the second half of a back-to-back. Rui Hachimura is also a guy to have on your radar, as he's likely undervalued at $4,400 in what will be just his second game back from a lengthy absence.
C: Joel Embiid is the top player at center for $9,300, though he'll have some tired legs on the second half of a back-to-back - and he had a hard time finding a groove Thursday night against the Bucks. Deandre Ayton and Hassan Whiteside may be better choices if you're searching for a top-tier center. Turn to Steven Adams ($4,800) or Enes Kanter ($4,700) if you're eyeing a value play at this position.
Injury Situations to Monitor
Jonas Valanciunas, MEM
Valanciunas is questionable with left ankle soreness.
It's unclear if either of these players will make their team debut Friday after being dealt to Philly.
Seth Curry, DAL
Curry is questionable with left knee soreness.
Kristaps Porzingis, DAL
Porzingis is questionable with a broken nose.
J.J. Barea, DAL
Barea is questionable for Friday with a sprained left ankle.
Napier and Robinson were both traded to Washington on Thursday. Their availability is unknown at this time.
Trae Young, ATL
Young is probable with an ankle injury.
Kevin Huerter, ATL
Huerter is probable for Friday's matchup due to a hip issue.
De'Andre Hunter, ATL
Hunter is questionable with ankle soreness.
Cam Reddish, ATL
Reddish is doubtful with a concussion.
Kemba Walker, BOS
Walker is questionable for Friday's game against Atlanta due to left knee soreness.
Jaylen Brown, BOS
Brown is questionable due to a right ankle injury.
Gordon Hayward, BOS
Hayward is questionable with left foot soreness.
Victor Oladipo, IND
Oladipo is questionable for Friday's matchup, as the team might hold him out for rest purposes.
T.J. Warren, IND
Warren is questionable due to a concussion.
Jimmy Butler, MIA
Butler isn't expected to play Friday due to a shoulder injury.
Jae Crowder, MIA
Crowder's availability is up in the air after being traded to the Heat on Thursday.
Richaun Holmes, SAC
Holmes is questionable for Friday's contest with a shoulder strain.
Nassir Little, POR
Little's status is unknown for Friday's contest due to a left ankle sprain. Look for an update closer to tipoff.
There are only three healthy players in the $10K range for Friday's games: James Harden, Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook. There are plenty of studs outside of this group, with Trae Young (ankle), Kristaps Porzingis (nose), Damian Lillard and Joel Embiid all in the $9K range. Devin Booker, Domantas Sabonis and Jayson Tatum are a few more big names on the slate as far as elite players go. I'll also point out Kyle Lowry and Kemba Walker (knee) are priced a little lower than usual, sitting at $7,400 and $7,300, respectively.
James Harden will unsurprisingly be one of the chalkier plays on the slate as the top-priced player. He'll be playing the second half of a back-to-back, so we could see some tired legs from the Rockets. Damian Lillard should also be a popular selection, as he's shown few signs of slowing down.
As far as mid-tier and value plays, Robert Covington could be a highly-owned player in his new role with the Rockets. I also see Goran Dragic seeing more ownership than usual with Tyler Herro and likely Jimmy Butler out of commission for Friday's action.
Kendrick Nunn, MIA at SAC ($4,600):
As I just mentioned, the Heat are expected to be without Butler and Herro for Friday's matchup with the Kings, giving Nunn more opportunities than usual. He's coming off an impressive showing Wednesday against the Clippers, finishing with 13 points, six assists, three rebounds, a block and a steal - good enough for 29.6 FanDuel points. Sacramento isn't near the top of the league when it comes to defending opposing point guards, surrendering 45.2 FD points per contest so far this season. I like the potential Nunn carries into this showdown.
Danilo Gallinari, OKC vs DET ($5,700):
Gallinari is hiding in the weeds for $5,700, as he's averaging just a touch over 30 FD points per contest on the year. He's put up 14 or more points in each of his last five contests, and his presence on the boards is an added plus. Gallinari has the potential to put together a complete final line on a nightly basis, and he's seen plenty of chances to do so of late. The former first-round pick out of Italy has logged 30-plus minutes in eight of his last 10 contests.