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NBA Matchup Plays: Friday

by Scott Malewig
Updated On: December 3, 2018, 6:01 pm ET

We’ve revamped the NBA Targets post to give a little bit more of a diverse look at each slate rather than focusing on just a couple games.  Here's a preview of each matchup and my thoughts on the top picks, other picks to consider, and some players to avoid for tonight.


MIN @ OKC over/under 210, Thunder -10

This game has the highest over/under of the night, but unfortunately the biggest spread by far as well. If the Wolves can keep this game close, it could be packed with fantasy goodness, but to me that rides on the health of Nikola Pekovic and Ricky Rubio as it’s been these two players being in the lineup that’s led to the Wolves competitiveness of late. If the game is close, I think we’ll see a nice bounce back game from Russell Westbrook, who is likely to be heavily owned given the Warriors news.


GSW  @ DEN over/under 208.5, Nuggets -1.5

The Nuggets are actually only slight favorites with the Warriors resting most of their starters in this game, but expect this to be one of the more volatile games of the night as it could be this close or a blowout either way pretty easily given the inconsistency of both the Nuggets and the Warriors playing their bench. Almost everyone in this game has become a viable play due to the pace and competitiveness of this game now, which there being a ton of value.



LaMarcus Aldridge  -- PF POR

LaMarcus Aldridge has seen his field goal percentage rise in four consecutive games, an indication his wrist is feeling a bit better. Aldridge had a great matchup and a potential big line he was on the way to, ruined by a bit of foul trouble, limiting him to only 33 minutes against Houston. Lucky for him, he gets an even better matchup with the Pistons tonight, who simply don’t have a big man who matches up well with him. He’s as close to 20 points and 10 rebounds in the bag as it gets with some monster upside against one of the league’s worst interior defenses.

Nikola Vucevic -- C ORL

Vucevic is an excellent alternative to the consensus center play, DeMarcus Cousins, tonight. He’s priced relatively low for him, given the injury and blowout issues recently and gets a great matchup with a Celtics frontcourt that has simply been abysmal since Jared Sullinger went down. Vucevic is another double-double machine and he has massive rebounding upside in this one with Kelly Olynyk now starting at center for the Celtics. The Celtics are allowing a 31.2 efficiency rating against centers over the last 6 weeks.


Rudy Gay -- SF SAC

Rudy Gay seems to be flying under the radar a bit on this slate. His price remains very playable given the overall landscape at small forward and he gets the Sixers matchup everyone dreams of. We saw Tony Snell double-double against them the other night, Tony Snell. Seriously, Tony Snell. Philly has been better efficiency wise against small forwards lately, but I actually expect Gay to see quite a few minutes at power forward tonight as George Karl continues to try and speed the game up and use his post play.


Dwyane Wade -- SG MIA

Wade has quietly put together a string of 40 fantasy point games while his price has only moved upwards slightly. With Chris Bosh out, he’s posted a 38.8% usage rate that is near the top of the league and he’s averaging over 20 shot attempts per game over his last 5. Wade still provides well peripherally as well, even though he’s not nearly the athlete he used to be, he still blocks shots at a solid rate for a shooting guard, which could really come into play on the plethora of post-ups the Raptors run for DeMar DeRozan.

Marcus Smart -- PG BOS

Smart isn’t a guy you can just take the minutes with in every matchup yet. He’s really struggled with his shooting and even passing at times. He plays hard and makes pretty good decisions, but you need more than that to produce fantasy points in tough matchups. The good news is, he gets a much better matchup tonight against the Magic, who he poured in 35 fantasy points against last week. He’ll play heavy minutes again tonight with Isaiah Thomas out and should make more of them than he did against the Grizzlies.


Also Consider

Reggie Jackson -- PG DET

Jackson has been really disappointing lately, but I think he breaks out tonight against a Portland team that offers a more than 10% usage increase to point guards this season and even more so if you take those numbers for each team’s primary creator. Jackson bounced back a bit last time out against the Warriors, but I think we can get more than 14 points and 9 assists out of him tonight at a mid-range price.

Harrison Barnes -- SF GSW

Barnes was a guy I was looking to before the big news for the Warriors dropped as the Nuggets have struggled against forwards and he plays decently in blowouts as it is. Now this should be a competitive game where Barnes plays pretty heavy minutes with a higher than usual usage rate. Look for the Warriors to run some early offense including post-ups for him in this one.



Tony Snell  -- SF CHI

With Joakim Noah back tonight, I expect Snell to take a fairly big minutes hit. He turned the ball over way too much against the Sixers despite the double-double mentioned above. The Bulls simply don’t take kindly to that and there are plenty of guys fighting for minutes in that rotation right now, including Doug McDermott with some improve play. I just don’t see a need to chase the points tonight.

Scott Malewig
Scott Malewig writes the NBA Over/Under Watch for Rotoworld.com and is the co-founder of The Fake Basketball. Scott can be found on Twitter @Sports_25toLife where he'll likely be tweeting about the last NBA game you'd think he'd be watching.