The high-octane Golden State Warriors have Friday off, leaving NBA daily fantasy league (DFS) players without the security blankets of point guard Stephen Curry, backcourt mate Klay Thompson, or even forward Draymond Green to anchor their lineups.
But those players can also clog up your salary cap, and with 11 games scheduled for Friday night there’s plenty of superstars and always-crucial value guys to pick up before the night's first tip offs of Minnesota at Indiana and Utah at Orlando.
Here are five options to consider at each position for your DFS league on Friday night, whether you’re using DraftKings or FanDuel formats. Statistics on opposition points against all positions is drawn from Rotowire.
1.Russell Westbrook, Thunder
2.Kyle Lowry, Raptors
3.Jeff Teague, Hawks
4.Damian Lillard, Trail Blazers
5.Derrick Rose, Bulls
(Bonus: Mike Conley, Grizzlies)
Curry gets a much-needed rest, but today and even going forward Westbrook might be the best "expensive" value play in the league. Unlike Curry, he’s a major threat to pad owners rebounding stats on top of his usual additions to points, assists, and steals. Westbrook does, however, face a middling Sixers defense that’s allowing 48.9 points in DraftKings and 40.8 points on FanDuel. So Lowry’s maybe a stronger pick against a Pelicans D that’s ranked in the bottom three of both formats. Lillard’s become a pure scoring force, but he’s also part of Portland’s defensive issues against point guards, making Conley our bonus pick.
1.James Harden, Rockets
2.Jimmy Butler, Bulls
3.DeMar DeRozan, Raptors
4.Arron Afflalo, Knicks
5. Wesley Matthews, Mavericks
(Bonus: Nicolas Batum, Hornets)
Should Rose break out of his recent shooting slump, which is expected, then Butler’s going to be free from Batum’s long arms. However, Batum is coming off his best game of the year and he’s one of the Hornets' most diverse players. Afflalo made his season debut on Wednesday, and should only get stronger against a Cavs D allowing the most points to opposing shooting guards.
1.LeBron James, Cavaliers
2.Paul George, Pacers
3.Carmelo Anthony, Knicks
4.Rudy Gay, Kings
5.Danilo Gallinari, Nuggets
Melo and King James could each go off in their duel at the Garden, but George might be the stronger pick. His 8.8 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game put him on pace for career-highs in both categories, and same goes for his 23.8 points per contest. Gay stares down a Nets defense that’s allowing the seventh-most points to SFs, and Gallinari gets to torch the Rockets poor work on the perimeter.
1.Kevin Love, Cavaliers
2.Serge Ibaka, Thunder
3.Kenneth Faried, Nuggets
4.Dirk Nowitzki, Mavericks
5.Anthony Davis, Pelicans
Love’s here because he stands to benefit the most from Melo vs. LeBron and all the open looks that should come, even though the Knicks have the seventh-best D against PFs. Ibaka is enjoying a resurgent season and can wear down a Sixers frontline letting up the most points to PFs, and Faried might terrorize a Rockets D allowing 49.1 points per game on FanDuel and 59.3 points in Draftkings, both the worst in the league. Davis is only No. 5 because his status for the matchup with Toronto is unclear due to a hip strain that kept him out of Wednesday’s game.
1.Al Horford, Hawks
2.Al Jefferson, Hornets
3.Dwight Howard, Rockets
4.Karl-Anthony Towns, Timberwolves
5.Jonas Valanciunas, Raptors
Horford’s always a threat to hit every category, and the matchup with the Celtics is mostly in his favor (Boston allowing ninth-most points to Cs), but Jefferson’s an even stronger play against a Chicago D that’s surprisingly the least effective against centers so far this season. Towns is a sneaky pick against Indiana’s third-worst D against centers, and Valanciunas is one of Toronto’s unsung heroes and gets to tear down a Pelicans frontline allowing the sixth-most points to Cs.