Fridayís seven-game slate yields very little in terms of elite talent, as itís one of the first evenings where we see no players priced above $10,000. The challenge of fitting in someone of that caliber is gone tonight, and while that might make things look simpler on the surface, we still have some tough calls to make.
Indiana is the only team with a back-to-back on Friday, as they will travel from Portland to face the Lakers at the Staples Center. LA will be without Lonzo Ball and Kentavious-Caldwell Pope tonight along with questionable tags for Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma, so obviously there will be ample opportunities to find some value plays. Jordan Clarkson ($5,200) looks to be the biggest beneficiary here, as he has spelled both Ball and KCP at various points this season and will shoulder a huge load in the backcourt.
Iím not as high on probable starter Josh Hart ($4,600), as heís been merely serviceable in relief, and the pace of this game wonít help matters. Heís played well against teams like Houston and Cleveland, but these are high-paced matchups with weak defenses. I see high ownership coming for Hart, and I think a lot of people will flock to him and end up disappointed. Weíll highlight some other spots in this game below, including some Pacers worth targeting.
The game I really like has the highest Over/Under of the evening (218) with Phoenix heading to high altitude to face the Nuggets. Even with Jamal Murray (concussion) doubtful on Friday, Denver is a team Iíll be moving to often. Iíll hit the players I like best below.
Iíll be abandoning the Ďelites firstí format that I usually employ due to how the slate sets up, and instead get right to my three highlighted projections per position, with an additional non-featured list of players that hold equal weight in my predictions. While there will be one high-priced candidate per slot, I will focus on value plays wherever possible.
While I think an obvious place to start here would be Victor Oladipo, IND at LAL ($9,600), he shot an abysmal nine-for-25 from the floor in Thursdayís game and while he should have a decent line regardless, I think the price is a little steep for what you might get a cheaper price.
Tyreke Evans, MEM vs. SAC ($8,800): I like Evans either way, even with Marc Gasol (illness) expected to play -- the Grizzlies center will probably be sluggish, which will shift a lot of the offensive output to Tyreke. He lit up the Kings for 45.8 DKFP in their last matchup, so if Iím spending up, Iíll elect for the potentially lower-owned Evans.
Gary Harris, DEN vs. PHO ($6,800): As stated above, Iím chalking Denver in multiple spots here, and Harris comes at a great value at this price. Harrisí steady floor has come in handy for many a cash lineup this season, and a good example of his ceiling occurred when he last faced Phoenix, where he racked up 49 DKFP in 32 minutes. With Jamal Murray out, heíll be on track for a similar total tonight.
Jordan Clarkson, LAL vs. IND ($5,200): Iím already aware that Iím contrarian to all the Josh Hart believers out there, but Iím ready to own it if Iím wrong. Clarkson will likely be coming off the bench tonight, which is especially frustrating when you consider his overall skill set, which at this point in his career is more polished and game-ready than Lonzo Ball on most evenings. If he gets shipped before the deadline, the recipient will be getting a bargain. Clarkson will beat value despite what I think is a colossal bungle on coach Luke Waltonís part in relegating him to a bench role.
Other guards to consider: Donovan Mitchell, NY at UTA ($8,100); Darren Collison, IND at LAL ($5,600); Reggie Bullock, DET vs. WAS ($4,500)
LaMarcus Aldridge, SA at TOR ($8,100): My first instinct was to pretty much fade this matchup entirely despite studs like Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan on the docket, but I have a hard time letting go of Aldridge as long as Kawhi Leonard (quad) is sidelined. Heís put up numbers in the neighborhood of 50 DKFP in three of his last five games and will be the spearhead of San Antonioís offensive and defensive attack.
Will Barton, DEN vs. PHO ($6,500): Barton emerges as a good value in place of Jamal Murray. You can utilize Barton at guard or forward. But I expect him to start in the backcourt again on Friday, and he should see a full complement of minutes with a floor of at least 30 DKFP. As the Over/under indicates, thereís potential for a lot more output here.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, BKN vs, MIA ($5,900): There will be a noticeable uptick in morale at the Barclays on Friday when DíAngelo Russell makes his first return to action in two months, and while heíll probably be on a significant minutes restriction in the short term, Hollis-Jefferson shows up as a bit of a contrarian pick in the frontcourt who could provide a heap of value as one of the Netsí best offensive weapons. Heís averaged 30 DKFP over his last five games and has averaged 32,3 DKFP in two meetings against the Heat.
Other forwards to consider: Tim Hardaway Jr., NY at UTA ($6,100); Trey Lyles, DEN vs. PHO ($5,800); Larry Nance, Jr., LAL vs, IND ($4,800)
Nikola Jokic, DEN vs. PHO ($9,500): Despite a below-average outing against the Clippers on Wednesday, Jokic is an excellent spend-up option, as he has the potential to blow up when his shot is accurate, a category he has had some issues with of late. When a guy like Jokic faces a team that ranks dead-last in total defense, heís hard to fade.
Domantas Sabonis, IND at LAL ($6,400): This might be the last time you can exploit the Myles Turner (elbow) injury, so itís a good idea to jump on Sabonis in this matchup against the Lakers, who arenít very successful inside and will be crippled in multiple spots Friday night. He can be employed at power forward or center, so fitting him in at this price should be easy.
Mason Plumlee, DEN vs. PHO ($4,400): Yep, keep going with the Nuggets! Plumlee is another player with dual-eligibility at power forward or center, and he has great potential to outperform his salary, especially if this game gets out of hand. One note of warning Ė I wouldnít roster Lyles and Plumlee as they are both jockeying for time at the four and you want to make a bet on one or the other. While Lyles has the more reliable floor, Plumlee will get the start and should have the best opportunity to shine.
Other centers to consider: Derrick Favors, UTA vs. NY ($6,700); Julius Randle, LAL vs. IND ($6,600)
Be sure to check in before tip-off before lineups lock to be as up-to-date as possible with any late developments. A word of advice to those who are planning on utilizing a lot of Lakers Ė although your game options are slimmer, there will probably be no real news about players like Kuzma or Ingram until right before their game locks, so play the late swap games to be safe.