• Welcome to the first Friday DFS article of the regular NBA season. Friday tends to be one of the more popular nights for NBA throughout the industry for multiple reasons. This means extra research is essential and I will taking a few moments to explain why before jumping into some value plays for Friday night’s 10 game slate.

    Firstly, most people do not have work tomorrow. Why is this good for us? Fish tend to play DFS on nights where they can watch the games. It becomes a way for a casual NBA fan to be a little more interested and invested into teams they might otherwise ignore and a way for you to cash in.

    Fridays tend to always be larger slates. Sharks capitalize off of their hard work and research on these large slates. Not saying they don’t on smaller slates, but in a pool of over 130 players options and 10 games to choose from, deciphering which games and players to target can make it feel like more like 50 players and five or six games.

    Friday is the only day of the weekend where the NBA is the primary televised sport. On Saturday we see college football all afternoon and night. On Sunday we see the same with the NFL. Even on Monday and Thursday we see ratings and attention shift over to football. On top of that, MLB DFS just ended. This means anyone and everyone will be playing DFS tonight. It’s always a great time to play NBA DFS on football days or days with other major events. You get people who play multiple sports and divide their attention amongst them, while us NBA junkies sit on our laptops giving our NBA lineups more attention than our first-born child.

    I am excited to announce that DraftKings has become a partner of Hoop-Ball! My selections will be based primarily off of their pricing and scoring format. That being said, if a player is in a dream spot or if you are playing 50/50’s then the price difference should not affect you too much. Everyone listed in this article is someone who I would consider a value play and under $8,000. You will see a few familiar names and it is likely because they had rough openers so their prices were either lowered or stayed the same. These plays allow you to fit the sure fire studs in great matchups.

    Point Guards

    Elfrid Payton $7,100 – This seems like a dream spot for Payton. Brooklyn plays at one of the fastest paces in the league and just got over a game on Wednesday versus the Pacers that had a whopping 271 total. Payton is a walking triple-double threat and last season he averaged 17.3 points, 9.0 assists and 7.0 rebounds per game against the Nets. He figures to be a popular play, but for good reason, as at $7,100 he has the upside to get 45-50 DK points on what is one of the more favorable games on the slate with an over/under of 220.5 points.

    Jordan Clarkson $4,300 – KCP is still suspended and Lonzo Ball was “limited” heading into Thursday night’s game and will likely be limited again or possibly more on the back-to-back. The pace is great against the Suns and we just saw what a C.J. McCollum-less Blazers team did to them. Clarkson received 26 minutes last night and I believe we can expect that for a floor.

    Jeff Teague $5,600 – The matchup isn’t the best versus the Jazz and the pace will much slower than the Wolves normally play at, but the price is just too good. Gobert stifles opposing big men in the paint leading me to believe the Wolves will rely on their guards and wings on the wings tonight for perimeter scoring.

    Eric Bledsoe $7,400 – The Suns are coming of a putrid blowout and after the game Bledsoe shouldered most of the responsibility. I expect him to come out with a chip on his shoulder this game in what is a tasty matchup vs the Lakers. This will be one of the faster paced games of the night and is coming in with an over/under of 222 points.

    D’Angelo Russell $7,300 – What a Nets debut from Russell. This is his team and he plans on taking on even more responsibility with Jeremy Lin sidelined for the season. He gets a solid matchup against the Magic and should have a salary of around $8,000. He will be very high owned.

    Shooting Guards

    E’Twuan Moore $3,700 – The Pelicans draw the Warriors tonight and benefit from the fast pace they play at. With Rondo sidelined we got to see more of Moore. He played 31 minutes Wednesday night and is a scrappy player who benefits in these quick paced games. I wouldn’t expect 40 points from him, but ‘7-8x ‘ value is definitely on the board.

    Avery Bradley $5,400 – Ok, let’s try this again. He is too cheap and draws a favorable shooting matchup. Bradley shot well Wednesday night, but got into early foul trouble, which limited his production to only 18 DK points. He will likely go overlooked tonight after the poor performance. He only grabbed two rebounds, one assist and no steals or blocks. Like I said last week, do not expect those crazy double-doubles to return from last season, but 20-5-4 with a couple of steals is not out of the realm of possibility.

