One. Two. Three. Four. Five....On to the other hand. Six. Seven. Eight. Nine. Ten. Grabs inhaler and takes a deeeep breath. 11. 12. 13. Aaaaaannnnd, we finally made it, 14. Whew. We’ve got a whopping 14 games on this Friday. Tons of research to be done, this ain’t no child’s play. We must first survey the landscape then tiptoe the minefield like Mikhail Baryshnikov in a ballet. Hopefully, I do not lead you astray. Instead, my goal is to convey an information smorgasbord on a tray, in which you sift and weigh all the insight to help you craft a lineup on the level of Monet. Now go forth and slay. Just remember to X out Saddiq Bey.
There are no games on Saturday. The New Orleans Pelicans, San Antonio Spurs and Washington Wizards are all playing the second leg of a back-to-back.
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers at Denver Nuggets ($10,000) – Lillard averages 1.33 DKFP per minute. Yippee! The range of outcomes is wide, though. Booo....Lillard has seven games with fewer than 40 DKFP on the season, with two of those under 30. That said, he’s gone over 50 DKFP eight times, with 60.25 and 72.5 games included. That 72.5 game was against these Denver Nuggets, who boost the FPPM to point guards by a league-leading 20.05% above league averages. Included in that is a 35.86% boost for 3-pointers, which is something of a Lillard special.
LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets at Los Angeles Lakers ($9,800) – Since returning to action five games ago, Ball has averaged 33.5 minutes, 19.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, 8.6 assists and 0.8 steals. He’s gone for at least 40 DKFP in every contest with 50.25 and 63.75 in the last two games. Now he gets a matchup against a Lakers team that is second in offensive pace and 18th in defensive rating. This game has the highest total on the slate at 241.5. Giddy up!
Other Options - Ja Morant ($10,400), Trae Young ($10,200), CJ McCollum ($8,300), Bradley Beal ($8,000), Russell Westbrook ($7,600), Kyrie Irving ($8,700)
Immanuel Quickley, New York Knicks vs. Chicago Bulls ($4,900) – Quentin Grimes sprained his ankle two games ago and is likely out for Friday. Quickley got the starting nod for him on Wednesday and played 35 minutes, racking up 20 points. The usage rate was only 15.3%, but he should start and get a ton of minutes again on Friday. Quickley averages 0.93 DKFP per minute and the environment should be a decent one as the Bulls play at the 10th-fastest pace.
Other Options - Isaac Okoro ($3,600), TJ McConnell ($3,200), Ayo Dosunmu ($3,400; only if Haliburton is out), Jose Alvarado ($3,400)
LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers vs. Charlotte Hornets ($10,900) – This game has the highest total on the slate, as the Lakers are second in pace while the Hornets are 11th, and that was with Ball out for much of the season. In addition, the Hornets are 27th in defensive rating, so this should be a track meet.
James averages 1.41 DKFP per minute and will likely carry much of the load for the Lakers with Anthony Davis out. With Davis off the court this season, James has garnered a 34% usage rate. He has exceeded points expectations 70% of the time this season and has gone for at least 50 DKFP in each of the last five games with a high of 63.25.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks at Brooklyn Nets ($12,200) – I haven’t played Giannis much this season, as he’s exceeded points expectations only 30% of the time and is always one of the most expensive players on a slate. It’s usually worked out, but tonight may be the night to shift.
Over the last two games, he’s gone for 59 and 73.5 DKFP, putting up 42 and 45 points respectively. The usage rate has been 42.4% and 36.3%. In the third game of the season, Giannis went for 74.5 DKFP against this Nets squad.
Brooklyn has the offensive firepower to force Milwaukee to stay aggressive. In addition, they are not physically imposing in the front court, so Giannis shouldn’t have too much difficulty getting to the rim.
Other Options - Jayson Tatum ($10,800), Paolo Banchero ($8,100), Kevin Durant ($10,700)
Jeremy Sochan, San Antonio Spurs at Orlando Magic ($4,000) – The Spurs played last night and Sochan was THE guy, garnering a usage rate of 26.6%. He was aggressive driving to the basket and setting up teammates. He ended the night with 23 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists and 1 steal in 31 minutes. That translated to 45.25 DKFP.
A similar game shouldn’t be expected, since he’s gone over 30 DKFP just two other times this season. That being said, he should still play over 30 minutes, have a high usage rate and gets to face an Orlando team that is 23rd in defensive rating and boosts the FPPM to power forwards by 16.07% above league average.
Other Options - Isaac Okoro ($3,600), Kenyon Martin Jr. ($3,700), Naji Marshall ($4,400)
Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets vs. Portland Trail Blazers ($12,000) – Man, the center position is stacked tonight, and Jokic leads the way. He started off “slow” this season, exceeding points expectations 50% of the time and producing more than 50 DKFP only nine times over the first two months. Since December, though, he’s gone over 50 DKFP six times with three games over 80 and a high of 95.75. He’s back, baby!
Now he gets a matchup against a Portland team that has boosted the FPPM to centers by 13.43% above league average.
Other Options - Giannis Antetokounmpo ($12,200), Joel Embiid ($11,300), Domantas Sabonis ($10,600)
Thomas Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers vs. Charlotte Hornets ($6,100) – With Anthony Davis out, Bryant has started the last three games, going for 39, 27.75 and 33 DKFP. He’s played 29, 27 and 33 minutes respectively. He’s double-doubled in two of those contests and should feast once again. The pace should be fast in this one and there should be plenty of opportunities to rack up fantasy goodies.
The Hornets are the pristine matchup for centers, as they boost the FPPM by a league-leading 22.23% above league average.
Other Options - Jonas Valanciunas ($6,300), Mason Plumlee ($5,900), Jalen Duren ($5,000), Mitchell Robinson ($5,300)
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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.