FanDuel NBA: Friday Value Plays

FanDuel NBA: Friday Value Plays

This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.

FanDuel presents an eight-game slate Friday, as what was supposed to be a 10-game ledger has been whittled down by two due to the COVID-19-related postponements of the Wizards-Pistons and Warriors-Suns.

We encouragingly appear to have a solid mix of projected competitive games and some more potentially lopsided battles, but there appears to be more than enough strong DFS environments to allow us to differentiate rosters in tournaments and even smaller-field contests. Over/Unders also offer reason for optimism, as there are five with projected totals north of 220 points.

Slate Overview

Here's a further look at the three games with the highest projected totals on the slate: 

Dallas Mavericks at Milwaukee Bucks (Projected total: 228.0 points) 

With Luka Doncic now joined by Kristaps Porzingis and the Bucks essentially at full health, this is a matchup with more than enough explosive offensive players to live up to its total. Milwaukee comes in averaging an NBA-high 120.9 points per game, shooting a co-NBA-high 49.3 percent and playing at a top-10 pace (105.1 possessions per game), which significantly speeds up the game for a much more deliberate Dallas squad. 

Los Angeles Clippers at Sacramento Kings (Projected total: 227.5 points) 

The Kings' ongoing defensive woes and fast pace should help create a fertile environment for plenty of offense, especially with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George healthy on the other side for the Clippers. Sacramento is allowing an NBA-high 122.0 points per game and 49.5 percent shooting while also playing at the league's eighth-fastest pace, a combustible combination of metrics that makes Los Angeles' Big Two of Leonard and George particularly appealing as DFS options.

Atlanta Hawks at Utah Jazz (Projected total: 226.5 points) 

The Jazz aren't necessarily the same defensive juggernaut they've been in previous seasons, and the Hawks are an improved team despite recent struggles. There are certainly some talented scorers, and although both clubs play at a below-average pace, there's enough offensive talent on either side to make this a sneaky scoring environment.

Injury Situations to Monitor

NOTE: Injury reporting is especially fluid in the NBA, where the status of multiple players can change during the course of a day. Therefore, although the following serves as a foundation for the latest injury report as of the time the article is written, check back throughout the course of the day with RotoWire for the latest news regarding the status of all players on that night's slate. 

Key Injuries:

LeBron James, LAL (ankle)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

This designation has become customary for James, who hasn't missed a game yet and is expected to play Friday.

Anthony Davis, LAL (back)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

Davis has also regularly played through injury tags this season except on two occasions, and he is expected to suit up Friday.

Karl-Anthony Towns, MIN (wrist/ Status: PROBABLE 

Towns should be set for his third outing since returning from a six-game absence due to his wrist dislocation.

Andre Drummond, CLE (Achilles)/ Status: PROBABLE 

Drummond appears set to fill his usual starting role Friday. 

Kristaps Porzingis, DAL (ankle)/ Status: PROBABLE 

Porzingis came away from his season debut Wednesday with a mild sprain but is expected to play and possibly see a bump in the 21 minutes he logged.

Jayson Tatum, BOS (COVID-19 protocols/ Status: OUT 

Tatum remains in quarantine, meaning Jaylen Brown (if he's able to go) and Marcus Smart could be big beneficiaries Friday. 

Jaylen Brown, BOS (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

Brown would be in line for major usage if he's cleared to play considering Jayson Tatum's situation.

Collin Sexton, CLE (ankle)/ Status: OUT 

Sexton's prolonged absence should continue to give Damyean Dotson and Cedi Osman plenty of extra run.

Darius Garland, CLE (shoulder)/ Status: OUT 

Garland's prolonged absence should continue to give Damyean Dotson and Cedi Osman plenty of extra run.

Ja Morant, MEM (ankle/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

Morant's upgrade in status to questionable presumably gives him a chance to return to action for the first time since Dec. 28. If he is able to suit up and fill a starting role, Tyus Jones would shift back to the second unit.

Lonzo Ball, NOP (knee)/ Status: OUT 

Ball's ongoing absence should afford Nickeil Alexander-Walker another start.

Other injuries of note:

Jrue Holiday, MIL (ankle)/ Status: PROBABLE 

Jarrett Allen, CLE (trade acquisition)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

Taurean Prince, CLE (trade acquisition)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

Lauri Markkanen, CHI (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: PROBABLE 

Otto Porter, CHI (back)/ Status: PROBABLE 

Eric Bledsoe, NOP (eye)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

Lou Williams, LAC (hip)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

Michael Carter-Williams, ORL (foot)/ Status: OUT 

Evan Fournier, ORL (back)/ Status: OUT

Joe Ingles, UTA (Achilles)/ Status: OUT 

Daniel Theis, BOS (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

Darius Bazley, OKC (ankle)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

Josh Richardson, DAL (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: OUT 

Dorian Finney-Smith, DAL (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: OUT 

Reggie Bullock, NYK (hip)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

Derrick Favors, UTA (knee)/ Status: PROBABLE 

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, LAL (ankle)/ Status: PROBABLE 

