The NBA puts on its usual Friday spectacular tonight with an 11-game offering that’s got plenty of the league’s elite in action. While a slate of this size does present you with a multitude of decisions to make, there is also plenty of flexibility and value to be had. Without further ado, let’s try to hone in on who some of the most effective plays might be at each salary level:
Damian Lillard, POR at ORL ($17,200): Lillard just had a streak of four games with over 50 fantasy points snapped against a tough Heat defense on Wednesday, but he still mustered a solid 30.75 tally in that contest. He’ll be poised to boost his numbers back up Friday versus a Magic squad that’s allowed the third-most fantasy points (52.4) to point guards on the season. They’re also ranked in the bottom-10 in points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks and made three-pointers allowed to the position, while Lillard is sporting a 30.4 percent usage rate and averaging 1.19 fantasy points per minute over his last 10 games.
Khris Middleton, MIL vs. CHI ($13,100): Despite often being overshadowed by Giannis Antetokounmpo's spectacular exploits, Middleton is quietly putting together his most consistent season, averaging an impressive 35.7 fantasy points per contest on the season and scoring no fewer than 30.50 fantasy points in his last seven games. He’ll be in a prime spot for a similar caliber of production Friday, considering the Bulls have allowed the 10th-most fantasy points (42.3) to small forwards, along with the third-most made three-pointers (3.0) and sixth-highest shooting percentage (45.0). Middleton has been hot of late, posting a 52.3 percent success rate from the field – including 46.9 percent from three-point range – over the last six games.
Andrew Harrison, MEM vs. ATL ($8,800): Harrison has been coming on while drawing starts at point guard, as he’s scored between 23.50 and 35.75 fantasy points in three of his past four games while shooting 51.7 percent from the field, including 42.9 percent from three-point range. He’ll be in a favorable spot again Friday, considering the Hawks allow 46.6 fantasy points per contest to point guards, along with the sixth-most assists (9.1) and sixth-most made three-pointers (2.5).
Joel Embiid, PHI vs. OKC ($17,500): Embiid comes at a nice discount over the top trio of Antetokounmpo, DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis at forward/center and draws a solid matchup in what should be highly competitive, high-scoring affair. The Thunder have allowed 36.1 fantasy points per game to centers, and Embiid has exploded for 61.75 and 58.00 fantasy points in his last two contests. OKC center Steven Adams has also notably allowed an average of 27.1 points in the paint per game this season -- the second highest figure of his career – while Embiid is scoring 46.8 percent of his points in that area of the court.
Clint Capela, HOU vs. SA ($12,600): Steven Adams ($11,900) makes for a nice cost-saving pivot as well at this level, but Capela makes for an appealing option against a Spurs team that’s allowed the highest shooting percentage (60.0) to centers, along with 35.6 fantasy points per game. Capela checks in averaging 34.4 fantasy points per contests, has scored over 40 fantasy points in three of his last eight games and has shot a blistering 87.5 percent from the field in the last three contests.
Trevor Booker, PHI vs. OKC ($8,300): Booker has taken to his new home, as he’s scored between 26.00 and 31.75 fantasy points in first three games with the Sixers. He’s seen between 19 and 24 minutes in those contests, as well, so he appears to have already carved out a consistent role in the frontcourt rotation. He’ll draw a solid matchup Friday as well, considering the Thunder have surrendered 43.4 fantasy points per game to power forwards, along with 20.9 points, 10.9 rebounds and a 47.0 percent success rate from the field.
Russell Westbrook, OKC at PHI ($20,900): Westbrook enters Friday having scored between 51.00 and 74.50 fantasy points in four of the last five games, with three triple-doubles during that stretch. He’s continued to generate that type of production despite shooting just 35.0 percent from the field during that span, and he’ll take aim Friday at a Sixers team that’s surrendered 52.8 fantasy points per game to point guards over the last five games, well over six fantasy points more than the 46.2 they’ve allowed to the position on the season.
Serge Ibaka, TOR vs. BKN ($11,900): Ibaka has taken it to another level over the last five games, having scored 30.50 and 43.75 fantasy points while averaging 1.11 fantasy points per minute, second only to DeMar DeRozan on the Raptors over that span. Meanwhile, the Nets allow 42.2 fantasy points per contest to power forwards, along with the second highest shooting percentage (50.0) to the position.