Defense to Avoid
Miami Heat vs. Dallas Mavericks
Miami is the only top-five defense on the slate, allowing just 95.5 points per game, and they play at the second-slowest pace. This is also a game full of old veterans who prefer to play half-court offense. Im assuming both teams will be happy to walk the ball up the court and play an 88-85 grinder of a game. That means fewer possessions for both teams and less fantasy production. The Dallas starters will likely have some solid games in a close game, but none of them have blow-up potential in a tough matchup like this.
Offense to Use
Philadelphia 76ers at Los Angeles Lakers
It's not every day that the Sixers are a good recommendation for an offense to use, but they're a great choice Friday. Not only do they have a fantastic matchup, they have been playing some great basketball over their last few games. Since the acquisition of Ish Smith, the team has been playing at a 108.3 pace, which is one of the highest in the league. The Sixers have scored at least 100 points in three of their last four games and theyre simply a different offense with Smith at the point. The icing on the cake is the matchup against the Lakers, who rank as the second-worst defense this season. Philadelphia presents many good value picks as well, as their players are always undervalued with their 3-31 record.
Teams on Back-to-Back Sets
First game: 76ers, Hornets, Magic and Mavericks
Second game: None
Daily Player Recommendations
Ish Smith, PHI at LAL ($6,500): This is one of the easiest picks of the season. Smith is averaging 18.0 points, 8.3 assists, 2.7 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 1.0 block in 32 minutes per game since taking over the starting job in Philadelphia. It's clear the offense runs through him and it wouldnt be surprising to see his minutes increase over time. If that's not enough, this is the best matchup possible; the Lakers are the worst defense in the NBA against point guards this season, allowing 58 fantasy points per game to the position.
Other Suggestions: Elfrid Payton, ORL at WSH ($6,000); J.J. Barea, DAL at MIA ($5,500)
Dwyane Wade, MIA vs. DAL ($7,000): Wade has been one of the most consistent shooting guards over the last month, scoring at least 28 fantasy points in eight consecutive games, while scoring below 32 once in that span. What worries fantasy owners most about Wade is the minutes, but he has been averaging well over 30 minutes per game in that span. Some might be scared off with a matchup against Wesley Matthews, but the Mavericks rank in the bottom-half of the league in fantasy points allowed to shooting guards this season.
Other Suggestions: Kobe Bryant, LAL vs. PHI ($6,400); Lou Williams, LAL vs. PHI ($5,000)
Chandler Parsons, DAL at MIA ($5,800): Over his last eight games, Parsons is averaging 11.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.2 combined blocks and steals per game. Most importantly, he is playing about 32 minutes per game over that span. Those numbers dont pop off the page, but it's solid fantasy production at a reasonable price. What's also benefits this play is that Miami struggles against small forwards, ranking 21st in fantasy points allowed to the position this season.
Other Suggestions: Nicolas Batum, CHA at TOR ($7,500); Jerami Grant, PHI at LAL ($4,400)
Taj Gibson, CHI vs. NYK ($5,600): Gibson has been starting in the absence of Joakim Noah (shoulder) and playing some great ball, scoring at least 23 fantasy points in five consecutive games, while grabbing at least eight boards in six of his last seven. Gibson also has a great matchup against a Knicks defense ranked 27th against opposing power forwards this season. Considering he is averaging 35 minutes per game over his last five, there's not much downside at just $5,600.
Other Suggestions: Nerlens Noel, PHI at LAL ($6,300); Nikola Mirotic, CHI vs. NYK ($4,800)
Pau Gasol, CHI vs. NYK ($7,700): Gasol has scored at least 34 fantasy points in 15 consecutive games, averaging 18.9 points, 11.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.7 blocks per game over that span. In a five-game slate, it's important to get a consistent player into your lineup and Gasol is as reliable as anyone right now. The matchup is good too, as the Knicks rank 27th in points allowed to centers this season.
Other Suggestions: Nikola Vucevic, ORL at WSH ($7,900); Zaza Pachulia, DAL at MIA ($5,600)
Al Jefferson CHA (knee)
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist - CHA (shoulder)
Mike Dunleavy CHI (back)
Joakim Noah CHI (shoulder)
Cleanthony Early NYK (leg)
Joel Embiid- PHI (foot)
Bradley Beal WSH (leg)
Jeremy Lin CHA (ankle)
Spencer Hawes CHA (back)
Derrick Rose CHI (hamstring)
Deron Williams DAL (hamstring)
Charlie Villanueva DAL (foot)
Chandler Parsons DAL (legs)
John Jenkins DAL (concussion)
Justise Winslow MIA (ankle)
Josh McRoberts MIA (knee)
Lou Amundson NYK (back)
C.J. Watson ORL (calf)
Elfrid Payton ORL (ankle)
Hollis Thompson PHI (eye)
Nene Hilario WSH (calf)
Drew Gooden WSH (calf)
Gary Neal WSH (quad)
Alan Anderson - WSH (ankle)