TGIF! After that four-game appetizer on Thursday, we get back to the big boys and girls table with an 11-game slate.
DraftKings Sportsbook has five games with a total of at least 229: ATL/DET (229), IND/WAS (229), LAL/MIN (229), CHI/SA (230) and UTA/DEN (231). There are no double-digit favorites, but MIN is favored by eight vs. LAL, DEN is favored by 8.5 vs. UTA and PHO is favored by 7 vs. NOP. The two tightest spreads are CHA -2 vs. ORL and PHI -1 vs. TOR.
In terms of back-to-backs, ATL, CHA, CHI, IND, MIL, PHI and UTA are all playing the first leg on Friday. None of the teams on Friday’s slate played on Thursday. There are injury concerns, so go to DK Live for the latest updates.
Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks at Detroit Pistons ($9,800) – Young has a 34% usage rate on the season and has scored at least 48 DKFP in all four games this season, logging 50 DKFP in the two most recent contests. The matchup is a good one, as Detroit is 13th in pace, 28th in defensive efficiency and has boosted the FPPM of point guards by a league-leading 22.43%.
Tyrese Haliburton, Indiana Pacers at Washington Wizards ($8,300) – His usage rate may not be as high as some of the other guards on the slate, as it will likely be in the 25% range while it will be over 30% for others. That said, Haliburton’s floor is incredibly high and ceiling games are in play on any given night. He’s gone for at least 40 DKFP in every game this season, with two over 50. The Pacers play fast and are one of the worst defensive teams, so Indiana will have to stay true to its name. Haliburton has exceeded points expectations 100% of the time this season.
Other Options – Dejounte Murray ($9,500), Devin Booker ($9,000), Anfernee Simons ($7,100)
De’Anthony Melton, Philadelphia 76ers at Toronto Raptors ($3,800) – Melton averages 1.05 DKFP per minute. Unfortunately, he’s exceeded 20 minutes only twice this season. He did play 22 minutes and put up 30.25 DKFP against these same Raptors two days ago. With Philadelphia sporting a 1-4 record with a defense ranked towards the bottom of the league, it’s possible that Melton could see a few more minutes of playing time.
Other Options – Shaedon Sharpe ($4,400)
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks vs. New York Knicks ($12,100) – Antetokounmpo averages 1.76 DKFP per minute and is one of the best players in the league, for both fantasy and real-life. He’s matchup proof, game-script proof and whatever other proof you want to include.
LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers at Minnesota Timberwolves ($10,300) – The Lakers are 0-4 and desperate for a win. James should play a ton of minutes to try and carry this team to victory. The Timberwolves are fourth in offensive pace while the Lakers are second, so the game environment should be a good one. While Minnesota is 14th in defensive rating, they are allowing the sixth-most fast-break points per game. Grabbing boards and getting out in transition are James’ hallmarks, and we could see plenty of those Friday.
Other Options – Paolo Banchero ($7,800), Anthony Edwards ($8,200), Franz Wagner ($6,400)
Justise Winslow, Portland Trail Blazers vs. Houston Rockets ($3,900) – Winslow has played around 25 minutes per game this season, but that number could increase with Damian Lillard out. In addition, the Rockets have been starting Jabari Smith ($6,600) at center, and Winslow has been an integral part of Portland’s small lineups. Winslow averages 0.97 DKFP per minute, and the Rockets play at the fifth-fastest pace, so the environment should be a good one.
Other Options – Talen Horton-Tucker ($4,500), Christian Braun ($3,500)
Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets vs. Utah Jazz ($11,000) – Please scroll up, read the Antetokounmpo blurb, then apply that to Jokic. The crazy thing is Jokic averages 1.83 DKFP per minute, compared to 1.76 for Giannis. Jokic is the gold standard for fantasy and is a threat to post a triple-double and go for 80 DKFP on any given night.
Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors vs. Philadelphia 76ers ($8,900) – Siakam has taken his game to another level this season. His usage rate is above 30% for the first time in his career, and the noticeable improvements have been in the 3-point prowess and playmaking.
He’s averaging 1.8 threes per game while dishing out eight dimes a night. His career-high in assists was the 5.3 mark he put up last season. It’s only been five games, and that number is likely unsustainable, but the improvement is apparent. Siakam has exceeded points expectations 100% of the time this season and has gone for over 40 DKFP in every contest, with a high of 72.5. He played the 76ers two days ago and put up 48.75 DKFP.
Other Options – Giannis Antetokounmpo ($12,100), Kristaps Porzingis ($7,900), Nikola Vucevic ($8,300)
Bol Bol, Orlando Magic vs. Charlotte Hornets ($4,900) – Jamahl Mosley was tinkering with big lineups during the preseason and many of the players were raving about Bol. I thought it was a joke, but here we are.
Bol has been a significant member of the rotation from Day 1 and has seen his playing time increase to over 20 minutes. He has essentially taken a bulk of minutes away from Mo Bamba ($3,400). Bol has a unique skill set, in that his length allows him to block shots and grab rebounds, but he can also make it rain from downtown and has the handles and agility to dribble down the court and euro step defenders in the paint. He’s scored 27.5, 32.75 and 20.25 DKFP in the last three games and could see an increase of playing time with Cole Anthony sidelined.
Other Options – Jock Landale ($3,800)
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is sontzu) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.