    Yogi Ferrell $4,200 – The Mavs started Ferrell at shooting guard on Wednesday night and will look to do so again against the Kings. Seth Curry is still sidelined and the tragic news regarding Devin Harris’ brother will likely force Ferrell and Dennis Smith JR. into heavy minutes.

    J.J Redick- $4,500 – Going against a young Boston team who has noticeably left a little too much room for 3-point shooters? Sign me up. This is another player who should be about $1,000 more expensive. Redick is still getting integrated into Sixers offense, but he is by far their best shooter and on DraftKings we can’t forget about that juicy 3-point bonus.

    Devin Booker $7,000 – We have seen Booker’s ceiling and it is not $7,000. He gets the late night hammer against a Lakers team coming off of a back-to-back. After what the Suns did Wednesday night I am expecting their stars to come out firing. I will be looking to get some exposure to this game in either the form of Bledsoe or Booker.

    Small Forward

    Robert Covington $5,700 – Ok, DraftKings, It’s been about two years since everyone has realized Robert Covington is good at basketball. He can rebound, hit threes and rack up defensive numbers. Boston will run a lot of small lineups with Jayson Tatum at power forward, allowing Covington to see time at power forward as well and this price is just too cheap.

    Larry Nance $4,300 – Nance held his own against the Clippers Thursday night, scoring 14 points and grabbing 12 boards. With Brandon Ingram sliding over to shooting guard while KCP is suspended, Nance has been seeing time at small forward, power forward and even center. He played 29 minutes last game and should see similar, if not more minutes against the Suns who will roll out combinations of stretch fours and wings.

    Jeremy Lamb $5,700 – Lamb had a solid game in the opener, but that is not what we’re paying $5,700 for. Lamb gets to face the weak Hawks who remain vulnerable from just about anywhere on the court. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist remains out for tonight’s game so I expect Lamb to see plenty of run at shooting guard and small forward. Someone has to help Kemba Walker with the shooting load.

    T.J. Warren $5,000 – Forget about Wednesday’s game. It was a blowout and everyone’s minutes were affected. Warren shot poorly, but had tough matchups against Al-Farouq Aminu and Moe Harkless. Look for him to have a solid bounce back game against a team that he averaged 16.7 points, 7.3 boards, 3.0 assists and a combined 3.0 steals/blocks per game.

    Power Forward

    Kevin Love $7,500 – He was poorly underused against the weak Boston frontcourt Tuesday night and we should expect to see him bounce back and take plenty of shots against the Bucks’ below average bigs. Love is starting at center now and the Bucks tend to run smaller lineups anyway. He will be dealing with the likes of Thon Maker, John Henson and Greg Monroe on defense. While there are a lot of great options at power forward, Love figures to be a middle-tier guy who flies under the radar and is fully capable of 50 point games.

    Jordan Bell $3,800 – The Warriors are facing off against the twin towers of DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis and will likely have to throw two bigs of their own out there for good run. Bell was the first off the bench for Golden State on Tuesday and with Draymond Green entering the game a little banged up (currently listed as probable) could see increased run. I personally do not trust Zaza Pachuila to be athletic enough to run with the likes of Davis or Cousins, so a Bell dart throw in a tournament lineup seems warranted.

    Trevor Booker $4,700 – I hate uttering his name, almost feels like looking in the mirror and saying, “Bloody Mary” three times. All jokes aside the Nets gave Booker most of the run at center against the Pacers and with limited options for rebounding, will likely do the same against the Magic and Nik Vucevic. I wouldn’t expect him to shoot 7-for-10 again, but the rebounds seem legit and another double-double seems to be on the horizon.

    Draymond Green – $7,300-Like I said before, he clearly isn’t healthy, but he said he felt better after a practice and is now listed as probable. If Green can play full minutes he will be a steal at his price and I expect many to be scared off by his injury tag and the late game.

