This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
We're set for the biggest slate of the week Friday night with 11 games on tap. This naturally leaves us with multiple slates to play on FanDuel in addition to the main ledger and no shortage of choices on all points of the salary scale when building for either cash games or tournaments. As can be expected with 22 teams in action, the injury report is sizable but there is still more than enough depth to account for it. Also, oddsmakers appear to be envisioning plenty of offense based on the number of projected totals over 220 points, which is naturally promising from a DFS perspective.
Here's a closer look at the three games with the highest projected totals on Friday's slate:
New Orleans Pelicans at Dallas Mavericks (Projected total: 233.5 points)
The Mavericks have been more vulnerable on defense of late compared to earlier in the season and are now surrendering the fourth-most points per home contest (117.0). The Pelicans are giving up a robust 113.0 points per road contest while both teams are ranked in the bottom half of the league in shooting percentage allowed within the home/road splits that apply Friday. Considering both rosters will also be at full health in terms of their top-end offensive players, this total is certainly one within reach.
Milwaukee Bucks at Utah Jazz (Projected total: 232.5 points)
The two squads combined for 249 points when they met Jan. 8 in Milwaukee, a matchup where Donovan Mitchell, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton combined for 98 points. The Bucks continue to lead the NBA with 121.4 points per game while the Jazz are only five spots below at 114.6, including 115.4 per home tilt. Utah allows only 104.5 points per home contest, although that number doesn't figure to come close to holding given Milwaukee's offensive talent. Meanwhile, the Bucks are giving up 114.2 points on the road and are playing at the ninth-fastest pace (104.4 possessions per game), so a busy scoreboard certainly wouldn't be out of the question here.
San Antonio Spurs at Atlanta Hawks (Projected total: 228.5 points)
These squads are giving up an identical 111.4 points per game, which rank them just inside the top half of the league in that category. Their offensive numbers are also about middle of the pack, with San Antonio averaging a respectable 112.0 points per road contest and Atlanta putting up 112.8 per game overall, although just 110.6 at State Farm Arena. Both also sneak into the top-15 in pace, as the visiting Spurs average 103.7 possessions per game, while the Hawks check in just below at 103.5. Gregg Popovich's crew still projects to be without LaMarcus Aldridge (hip), but otherwise it's a clean bill of health for all other key offensive players from either side.
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.
Bradley Beal, WAS (rest)/ Status: OUT
With Beal sitting out Friday, Raul Neto is likely to slot in at shooting guard while Russell Westbrook - who carries a 39.7 percent usage rate and averages 1.46 FD points per minute without his teammate on the floor - should particularly thrive.
Anthony Davis, LAL (Achilles)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Paul George, LAC (toe)/ Status: OUT
George's ongoing absence Friday will continue to boost the usage rates of Kawhi Leonard and other members of the Clippers' starting five to a lesser degree, as well as that of Lou Williams (22.7 points on 53.7 percent shooting over George's three-game absence) off the bench.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (knee)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
If SGA misses a second consecutive game, Hamidou Diallo - who posted a 15-point, 12-rebound double-double Wednesday - should remain in the starting five.
D'Angelo Russell, MIN (leg)/ Status: OUT
Jrue Holiday, MIL (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: OUT
Mason Plumlee, DET (Undisclosed)/ Status: DOUBTFUL
If Plumlee misses a second straight game Friday after a late scratch from Thursday's contest against the Pacers, rookie Isaiah Stewart could draw a second straight start.
Devonte' Graham, CHA (groin)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
If Graham fails to return from his three-game absence, LaMelo Ball will continue in the starting lineup in his stead.
LaMarcus Aldridge (hip)/ Status: OUT
Evan Fournier, ORL (back)/ Status: GTD
If Fournier is forced to sit out again Friday, Dwayne Bacon is likely to draw another start at shooting guard.
Cole Anthony, ORL (shoulder)/ Status: GTD
If Anthony sits out another game Friday, Frank Mason could draw another start at point guard.
Mike Conley, UTA (hamstring)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Other notable injuries:
Brandon Clarke, MEM (calf)/ Status: OUT
Theo Maledon, OKC (COVID-19 protocol)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Isaiah Roby, OKC (foot)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
De'Anthony Melton, MEM (shoulder)/ Status: OUT
Otto Porter, CHI (back)/ Status: OUT
Lauri Markkanen, CHI (shoulder)/ Status: OUT
George Hill, OKC (thumb)/ Status: OUT
Rajon Rondo, ATL (back)/ Status: OUT
Jarrett Culver, MIN (ankle)/ Status: OUT
Robert Williams, BOS (hip)/ Status: GTD
Gary Harris, DEN (thigh)/ Status: GTD
Marcus Smart, BOS (calf)/ Status: OUT
With so many teams in action Friday, there are a total of seven players sporting five-figure salaries. It starts with Luka Doncic ($11,200) and continues with Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,000), Nikola Jokic ($10,800), LeBron James ($10,500), Karl-Anthony Towns ($10,100), Trae Young ($10,100) and Kawhi Leonard ($10,000).
