This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
As per usual, we have an action-packed slate this Friday that features 11 games. The action kicks off at 7:00 PM Eastern time, and the final matchup of the evening is set to tip off at 10:30 PM. We'll have plenty of stars in action, including Giannis Antetokounmpo, LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Here's another quick reminder that FanDuel has gone back to its old format, counting all nine of player's scores within your lineup after dropping the lowest player's total a season ago. With all nine selections counting towards your score, it'll be vital to make each and every selection count. The good news is that we have plenty of promising options within this massive slate.
Let's get down to business.
Of the 11 games on Friday night's stacked slate, there are a few specific matchups that are expected to have favorable environments for DFS production:
Toronto Raptors at New Orleans Pelicans (Projected total: 233.5)
Toronto is averaging 114.6 points per contest over seven games this season, and they're in the top half of the league when it comes to pace. The same holds true for their offensive rating of 108.8. As for the Pelicans, they feature a young team without their star rookie Zion Williamson (knee), but they've still managed to put up 119.3 points as a team through their first seven matchups of the 2019-20 campaign. Given the offensive firepower in this one, it's no surprise this is projected to be one of the highest-scoring contests of the evening.
Cleveland Cavaliers at Washington Wizards (Projected total: 228)
The Wizards have been impressive in the scoring department through the first few weeks of the season, and they check in at seventh in the league when it comes to their offensive rating. The Cavs sit near the bottom in this category. So while their offense could be a liability in terms of overall scoring, they also give up 112.1 points per game so far, thereby making the argument this contest will feature plenty of scoring opportunities.
There is also one game in particular that is on track to produce the least amount of opportunities for DFS production:
Memphis Grizzlies at Orlando Magic (Projected total: 208.5)
There are plenty of other matchups on the slate, and this game might be one to avoid given the expectation of a low-scoring affair. The Magic have failed to surpass 100 points in seven of their first eight contests this season, and they've managed to hold the opposition under 100 points in three of those tilts. Memphis ranks in the top-10 when it comes to pace, though it remains to be seen if they can overcome a sixth-ranked Orlando squad who come in with a 101.0 defensive rating.
It's understandably tough to find a lack of depth within an 11-game slate, but the weakest position Friday night will be at shooting guard, where the top option is Jimmy Butler ($9,200). Bradley Beal comes in as the second choice at $9,100, followed by D'Angelo Russell ($8,700) and Donovan Mitchell ($8,300). Even if you elect to avoid Butler, we have quite the selection available with starters such as Khris Middleton available for the low price of $6,600. If you elect to pay up for a star elsewhere, you'll have the luxury of finding decent value with the mid-to-low tier options at shooting guard.
The other weakness of this slate is at small forward, with the prices dropping to $7K and lower after the first four options. You certainly don't have to pay up here if you don't want to, with starting talent available to be snagged from $5,300 and up.
Injury Situations to Monitor
Tim Frazier, DET
Myles Turner, IND
Turner has now missed four consecutive matchups with an ankle issue, though the team is considering him questionable for Friday's matchup with Detroit. Look for Indiana to turn to Domantas Sabonis and JaKarr Sampson if Turner can't go.
Cam Reddish, ATL
Reddish has been dealing with soreness in his right shoulder, but Atlanta expects him to be ready to roll come Friday. His availability will likely be cleared up closer to tipoff.
Lonzo Ball, NOR
Ball is probable for Friday's matchup against the Raptors due to leg cramps, but his status will be worth keeping an eye on leading up to tipoff.
D'Angelo Russell, GS
Russell made it through Thursday's practice without issue. So while he's missed the last three matchups due to a right ankle sprain, he appears on track to return Friday against Minnesota. Ky Bowman should draw the start at point guard if Russell is ruled out.
Jeff Teague, MIN
Teague will be a game-time decision for Friday's clash with Golden State due to illness. With Shabazz Napier (hamstring) listed as doubtful, Jarrett Culver could draw another start at point guard if Teague is ultimately misses out.