    Center

    Marcin Gortat $5,600 – I know it seems like I am chasing, but hear me out. Mid-tier price, facing Andre Drummond and the possibility of Jason Smith missing the game is a recipe that sets Gortat up for another night of value. I don’t expect him to put up some of the same rebounding numbers against Drummond, but I expect solid minutes up front. Last season in 28 minutes against Detroit Gortat averaged 10 points, 9.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game.

    Dwight Howard $6,700 – Next stop, Narrative Town! Hop aboard another fantastic revenge game for Howard. It seems like every year we get one of these matchups and Howard gets his former Hawks team in his hometown. With Cody Zeller already hurt, the opportunity outweighs the narrative and you can look for Charlotte to feed Howard early and often. He’s a sure fire double-double and you know we love our bonuses on DraftKings.

    Dewayne Dedmon $4,700 – On the opposite side of the matchup and similar to Gortat’s situation, Dedmon will have to play minutes up front against Howard. He did not show much in his 25 minutes on Wednesday, but that was also against a Mavericks team who rolls out small lineups often.

    Al Horford $6,800 – A matchup versus the Sixers isn’t what it once was. Joel Embiid figures to play 25-ish minutes and has proven to be a great defender, but Boston has no one up front and have used Horford at the four and five in the first two games. With Gordon Hayward down, Horford is eventually going to have to shoulder some of the scoring load. It seems every night Horford is going under-owned and at this price tag I think he is worth taking a shot on to get some exposure against the Sixers.

    Nikola Vucevic $7,600 – Can you tell I love the second-tier centers tonight? Vucevic draws another fantastic matchup against the Nets frontcourt. Like the heat, Vucevic has crushed the Nets in the past and look for him to do so again in what should be a high scoring game.

    Many of these players are eligible at multiple positions making lineup construction much more unique, and taking advantage of it can be key. There are many other players who I have interest in under the $8,000 price tag, but just waiting to hear updates and news on. Here are a few situations to keep your eye on through out the day.

    Aaron Gordon – I love Gordon in this matchup and if we hear he is at full health and good to go before tip off I can guarantee you I’ll have some shares. If he were forced to miss the game, look at Jonathan Issac to pick up the slack and be an elite value play on this slate.

    Myles Turner – he popped up on the injury report with a sore neck. It doesn’t seem to be a huge deal but if Turner were to be forced to miss the game we would see Thad Young and Domantas Sabonis step up and both be huge value plays.

    Stanley Johnson – Johnson missed practice Thursday with back soreness after playing 40 minutes during Wednesday’s opener. At Johnson’s price tag and minutes load DK are bound to fall into his lap against the Hornets. Keep an eye an him heading into tip off and if he plays he should be a solid cash game option.

    Marcus Smart – If Smart sits it puts the Boston wings back into play even with their increased salaries. We would also likely see Aron Baynes start at center and Horford shift to the power forward spot.

    Hope the value plays help you win some contests. As always you can reach me on twitter @Apottreeuh or look for me in the forums. Good luck and research hard.

Fantasy News

  • Ben Simmons - G/F - Philadelphia Sixers

    Ben Simmons paced Team World in Friday's loss to Team USA in the Rising Stars Challenge with 28 points on 14-of-17 shooting, five rebounds, six assists and three steals.

    Everyone knew that defense would not be one of the highlights of this game, but his .823 shooting from the field was just crazy good. He did miss his only shot from the line which was in a way, Simmons' artistic signature on his line for the night. Bulls' Fantastic Finn Lauri Markkanen chimed in with 21 points (9-of-17 shooting), six rebounds, two dimes and three triples.

  • Kyle Kuzma - F - Los Angeles Lakers

    Kyle Kuzma led Team USA to a 161-144 victory over Team World in the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday with 35 points on 15-of-27 shooting and was named the game's MVP.

    Kuzma added six rebounds, two assists, three triples and a block to the box score in what was a for-fun yet still competitive game that ended Team USA's two-year drought. Special mentions go out to Jayson Tatum, who chipped in 30 points (12-of-24 shooting), nine rebounds, three assists, two steals and six 3-pointers, as well as rookie Trae Young who double-doubled with 25 points (six 3s), seven rebounds, 10 dimes and a block.

