This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
We have a typically action-packed Friday night on tap with nine games on the slate. The injury report continues to be relatively modest in terms of short-term issues, although there are some notable names on it heading into gameday. We also have the benefit of multiple matchups with heightened offensive expectations based on those on the board as of early Friday, with five carrying totals north of 220 points.
Here's a closer look at the three games with the highest projected totals on the slate as of early Friday:
Toronto Raptors at Brooklyn Nets (Projected total: 242.5 points)
The Nets have facilitated a few astronomical totals so far this season and head into this matchup scoring an NBA-high 122.3 points per game and allowing the third-most points per contest at 117.8 - including 131.3 over the last three. The Raptors average an impressive 114.2 per road tilt and also give up 114.2 points per contest when traveling. With the amount of raw offensive talent that on the floor simultaneously, Brooklyn's 106.9 possessions per contest and the fact five of the Nets' last six have exceeded this total, a barrage of points is to be expected.
Washington Wizards at Miami Heat (Projected total: 228.5 points)
These squads combined for a modest 203 points Wednesday, an anomaly for a Wizards' side still allowing an NBA-high 121.1 points per contest and playing at the league's fastest pace (107.2 possessions per contest). The Heat is giving up 111.9 points per game and Washington is also yielding NBA-high 48.6 percent shooting. What's more, both teams slot in the bottom-10 in three-point shooting surrendered. With Russell Westbrook back off a rest day for the Wiz and Miami nearly back to full health, this game should definitely exceed Wednesday's tally - potentially by a healthy margin.
New Orleans Pelicans at Indiana Pacers (Projected total: 226.5 points)
The Pelicans (112.5 PPG allowed) and Pacers (112.2 PPG surrendered) both rank in the bottom half of the league in terms of scoring surrendered, and New Orleans also sits in the lower part of the league in defensive efficiency. Indiana is playing at a faster pace this season (104.3 possessions per game) and the Pacers are scoring the seventh-most points per home game (115.3). The total here is not a high bar to clear, and it's also worth noting 13 of New Orleans' 20 games (65.0 percent) and 13 of Indiana's 22 contests (61.9 percent) have hit the Over this season.
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.
Karl-Anthony Towns, MIN (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: OUT
Towns' ongoing absence Friday should afford Naz Reid a start at center.
Jaylen Brown, BOS (knee)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, OKC (knee)/ Status: OUT
D'Angelo Russell, MIN (quadriceps)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Collin Sexton, CLE (neck)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
If Sexton were to sit, Dylan Windler and Damyean Dotson would likely be the biggest beneficiaries while the usage rates of Darius Garland, Cedi Osman, Isaac Okoro and Andre Drummond would likely see a boost.
PJ Washington, CHA (foot)/ Status: OUT
Washington's absence should afford Miles Bridges another start at power forward.
Terry Rozier, CHA (ankle)/ Status: PROBABLE
Rozier's expected return to action after a two-game absence should send LaMelo Ball back into a high-volume second-unit role.
Larry Nance, CLE (wrist)/ Status: OUT
With Nance out again Friday, Taurean Prince should see another start at power forward.
Patrick Beverley, LAC (knee)/ Status: OUT
Beverley's ongoing absence should afford Reggie Jackson another start at point guard.
OG Anunoby, TOR (calf)/ Status: OUT
Anunoby's ongoing absence should give Norman Powell another start at small forward.
Other notable injuries:
Goran Dragic, MIA (knee)/ Status: PROBABLE
Naz Reid, MIN (wrist)/ Status: PROBABLE
Raul Neto, WAS (groin)/ Status: OUT
Derrick Rose, DET (illness)/ Status: PROBABLE
Jae Crowder, PHO (foot)/ Status: DOUBTFUL
Otto Porter, CHI (back)/ Status: OUT
Luguentz Dort, OKC (knee)/ Status: OUT
Juancho Hernangomez, MIN (conditioning)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
George Hill, OKC (thumb)/ Status: OUT
Dario Saric, PHO (COVID-19 protocols)/Status: QUESTIONABLE
Jarrett Culver, MIN (ankle)/ Status: OUT
Payton Pritchard, BOS (knee)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
There are five players with five-figure salaries on Friday's big slate, beginning with Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,200) and continuing with James Harden ($11,000), Bradley Beal ($10,800), Kevin Durant ($10,700) and the still-sidelined Karl-Anthony Towns ($10,500).