Gary Harris, DEN
Harris is expected to be ready to roll for Friday's game against Philadelphia, but the team is considering him probable for now due to a lingering ankle issue.
Justise Winslow, MIA
Winslow was ruled out of Thursday's matchup due to a headache, and it remains to be seen if he'll be cleared to take the court Friday in Los Angeles. Kendrick Nunn shifted over to point guard Thursday evening, opening up room for Duncan Robinson to start in Winslow's place. You could see a similar Heat lineup Friday if Winslow is out.
Avery Bradley, LAL
Bradley is being considered questionable for Friday's clash due to a lower leg injury. The team will likely reevaluate the former first-round pick following shootaround to get a better idea of his availability.
Plenty of stars will step onto the hardwood Friday night, with eight players valued at $10K or above: Luka Doncic ($10,500), Damian Lillard ($10,100), Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,700), LeBron James ($11,600), Anthony Davis ($11,200), Karl-Anthony Towns ($11,500), Andre Drummond ($10,900) and Joel Embiid ($10,600). That's quite the group right there, and you certainly can't go wrong with any of these options.
If you're looking to stay under $10K at point guard, Kyrie Irving ($9,800) and Trae Young ($9,300) come in as excellent choices. Mike Conley ($7,000) and Jamal Murray ($6,800) represent solid mid-tier selections if you scroll down the list.
At small forward, there are also elite plays available if you avoid Antetokounmpo and James - who are both priced above $11K - as Pascal Siakam ($9,300) and Brandon Ingram ($8,800) are each averaging north of 40 FanDuel points per game so far this year and would make a stellar addition to any lineup.
With the number of elite players in action Friday, expect for the majority of chalk to come from the eight players in the $10K-and-above range. Giannis, LeBron, Towns and Davis will likely be the most popular of the stars, and their prices reflect just that.
Other chalk plays typically stem from injuries to key starters. With Justise Winslow's status unknown, Duncan Robinson ($4,100) is sure to be a popular selection against the Lakers. Sticking with the Heat, Kendrick Nunn ($5,600) will also be an enticing option given the uncertainty surrounding Winslow.
Flipping to Detroit at Indiana, JaKarr Sampson ($3,800) could also be a heavily-owned player based on Myles Turner's questionable status. Domantas Sabonis ($9,000) is a more expensive option at power forward, though he could also benefit if Turner is sidelined.
Bruce Brown, DET at IND ($5,600):
As previously mentioned, Brown appears in line for another start Friday against the Pacers with Reggie Jackson and Derrick Rose ruled out, and he's done some damage over his last three starts. Brown averaged 30.9 FanDuel points over that brief stretch, and he's been productive by stuffing the stat sheet. Outside of the scoring department, his contributions on both the glass and in the assist column has led to a few breakout performances, which is why I've listed him as one of my value plays for Friday. The price is right and Brown is in a groove.
Isaiah Thomas, WAS vs. CLE ($5,500):
My eyes lit up when I saw Thomas listed under $6K for Friday's showdown against the Cavaliers. The Washington product has recently found his way back to the starting lineup after missing the first two matchups. And while he hasn't exactly gone off just yet, I can feel something in the works here. Thomas certainly possesses the ability to score at a high level, though he's an enticing option as a value play due to his excellent facilitator and defender skills. It's also worth noting Cleveland is allowing 73.9 FD points per game this year to opposing point guards, so I like Thomas's chances of picking apart a young backcourt in this one.
C.J. McCollum, POR vs. BKN ($6,400):
We have another mouth-watering matchup here with McCollum set to face off against a Brooklyn squad allowing 69.8 FD points per game to shooting guards. The 28-year-old guard hasn't been very consistent from a DFS perspective to open 2019-20, though he's shown early on he's capable of a breakout performance - he finished with 52.2 FD points against Dallas in the third game of the year. McCollum does the bulk of his damage in the scoring department and by distributing the basketball, and he'll have a great opportunity to put his skill on display Friday night in Portland.