This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
We're set for a nine-game slate Friday night, one highlighted by Hawks-Pacers and Nuggets- Clippers matchups. There's no shortage of big names on the injury report, however, meaning it will be an especially important night to keep an eye on late-breaking news and one in which plenty of value plays could open up close to lineup lock.
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As of early Friday, there's only two games on the board with a spread larger than 5.5 points at FanDuel Sportsbook, portending a potentially competitive night. Naturally, the narrow lines could expand if some of the big names are eventually ruled out, while some of the six games with projected totals of 228.5 points or higher could see those figures shrink.
Injury Situations to Monitor
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Nikola Jokic, DEN (wrist injury management): QUESTIONABLE
If Jokic were to sit out, the remainder of the Nuggets' starting five would see their usage skyrocket, while DeAndre Jordan would potentially draw a start at center.
Tyrese Haliburton, IND (knee/elbow): OUT
In Haliburton's absence, T.J. McConnell could move into the starting point guard role, while the usage for the remainder of the starting five should see a boost.
Paul George, LAC (hamstring): OUT
In George's fourth straight absence, Nicolas Batum and Terance Mann should see increased opportunity, while Kawhi Leonard's usage should remain especially elevated.
Kristaps Porzingis, WAS (ribs): QUESTIONABLE
If Porzingis can't suit up, Deni Avdija should remain in the starting five while Kyle Kuzma enjoys expanded usage as well.
Anthony Edwards, MIN (hip): QUESTIONABLE
If Edwards sits out Friday, Jaylen Nowell and Austin Rivers would be in line to handle the majority of shooting guard minutes.
DeMar DeRozan, CHI (quadriceps): DOUBTFUL
In DeRozan's likely absence, Nikola Vucevic and Zach LaVine should see plenty of extra opportunities, while Alex Caruso would likely remain in the starting five.
Kevin Porter, HOU (foot): OUT
In Porter's absence, Jae'Sean Tate could be in line for a start at point guard while Jalen Green could see some additional ball-handling opportunities.
Myles Turner, IND (back): QUESTIONABLE
If Turner sits out, Jalen Smith and Isaiah Jackson could see extended opportunity at center.
Deandre Ayton, PHO (ankle): QUESTIONABLE
If Ayton is unavailable, Bismack Biyombo and Jock Landale would be in line to handle the majority of minutes at center for Phoenix.
Other notable injuries:
Devin Booker, PHO (groin): OUT
Chris Paul, PHO (hip): OUT
Zion Williamson, NOP (hamstring): OUT
Karl-Anthony Towns, MIN (calf): OUT
Bradley Beal, WAS (hamstring): OUT
Brandon Ingram, NOP (toe): OUT
Clint Capela, ATL (calf): OUT
Zach LaVine, CHI (hand): PROBABLE
Jamal Murray, DEN (ankle): PROBABLE
We have four players with five-figure salaries on Friday's slate – Nikola Jokic ($11,600), Julius Randle ($10,300), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ($10,200) and Domantas Sabonis ($10,000).
Jokic will have to overcome his questionable designation, but if he does suit up, he'll look to build on a three-game stretch where he's scored 53.2 to 63 FD points. Jokic also notably needed just 24 minutes to score 33.7 FD points in his most recent meeting with the Clippers on Jan. 5.
Randle dipped to 36.7 FD points against the Pacers on Wednesday, but he'd put up more than 50 in eight of the previous nine contests. He also could be facing a Wizards frontcourt missing both Kristaps Porzingis (ribs) and Daniel Gafford (ankle).
Gilgeous-Alexander has scored 46.8 to 63.6 FD points in four of his last five games, with the latter figure having come in Thursday's matchup against a 76ers team that had been the toughest in the league in many metrics against point guards.
Sabonis just put up 51.3 FD points across 37 minutes against the same Rockets team he'll face Friday in Wednesday's opening installment of a two-game set. He'd also scored 40.5 FD points or more in 12 of the previous 13 contests.
Other likely chalk plays include:
Trae Young, ATL ($9,600)
Young's return from a one-game absence due to an illness should see him enter plenty of lineups, given he'd scored 43.4 FD points or more in four of the previous five games and the fact several other big names are already confirmed out.
Stephen Curry, GSW ($9,300)
Curry scored 31.7 FD points in 31 minutes during his return from a shoulder injury Tuesday against the Rockets, and he should be very popular given the thinner player pool at the high end of the salary cap along with the fact he's shown the upside of a five-figure-salary player on many occasions.
CJ McCollum, NOP ($9,100)
McCollum is sporting a 32.1 percent usage rate without Zion Williamson (hamstring) and Brandon Ingram (toe) on the floor and has scored 41.2 to 53.8 FD points in his last four games.
Kawhi Leonard, LAC ($9,000)
Leonard has scored 49.4 and 62.8 FD points in the two games he's played during Paul George's current absence, which will continue Friday night.
Jalen Brunson, NYK ($8,500)
Brunson has scored 42 to 55.4 FD points in his last four contests, production befitting a much higher-salaried player.
Mikal Bridges, PHO at MIN ($6,700)
Bridges will once again take the floor without Chris Paul (hip), Devin Booker (groin), Cameron Payne (foot) and Landry Shamet (hip), while Deandre Ayton (ankle) could also sit out. That should open up a massive amount of usage for Bridges, who scored 55.3 FD points under those conditions against the Warriors on Tuesday. Bridges then turned in a clunker Wednesday against the Nuggets (18 FD points), but that was on the second night of a back-to-back set, which saw practically every member of the Suns underwhelm. With a day of rest, Bridges should be in good position to bounce back against a T-Wolves team allowing the fifth-highest offensive efficiency rating to small forwards (24.1), along with the third-most FD points per game allowed to small forwards in the last 15 games (44.4).
Onyeka Okongwu, ATL at IND ($6,200)
Okongwu will draw another start in place of Clint Capela (calf) on Friday, and he checks in averaging 33.5 FD points per contest in the last seven games while filling that first-unit role. Okongwu has eclipsed 30 FD points on five occasions, including 40 twice, during that span, and he now faces a Pacers squad that could be down Myles Turner (back) in the frontcourt. Indiana is already allowing the ninth-highest offensive efficiency rating to centers (32.9) and seventh-most FD points per game to the position (55.2), and the Pacers are also giving up the third-most rebounds per contest (57.3) in the last three contests.
T.J. McConnell, IND vs. ATL ($5,000)
As mentioned earlier, McConnell is the likeliest candidate to step in for the sidelined Tyrese Haliburton at point guard beginning with Friday's contest, and as he's amply proven many times in the past, he's capable of offering production befitting a much higher salary when he sees expanded minutes. One need look no further than in the Pacers' most recent game Wednesday, when McConnell logged his second-highest minutes total of the season (26) with Haliburton's early exit and put up 39.1 FD points against the Knicks. McConnell has scored more than 20 FD points on nine occasions overall despite not yet having drawn a start, and the Hawks check in having allowed the seventh-most FD points to point guards in the last 15 contests (51.3). Atlanta also ranks in the bottom half of the league in assists surrendered per road game (26.1), furthering the case for McConnell, who's a very good facilitator.
ALSO CONSIDER: Buddy Hield, IND vs. ATL ($6,700); Alperen Sengun, HOU at SAC ($6,400); Dario Saric, PHO at MIN ($5,000); Jose Alvarado, NOP at DET ($4,900)