FanDuel NBA: Friday Value Plays

FanDuel NBA: Friday Value Plays

This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.

Friday's typically large slate has plenty to dive into with key injuries to big names and a total of 20 teams taking the floor. There's plenty of stars with hefty salaries – even when considering some of the potential absences – and a number of appealing values to round out lineups.

Because of the amount of health-related question marks, there are still several games off the board at FanDuel Sportsbook as of early Friday morning. Of those listed, there are two over 225 points and several others that will likely carry totals in that general range.

With plenty of injury news, value plays and other developments to break down, let's dive into Friday's 10-game slate!

Slate Overview

Here's a further look at the three games with the highest projected totals on Friday's slate:

Utah Jazz at Milwaukee Bucks (Projected total: 231.5 points) 

The Jazz have typically been known for slow pace and stingy defense the last few seasons, but that reputation has somewhat been tarnished. Utah is still better than average on the defensive end, but they're giving up 110.2 points per contest - including 117.0 over the last three. The Nets have also slipped some defensively with a 111.2 average after starting the season holding the Warriors and Celtics under 100. What is particularly interesting is that oddsmakers are still expecting plenty of offense here despite both Kyrie Irving (personal) and Kevin Durant (COVID-19) still being out, but the Nets' 122-point haul without either star Thursday likely plays into that thinking. 

Orlando Magic at Houston Rockets (Projected total: 228.0 points) 

Like the Jazz, the Magic are another squad that's been a bit more generous on the defensive end thus far, although they've begun to tighten up in recent games. However, Orlando has also improved its offense by putting up 110.0 points per game after having averaged 107.3 last season. The Rockets, with their average of 105.5 possessions per game, bring a slight bump in pace for the Magic and Houston is also allowing the eighth-most points per game at 115.3. There are talented scorers on both sides, but James Harden and John Wall naturally carry the most upside - especially with Orlando's backcourt missing its top two point guards in Markelle Fultz (knee) and Michael Carter-Williams (foot). 

Washington Wizards at Boston Celtics (Projected total: Off the board as of early Friday morning due to Russell Westbrook's uncertain availability, but likely to be at least 225 points even if Westbrook sits).   UPDATE: Westbrook is now off the injury report and the total is set at 234.5 points.

Westbrook is one of the aforementioned key injury questions with a finger issue. But as Bradley Beal proved against the 76ers on Wednesday, he's capable of doing enough scoring for both of them and Washington also offers plenty of other offensive talent. The Wizards are also allowing the most points per game at 122.9 and play at an Eastern Conference-high 109.9 possessions per contest, while the Celtics are scoring 112.7 points and giving up 111.7. With players such as Beal, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown on the floor, this game figures to keep the scoreboard busy even if Westbrook misses out.

Injury Situations to Monitor

NOTE: Injury reporting is especially fluid in the NBA, where the status of multiple players can change during the course of a day. Therefore, although the following serves as a foundation for the latest injury report as of the time the article is written, check back throughout the course of the day with RotoWire for the latest news regarding the status of all players on that night's slate. 

Key Injuries

Kevin Durant, BKN (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: OUT 

Durant remains out Friday, meaning Jeff Green should draw another start at power forward. The usage rates for Caris LeVert, Joe Harris and Jarrett Allen should also remain particularly high when also factoring in Kyrie Irving's absence.

Russell Westbrook, WAS (finger)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE / UPDATE: Westbrook is now off the injury report

Westbrook's status is expected to be updated after shootaround after he dislocated a finger in Wednesday's contest against the 76ers. There's a chance the perennial All-Star sits partly for load management, considering Washington also plays Miami on Saturday. If Westbrook indeed misses the contest, Bradley Beal will instantly become one of the most popular plays on the slate, while the usage for the remaining members of the Wizards' first unit should also rise considerably.

Kyrie Irving, BKN (personal)/ Status: OUT 

Irving remains out Friday, which should afford Bruce Brown or Caris LeVert a start at point guard. The usage rates for LeVert, Joe Harris and Jarrett Allen should also remain particularly high when also factoring in Kevin Durant's absence. 

Stephen Curry, GSW (ankle)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

Curry apparently hurt his ankle Wednesday against the Clippers, and the questionable tag is actually a downgrade in status. If Curry sits out, it's likely Brad Wanamaker starts at point guard, while the likes of Andrew Wiggins, Kelly Oubre, Draymond Green and James Wiseman enjoying significant bumps in usage. 

De'Aaron Fox, SAC (hamstring)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

Fox exited Wednesday's game against the Bulls with the injury. If he's unable to go Friday, Cory Joseph and Tyrese Haliburton would likely man point guard, while Buddy Hield, Harrison Barnes, Marvin Bagley and Richaun Holmes would see extra opportunities.

Richaun Holmes, SAC (ankle)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

If Holmes is unable to go Friday, Hassan Whiteside figures to be the primary beneficiary. 

