Not to get too inside baseball — inside basketball? — but a slate like Friday’s is every DFS writer’s dream. It’s so, so rare to have full injury reports when writing about the NBA on a daily basis. Sure, most of those injury reports are just a bunch of important players listed as questionable, yet my point stands. I’m thankful for Black Friday, I guess.
We’ve got eight games on the main. Let’s break it all down and find some values.
PF/C Obi Toppin, Indiana Pacers vs. Detroit Pistons, $4,900
At this point, if the Pacers are on the slate, you have to find a way to get some exposure. It’s as simple as that. Obviously, Tyrese Haliburton ($11,000) is the ideal asset, but if you’re looking for something slightly more affordable, Toppin is your man — especially if Aaron Nesmith ($4,500; wrist) is ruled out again. The former lottery pick has been logging a heavy workload for Indiana in recent games, playing at least 36 minutes in two of his last three starts. That type of role is nice in a vacuum, yet it holds just a little bit more value when you’re doing so for a team that ranks first in the NBA in both pace (104.8) and offensive rating (122.7). It’s not like the Pistons are all that strong defensively, either. In fact, Detroit is surrendering 119.9 opponent points per 100 possessions over its last five contests. The combination of those forces is how you get an implied total of almost 250 points. Truly crazy stuff.
C Trey Lyles, Sacramento Kings at Minnesota Timberwolves, $3,300
So much for easing Lyles back into the mix. Making his 2023-24 debut on Wednesday, after working his way back from a calf issue, Lyles had a massive impact in the Kings’ 117-112 loss to the Pelicans. In 27.6 minutes off the bench, the veteran collected 12 points, eight rebounds and 22.0 DKFP. In fact, it was third-most minutes of anyone on Sacramento, as Mike Brown adjusted his rotation to account for the loss of Keegan Murray (back). Well, Murray’s already been ruled out for Friday’s tilt with the Timberwolves, so it stands to reason Lyles will fill a similar role in that matchup. With a price tag this low, Lyles doesn’t even need to be as good as he was versus New Orleans to reach 5x or 6x value. That’s an incredible floor.
C Thomas Bryant, Miami Heat at New York Knicks, $3,000
We probably won’t know the fate of Bam Adebayo ($9,000; hip) until right up at tip-off, but the prospect of Bryant drawing another start at the bare minimum price point is too big a story on this slate to ignore — even if the Knicks are allowing the fewest DKFP per game to opposing centers. Bryant logged 23.4 minutes in Wednesday’s victory over the Cavaliers, and he likely would have played more if not for the very lopsided nature of that contest’s script. In that limited action, Bryant still managed to register 10 points, seven rebounds, a block and 24.75 DKFP. If Adebayo’s ruled out again, Bryant essentially becomes a free space on this slate. That’s obviously something you’re going to want to keep an eye on. Maybe two.
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