From that group, Antetokounmpo offers an excellent matchup versus a depleted Cavs' frontcourt, while Harden, Beal and Durant could be locked into very competitive matchups that should see them all log lots of minutes.
There are also several players with salaries in the high four-figures who offer the ability to deliver elite scores, including Russell Westbrook ($9,800), Kawhi Leonard ($9,600), Kyrie Irving ($9,500), Jayson Tatum ($9,500), Fred VanVleet ($9,000), Zach LaVine ($8,900) and Domantas Sabonis ($8,800).
Leonard, Irving, Tatum and VanVleet are all in what should be very attractive game environments featuring an abundance of points based on projected totals. Meanwhile, LaVine and Sabonis are in excellent positional matchups, as the Magic and Pelicans have given up plenty of fantasy production to backcourt and frontcourt players, respectively.
All the names mentioned in Elite Players section are naturally going to be very popular Friday. But with 18 teams hitting the floor, there should still be plenty of opportunities to differentiate in tournaments. With respect to injury-created chalk, there should definitely be some extra clicks on the likes of Miles Bridges, Reggie Jackson and Norman Powell as injury replacements. And if Jaylen Brown and D'Angelo Russell were to miss their respective games, the remaining healthy members of the Celtics' and T-Wolves' starting five would also see their rostering rates increase.
Al Horford, OKC vs. MIN ($6,300)
Horford continues to consistently offer solid production after an uneven start to his OKC career and has now posted no fewer than 27.7 FD points in six of the last seven games. That includes three tallies of 30 in the last four and Friday's matchup could well facilitate one of his top-end performances. The Timberwolves are allowing the most FD points per game to centers (47.3) along with the most points (20.7), second-most rebounds (12.6), most assists (3.7) and second-most blocks (2.2) per contest to the position. Horford also continues to put in some of the best work of his career from behind the arc by posting a 42.6 percent success rate from three-point range. Minnesota is also ranked in the bottom-10 with 38.9 percent three-point shooting allowed on the road. Finally, with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander out for the Thunder, Horford should take on even more responsibility than usual and give him a chance to offer over 5x his salary for the fifth time this season.
Kemba Walker, BOS at LAC ($5,700)
Walker's salary is particularly low, but his body of work over the last four games exemplifies why he's in sort of no man's land when it comes to his fantasy value. The veteran guard has been under 20 FD points in half the contests during that sample, but he's compiled 42.0 and 34.9 FD points in the other two matchups. A couple of especially poor shooting performances recently have dragged Walker's overall season shooting percentage under 40.0 percent, but he's still putting up a robust 14.4 shot attempts per game and has a couple of factors in his favor Friday as the Clippers will once again be without Patrick Beverley (knee) at PG and also rank in the bottom-10 in offensive efficiency surrendered to ones (26.8 percent). Walker's case is also strengthened as he boasts a 33.8 percent usage rate and averages 1.31 FD points per minute with Marcus Smart (calf) off the floor this season.
Derrick Favors, UTA at CHA ($4,100)
Favors has dealt with some knee and back issues this season, but he''ll check into Friday's matchup having scored 23.2 to 23.7 FD points in his last three games. He does have one tally over 30 FD points thus far this campaign and will have an opportunity to churn out one of his better performances if he sees at least 20 minutes tonight. The Hornets check in ranked last in the league in offensive efficiency allowed to frontcourt players and in the paint, while Favors is scoring 71.1 percent of his points in that part of the floor. Charlotte is also giving up the fifth-most FD points per contest to centers over the last five games (42.7), allowing Favors an even better shot at possibly returning at least 5x his very reasonable salary.
Other value plays to consider: Norman Powell, TOR at BKN ($6,400); Darius Bazley, OKC vs. MIN ($5,600); Mikal Bridges, PHO vs. DET ($5,400); Hamidou Diallo, OKC vs. MIN ($5,000); Theo Maledon, OKC vs. MIN ($4,800)