This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
We're all set for a typically busy Friday night that consists of nine games. We're fortunate for DFS purposes in that we have three with projected totals over 220, something that could be taken for granted in past seasons but is now more of a rarity with the new officiating protocols. There are a couple of potential blowouts on tap with the Pistons and Pelicans both facing marquee opponents, but every other matchup carries a reasonable spread as of early Friday morning.
Memphis Grizzlies at Washington Wizards (O/U: 225.5 points)
San Antonio Spurs at Orlando Magic (O/U: 212.0 points)
Brooklyn Nets at Detroit Pistons (O/U: 212.0 points)
New York Knicks at Milwaukee Bucks (O/U: 217.5 points)
Cleveland Cavaliers at Toronto Raptors (O/U: 212.5 points)
Los Angeles Clippers at Minnesota Timberwolves (O/U: 215.5 points)
Charlotte Hornets at Sacramento Kings (O/U: 227.0 points)
Indiana Pacers at Portland Trail Blazers (O/U: 223.5 points)
New Orleans Pelicans at Golden State Warriors (O/U: 219.5 points)
As just alluded to, oddsmakers are projecting a slate that tilts more toward what passes for high-scoring games in this season's NBA and also envision plenty of close contests. Even the Magic is only a four-point underdog to the visiting Spurs. And given how unpredictable outcomes in the league can be from night to night, there's certainly no guarantee the Pistons and Pelicans - the two squads projected as the largest underdogs - don't give the Nets and Warriors a more difficult time than expected.
Detroit is the only team playing tonight on the second of a back-to-back set, which should also help lead to crisper basketball around the horn. The Grizzles-Wizards, Hornets-Kings and Pacers-Trail Blazers clashes – which also happen carry the ledger's three highest projected totals – unsurprisingly look to be the best spots for DFS purposes. The injury report is also thankfully light on big names, so we'll have a robust player pool to work from.
Injury Situations to Monitor
NOTE: Injury reporting is especially fluid in the NBA, where the status of multiple players can change during the course of a day. Therefore, although the following is a foundation for the latest injury report as of the time the article is written, check back throughout the course of the day with RotoWire for the latest news regarding the status of all players on that night's slate.
LaMelo Ball, CHA (hip)/ Status: PROBABLE
Ball is dealing with a right hip contusion, but is expected to suit up and fill his usual starting role, as his probable designation implies.
Khris Middleton, MIL (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: OUT
Jrue Holiday, MIL (ankle)/ Status: PROBABLE
If Holiday is able to return from his five-game absence, George Hill will return to the bench and Holiday could be in for a robust role right from the jump with Khris Middleton still out due to COVID-19 protocols.
Brandon Ingram, NOP (hip)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Jakob Poeltl (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: OUT
D'Angelo Russell, MIN (ankle)/ Status: OUT
With Russell out again, Patrick Beverley will draw another start at point guard after nearly registering a triple-double on Wednesday.
Other notable injuries:
Kyrie Irving, BRO (personal)/ Status: OUT
Zion Williamson, NOP (foot)/ Status: OUT
Dillon Brooks, MEM (hand)/ Status: OUT
Brook Lopez, MIL (back)/ Status: OUT
Lauri Markkanen, CLE (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: OUT
Kevin Love, CLE (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: OUT
P.J. Washington, CHA (elbow)/ Status: DOUBTFUL
Marcus Morris, LAC (knee)/ Status: OUT
Davis Bertans, WAS (ankle)/ Status: OUT
Gary Harris, ORL (ankle)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Herbert Jones, NOP (concussion)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Nicolas Claxton, BRO (illness)/ Status: OUT
Jeremy Lamb, IND (ankle)/ Status: OUT
We have five players with five-figure salaries on Friday's slate – Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,300), Paul George ($10,800), Kevin Durant ($10,500), Karl-Anthony Towns ($10,200) and James Harden ($10,000).
Giannis has scored 52.4 and 60.1 FD points in the first two games of Khris Middleton's absence. And despite the tough statistical matchup against the Knicks, it's worth noting he eclipsed 50 FD points against New York in his two meetings last season.
