Friday night is always a big day in for NBA DFS and tonight is certainly no different. There are big dollar contests and live event qualifiers around the industry to take your shot at. We have a solid nine-game slate on tap with six games projected to top 200 total points. The Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder matchup certainly jumps off the page with a Vegas total of 222 points. Guys like Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant are great options tonight, but will be heavily targeted. On that note, let’s take a look at some other potential high-upside targets to either pair with Westbrook or Durant, or to use in place of Westbrook or Durant.
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers & Kemba Walker, Charlotte Hornets - My guess is that Russell Westbrook and Archie Goodwin are going to be heavily owned at the guard spots today. They’re great options and guys I’ll have exposure too. However, for large field tournaments, that should leave the upper mid-range guys like Lillard and Kemba lower owned. Neither is a great defender and this is a game where we could see them go at each other as Portland is 26th in DVP against PG and Charlotte is 19th. Kemba’s road shooting woes worry me a little bit, which is why he’s a tournament option. Lillard’s price has dipped in some spots, and he still carries that 50 fantasy point upside. He also could be extra motivated for this one as he was left off of the All-Star team yesterday.
James Harden, Houston Rockets - The Thunder/Houston matchup is easily the top matchup to target on the day as it carries a total of 222 points. Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant are elite options and will be highly owned, but don’t forget about James Harden. Depending on injuries, there could be some value emerge at SG, but it’s thin in terms of elite options. Harden is coming off of a poor game, but that came against the elite wing defense of the Spurs. The Thunder will be without Andre Roberson, which leaves them playing the likes of Dion Waiters, Kyle Singler and Anthony Morrow at SG. That’s a matchup for Harden to feast on, and he always gets up to face his former team.
Langston Galloway, New York Knicks - He’s dependent on the status of Jose Calderon, who is questionable for tonight. He stepped into the starting lineup last night for Calderon and produced 23 fantasy points, which is almost 6x value around the industry. The matchup is great against a banged up Phoenix team that is without Brandon Knight and Eric Bledsoe. The Suns are 29th in DVP against PG, and the Knicks have a team total of 106 points, which is very high for them.
Nicolas Batum, Charlotte Hornets - Kevin Durant is the chalk small forward today as the Thunder have a team total of 114 points against the Rockets. He’s clearly a great option, but his price tag, as well as Russell Westbrook’s, should leave people searching for value. As mentioned above, that leaves the mid-tier options lower owned, and Batum’s price has dipped around the industry. He wasn’t great in his return last game, but he played 30 minute and hopefully knocked the rust off. He’s a guy who has shown 40-point fantasy potential this season and he’ll be extra amped up for this one as he returns to Portland for the first time since being traded.
Chandler Parsons, Dallas Mavericks - As mentioned, Kevin Durant is a guy I’d look to get in cash games and is obviously tournament playable. I think that taking the mid-range approach at SF will be the road less traveled and both Batum and Parsons have shown 40 fantasy point upside. The risk of a blowout is slightly concerning here, but Parsons’ recent play is too good for me to overlook. He’s topped 33 fantasy points in five straight games, and has shown upside into the 40's. He’s shooting the ball very well right now, playing with a ton of confidence offensively, and the matchup is certainly ideal against a Brooklyn defense that is 22nd in DVP against SF.
Also Consider - Kevin Durant, Wesley Johnson
Serge Ibaka, Oklahoma City Thunder - Ibaka is a guy that is always a tournament option only as he is very block dependent and his fantasy output can range from 15 to 40. However, his price is depressed and he does provide that 40 fantasy point upside we want for tournaments. My guess is that most players will try to squeeze in Kevin Durant and/or Russell Westbrook and then move on, which will leave Ibaka lower owned. The matchup is there tonight as the Rockets are dead last in DVP against PF, the Thunder have the highest team total and Ibaka had 12 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks against them earlier this season.
Aaron Gordon, Orlando Magic - Gordon was inserted into the starting lineup a few games ago, but hasn’t really taken off quite yet. However, he’s finished just shy of a double-double in two straight games, and finally played big minutes last game with 37 minutes. If he gets those big minutes tonight, then I love his potential to go 6x or 7x his cheap salary as Boston really struggles defensively on the interior. They are 26th in DVP against PG and he put together a 23-point fantasy performance against Boston earlier this year in only 21 minutes.
Also Consider - Thaddeus Young
Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons - Due to the elite matchups for Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and James Harden, I think roster construction will lead to spending down at center for a guy like Spencer Hawes. He’s in a perfectly fine spot but that gives us a chance to get the higher-end options at lower ownership. The matchup isn’t ideal for Drummond and he hasn’t been playing great recently. However, he busted out last game and brings that 20 point, 20 rebound upside to the table, regardless of matchup. That was evident earlier this season as Drummond put up 25 points and 18 rebound on a Cavs’ defense that is 1st in DVP against centers.