This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
We'll kick off the weekend with a smaller state than usual Friday evening, as we've had a fairly balanced week of NBA action. The night begins with San Antonio at Orlando and Detroit at Charlotte at 7:00 PM Eastern time, and we have Boston at Golden State and Sacramento at Los Angeles set to tip off at 10:30 PM Eastern as the final contests. There will be a handful of big names in action for your FanDuel lineups, including LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Ben Simmons, Karl-Anthony Towns and Kemba Walker to name a few.
If you've yet to plug in a lineup with FanDuel this season, here's a quick reminder that they've gone back to the old format, counting all nine of your player's scores within your lineup. FanDuel dropped your lowest player's score a season ago. With each selection counting towards your total, it'll be vital to make each and every choice count.
Let's take a look at Friday's slate.
I've listed a few matchups below to either target or avoid on this slate based on their projected scoring lines. It can be useful to look at the projected point totals when choosing your lineup, especially if you're having trouble picking between two players. More scoring obviously means a greater chance of DFS success.
Washington Wizards at Minnesota Timberwolves (Projected total: 240.5)
The Timberwolves carry a few injuries heading into Friday's matchup, as Jeff Teague (illness), Jordan Bell (shoulder) and Shabazz Napier (hamstring) all have injury tags, but they'll still provide an opportunity to put up points in a big way with the help of their two stars, Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. Wiggins has been one of the hottest players in basketball to kick off the 2019-20 season, averaging 25.9 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.6 assists over 11 matchups. Minnesota has put up 120-plus points in four of their last five outings, and they rank near the top of the league in pace. For the Wizards, Isaiah Thomas and Bradley Beal will be the favorites to lead their team in the scoring department, setting the stage for a high-scoring affair.
San Antonio Spurs at Orlando Magic (Projected total: 212.5)
The Magic are ranked 29th in the league when it comes to pace, and they also own one of the worst offensive ratings. To top it off, they've failed to surpass 100 points in seven of the first 11 games of the 2019-20 campaign. As for the Spurs, they're averaging 112.4 points per contest as a team. So while there's a good chance they'll hit triple digits, the Magic's offensive struggles on the year will keep this matchup at a low point total.
As always with a heavy schedule, there aren't many weaknesses when it comes to positional depth. Plenty of quality options exist at point guard with Russell Westbrook ($9,500) and Kemba Walker ($9,100), and there are also solid choices if you're looking for mid-tier PG (Ja Morant, Malcolm Brogdon, etc.). The same can be said for shooting guard, where James Harden ($12,500) headlines the position. He's followed by a number of excellent picks, like Bradley Beal ($9,300) and Andrew Wiggins ($9,000). I'm also liking the depth I see at center, as we have six players valued at $9k or higher.
It looks like small forward is going to have the largest dropoffs from the first tier to the mid-tier. LeBron James sits atop the list at $11,600, and the next cheapest selection is Jaylen Brown for $7,700. This may be an indication that you'll want to roll with James along with a value play at small forward, which I'll get to later on.
There's a small step down from the top choice at power forward (Anthony Davis), though I still think there are plenty of high-end players available at this position. We have seven players priced at $7K or above, allowing for plenty of wiggle room.
Injury Situations to Monitor
Tony Snell, DET
Snell is probable for Friday's matchup against the Hornets due to a left hip flexor strain that he evidently picked up in Detroit's last game Tuesday. The expectation is that he'll be cleared to play, though his status will be worth monitoring leading up to tipoff.
Dwayne Bacon, CHR
Bacon is officially probable for Friday's tilt, though the team may elect to ensure he makes it through shootaround without issue before clearing him. If good to go, he's expected to come off the bench.
Russell Westbrook, HOU
Westbrook isn't dealing with any kind of injury, but the team has announced a plan to sit their star point guard either Friday or Saturday for rest purposes. For this reason, it'll be vital to check his status before tipoff.
Danuel House, HOU
Jeff Teague, MIN
Teague appears to have been added to the injury report as a precaution after making his return from an illness Wednesday against the Spurs. He should be cleared to play and is expected to start. The same cannot be said for Shabazz Napier (hamstring), who's doubtful.
Daniel Theis, BOS
Theis will be a game-time decision Friday against the Warriors due to a sprained finger. How he fares in shootaround will likely determine his availability. Robert Williams (ankle) is also questionable, so if both players can't take the court, the Celtics would be severely short-handed at center. Enes Kanter would benefit if either player is ruled out.
Avery Bradley, LAL
Bradley was added to the injury report Thursday night. He's expected to be cleared despite a lower leg contusion.
Anthony Davis, LAL
Davis is banged up yet again. He's dealing with a rib injury this time around. Even so, the team is considering him probable leading to game time.
We have six players on the board Friday evening listed at $10K or more: James Harden, LeBron, Anthony Davis, Karl-Anthony Towns, Joel Embiid and Andre Drummond. You really can't go wrong by slotting any of these starts into your lineup, though you'll notice the bulk of this group is at center - our deepest position on the slate.
As for other elite plays, we have Westbrook, Walker and Simmons at point guard, Bradley Beal and D'Angelo Russell at shooting guard, Domantas Sabonis and Jayson Tatum at power forward and Nikola Vucevic and Rudy Gobert at center. While these players aren't at the very top of their position group when it comes to price, they offer solid value and can also be considered elite.
As can be expected with an eight-game slate, the majority of chalk plays will be stars. James Harden is bound to be heavily owned, especially against an Indiana squad that's struggled early on in the season. LeBron James and Anthony Davis are also favorites for elite chalk players, considering they'll take the court against a short-handed Sacramento team - De'Aaron Fox (ankle) and Marvin Bagley (finger) are both still out with their respective injuries. Finally, we head to Oklahoma City, where Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are candidates for high ownership against the Thunder who sit at 4-7.
The other chalky plays of the evening are likely to come as a result of the injury report, although most of the big names on Friday's slate are listed as probable with the exception of Danuel House, who is doubtful. Assuming he's unable to take the floor, Ben McLemore ($3,500) could be in line for another start at forward, making him a popular value play.
Jeff Teague, MIN vs. WAS ($6,600):
Teague carries a probable tag into Friday's matchup, but he was able to return from illness Wednesday and is expected to be a full go. Despite missing four straight contests, he was impressive in his return racking up 18 points along with six assists, two steals and two rebounds for a total of 34.4 FanDuel points. A few below-average performances have kept his FD average down so far this year, but I like Teague for this price especially with Russell Westbrook, Kemba Walker and Ben Simmons expected to steal the show at point guard. Teague will take the court against a team that allows 57.7 FD points on average to opposing point guards.
Daniel Theis, BOS at GS ($4,600):
Theis also brings an injury tag into Friday, though his status is still very much up in the air at this point. He's totaled 21-plus FD points in each of his last six contests. So if he is given the green light to take the court, he's expected to start and handle a healthy chunk of minutes with Robert Williams also banged up. In the event Theis is ruled out, Enes Kanter would be the next guy up ($5,200). Kanter put up 28.2 FD points in Wednesday's game against Washington and would face a Golden State defense surrendering 46.9 FD points per game to opposing centers during the current campaign.