This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
We have a solid eight-game slate Friday night, and there's a good balance between heavy favorites and narrow spreads. The injury report also lists plenty of big names, so hunting for the right mid-range and value plays will likely be integral to success in tournaments.
Phoenix Suns (-7) at Orlando Magic (+7) (O/U: 214.0 points)
Denver Nuggets (+4.5) at Boston Celtics (-4.5) (O/U: 231.0 points)
Detroit Pistons (+8) at New York Knicks (-8) (O/U: 225.5 points)
Toronto Raptors (-5) at Oklahoma City Thunder (+5) (O/U: 220.0 points)
Milwaukee Bucks (+1.5) at San Antonio Spurs (-1.5) (O/U: 221.0 points)
Minnesota Timberwolves (+5) at Memphis Grizzlies (-5) (O/U: 235.5 points)
Cleveland Cavaliers (+1.5) at Golden State Warriors (-1.5) (O/U: 229.0 points)
Sacramento Kings (-3) at Los Angeles Lakers (+3) (O/U: 226.0 points)
All but one matchup lists a projected total of at least 220 points, something we always like to see for DFS purposes. And because of some of those aforementioned big-name absences, we have the Bucks as rare underdogs against the Spurs despite San Antonio's recent struggles, and the Kings favored in L.A. even though the Lakers have dominated them in the past.
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.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL (knee): OUT
In Antetokounmpo's absence, Bobby Portis should remain in the starting five while the usage of the entire first unit will see a bump.
LeBron James, LAL (thigh): DOUBTFUL
Anthony Davis, LAL (back): PROBABLE
Should Davis plays as expected, he's in line for a huge boost with LeBron James' projected absence.
Pascal Siakam, TOR (groin): OUT
Paolo Banchero, ORL (ankle): QUESTIONABLE
If Banchero sits, Chuma Okeke should draw a start at small forward and the rest of the first unit should receive a big bump in usage.
Jrue Holiday, MIL (ankle): OUT
With Holiday still sidelined, Jevon Carter should be in line for another expanded role after going off for 56.8 FD points Wednesday.
Cade Cunningham, DET (shin): QUESTIONABLE
Chris Paul, PHX (heel): QUESTIONABLE
Other notable injuries:
Khris Middleton, MIL (wrist): OUT
Cole Anthony, ORL (oblique): OUT
Malcolm Brogdon, BOS (hamstring): OUT
Darius Bazley, OKC (ankle): OUT
Mitchell Robinson, NYK (knee): OUT
Precious Achiuwa, TOR (ankle): OUT
We have six players with five-figure salaries that have a chance to play on Friday's slate – Nikola Jokic ($10,600), Stephen Curry ($10,400), LeBron James ($10,300), Anthony Davis ($10,200), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ($10,100) and Jayson Tatum ($10,100).
Jokic only logged 21 minutes in Wednesday's win over the Pacers due to foul trouble, but he still managed 45.8 FD points and has already eclipsed 60 on three occasions.
Curry exploded for 68.6 FD points against the Kings on Monday, and he'll come into Friday with plenty of rest after three days off.
James is likely to sit with his thigh injury, but he'll continue to offer a solid floor if he were to somehow be able to go.
Davis should enjoy a particularly elevated role if James can't play as expected, but it's worth noting he's underwhelmed of late by posting 36.3 to 41.4 FD points during the last four games.
SGA crossed the 50 FD-point threshold for the second straight game in Wednesday's double-OT loss to the Bucks and is now averaging 52.5 FD points per game for the season.
Tatum has registered 44.3 to 64.4 FD points in five consecutive outings and will be playing in the game with the night's second-highest projected total.
Other likely chalk plays include:
Donovan Mitchell, CLE ($9,900)
Mitchell boasts the upside of a five-figure-salary player and just recorded his fourth 50-FD-point tally of the season Wednesday.
Ja Morant, MEM ($9,700)
Morant typically carries a floor of about 40 FD points, making him one of the safest high-salary plays on the slate.
Domantas Sabonis, SAC ($9,100)
Sabonis has started to hit his stride in Sacramento by posting 41.8 to 51.2 FD points in four consecutive games, a span that includes three double-doubles. Those numbers. along with the highly favorable matchup against the Lakers, will keep him very popular Friday.
Fred VanVleet, TOR ($8,800)
VanVleet has notched 46.6 to 51.5 FD points in the first three games of Pascal Siakam's (groin) absence, which should keep the point guard in plenty of lineups Friday.
OG Anunoby, TOR ($8,500)
Anunoby went off for a season-high 51.5 FD points Wednesday against the Rockets and has eclipsed 40 FD points in six games overall.
Brook Lopez, MIL ($6,700)
Lopez will once again take the floor without Giannis and Holiday, a scenario that led to him scoring 58.1 FD points in 45 minutes during the double-OT win against OKC on Wednesday. Given the disparity between expected usage and salary, he should once again be in plenty of lineups.
Marcus Smart, BOS vs. DEN ($5,900)
Smart makes for an intriguing sub-$6K option Friday with Malcolm Brogdon (hamstring) sidelined, and the veteran guard already comes in running hot with a pair of tallies over 30 FD points in the last three games. His scoring is down this season thanks to a downturn in shooting percentage (38.8 percent), but he's averaging a career-high 7.0 assists. Smart will draw a favorable positional matchup Friday with Jamal Murray still rounding back into form after missing all of last season with a torn ACL, and Denver is allowing a Western Conference-high 31.8 offensive efficiency rating to point guards. The Nuggets are also giving up 51.3 percent shooting to the position - including 39.0 percent from three-point range - which could set up Smart for a resurgent night on the offensive end.
Bobby Portis, MIL at SA ($5,800)
Portis is in line to get another start for Antetokounmpo, a role in which he posted 27.8 FD points despite a sub-standard shooting night on Wednesday. He recorded 39.2 FD points in his other start this season and will be facing a Spurs squad that's allowed the 11th-highest offensive efficiency rating to power forwards (27.6) and 53.7 percent shooting -- including 42.3 percent from three-point range -- to the position. Portis can certainly space the floor for a big man (38.9 percent three-point shooting since the 2018-19 season), and the fact San Antonio also gives up an NBA-high 57.8 points in the paint per game doesn't hurt his case either considering the big man still scores just under half his points (48.9 percent) from that part of the floor.
Jevon Carter, MIL at SA ($5,100)
Carter will undoubtedly be a highly popular salary saver after his aforementioned 56.8 FD-point effort Wednesday, but he's still worth considering in a matchup against a Spurs squad that's allowed the third-highest offensive efficiency rating (30.6) and third-most assists (10.2) to point guards. They've also surrendered the third-highest three-point percentage to ones (41.3), while Carter is a career 39.1 percent three-point shooter. Finally, the Spurs' aforementioned vulnerability to scoring in the paint could also benefit Carter, who drove successfully to the basket frequently against the Thunder on Wednesday.