Alec Burks, NYK (ankle)/ Status: DOUBTFUL 

Frank Ntilikina, NYK (knee)/ Status: OUT 

Tomas Satoransky, CHI (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: OUT 

Ryan Arcidiacono, CHI (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

Robert Williams, BOS (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: OUT

Maxi Kleber, DAL (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

Chuma Okeke, ORL (knee)/ Status: OUT 

Mo Bamba, ORL (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: OUT 

Garrett Temple, CHI (ankle)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

Javonte Green, BOS (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

Patrick Beverley, LAC (personal)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

Rajon Rondo, ATL (knee)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

Wesley Matthews, LAL (Achilles)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

Jalen Brunson, DAL (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: OUT 

Dwight Powell, DAL (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: OUT 

NOTABLE LONG-TERM INJURIES: Kemba Walker, BOS (knee); Kevin Love, CLE (calf); Danilo Gallinari, ATL (ankle); Bogdan Bogdanovic, ATL (knee); Kris Dunn, ATL (ankle); Trevor Ariza, OKC (personal); Kevin Porter, CLE (personal); Jontay Porter, MEM (knee); Ty Jerome, OKC (ankle); Al-Farouq Aminu, ORL (knee); Torrey Craig, MIL (nose); Matthew Dellavedova, CLE (concussion)

Elite Players

Despite there being 16 teams in action, there are only three players with five-figure salaries: Luka Doncic ($11,600), Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,300) and Karl-Anthony Towns ($10,800). Doncic and Antetokounmpo are locked in a battle with each other, which raises the value of both considering it should be a highly competitive contest. And Doncic now benefits from the presence of Kristaps Porzingis - who could conceivably increase to about 25 minutes or perhaps a bit more - and will also be playing without a pair of first-unit members in Josh Richardson and Dorian Finney-Smith.

There's also plenty of potential for elite production from a number of four-figure-salaried players, beginning with LeBron James ($9,900) and continuing with Anthony Davis ($9,800), Andre Drummond ($9,800), Kawhi Leonard ($9,600), Nikola Vucevic (9,400) and Julius Randle ($9,100). The first three all carry injury designations, but are expected to play. It's also worth noting Randle has been excellent this season, but the Knicks-Cavs game offers the lowest total of the night by far.  

Expected Chalk

All the names mentioned in Elite Players section are naturally going to be very popular on Friday's slate, but there should definitely be plenty of room for differentiation in tournaments with 16 clubs on the court.

The injury report is extensive, but most of the big names are excepted to or at least have a fighting chance to suit up. Therefore, there shouldn't be an inordinate amount of injury-related chalk. And in one scenario where an entire starting backcourt is out, the Cavs also happen to be mired in the game with a sub-200-point total. With Jayson Tatum still out for Boston, Jaylen Brown should see plenty of clicks on his name if he's able to clear health and safety protocols.

Key Values   

Mitchell Robinson, NY at CLE ($6,000) 

Robinson has hit over 30 FD points in five of the last seven games, meaning he's made a habit of providing over 5x his current salary in recent contests. The emerging big man is averaging career highs in rebounds (8.3) and steals (1.5). And although free-throw shooting has been a significant problem, he's at least draining 66.7 percent of his attempts from the field. Robinson also draws a favorable matchup in the form of the Cavaliers, which are giving up the most steals (2.2) and rank in the bottom 10 in blocks allowed to centers (2.4). He's also averaging a career-high 30.3 minutes under new head coach Tom Thibodeau, a pivotal component of his improvemed numbers this year.

Nickeil Alexander-Walker, NO at LAL ($5,500)

Alexander-Walker drew the spot start for Lonzo Ball (knee) on Wednesday against the Clippers and delivered handsomely by going off for 37 points and eight rebounds on his way to 50.1 FD points. He should be in line for another run with the first unit Friday, as Ball has already been ruled out. Alexander-Walker had already been displaying improved shooting this season before Wednesday's outburst. And after taking 23 shots in 33 minutes versus the Clips, he could be in for a similar level of usage versus the Lakers and would make a potential bargain at his salary.

Tyrese Haliburton, SAC vs. LAC ($5,400) 

Haliburton is enjoying an outstanding rookie season that's now seen him rattle off eight straight double-digit scoring efforts, shoot 54.1 percent overall (including 52.1 percent from distance) and average 28.42 FD points per game overall. All those figures make his salary worthy of a double take, as he's already provided over 5x that figure in three of the last five games and in four contests overall. The opposing Clippers come in ranked in the bottom-10 in offensive efficiency (50.7) and three-point shooting percentage allowed to guards (38.8), while also recording the second-highest offensive efficiency (48.3) and highest shooting percentage to second-unit players (49.4).

Other value plays to consider: Malik Beasley, MIN vs. MEM ($6,400); Marcus Smart, BOS vs. ORL ($6,200); Buddy Hield, SAC vs. LAC ($5,700); Brandon Clarke, MEM at MIN ($5,600); Bojan Bogdanovic, UTA vs. ATL ($4,300); Isaiah Roby,  OKC vs. CHI ($4,200)

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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