This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
We have a typically expanded Friday slate on tap with nine games. On the plus side, all the contests are projected to be relatively-to-very competitive judging by the lines on FD Sportsbook as of this morning, and all but two of the projected totals are at 212.0 points or higher. However, we also do have a number of big names on the injury report, including several that are already confirmed out to somewhat narrow our player pool at the top end.
Miami Heat at Indiana Pacers (-5.5) (O/U: 208.5 points)
Cleveland Cavaliers at Washington Wizards (-3.5) (O/U: 208.5 points)
Minnesota Timberwolves at Brooklyn Nets (-7.5) (O/U: 219.5 points)
Philadelphia 76ers at Atlanta Hawks (-1.5) (O/U: 214.0 points)
Orlando Magic at Houston Rockets (-3) (O/U: 218.5 points)
New Orleans Pelicans at Dallas Mavericks (-7.5) (O/U: 217.0 points)
Boston Celtics at Utah Jazz (-8.5) (O/U: 212.0 points)
Phoenix Suns at Golden State Warriors (-7) (O/U: 216.0 points)
Los Angeles Clippers at Los Angeles Lakers (-1) (O/U: 216.0 points)
Any slate without a double-digit spread is always encouraging for DFS purposes, although things can unfold drastically differently on the floor as we've seen frequently so far. On paper, we can get excited about a ledger that sees several games with spreads of 5.5 points or fewer.
Some of the numbers are clearly driven by confirmed absences of notable players. The Heat-Pacers matchup certainly sports a very different line than it would were Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo not already ruled out for Miami; in fact, the figures would probably be reversed. The same applies for the Suns-Warriors, which will include Devin Booker being out. And even the Clippers-Lakers line is being affected somewhat by the potential absence of Anthony Davis, who's listed as questionable.
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 is 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.
Anthony Davis, LAL (thumb)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
If Davis were to sit, it could naturally lead to expanded usage for Russell Westbrook and LeBron James - with the latter probable. The veteran center duo of DeAndre Jordan and Dwight Howard would also likely see expanded run.
LeBron James, LAL (abdomen/COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: PROBABLE
If James returns as expected, he'd walk right back into an even higher-usage role than usual if Davis is out. Talen Horton-Tucker would also head back to the bench.
Karl-Anthony Towns, MIN (tailbone)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Jimmy Butler, MIA (tailbone)/ Status: OUT
Devin Booker, PHO (hamstring)/ Status: OUT
Kristaps Porzingis, DAL (questionable)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Bam Adebayo, MIA (thumb)/ Status: OUT
With Adebayo out, Dewayne Dedmon is slated to draw another start at center.
Other notable injuries:
Christian Wood, HOU (ankle)/ Status: PROBABLE
Anthony Edwards, MIN (illness)/ Status: PROBABLE
Kevin Porter, HOU (thigh)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Jaylen Brown, BOS (rest)/ Status: OUT
Zion Williamson, NOP (foot)/ Status: OUT
Jalen Green, HOU (hamstring)/ Status: OUT
T.J. McConnell, IND (wrist)/ Status: OUT
Collin Sexton, CLE (knee)/ Status: OUT
Jalen Suggs, ORL (thumb)/ Status: OUT
Patrick Beverley, MIN (groin)/ Status: OUT
Nicolas Batum, LAC (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: OUT
Josh Hart, NOP (knee)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Jarred Vanderbilt, MIN (illness)/ Status: PROBABLE
Frank Kaminsky, PHO (knee)/ Status: OUT
Cedi Osman, CLE (back)/ Status: OUT
We have seven players with five-figure salaries on Friday's slate – Kevin Durant ($11,000), Stephen Curry ($10,800), Luka Doncic ($10,500), Anthony Davis ($10,500), James Harden ($10,400), Joel Embiid ($10,200) and LeBron James ($10,000).
Curry was held to a season-low 22.6 FD points by the Suns on 4-for-21 shooting two games ago, so his performance Friday will be particularly intriguing to monitor.
It's worth noting Doncic could be playing without Porzingis. Luka already boasts a 38.3 percent usage rate and averages 52.7 FD points per 36 minutes without his teammate on the floor.
Davis is listed as questionable and if he does miss, James would be come even more valuable than usual (assuming he suits up, as expected), as he sports a 30.0 percent usage rate and averages 50.1 FD points per 36 minutes without AD.
In addition to the players just mentioned in the prior section, other likely chalk plays include:
Russell Westbrook, LAL ($9,900)
Westbrook could be without Davis and is also coming in having scored at least 54.8 FD points in three of the last six.
Trae Young, ATL ($9,700)
Young is always popular and is on a roll that's seen him score between 43.2 to 59.9 FD points in the previous five contests.
Jayson Tatum, BOS ($9,500)
Tatum always enjoys extra usage when Jaylen Brown is out of action and has scored 42.4 to 64.2 FD points in seven of the last nine.
Chris Paul, PHO ($8,700)
Paul dropped 51.7 FD points against the Warriors last time they met and should be on plenty of rosters with the expected bump in usage as a result of Booker's absence.
Reggie Jackson, LAC at LAL ($5,900)
Jackson has recently posted a couple of atypical duds, but he's scored 24.8 to 51 FD points in five of the last six and is averaging a rock-solid - for his salary - 27.8 FD points per contest on the season. The veteran will be locked into one of the most favorable matchups for point guards in the league, as the Lakers are allowing the third-highest offensive efficiency to the position (27.8 percent) and 48.3 FD points per contest to ones. Jackson's efficiency still has plenty of room for improvement, but the fact the Lakers are giving up just under 38.0 percent three-point shooting to ones should help his cause tonight.
LaMarcus Aldridge, BRO vs. MIN ($5,700)
Aldridge has been effective in his first three since being promoted to the top job at center by producing 23.3 to 35.3 FD points in that capacity. He's averaged 28.5 FD points overall going back to an 11-game sample to provide a very safe floor, particularly now that he's running with the first unit. The matchup lines up well, as the Timberwolves are allowing 56.1 FD points per game to centers, along with the second-highest offensive efficiency (36.1 percent) to the position. They could also be without Towns, which would make them even more vulnerable down low.
Montrezl Harrell, WAS vs. CLE ($5,600)
Harrell recently saw a salary decrease due to a couple of underwhelming performances, and the figure thankfully hasn't risen despite a pair of resurgent efforts. The big man has scored 26 and 35.5 FD points in his last two outings and is still averaging 32.3 on the season, an excellent figure for his current salary. Tonight's matchup against the Cavs could be favorable, considering they're allowing 51.8 FD points per game to centers and rank middle-of-the-pack in offensive efficiency allowed to second-unit players (39.5 percent).
ALSO CONSIDER: Seth Curry, PHI at ATL ($5,400)