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FantasyDraft NBA: Friday Picks

Juan Carlos Blanco

Winner of the FSWA 2016 Newcomer of the Year Award, Juan Carlos Blanco has been playing fantasy sports for close to 20 years and covers NBA, MLB, and the NFL for, including serving as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' beat writer. He has previously written for and remains an avid season-long and daily fantasy player in multiple sports.

Friday night’s eight-game ledger leaves us with plenty to contemplate, including a couple of Western Conference offensive powerhouses that should be out for blood after frustrating losses in their most recent games. There’s a fair share of elite options to pay up for as well, making mid-tier and value plays particularly important to identify. Without further ado, let’s drill down on what projects as a fun slate both cash and tournament players:


Russell Westbrook, OKC vs. NO ($21,600): Westbrook and the Thunder will be chomping at the bit to put Thursday’s heartbreaking loss to the Nuggets behind them, leaving him poised for another one of his explosive outings in a favorable matchup against the porous Pelicans defense versus point guards. New Orleans has allowed the second-most fantasy points (48.9) to ones on the campaign, including 57.4 over the last 10. They’ve also yielded bottom-five figures in multiple other categories to the position, including rebounds (6.8) and assists (8.7), two other primary sources of Westbrook’s fantasy production. Meanwhile, Westbrook has made eclipsing 60 fantasy points the norm, accomplishing the feat in five of the last seven contests while generating a 39.2 percent usage rate, effective field-goal percentage of 54.7 and 1.74 fantasy points per minute over that span.

Donovan Mitchell, UTA at PHO ($13,400): It’s worth pointing out that Klay Thompson ($13,700) is also very appealing at just $300 more, while Terry Rozier ($12,300) would certainly be worthy of consideration as well if he logs another start in Kyrie Irving’s place. Meanwhile, Mitchell’s price continues to mostly hold steady despite the fact he’s outpaced it more often than not. Most recently, the sensational rookie has scored 31.50 to 50.00 fantasy points in 17 of his last 20 games, a span during which he’s sporting an impressive 53.3 effective field-goal percentage while sporting a 27.8 percent usage rate. He’ll be in a favorable spot for more of the same, considering the Suns come in allowing the seventh-most fantasy points to shooting guards over the last 10 (56.4), including the fourth most over the last five (63.4). It’s also worth noting that Phoenix has allowed the fifth-most points in the paint on the season (47.2), while 42.2 percent of Mitchell’s scoring has come in that area of the floor.

J.J. Redick, PHI vs. MIA ($10,600): There’s a number of ways to go cheaper at guard if you need the savings, including the Heat’s Tyler Johnson ($9,900) in this same game, as well as Allen Crabbe ($9,100) in a favorable matchup against the Lakers. However, Redick could be worth the extra investment as well, considering his strong performance in his first game back from a leg injury and his highly favorable positional matchup. The veteran sharpshooter compiled an efficient 26.00 fantasy points in 26 minutes versus the Nets on Wednesday, while the Heat come in allowing the most fantasy points to shooting guards on the season (50.2), including 59.8 over the last 10 games. They’re also yielding league-worst or bottom-10 figures in multiple other categories to the position over both spans, while Redick comes in having scored 25.25 to 39.50 fantasy points in eight of his last nine contests.


Anthony Davis, NO at OKC ($21,200): Nikola Mirotic is on his way to New Orleans, but he’s not expected to make his debut until Saturday. That will leave Davis in what should be another particularly high-usage outing versus the Thunder, which notably have been playing at the sixth-highest pace over the last three games (103.2 possessions per contest). He’ll also likely continue working at center, a position that OKC has allowed 39.1 fantasy points to over the last five contests and that he already lit up for 36 points, 15 rebounds, three assists and two blocks across 45 minutes back on Nov. 20. Davis has scored 57.75 to 61.25 fantasy points in four of the last five contests, and he’s averaging 1.46 fantasy points per minute in the first two full games that the Pelicans have played without DeMarcus Cousins (Achilles).

Draymond Green, GS at SAC ($14,900): For those that need the discount, Julius Randle ($12,500) is also an excellent option against the vulnerable Nets frontcourt. Meanwhile, Green and the rest of his Warriors teammates are still likely smarting from a blowout loss to the Jazz in their last game, but the Kings could well be the cure for what ails them. That could especially hold true for Green, who’ll get a crack at a Sacramento squad that’s allowed the most fantasy points (47.7) and points (23.5) on the season to power forwards. He underwhelmed some with a modest 22.00 fantasy points against Utah on Wednesday, but he’d scored no less than 30.50 fantasy points – and eclipsed the 40-mark four times – in the prior seven games.

Jarrett Allen, BKN vs. LAL ($9,100): The Nets’ center rotation is somewhat tricky to figure out at present, as Jahlil Okafor appears to finally be making some inroads with respect to playing time. However, Allen has continued seeing a decent allotment of minutes in his own right, as he’s logged 18 to 26 in the last five contests, with the high end of that range having come in his last game against the Sixers. That degree of opportunity yielded a 16-point, 12-rebound double-double and a career-best 39.00 fantasy points, and his Friday matchup could leave him set up for more of the same. The Lakers have allowed the seventh-most fantasy points on the season (35.5) to centers, including 39.0 over the last five contests. Meanwhile, in addition to his aforementioned explosive outing, Allen had also scored 25.00 and 31.25 fantasy points in two other contests over the previous five games.


Kyrie Irving, BOS vs. ATL ($16,500): Irving should be back in the lineup Friday after resting his bruised quad in Wednesday’s win over the Knicks, and he could well be poised for a soft landing in return against a Hawks squad that he’s already averaged 32.5 points (on 70.6 percent shooting), 6.0 assists and 3.5 rebounds against over two games this season. The All-Star point guard has scored no fewer than 41.75 and as many as 60.25 fantasy points in his last six contests, a stretch during which he’s generated a 30.0 percent usage rate, 63.5 effective field-goal percentage, 1.36 points per possession and 1.27 fantasy points a minute. Atlanta also comes in allowing the fourth-most fantasy points (59.2) and most made three-pointers (4.8) to point guards over the last five games, with both numbers representing sizable increase over the season figures they’ve yielded in those categories.

DeMarre Carroll, BKN vs. LAL ($11,400): After a difficult season in Toronto last year, Carroll has bounced back nicely across the stat sheet in his first Nets campaign, and he’s been especially sharp since mid-January. The veteran has averaged 15.5 points (on 44.7 percent shooting), 6.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.0 steals over his last 10 contests while also seeing an uptick in shot attempts from a season average of 10.6 to 11.4 during that stretch. Carroll has tallied 25.50 to 42.00 fantasy points in eight of those contests, eclipsing the 30-mark in four of them overall. Meanwhile, the Lakers come in allowing the most fantasy points to small forwards on the season (45.7), along with league-worst or second-worst figures in multiple other categories to the position.

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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. Juan Carlos Blanco plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: jcblanco22, FanDuel: jc_blanco22, DraftPot: jc_blanco22, FantasyDraft: jc_blanco22, OwnThePlay: jcblanco22.