DraftKings NBA: Friday Cheat Sheet

DraftKings NBA: Friday Cheat Sheet

This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.

As we skim through Friday's 10-game slate, we are looking at the red-hot James Harden ($13,800) leading the way again, as his price is once again at its apex for the season. As his price rises, the viability of contrarian picks improves as well. Yes, he logged an insane 97 DKFP score against the Knicks two nights ago, and if you were off the Beard you probably didn't fare well. Chris Paul is expected to rejoin the lineup this weekend, and we should see more mortal numbers from Harden when that happens. For me, I'll end up playing him in some lineups against a tough Toronto defense he's yet to face, but it might be the last time for a while until I see his floor stabilize with Chris Paul back on the court.

DeAndre Ayton (ankle) and Richaun Holmes (foot) QUESTIONABLE: This situation remains in flux as both Ayton and Holmes may be poised to miss yet another game. If both of them remain out against the Nuggets, Dragan Bender ($4,600) will once again be the best option for the Suns – but temper your expectations if you take this route.

Spencer Dinwiddie (thumb) QUESTIONABLE: I'll go ahead and list what the site says, but multiple reports suggest that Dinwiddie has a torn ligament in his thumb and could be out up to a month – although that hasn't been confirmed by the team. Either way, I think it's highly unlikely we'll see him on the floor tonight. This crosstown matchup sets up well for the Nets, so expect D'Angelo Russell ($8,600) to reap the benefits of Dinwiddie's absence. Shabazz Napier ($3,600) should be the low-cost pivot here.

Derrick Rose (ankle), Jeff Teague (foot), Tyus Jones (ankle) QUESTIONABNLE: Minnesota's backcourt is a mess right now, and it's anyone's guess as to who might end up with a significant minutes total out of this group. The late tip-off complicates the scenario. If we find out two of these guys are out by the start, I think Jarryd Bayless ($3,600) is worth a look.

T.J. Warren (ankle) OUT: This will be the last time I mention Warren, as he'll join the list of long-term absences. Kelly Oubre ($5,600) is the guy to target here, but Josh Jackson ($5,500) should see a boost as well.

Emmanuel Mudiay (shoulder) QUESTIONABLE: I feel obligated to report this injury, but I wouldn't touch this scenario with a pole of any length. David Fitzdale works my last nerve with his rotation choices. If you really want to consider a pivot in Mudiay's potential absence, I regret to say you're on your own. I won't suggest a path here when I have no confidence in the outcome.

GUARDS

De'Aaron Fox, SAC at MEM ($7,300): I see the potential for excellent numbers all over the top of this slate – with Russell as the headliner – but there's no reason to pay a higher price for what I consider to be a similar outcome from Fox, who has an excellent three-game average of 43 DKFP against the Grizzlies. The only concern here is the toe injury that kept him out of the game against the Raptors earlier in the week, so you've got to hope he doesn't reaggravate it in the short term.

Lou Williams, LAC at CHI ($6,700): It appears Williams has shaken off his hamstring injury and is in line for extended minutes with Danilo Gallinari (back) out of the lineup. His game-changing ability off the bench could be a difference-maker against the Bulls, who have struggled against opposing backcourts all season.

Additional guards to consider: Luka Doncic, DAL vs. DET ($6,400), Justise Winslow, MIA at CLE ($6,300), Gary Harris, DEN vs. PHO ($5,000)

FORWARDS

Kawhi Leonard, TOR at HOU ($9,500): Could this game be the reason why they've been resting Leonard for the past week? How much 'rest' does Kawhi really need, anyway? I envy him. He's not listed on the injury report tonight, so I expect him to be properly motivated against Harden and the Rockets. If anyone would like to knock the MVP crown off of the Beard's head, it's Kawhi, who's tangled with Harden many times as an intra-state opponent with mixed results. I think Giannis Antetokounmpo ($10,700) is a nice high-priced pivot against the Hornets, but Leonard is a more intriguing prospect – and I could use that extra $1,200 elsewhere.

Khris Middleton, MIL vs. CHA ($6,400): I'll pick Middleton's safe floor here over some potentially volatile spots at this price range. Over two games against the Hornets, Middleton has averaged 37 DKFP per game, and that's about what you should expect from him on a nightly basis. I'm more inclined to use him in cash lineups as he lacks the necessary pop to put you over the top in GPP's.

Kenneth Faried, HOU vs. TOR ($5,300): Faried was a smart pickup for Houston, who desperately need help inside after Clint Capela's injury. I suppose you could take advantage of Eric Gordon's ($5,300) dual eligibility and nab a piece of this game, but Faried will emerge as the lesser-owned player and an intriguing contrarian pick in this hotly-contested matchup.

Other forwards to consider: Tobias Harris, LAC at CHI ($8,200), Serge Ibaka, TOR at HOU ($6,300), Jaren Jackson, MEM vs. SAC ($5,400)

CENTERS

Nikola Jokic, DEN vs. PHO ($10,600): If you're electing to go stars and scrubs tonight, I think Jokic might be the best player to pair with Harden – especially when you consider Dragan Bender could be the only player they can put in the paint if Ayton and Holmes sit out. He's also averaged close to 60 DKFP over three games against the Suns, making him about as dependable as it gets in this range.

Jarrett Allen, BKN vs. NY ($5,800): Allen is a worthwhile consideration if you're starting to run out of cash and you've spent up at other positions. The simple act of going with Harden immediately leaves you with only $5,200 per player to work with, so Allen fits in well with that game plan. Over three games against the Knicks, he's put up a 31 DKFP average but Allen has the ability to pop with a much better number. If you're going this route, you're banking on his ceiling.

Bismack Biyombo, CHA at MIL ($4,100): I haven't given you a whole lot to work with at this price point, but Biyombo is worth considering as a GPP punt. He's emerged as the best option at center in Cody Zeller's absence. And while he's only averaging 14.8 DKFP per game, he's had two double-doubles in his last three games and was incredibly close to making it three straight in that category.

If you haven't sensed it already, I'm leaning toward a Harden fade with a lot of these picks. To be honest, the Jokic matchup is my main reason for the fade as I think this tough matchup against the Raptors could yield a similar total to Jokic's against the Suns. Everyone is going to go with Harden and while I can't say I blame them, I don't think it's the proper GPP path tonight.

While we're on the topic of game selection and ownership concerns, I'd like to share some insight into what's been happening lately in the DFS landscape. To put it simply, cash games are getting harder to beat. It's been a continuing trend as more and more pros lay considerable cash on a wide array of 50/50's and double-ups. I think the days of relying on safe floors are dwindling, and it's getting more and more difficult to make the money. Conversely, I think that's good news for GPPs. I'm not suggesting you fire up every huge field you can find, but what I AM suggesting is that you make every effort you can to be contrarian whenever possible. Calculating ownership is crucial to a successful lineup, and I think that applies to cash lineups, now more than ever.

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
Jeff Edgerton
Jeff has provided sports content for numerous sports outlets and has played fantasy sports since scores had to be tabulated via newspaper. He started working with RotoWire in 2017. Originally from South Carolina, he's a lifelong Clemson fan now enjoying the sun in Los Angeles.
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