I feel like a lot of people will say that this 10-game Friday slate will be decided by Luka Doncic vs. James Harden. I don’t think that’s the case, but because of that, I’ll take some time at the top to discuss the two. Both are priced under $12K — which is advantageous — though Doncic has been the hotter (hottest really) player in fantasy basketball right now.
Looking at the matchup, assuming the Clippers are at full-strength, Harden will have a much tougher time. Doncic gets to run around, picking apart the Cavaliers all night. Harden probably sees a lot of Kawhi Leonard and Patrick Beverley, which isn’t ideal for a ceiling game. But I mean, five games ago Harden dropped 47 on the Clips and put up 71.5 DKFP, so what do we really know?
Doncic and the Mavericks will likely dispatch Cleveland by halftime, but we saw what Luka did to the Warriors the other night — a third quarter 35-point triple-double. I’m not scared off by the price increase and the potential of a blowout. I’m willing to ride or die with the Doncic gang here. No Ragrets.
So with that in mind, I’ll lean Doncic in all formats, Harden more of a GPP play, but Doncic probably has the safer floor? I’d say he has a better ceiling, but nobody has a higher ceiling than Harden. I’m too enamored by Luka right now, so maybe my judgement is blind. But I think in tournaments Luka is the play still.
There aren’t too many injuries to go over, which is nice for a larger Friday slate. There are two players in particular who could impact the slate a bit, however.
UPDATE: Draymond Green (heel) has been ruled out for tonight’s game vs. the Jazz.
— Draymond Green (heel) is questionable vs. the Jazz. Other than Eric Paschall ($6,300), everyone is priced under $6K. There will be some value, but not much given the road matchup.
— Bogdan Bogdanovic (hamstring) is questionable vs. the Nets. If he sits, Buddy Hield ($7,400) becomes a viable GPP play, since Brooklyn is allergic to defense and won’t have Kyrie Irving (shoulder). It’s also worth noting, Cory Joseph (heel) is also questionable, so the Kings could be down two backcourt bodies.
You can check out the NBA injury report for today here but it’s not very lengthy so far. It’s still early, so we’ll see how much surprise news we get during the afternoon. Because the Kings have a better matchup and could potentially be without two players, I’ll go over them a bit.
Sacramento would be in a very good spot for value, and I think Hield and Yogi Ferrell ($3,500) are the obvious choices. Nemanja Bjelica ($5,700) and Harrison Barnes ($5,900) would be next in line for me if Bogdanovic and Joseph sit. Bjelica appears to be seeing consistent minutes and this game should be relatively close if Sac Town is down two heads. Ferrell would be the only true PG if Joseph is out, so he’d likely have to play at least 25-30 minutes depending on the game script.
Trae Young, ATL vs. DET, $9,400
Young has been a bit off lately, but his floor is still pretty safe at around 40-45 fantasy points. This matchup is what makes him worthy in GPPs. The Pistons would likely send Bruce Brown, Luke Kennard and Langston Galloway out to guard Young, which is suboptimal. The Pistons also allow the third-highest 3PT% to opponents in the league at 38.7%. Young dropped 38-7-9 on Detroit in the season opener and if anything the Pistons are worse. I think this is a ceiling game for Trae.
Jimmy Butler, MIA at CHI, $8,400
You know I’m a sucker for narrative and we’ve got a great one here. Jimmy Buckets is back in Chitown! Of all the players in the NBA — other than maybe Russell Westbrook — I think Butler takes these types of games the most serious. He will definitely want to put on a show and the Bulls don’t have any answer for him. Jimmy could play up to 40 minutes in this one and he’s in good form — 46.25 DKFP or more in three straight.
Clint Capela, HOU at LAC, $7,700
In Rockets’ games in which Capela plays, the big man has at least 20 rebounds in five straight. Houston will likely be without Danuel House Jr., so that leaves Cap and PJ Tucker to eat up all the frontcourt minutes. Ivica Zubac and Montrezl Harrell aren’t slowing down Capela on the interior, so I think a 20-20 game is in play here. The last time Capela played LAC he had 12 points and 21 rebounds in 31 minutes before sustaining a concussion. This is the type of slate where I like spending down a bit in the $7-9K range.
Terry Rozier, CHA at WAS, $6,200
Is it a Scary Terry night? It’s a Scary Terry night. Really it’s anybody’s night when they are facing the Wizards, who are allowing — puts on glasses — 121.1 points per game. Rozier has been shooting poorly, but ... oh hey, look! The Wizards allow the third-highest field goal percentage to opponents at 48%, what a world! My only concern in GPPs is Rozier may be highly owned, but his range of outcomes fits more into GPPs than cash games.
Top Game Stack: SAS-PHI (221.5 O/U)
It’s boring to just pick the game the Wizards are in for this category on every slate, so I’m mixing it up. The Spurs are allowing nearly as many points to opponents at 116.2 per game and the 76ers have appealing starters who are priced down due to recent performance. Joel Embiid ($9,300), Ben Simmons ($8,100), Tobias Harris ($6,200) and Al Horford ($5,700) are all affordable in my eyes. Stacking all four leaves you with north of $5K on average to fill out the lineup.
As for the Spurs, I’m not crazy about many of their plays since the Sixers are much better defensively, but there are some spots we can attack. Derrick White could be out again with a foot injury. I’ll like Dejounte Murray ($5,700) and Bryn Forbes ($5,200) a good amount if White is out again. Though, both are priced up now. Forbes had been down at $4,300 when I recommended him the other night. I’d go heavier on the Sixers side and cheaper on the San Antonio side. LaMarcus Aldridge ($7,000) and DeMar DeRozan ($7,700) aren’t expensive but aren’t cheap.
UPDATE: White (foot) is out, so Murray and Forbes become more attractive values.