This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
After a rare league-wide night off Thursday for Thanksgiving, Friday brings a massive 13-game main slate. The big player pool makes for quite the night of lineup construction, and it might be a good night to play some Express and Late Night slates for those who prefer to deal with a more modest number of matchups.
Philadelphia 76ers at Orlando Magic (-3.5) (O/U: 217.0 points)
Portland Trail Blazers at New York Knicks (-4.5) (O/U: 222.5 points)
Los Angeles Lakers (-5) at San Antonio Spurs (O/U: 229.0 points)
Washington Wizards at Miami Heat (-3.5) (O/U: 211.5 points)
Sacramento Kings at Boston Celtics (-8) (O/U: 237.5 points)
Atlanta Hawks (-7.5) at Houston Rockets (O/U: 236.5 points)
Chicago Bulls (-1.5) at Oklahoma City Thunder (O/U: 235.0 points)
Cleveland Cavaliers at Milwaukee Bucks (-2.5) (O/U: 217.0 points)
Brooklyn Nets (-3) at Indiana Pacers (O/U: 235.5 points)
New Orleans Pelicans at Memphis Grizzlies (-2) (O/U: 229.0 points)
Detroit Pistons at Phoenix Suns (-12.5) (O/U: 226.0 points)
Utah Jazz at Golden State Warriors (-7) (O/U: 237.5 points)
Denver Nuggets (-3.5) at Los Angeles Clippers (O/U: 221.0 points)
Each team playing today will naturally have at least one day of rest, which should increase the chances of quality play across the board. There are plenty of injuries to be aware of, which is helping keep projected totals down and spreads larger than they would normally be. However, the good news is that there are still eight games with totals in excess of 225 points, including four at 235-plus.
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 is 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, including those carrying injury designations that aren't listed in this section.
Anthony Davis, LAL (back): PROBABLE
If Davis plays through his ongoing lower-back tightness, he could continue to be in for especially elevated usage if LeBron James (groin) sits.
Joel Embiid, PHI (foot): OUT
Embiid's absence, coupled with that of James Harden (foot) and Tyrese Maxey (foot), should lead to massive usage bumps for the remainder of the starting five and extra minutes for Paul Reed and Montrezl Harrell.
Nikola Jokic, DEN (hip): PROBABLE
Jokic should fill his usual robust role at center unless he experiences a pregame setback.
LeBron James, LAL (groin): QUESTIONABLE
If James were to miss out, Anthony Davis would arguably be the biggest beneficiary in the form of expanded usage.
Paul George, LAC (hamstring): OUT
Damian Lillard, POR (calf): OUT
Jimmy Butler, MIA (knee): OUT
With Butler unavailable, the remainder of the starting five should get a significant usage bump.
CJ McCollum, NOP (COVID-19 protocols): OUT
Bradley Beal, WAS (quadriceps): QUESTIONABLE
If Beal can't go, Corey Kispert could draw a start at shooting guard while the rest of the starting five should see elevated usage.
James Harden, PHI (foot): OUT
Harden's ongoing absence will keep De'Anthony Melton in the starting shooting guard role.
Tyrese Maxey, PHI (foot): OUT
Maxey's absence should lead to another start for Shake Milton at point guard.
Other notable injuries:
Bam Adebayo, MIA (knee): PROBABLE
Jrue Holiday, MIL (illness): PROBABLE
Cade Cunningham, DET (lower leg): OUT
Kawhi Leonard, LAC (ankle): OUT
Desmond Bane, MEM (toe): OUT
Chris Paul, PHX (heel): OUT
Caris LeVert, CLE (ankle): OUT
Tyler Herro, MIA (ankle): QUESTIONABLE
Wendell Carter, ORL (ankle): QUESTIONABLE
Jalen Green, HOU (toe): PROBABLE
Michael Porter, DEN (heel): QUESTIONABLE
John Konchar, MEM (calf): QUESTIONABLE
Max Strus, MIA (shoulder): DOUBTFUL
Jaden Ivey, DET (knee): QUESTIONABLE
Mike Conley, UTA (lower leg): OUT
Monte Morris, WAS (ankle): QUESTIONABLE
Killian Hayes, DET (calf): QUESTIONABLE
Alperen Sengun, HOU (groin): DOUBTFUL
Bones Hyland, DEN (hip): PROBABLE
Isaiah Stewart, DET (toe): OUT
Saddiq Bey, DET (ankle): OUT
Cameron Johnson, PHX (knee): OUT
We have nine players with five-figure salaries on Friday's slate that appear to have at least a 50/50 chance of playing – Giannis Antetokounmpo ($12,000), Anthony Davis ($11,800), Nikola Jokic ($11,000), LeBron James ($10,800), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ($10,600), Kevin Durant ($10,500), Stephen Curry ($10,400), Jayson Tatum ($10,200) and Ja Morant ($10,100).