George will continue operating with a usage rate north of 30.0 percent as he continues to spearhead the Clippers without Kawhi Leonard (knee). The veteran wing has scored 49.2 to 61.3 FD points in his last three outings, with the score at the front end of the range having come Wednesday against the same T-Wolves he'll face tonight.
Durant bounced back from what would be considered a couple of subpar tallies by his standards when he produced 50.9 FD points across 35 minutes against the Hawks, his third tally of over 50 this campaign. He should naturally continue in a particularly robust role in the ongoing absence of Kyrie Irving (personal).
Towns scored 44.7 FD points in 36 minutes in a tough matchup against Ivica Zubac on Wednesday and the two big men meet again. D'Angelo Russell (ankle) remains out for Minnesota, which helps prop Towns' floor more than usual.
Harden just eclipsed the 40 FD-point mark last time out and has now produced back-to-back double-doubles for the first time this season. He's shot better over the last three (47.1 percent, including 50.0 percent from distance) after an abysmal start to the season and faces a particularly favorable matchup against a Pistons team allowing an NBA-high 42.7 percent three-point shooting.
In addition to the players mentioned in the previous section, other likely chalk plays include:
Stephen Curry, GSW ($9,800)
Curry is averaging a robust 48.1 FD points per game and draws a great matchup against the Pelicans, which should keep him as popular as usual.
Ja Morant, MEM ($9,500)
Morant's Grizzlies are part of a game with one of the highest-projected scoring totals and he's scored at least 40 FD points six times this season, both factors that should keep him highly rostered.
Domantas Sabonis, IND ($9,400)
Sabonis posted a clunker Wednesday in a tough matchup against the Knicks, but he should be right back in plenty of lineups for what should be a more favorable scenario against the Trail Blazers given he's normally displayed a floor of over 40 FD points.
Julius Randle, NYK ($9,300)
The big man is averaging 44.9 FD points and has already demonstrated a ceiling north of 60 on a couple of occasions, which should keep the clicks on his name coming in a marquee matchup against Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks.
Dejounte Murray, SAN ($9,100)
Murray has taken his production to another level across the board this year and comes into tonight versus the Magic fresh off a haul of 51.8 FD points against the Mavs and an average of 45.2 FD points overall.
Other likely chalk play: Anthony Edwards, MIN ($8,000)
Terry Rozier, CHA at SAC ($5,500)
Rozier is likely to fly a bit under the radar on a large slate and coming off a poor performance against the Warriors on Wednesday when he shot just 2-for-12 over 35 minutes on his way to 12.2 FD points. He had posted 23.9 and 39.2 FD points in the prior two contests, his first two back from an ankle injury. With a usual full workload, Rozier is very capable of offering at least a 5x return on current salary - a feat he accomplished on 54 occasions last season. The Kings also make for a great matchup having allowed the fourth-highest offensive efficiency to shooting guards (26.4 percent) and 36.3 percent three-point shooting overall on its home floor.
Patrick Beverley, MIN vs. LAC ($5,000)
As mentioned earlier, Beverley is set for another start at point guard in place of D'Angelo Russell (ankle), and he'll face the same Clippers side he just generated 34 FD points against over 31 minutes while coming just two assists shy of a triple-double. He's also been thriving in his bench role in Minnesota with counts between 22.6 and 25.7 FD points in his four previous appearances, and the Clippers check in allowing the ninth-highest offensive efficiency to PGs (26.4 percent), along with the highest field-goal percentage to the position (45.0).
Drew Eubanks, SAN at ORL ($4,400)
Eubanks will once again help hold down the fort down low in the absence of Jakob Poeltl (COVID-19 protocols) and will have a decent chance of following up his impressive showing of 25.5 FD points on Wednesday against the Mavs. Frontcourt mate Thaddeus Young (listed below as an additional value consideration) should also see his fair share of minutes, but Eubanks has proven capable of making good use of relatively modest levels of playing time both on Wednesday and last year. The Magic could well facilitate an efficient performance, considering they're giving up the seventh-highest offensive efficiency to centers (33.6 percent) and in the paint (59.4 percent) while Eubanks is logging 80.0 percent of his scoring in that part of the floor so far this season.
ALSO CONSIDER: Thaddeus Young, SAN at ORL ($4,600)