Welcome to the Friday edition of NBA Top Plays! We have a healthy 10-game slate on tap tonight and it’s an interesting one with very few of the “elite high-end” options taking the floor. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid are the only two players priced above $10K on either site, so this isn’t necessarily a slate in which we have to hunt for a ton of value. It’s likely to be a more balanced night in terms of roster building.
As always, make sure to stay up with the RotoGrinders DFS Alerts App through lock to stay up-to-the-minute on pertinent injury news. Premium RG subscribers can also access the Court Report from 5-7 PM ET to get my updated thoughts on the slate in addition to a full analysis of all late-breaking news.
Point Guard – Goran Dragic ($6,800 on FanDuel, $6,600 on DraftKings)
His upside had been virtually non-existent earlier in the season when he was having trouble consistently seeing the floor for more than 30-32 minutes a night, but Dragic has exploded in back-to-back games where he’s played heavy minutes (36 on Wednesday, 38 on December 30th against ORL). If he’s going to see at least 34-35 minutes again in this game, he’s in a nice spot to boom for the third straight time. While he’s on the floor with Olynyk, Richardson and Tyler Johnson, Dragic owns a solid 31.3% usage rate (+3.6% differential) and 1.01 fantasy points per minute mark, making him a very strong cash game play at this price along with providing some upside if the court time is able to hold.
Shooting Guard – Tyreke Evans ($8,400 on FanDuel, $8,000 on DraftKings)
Evans is performing like an elite DFS option but still hasn’t seen his price spike to that level quite yet. He and Marc Gasol are consuming the large majority of the usage when games are competitive and with Andrew Harrison likely to miss at least tonight’s game, he’ll have even less competition for playing time at the guard spots. Mario Chalmers is actually a viable GPP punt with Harrison out, as Chalmers closed the game against the Clippers after Harrison had left, but outside of him it’s tough for the Grizzlies to count on offense out of any other rotation piece. Evans has scored at least 41 FanDuel points in seven of his last nine games and hasn’t scored fewer than 30 in nearly a month. The floor/ceiling combination at this price makes him tough to pass up.
Small Forward – Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,000 on FanDuel, $10,700 on DraftKings)
There are two “studs” on this slate as far as price tag is concerned, and Giannis tops my list in terms of raw projections tonight which is going to land him squarely on my radar given the lack of high-end options around him. It also helps that this game is expected to stay close (MIL -1 as of this writing) and it’s also right up there in terms of having the highest total, so this one has some shootout potential. Giannis plays monster minutes in games that stay competitive and there simply isn’t another player on this slate that can match his upside at this position. If you don’t want to pay a premium at SF, Robert Covington is a fine mid-range option, as is Taurean Prince if you think the Hawks can stay competitive out in Portland.
Power Forward – Kyle Kuzma ($6,000 on FanDuel, $7,200 on DraftKings)
I’ll preface this pick by saying that I much prefer Kuzma on FanDuel, where he’s been too cheap for basically his entire hot streak. He’s fallen off in a big way recently, especially over the last two games, but he still offers a really nice ceiling at a $6K price tag and I can see some of the public being afraid to go back to him after being burned a few times recently. The return of Brook Lopez plus both Julius Randle and Larry Nance being healthy does potentially lower his floor in terms of minutes, but it still seems like Walton is going to try to give him heavy run as he’s been the team’s most consistent offensive presence even as his shooting percentage has dwindled lately. There are some better options at this spot on DraftKings – I’d rather be targeting Derrick Favors, Kelly Olynyk or even Al-Farouq Aminu, Trey Lyles or Mason Plumlee if you’re trying to save cap.
Center – Dwight Howard ($8,600 on FanDuel, $8,400 on DraftKings)
I want to have more exposure to the Hornets, but Dwight has been the only member of the team that has been popping in my own builds at this point in the day. Charlotte has the second-highest team total on the slate and they actually get the biggest pace bump among the 20 teams in play today thanks to the draw with the Lakers. Unsurprisingly, the Lakers profile as the best draw on this slate for opposing centers, ranking 27th in DvP and 22nd in defensive efficiency. I’m fully expecting another massive double-double from D12 regardless of what the front-court rotation looks like for the Lakers. If you’re in need of some salary savers (mainly on DraftKings), Mason Plumlee and Tyson Chandler both have some appeal at their current price tags.