Antetokounmpo has produced over 50 FD points in two straight but does draw a tough defensive matchup against the Cavs.
Davis could potentially take the floor without LeBron James (groin), a scenario that's seen him put up over 70 FD points in two of the last three, including a jaw-dropping 89.2 against the Suns on Tuesday.
Jokic has scored 57.8 and 60.5 FD points in his first two games back from a three-game absence due to COVID-19 protocols, arguably making him undervalued at this salary.
James has indicated he was aiming for a Friday return, and if he does suit up, he'd presumably be healthy enough to return to his normal workload.
Gilgeous-Alexander is averaging 52.5 FD points and has eclipsed 60 in two of his last four games alone.
Durant listed a rare low-usage game in the Nets' win over the Raptors on Wednesday and has been under 40 FD points in two straight. With Kyrie Irving back and Ben Simmons also healthy, Durant's salary may be a bit elevated for his current role on many nights, though he naturally still offers an elite ceiling.
Curry "only" scored 41.7 FD points in his most recent outing after eclipsing 75 in his previous contest, but Friday's matchup against the defensively-vulnerable Jazz could certainly lead to one of his highest-percentile performances.
Tatum played through a sore ankle Wednesday and 64.1 FD points against the Mavs to push his season average to 50.7 FD points per contest.
Morant dropped 52.4 FD points across 33 minutes versus the Kings on Tuesday and has been over 50 in four of his last six.
Other likely chalk plays include:
De'Aaron Fox, SAC ($9,900)
Fox slumped to 27.5 FD points in his last game, but he posted 61.6 in the previous matchup and has consistently demonstrated the ability to hit at least 40 FD points more often than not.
Trae Young, ATL ($9,800)
Young is always a popular play irrespective of the slate, and he's registered over 30 actual points in two of his last three contests.
Devin Booker, PHO ($9,700)
Booker will continue to play without Chris Paul (heel), and even though he's recorded under 35 FD points in two straight, he posted 75.6 three games ago.
Donovan Mitchell, CLE ($9,600)
Mitchell barely missed 40 FD points in his most recent outing and produced 53.3 FD points two games ago.
Kyrie Irving, BKN ($8,600)
Irving's salary is a bargain considering his ceiling, and he's seemingly working off the rust from his suspension with 23 and 29 actual points in his last two games.
Cameron Payne, PHO vs. DET ($6,700)
Payne will continue to start at point guard with Paul's ongoing absence, and though he only scored 21.9 FD points across 28 minutes in his most recent game, he's managed over 40 in two of his previous three contests. The veteran now draws one of the best matchups for ones, with the Pistons allowing an NBA-high 32.6 offensive efficiency rating to point guards along with the third-most FD points per game to the position (52.3). Payne is also shooting an elite 41.9 percent from three-point range, and Detroit is conceding an elevated 36.8 percent success rate from distance in the last three games. The Pistons are also tied for third-most assists allowed in the last three contests (29.3), which could certainly bode well for Payne considering his ball-handling duties.
Shake Milton, PHI at ORL ($6,400)
Milton is another fill-in point guard who could outpace his current salary Friday as he's also drawing one of the best matchups in the league for the position. The Magic have allowed the fourth-highest offensive efficiency rating to ones (29.5) and 51.1 FD points per game to PGs. Milton has already demonstrated some great upside in the starting role, most recently producing 45.9 FD points over 39 minutes against the Hornets on Wednesday and also posting 31.2 and 29.7 in previous contests. He's recorded tallies of 36-39 minutes over his first three starts and is shooting 57.8 percent, including 50.0 percent from three-point range, in that span. The fact Joel Embiid (foot) will also sit Friday only makes Milton's chances of a high-usage game that much better.
Bruce Brown, DEN at LAC ($6,100)
Brown should continue to log solid minutes - even with Jamal Murray returning from a one-game absence due to conditioning - and will face a short-handed Clippers side that won't have Paul George (hamstring) and Kawhi Leonard (ankle) on the defensive end. Brown just scored 53.6 FD points on the strength of a triple-double versus the Thunder in an OT win Wednesday, and he registered over 30 in two of the last three games. He's already eclipsed 40 FD points twice while coming off the bench this year and offers plenty of paths to delivering a strong return on salary with a 40.0 percent success rate from three-point range and the ability to contribute nicely in steals.