This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
Friday night brings us a typically massive slate, with 22 teams taking the floor. Even with that many games on the docket, one encouraging sign is that there are only two double-digit spreads as of Friday morning, and more games with projected totals of at least 220 points than not. Meanwhile, the injury report does have a significant share of big names on it – with several already ruled out – but the size of the player pool helps largely insulate us as DFS players from an appreciable lack of options.
Oklahoma City Thunder at Charlotte Hornets (-9) (O/U: 222.5 points)
Los Angeles Lakers (-5) at Orlando Magic (O/U: 220.0 points)
Los Angeles Clippers at Philadelphia 76ers (-9) (O/U: 214.0 points)
Miami Heat at Atlanta Hawks (-1.5) (O/U: 219.5 points)
Portland Trail Blazers at Boston Celtics (-8) (O/U: 212.5 points)
Toronto Raptors at Washington Wizards (-1.5) (O/U: 217.0 points)
Chicago Bulls at Milwaukee Bucks (-9.5) (O/U: 228.0 points)
Brooklyn Nets (-1.5) at San Antonio Spurs (O/U: 233.0 points)
Detroit Pistons at Utah Jazz (-14) (O/U: 219.0 points)
Memphis Grizzlies at Denver Nuggets (-3.5) (O/U: 222.5 points)
Houston Rockets at Golden State Warriors (-10) (O/U: 228.0 points)
As alluded to earlier, the slate has a bit of everything, but it tilts toward closely contested, higher-scoring matchups if the oddsmakers are correct in their prognostications. Even the two contests projected to be the most lopsided could surprise, as the Jazz have been stuck in an extended slump, and the Pistons have already shocked a couple of quality teams this season. Then, the Rockets, which just upset Utah their last time out, have shown an ability to sneak up on contending squads as well and have the players to give a short-handed Warriors squad a battle.
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, including those carrying injury designations that aren't listed in this section.
LeBron James, LAL (abdomen): PROBABLE
James is fully expected to continue playing through his abdomen injury and should continue to enjoy elevated usage.
Donovan Mitchell, UTA (concussion): OUT
Clint Capela, ATL (ankle): QUESTIONABLE
If Capela misses another contest, Onyeka Okongwu would be in line to absorb the bulk of minutes at center.
Kyle Lowry, MIA (personal): OUT
In Lowry's absence, Gabe Vincent could draw another start at point guard.
Zach LaVine, CHI (knee): OUT
Lonzo Ball, CHI (knee): OUT
In Ball's absence, Coby White should draw another start at point guard.
Desmond Bane, MEM (COVID-19 protocols): OUT
Klay Thompson, GSW (rest): OUT
With Thompson sitting out, Jordan Poole should be in the starting five at shooting guard.
Other notable injuries:
Paul George, LAC (elbow): OUT
Kevin Durant, BKN (knee): OUT
Anthony Davis, LAL (knee): OUT
Damian Lillard, POR (abdominal): OUT
Jerami Grant, DET (thumb): OUT
Tyler Herro, MIA (COVID-19 protocols): OUT
Norman Powell, POR (personal): OUT
Draymond Green, GSW (calf): OUT
Marcus Smart, BOS (conditioning): QUESTIONABLE
Bogdan Bogdanovic, ATL (knee): OUT
We have seven players with a five-figure salary on Friday's slate – Nikola Jokic ($11,900), Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,300), LeBron James ($11,000), Joel Embiid ($10,800), James Harden ($10,500), Dejounte Murray ($10,300) and Trae Young ($10,000).
Jokic is averaging 56.6 FD points per game and is coming off a tally of 87.8 FD points over 41 minutes against the Clippers – a performance preceded by a tally of 67 FD points versus the Jazz.
Antetokounmpo just posted 65.5 FD points over just 31 minutes against Memphis on Wednesday, and he's scored over 64 FD points in three of his last six games overall.
James draws an excellent matchup against the Magic's shaky frontcourt and has scored over 50 FD points in four of his last six, including one tally over 70.
Embiid scored 77.4 FD points against that Magic frontcourt in his most recent game Wednesday and now faces the same Clippers squad that surrendered Jokic's 87.8 FD-point effort.
Harden boasts a 33.9 percent usage rate without Kevin Durant on the floor, and despite a relatively modest 33.1 FD points his last time out, he'd scored at least 47.4 FD points in each of the five games prior.
Murray racked up 64 FD points over just 30 minutes against the Thunder on Wednesday and has scored over 50 in six of his last nine games overall.
Young could potentially be without Clint Capela again Friday and has scored 51.3 and 62 FD points in his last two games. He was held to just 25.1 and 37.1 FD points in his two most recent meetings with the Heat, but Miami will notably be without Kyle Lowry on Friday.
In addition to the players just mentioned in the prior section, other likely chalk plays include:
Pascal Siakam, TOR ($9,900)
Siakam has flashed a floor of over 40 FD points more often than not of late, making him one of the safest options if paying up at power forward.
Stephen Curry, GSW ($9,800)
Nikola Vucevic, CHI ($9,200)
Vucevic has over 50 FD points in two of the last four games, and he is averaging 45 FD points per 36 minutes without Ball and LaVine off the floor.
Kyrie Irving, BKN ($8,900)
Irving has scored 49.9 and 44.1 FD points in his last two games and has a 31.1 percent usage rate without Durant on the floor.
DeMar DeRozan, CHI ($8,400)
DeRozan boasts a team-high 39.7 percent usage rate and is averaging 45 FD points per 36 minutes without Ball and LaVine, and he's coming off scoring 47.9 FD points against the Cavaliers in his most recent contest.
Dennis Schroder, BOS vs. POR ($6,200)
Schroder has been on fire in recent games with Marcus Smart sidelined, and the latter is questionable again for Friday's game due to conditioning reasons. That implies that he could play a limited role even if he does suit up, and Schroder's recent play would certainly give coach Ime Udoka enough comfort to deploy that strategy. Schroder has scored 37.2 to 46.5 FD points in his last three games while starting at point guard, and he also posted 30.9 FD points two games prior to the start of that stretch. The Trail Blazers make for an excellent match-up as well, as Portland has allowed the 12th-highest offensive efficiency to point guards (25.7 percent), along with 46.1 FD points per contest to the position.
Luguentz Dort, OKC at CHA ($5,500)
Dort has averaged a solid 25.9 FD points per contest over his last seven games, shooting an impressive 38.0 percent from three-point range during that stretch. The third-year big has scored in double digits in each of those contests and draws an excellent matchup with which to continue his strong stretch. The Hornets have been vulnerable in the frontcourt all season long, allowing 48.7 FD points per game to power forwards and the fourth-highest offensive efficiency to the position (28.6 percent). What's more, Charlotte is allowing an NBA-high 56.4 rebounds per game, which certainly bodes well for Dort's prospects.
Jordan Poole, GSW vs. HOU ($5,100)
Poole should be running with the first unit Friday with Klay Thompson sitting out for rest, and the young guard will draw an excellent matchup for his spot start. The Rockets have allowed the seventh-highest offensive efficiency to shooting guards (22.0 percent), along with the second-most FD points per game to the position (43.1). Poole has averaged 28.2 FD points in his 31 starts this season as well, furthering his case at a salary he's already exceeded 5x return on in 20 contests.