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, LAL (ankle)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

If KCP misses a fourth straight game, Kyle Kuzma and Wesley Matthews both stand to benefit in the form of a potential start and extra minutes off the bench, respectively.   

Christian Wood, HOU (knee)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

Wood already missed Wednesday's game against the Pacers with soreness, where David Nwaba and DeMarcus Cousins could be the biggest beneficiaries if Wood were to sit out again Friday.

Derrick Rose, DET (knee)/ Status: PROBABLE 

Rose appears on track to suit up Friday. With Killian Hayes (hip) unavailable, the veteran could see some extra minutes. 

Josh Jackson, DET (ankle)/ Status: PROBABLE 

Jackson appears set to return from a two-game absence. 

Killian Hayes, DET (hip)/ Status: OUT 

Hayes has been diagnosed with a torn labrum and will miss extended time. Both Derrick Rose and Delon Wright could pick up some of his minutes during his absence. 

Jeff Teague, BOS (ankle)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

If Teague is gone again, impressive rookie Payton Pritchard should continue enjoying an expanded role off the bench. 

Evan Fournier, ORL (back)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

If Fournier sits out, Terrence Ross is likely in line for a start at two-guard. 

Tristan Thompson, BOS (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

If both Thompson and Robert Williams (COVID-19) are unable to play, it could mean extra minutes for both starter Daniel Theis and Tacko Fall. 

Reggie Bullock, NYK (ankle)/ Status: PROBABLE 

Bullock played through his injury against Utah on Wednesday and is expected to do so again. 

Danuel House, HOU (back)/ Status: OUT 

David Nwaba should draw another start in House's absence Friday. 

Derrick Favors, UTA (knee)/ Status: PROBABLE 

Favors is expected to be available Friday in his usual backup role behind Rudy Gobert. 

Joe Ingles, UTA (Achilles)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE

If Ingles is unable to go, Royce O'Neale or Georges Niang could see some extra minutes. 

JJ Redick, NOP (knee)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

Redick missed practice Thursday, so an absence on Friday would likely mean extra opportunity for Nickeil Alexander-Walker and/or Josh Hart. 

Michael Carter-Williams, ORL (foot)/ Status: OUT 

With both Carter-Williams and Markelle Fultz (knee) out, Cole Anthony should see heavy minutes at point guard.

Lauri Markkanen, CHI (calf)/COVID-19)/ Status: OUT 

Markkanen's sixth straight absence should afford Otto Porter another start at power forward.

Other injuries of note

Pat Connaughton, MIL (groin)/ Status: OUT 

Tyler Johnson, BKN (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

Jabari Parker, SAC (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: OUT

Robert Williams, BOS (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

Grant Williams, BOS (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

Jordan Poole, GSW (ankle)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

Nicolo Melli, NOP (personal)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

Kevin Knox, NYK (knee)/ Status: PROBABLE 

Nerlens Noel, NYK (ankle)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

Frank Ntilikina, NYK (knee)/ Status: OUT 

Obi Toppin, NYK (calf)/ Status: OUT 

Javonte Green, BOS (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: OUT 

Aleksej Pokusevski, OKC (concussion)/ Status: OUT 

Ty Jerome, OKC (ankle)/ Status: OUT 

Sam Merrill, MIL (ankle)/ Status: PROBABLE 

John Konchar, MEM (ankle)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE

Tomas Satoransky, CHI (COVID-19)/ Status: OUT 

Chandler Hutchison, CHI (COVID-19)/ Status: OUT

Ryan Arcidiacono, CHI (COVID-19)/ Status: OUT 

Jalen Smith, PHO (COVID-19)/ Status: OUT 

Jontay Porter, MEM (knee)/ Status: OUT

NOTABLE LONG-TERM INJURIES: Kemba Walker, BOS (knee); Ja Morant, MEM (ankle); Jaren Jackson, MEM (knee); Justise Winslow, MEM (hip): Nicholas Claxton, BKN (knee); Patrick McCaw, TOR (knee); Alec Burks, NYK (knee); Trevor Ariza, OKC (personal); Cody Zeller, CHA (hand); Romeo Langford, BOS (wrist); Torrey Craig, MIL (nose); Al-Farouq Aminu, ORL (knee); Chuma Okeke, ORL (knee)

Elite Players

There are seven players with five-figure salaries on the big slate. James Harden ($11,400) sits atop the salary scale, with Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,200), Russell Westbrook ($10,700), Anthony Davis ($10,400), LeBron James ($10,200), Bradley Beal ($10,100) and Kyrie Irving ($10,000) also fitting the bill.

