TGIF. Thank God It’s an eleven-game slate on Friday. Thursday’s three-gamer was like going to a TGI Friday’s and only having access to the salad bar. Does TGI Friday’s have a salad bar? Tonight, we’ve got access to most of the menu. Yippee!
Detroit is the only team playing the second leg of a back-to-back, while UTA, PHI, ORL and IND play on Saturday.
DraftKings Sportsbook has four games with a total of at least 230: OKC/MEM (231), IND/HOU (236), BOS/NO (230) and NYK/GS (235). There are no double-digit favorites, but CLE is -9.5 vs. CHA and CHI is -9 vs. ORL. There are four games with a spread within three points: WAS -1 vs. MIA, PHI -1.5 vs. MIL, BOS -2.5 vs. NO and PHO -2 vs. UTA. Houston, New Orleans and Utah are home dogs.
Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks vs. Denver Nuggets ($12,700) – Doncic is averaging 62.05 DKFP per game and 1.67 DKFP per minute. No guard comes close to per-game production — Giannis Antetokounmpo is the only player to have a better per-minute number. Doncic’s usage rate has been below 35% only once this season, and that game came in at 34.2%. It has been above 40% five times! Doncic has scored at least 50 DKFP in every contest this season, with seven performances above 60 and two above 80!
He is the most expensive player on the slate, and he has exceeded points expectations only 30% of the time, though. That said, the floor/ceiling combo is one of the best. Rostering Doncic will come down to the value available, roster construction and projected ownership.
Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors vs. New York Knicks ($10,600) – With the struggles of the Warriors, Curry has had to be, not only the alpha, but Atlas. He’s attempted over 20 shots in 10 contests and scored at least 30 points in 10 of those games. In the last five games, he has a 50-, 40- and 47-point game. He’s put up at least 50 DKFP in seven contests, going over 70 twice.
These are not your father’s Knicks, as they are 22nd in defensive rating and are playing at the 10th-fastest pace. Against point guards, they are boosting the FPPM by a whopping 13.58 percentage points, with a 10.06 percentage-point boost in 3-pointers.
Other Options - Ja Morant ($10,500), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ($9,900), Tyrese Haliburton ($9,200), Devin Booker ($9,400)
Bones Hyland, Denver Nuggets at Dallas Mavericks ($5,000) – Hyland averages 1.2 DKFP per minute. Both Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray are out Friday. With those two off the court, Hyland has a 34.5% usage rate. 1 + 1 = 2
Other Options - Gabe Vincent ($4,600), Cam Reddish ($3,800), Jalen Williams ($4,000), Goran Dragic ($4,000), Jose Alvarado ($3,500)
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks at Philadelphia 76ers ($12,600) – I’m not crazy about Antetokounmpo Friday. His price is high, and the 76ers are one of the better defensive teams in the league. In addition, he’s put up 43.5, 41 and 40.25 DKFP over the last three games, and it’s highly unlikely that he puts up a score that makes us curl into the fetal position. That said, he averages a league-best 1.76 DKFP per minute. Although he’s had only one ceiling game this season, he’s a threat to go bonkers on any given night.
LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers vs. Detroit Pistons ($10,400) – James has missed the last two games and should be well-rested from the adductor strain given he hasn’t played since November 9. He’s officially listed as questionable, but I think there’s a good chance he plays in this one. The Pistons are 29th in defensive rating, and James averages 1.37 DKFP per minute.
I’m not enamored with the top options at the forward position tonight, and the rostership level should be depressed due to the price and Q tag. A 50-DKFP burger from James is within the range of outcomes, and I’d be good with that.
Cam Reddish, New York Knicks at Golden State Warriors ($3,800) – My momma always told me that potential doesn’t mean a thing. Reddish is the embodiment of my momma’s words. On the AAU circuit, his peers would rave about how he was the most unstoppable offensive force in the game. He played at Duke then was drafted with the 10th overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Since joining the league, though, he’s averaged 10.4 points while shooting 39% from the field. Yuck.
He’s still only 23 years old, and the talent hasn’t gone anywhere. Now he’s getting the opportunity. Over the last three games, Reddish has played 37, 33 and 33 minutes, putting up 19.8, 25.8 and 43.3 DKFP, respectively. Consistency has always been an issue for Reddish, but the recent trend of playing time and the matchup vs. Golden State could portend for some good things.
The Warriors play at the fastest pace in the league and are 27th in defensive rating. They have been especially weak guarding shooting guards — Klay Thompson isn’t as agile and teams are attacking him relentlessly, and while Jordan Poole is a bucket getter, he’s not a defensive stopper.
Other Options - Caleb Martin ($4,900), Zeke Nnaji ($3,200), Larry Nance Jr. ($4,500), Nikola Jovic ($3,500), Jalen Williams ($4,000), Jericho Sims ($3,700), Luke Kornet ($3,300)
Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers at Milwaukee Bucks ($11,300) – Embiid is coming off a massive 100.25-DKFP performance. In the game before that, he put up 71.5 DKFP! I’d be careful chasing this spot, though. The Bucks have done a good job defending Embiid over the years, especially with Brook Lopez in the lineup. Back in October, they held him to 36.5 DKFP and 6-of-21 shooting from the field.
Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers vs. Detroit Pistons ($10,200) – As long as Davis is healthy and playing, he will be one of the top players at the position. He’s averaging 1.42 DKFP per minute and has exceeded points expectations 60% of the time this season. The Pistons are one of the worst defensive teams in the league and will be without Isaiah Stewart in this one.
Other Options - Giannis Antetokounmpo ($12,600), Myles Turner ($7,300), Kristaps Porzingis ($8,400), Jarrett Allen ($6,500), Deandre Ayton ($6,200)
Zeke Nnaji, Denver Nuggets at Dallas Mavericks ($3,200) – There was so much hype in the offseason regarding Nnaji bulking up and possibly being the backup to Jokic. When the regular season started, he racked up three DNPs and played a total of 28 minutes. This is why I have trust issues.
With Jokic in health and safety protocols and the corpse of DeAndre Jordan ($3,600) starting, Nnaji played 26 minutes on Wednesday. He should play in the 20s again Friday, and he averages 0.83 DKFP per minute.
Other Options - Jalen Duren ($3,700), Larry Nance Jr. ($4,500), Jericho Sims ($3,700), Luke Kornet ($3,300)
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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.