DraftKings NBA: Friday Picks

DraftKings NBA: Friday Picks

This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.

Slate Overview

NO vs. PHI (-8.5), O/U: 229

BOS (-2.5) vs. CHI, O/U: 223.5

HOU vs. MIL (-16.5), O/U: 230.5

MIN vs. MIA (-5.5), O/U: 221.5

ORL vs. CHA (-9), O/U: 216

CLE vs. DAL (-10.5), O/U: 220.5

DEN vs. UTA (-2.5), O/U: 219.5

LAL vs. POR (-6.5), O/U: 221.5

NY vs. PHX (-6), O/U: 218

SA (-3.5) vs. SAC, O/U: 227.5

The HOU-MIL matchup will be targeted because the Rockets only used seven players on Wednesday and they're going to be significantly undermanned again tonight. The game has the highest total on the slate but with Khris Middleton back, the Bucks seem like a good fade as 16.5-point favorites. 

Despite its 216 total, the ORL-CHA contest is a reasonable target as both teams are still shorthanded. Mo Bamba stands out from the Orlando side while LaMelo Ball and P.J. Washington offer upside for their salaries and would make for viable run-backs.  

The LAL-POR matchup is another solid target. The Lakers are still missing LeBron James and Dennis Schroder and are now likely to be without Anthony Davis after he left yesterday's game due to back spams. All the Lakers' starters are in play while Damian Lillard has looked great of late and makes sense on a slate lacking elite guard options. 

Injuries to Monitor

Houston Rockets

The Rockets were barely able to field a team on Wednesday and they have 13 players on the injury report for tonight. It doesn't make sense to list them all and speculate about starters. Of the key players, Kevin Porter is out while Christian Wood and Kelly Olynyk are questionable. 

De'Aaron Fox (COVID-19 protocols): QUESTIONABLE

Fox hasn't played since Apr. 21, but he's listed as questionable and has a chance to return tonight. Delon Wright has been starting at point guard in his place. 

Anthony Davis (back): QUESTIONABLE

Davis left yesterday's game and his status for tonight is uncertain. It's unclear who would start if he sits because Talen Horton-Tucker (calf) is also out. Montrezl Harrell would be in line for extra minutes off the bench. 

Jimmy Butler (illness): QUESTIONABLE

Butler was a late-scratch on Tuesday because of an illness and is listed as questionable. Andre Iguodala got the start in his absence. 

Kristaps Porzingis (knee): DOUBTFUL

Porzingis will likely be sidelined for the eighth time in nine games due to a knee injury. Willie Cauley-Stein has been starting at center in his place. 

Jaylen Brown (ankle): OUT

Brown will miss a second straight game due to a sprained ankle. Evan Fournier should get another start at small forward. 

Darius Garland (ankle): OUT

Garland will miss a fourth consecutive contest due to a sprained ankle. Cedi Osman has been starting in his absence. 

Brandon Ingram (ankle): OUT

Ingram sprained his ankle on Tuesday and will miss tonight. James Johnson will likely start at small forward. 

Harrison Barnes (groin): QUESTIONABLE

Barnes has missed five consecutive games dealing with a groin strain. Marvin Bagley has been starting at power forward in his place. 

Mike Conley (hamstring): OUT

Conley will be sidelined for a sixth straight outing due to a lingering hamstring injury. Joe Ingles and Royce O'Neale have been starting in the backcourt while Jordan Clarkson has seen extra run off the bench.

Dennis Schroder (COVID-19 protocols): OUT

Schroder will miss at least a few more games after being placed in the league's health and safety protocols. Alex Caruso has been starting at point guard.

Will Barton (hamstring), PJ Dozier (groin) and Monte Morris (hamstring): OUT

The Nuggets will be shorthanded again at guard. Paul Millsap came into the starting lineup last time out as they chose to go big while Austin Rivers and Shaquille Harrison saw extended run off the bench. 

Robert Williams (toe): QUESTIONABLE

Williams is listed as questionable due to turf toe. If he were to sit, Tristan Thompson would get the nod at center.