From that group, Doncic is part of a game with a projected total north of 230 points and faces a Pelicans' defense susceptible to point guards this season despite Lonzo Ball's reputation for solid defense. Antetokounmpo is essentially matchup-proof despite the tough assignment on paper against the Jazz defense and should benefit from Jrue Holiday's continued absence, while Jokic has an interesting matchup against a fellow athletic big in Al Horford but still naturally carries massive upside. James and Towns are likely to see even more usage than usual due to key injured teammates as detailed previously, while the same goes for Leonard.
There are also several players with salaries in the high four-figures who offer the ability to deliver elite scores, including Nikola Vucevic ($9,800), Zach LaVine ($9,600), Damian Lillard ($9,500), Jayson Tatum ($9,500), De'Aaron Fox ($8,900), Russell Westbrook ($8,700), Julius Randle ($8,600) and Donovan Mitchell ($8,300).
LaVine should be particularly popular coming off an outstanding 46-point effort against the Pelicans on Wednesday, while Lillard represents an excellent positional matchup versus the Cavaliers. Fox and Westbrook could also prove to be bargains at their current salaries based on current play and - in Westbrook's case - the absence of Bradley Beal, while Mitchell would also be very appealing if he once again handles point guard duties if Conley sits.
All the names mentioned in Elite Players section are naturally going to be very popular Friday, but there should still be plenty of options to differentiate with in tournament lineups with so many teams in action. In terms of non-elite injury-influenced chalk, the likes of Rui Hachimura and Raul Neto could also see some extra clicks due to the absence of Beal, while Reggie Jackson, Lou Williams and Serge Ibaka could be popular value-saving plays without George.
Joe Ingles should find himself in a fair amount of lineups as well if Conley misses another contest, as should Rudy Gobert and Bojan Bogdanovic. The same applies for LaMelo Ball and DeMar DeRozan - who are two borderline Elite candidates - due to the possible continued starting assignment for the former and the absence of LaMarcus Aldridge for the latter. Dejounte Murray, Keldon Johnson and Jakob Poeltl will be others whose rostering rates should rise due to Aldridge remaining out of action.
Dennis Schroder, LAL vs. MEM ($6,200)
Schroder has played particularly well over the last two games with Anthony Davis (Achilles) sidelined. And regardless whether or not his teammate is back in the lineup Friday, the veteran point guard makes for an intriguing play at his salary. Schroder's current strong stretch of play predates Davis's absence by multiple games, as the former has scored 26.4 to 39.9 FD points in six straight while also putting up 24.1 two games prior to the start of that stretch. The key has been considerably improved shooting, as Schroder checks in with a 54.1 percent success rate from the floor over that stretch, which has boosted his season average over 44.0 percent. The Grizzlies also make for a solid positional matchup considering they're allowing the eighth-most FD points per game to point guards (51.6) and 50.0 percent shooting to the position over the last 10.
Jarrett Allen, CLE at POR ($6,000)
Allen has been a hit over his first two games as the starting power forward in place of Larry Nance (finger) by posting 24.5 and 34.0 FD points against the Suns and Nuggets, respectively. The big man had been seeing solid minutes in his bench role since arriving in Cleveland, so he'd still be an appealing play at his salary even if he were relegated back to the second unit. The Trail Blazers have been vulnerable at times down low, ranking in the bottom-10 in the league for offensive efficiency allowed to frontcourt players while giving up the most FD points per game to power forwards over the last 10 contests (58.3). Allen could also benefit from his team's abysmal 43.0 percent shooting on the road, as it should allow him extra opportunities on the offensive glass against a Blazers squad giving up the third-most total rebounds per game at home (56.3).
Rui Hachimura, WAS vs. NYK ($5,600)
Hachimura has recorded 29 and 28.9 FD points in his last two games, shooting just under 50.0 percent in that sample. With Bradley Beal sitting Friday's contest out for rest, Hachimura should have a chance to continue his productive stretch, especially against a Knicks' team allowing the fifth-most FD points per game to power forwards over the last 10 contests (50.2). He also boasts a 26.1 percent usage rate and averages just under an FD point per minute with Beal off the floor this season while the second-year big has notably played 36 and 32 minutes during the last two appearances.