As mentioned earlier, Westbrook carries a questionable tag and Irving is already ruled out. The remaining five players are all in appealing situations – Harden should be involved with a projected total in the high 220s, Antetokounmpo's game against the Jazz boasts a total north of 230, Davis and James see a nice bump in pace and a vulnerable defense in their matchup against the Bulls and Beal is coming off a 60-point performance and faces a Celtics' squad that's uncharacteristically struggled on defense.  

There's also plenty of potential for elite production from a number of four-figure-salaried players, beginning with Stephen Curry ($9,700) and continuing with Kawhi Leonard ($9,600), Julius Randle ($9,400) and Jayson Tatum ($9,400), to name a few. Curry does carry the injury concern, but Leonard, Randle and Tatum find themselves in excellent scenarios versus the questionable defenses of the Warriors, Thunder and Wizards, respectively.

Expected Chalk

All the names mentioned in Elite Players section are naturally going to be very popular Friday, but there's also the potential for plenty of chalk to emerge in the form of first-unit mates with Curry, Fox and Westbrook legitimately questionable. And with Irving's confirmed absence and Joe Harris' 28-point effort Thursday, the sharpshooter should be a very popular value play. But with 20 teams in action, gaining differentiation in tournaments shouldn't be very challenging, even if some of those aforementioned star players are forced to sit.

Key Values   

Marcus Smart, BOS vs. WAS ($5,900) 

Smart has been dealing with a thumb injury and has been concerningly inefficient overall thus far this season by shooting just 37.2 percent. However, the majority of his issues have come from in front of the arc, as the versatile veteran actually boasts a career-high 40.5 percent success rate from distance from 5.3 three-point attempts per game. And despite some of Smart's offensive struggles, his ability to stuff the stat sheet is still allowing him to average 30.18 FD points per contest - a figure he's built on the strength of five performances over 30 FD points in eight contests. He receives about the best matchup possible Friday to continue offering strong returns, as the Wizards are once again among the league's worst defensive teams and play at the NBA's second-fastest pace with 109.9 possessions per contest. Washington also checks in allowing the highest offensive efficiency rating to backcourts at 58.8, partly the result of surrendering the highest shooting percentage to guards at 49.2.

Marvin Bagley, SAC vs. TOR ($5,800)

Bagley posted a season-high 45.8 FD points in his last appearance, accomplishing the feat against the Bulls on the strength of a 21-point, 12-rebound effort. It does bear mentioning the young big hadn't yet cleared 30 FD points this season before that performance, although he's averaging a solid 24.4 FD points per game on the season. However, Bagley faces another appealing matchup Friday with the Raptors allowing 123.0 points per game over the last three and ranked in the bottom-10 in offensive efficiency rating allowed to both power forwards at 26.1 and to frontcourts at 82.7. The Raps are also yielding 50.0 percent shooting - including 42.6 percent from distance - to power forwards, giving Bagley an opportunity to right some of the shooting woes he's been saddled with early on. And if De'Aaron Fox (hamstring) does sit out Wednesday's game, Bagley boasts a 27.1 percent usage rate and averages 1.10 FD points per minute with his teammate off the floor so far this season. 

Mitchell Robinson, NYK vs. OKC ($5.800)

Robinson has scored between 33.4 to 40.8 FD points in his last three games, an impressive stretch that's pushed his season average to 28.8. The emerging big has also played 28 or more minutes in five of the last six contests while managing to avoid serious foul trouble for the most part. On Friday, he gets a good opportunity to continue his current hot streak as the Thunder - despite the presence of Al Horford down low - are giving up the sixth-highest offensive efficiency rating to centers at 35.4, along with the second-highest shooting percentage to the position at 64.2. Robinson also typically does an excellent job supplementing his scoring and rebounding with steals and blocks, averaging a career-high 1.9 in the latter category and an impressive 1.6 in the former.

Other value plays to consider: Steven Adams, NO vs. CHA ($6,500); RJ Barrett, NYK vs. OKC ($6,500); Thomas Bryant, WAS at BOS ($6,400); Eric Gordon, HOU vs. ORL ($5,800); Terrence Ross, ORL at HOU ($5,700); Blake Griffin, DET vs. PHO ($5,500); DeMarcus Cousins, HOU vs. ORL ($5,300); Dennis Schroder, LAL vs. CHI ($5,300); Joe Harris, BKN at MEM ($4,900); Payton Pritchard, BOS vs. WAS ($4,500)

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Juan Carlos Blanco plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: jcblanco22, FanDuel: jc_blanco22, DraftPot: jc_blanco22, FantasyDraft: jc_blanco22, OwnThePlay: jcblanco22.
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Juan Carlos Blanco
Winner of the FSWA 2016 Newcomer of the Year Award, Juan Carlos Blanco has been playing fantasy sports for over 20 years and covers NBA, MLB, NFL, CFL and Arena Football for, including serving as the beat writer for teams in multiple sports. He has previously written for and remains an avid season-long and daily fantasy player in multiple sports as well.
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