Wendell Carter (eye): OUT

Carter will miss a second consecutive game due to a cut near his eye. Mo Bamba will receive another start at center. 

Elite Players

Guard: 

Luka Doncic ($10,900) has topped 50 DK points in four of his last five and the Mavs are huge favorites against the Cavs. It's not a particularly great spot, but I'm highlighting him because he's really the only viable spend-up option at both point guard and small forward - where he's also eligible. There will be plenty of value to pay up in multiple spots and Doncic makes sense from a raw points and positional scarcity perspective. 

Damian Lillard ($9,700) has put up at least 50 DK points in four consecutive games as he seems to have busted out of the mini-slump that made him difficult to roster the past few weeks. The Trailblazers also have a favorable matchup against the depleted Lakers. 

Center: 

Nikola Jokic ($10,800) is coming off 63.5 DK points in only 29 minutes in Wednesday's blowout of the Knicks. He's posted at least 60 DK points in three of his last five while the matchup against the Jazz should stay competitive tonight. 

Joel Embiid ($10,700) scored 54 DK points while playing just 25 minutes last time out. It was only his second game of 50-plus fantasy points in the past seven as the majority of recent Sixers games have been blowouts. Embiid boasts considerable upside in a pace-up spot against the Pelicans if the game stays close. Him and Jokic are my preferred spend-up options on the slate, regardless of position.

F/C:

Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,000) was disappointing last time out only playing 30 minutes while fouling out and scoring 47.25 DK points. The Bucks get Khris Middleton back tonight and are 16.5-point favorites against the Rockets. We've seen Giannis hit ceilings in three quarters before, but this doesn't seem like the spot. I'll be spending up elsewhere.  

Zion Williamson ($9,900) has managed 55-plus DK points in two of his last three outings. The Pelicans are likely to be without Steven Adams again and now Brandon Ingram has been ruled out tonight against the Sixers. Zion makes for a good leverage option in tournaments as I'd expect him to go somewhat overlooked on a bigger slate with elite options at center. 

Expected Chalk

Houston Rockets value:

Only seven players saw action for the Rockets on Wednesday and they're going to be significantly short on bodies again tonight. They will be especially short at guard now that Kevin Porter has been ruled out. Chalk will be dictated by starting lineups, but I'd expect Armoni Brooks ($3,900), DaQuan Jeffries ($3,300), Kenyon Martin ($4,700) and possibly Anthony Lamb ($3,400) to all be popular. If Christian Wood and Kelly Olynyk both play, the cheaper forwards would garner less attention. 

Value Picks

D'Angelo Russell ($7,300)

Russell posted 50 DK points in 37 minutes on Wednesday as he made his first start since Feb. 8. On a slate where most of the upper-tier players have seen salary increases, Russell's is still favorable and he's shown plenty of upside. 

Bojan Bogdanovic ($6,800) and Joe Ingles ($6,700)

Bogdanovic and Ingles are still a bit too undervalued for their new roles in the absence of Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley. Their recent performances have been impacted by blowouts, but tonight's matchup against the Nuggets should be competitive.

Mo Bamba ($6,100)

Bamba will get another start at center in place of the injured Wendell Carter. He's scored 53.75 and 46.25 DK points in his last two and the Magic are still light on bodies, so his minutes should be safe. 

Kyle Kuzma ($5,600)

The Lakers are likely to be without LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Dennis Schroder, meaning Kuzma should get all the usage he can handle against Portland.

Austin Rivers ($3,700)

Rivers put up 41.75 DK points in 28 minutes off the bench Wednesday. He will be counted on again tonight as the Nuggets remain without Will Barton, PJ Dozier and Monte Morris. I'd expect him to be a relatively popular value play for such an affordable salary.

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.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ryan Belongia
Ryan has a background in accounting, finance and poker. He's been playing DFS full-time since 2018. A multiple-time King of the Pitch finalist, Ryan's been ranked inside the Top 5 on the RG Soccer Leaderboard for three years running. Originally from Wisconsin, he moved to London in 2019 for the futbol.
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