  • Rodions Kurucs - F - Brooklyn Nets

    After missing the Nets' last game with a left elbow strain, Rodions Kurucs took to the court in the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday and posted 10 points (4-of-9 shooting), four boards, five dimes and two triples in 16 minutes for Team World.

    It's a once in a lifetime experience and it was good to see Kurucs healthy enough to make an appearance. He's been a low-end asset in fantasy thanks to his lack of consistent production but is one to watch especially if you're in deep keeper or dynasty leagues as he's shown some flashes of upside when he's had the chance to shine.

  • Kyrie Irving - G - Boston Celtics

    Kyrie Irving (right knee strain) is "very, very close" to a return and the Celtics would not be opposed to him playing in Sunday's All-Star game.

    Irving made the trip to Charlotte with his personal trainer a the team's physical therapist. Although he's missed the last two games, the Celtics wouldn't mind him participating in Sunday's game and Danny Ainge things that an exhibition contest might actually function as a good workout. Brad Stevens speculated that Irving would've been able to play on Friday or Saturday had the Celtics had a regular game, so it sounds like he won't miss much more time.

    Source: Boston Herald

  • Emmanuel Mudiay - G - New York Knicks

    Emmanuel Mudiay (strained left shoulder) is unsure of how he'll fit into the rotation when he returns from his injury.

    Mudiay was locked in as the starting point guard but Dennis Smith Jr. has since joined the team. Beyond that, Mudiay is also an impending free agent whose cap hold will be renounced if the Knicks do deliver on their wildest dreams and land two max free agents. He's not going to be a priority for the rest of the season, and a timeshare seems like the best-case scenario here. Mudiay isn't worth holding onto outside of very deep leagues.

    Source: New York Post

  • Anthony Davis - F/C - New Orleans Pelicans

    The Pelicans have fired GM Dell Demps.

    Since this news broke it's come out that Demps had been on thin ice in New Orleans for a while now, so it's not as though the Anthony Davis trade discussions — which certainly play a role here — were the root cause. It's more likely that the failure to surround Davis with enough talent that he'd want to stay, at least up until the last season and a half or so, was the bulk of the problem. The Pelicans want a new GM to take the helm and make the call on a final Davis trade, which will change the course of the franchise for years to come.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Anthony Davis - F/C - New Orleans Pelicans

    Anthony Davis has been diagnosed with a muscle contusion in his left shoulder after undergoing an MRI.

    Davis' injury is reportedly "not too bad" but he didn't return to Thursday's game and the Pelicans might milk any chance they get to rest their star. His participation in Sunday's All-Star game is up in the air and he'll receive treatment over the next couple of days before determining if he can play. To add some fuel to the fire here, Davis reportedly left the building after he got hurt, which is likely to rub his teammates the wrong way considering they picked up a big win over a hot Thunder team. The saga will continue to unfold until the offseason.

    Source: Ramona Shelburne on Twitter

  • Jrue Holiday - G - New Orleans Pelicans

    Jrue Holiday led the Pelicans in their 131-122 win over the Thunder on Thursday with 32 points on 12-of-27 shooting with five rebounds, seven assists, two steals, three blocks and three 3-pointers.

    Holiday crushed the box score tonight and he's going to continue to do so as long as he's on the court. He's the best player on a Pelicans team that might shelve Anthony Davis (shoulder) so an early-round value with some top-15 upside is well within reason.

  • Kenrich Williams - G/F - New Orleans Pelicans

    Kenrich Williams scored nine points while corralling a team-high 12 rebounds to go with four assists, a steal, a block and a 3-pointer on Thursday.

    Williams went 4-for-7 from the floor and saw 34 minutes of action on Thursday and is also going to benefit from Anthony Davis (shoulder) missing time. His rebounding numbers are most of his value, but he also has the potential to give you a triple-one like tonight. It's baffling that he didn't get drafted as he has the talent to play in the NBA and is a standard-league player as of now.

  • Julius Randle - F - New Orleans Pelicans

    Julius Randle led the Pelicans in scoring on Thursday with 33 points on 11-of-21 shooting while adding 11 boards, six assists, a steal, a block and two 3-pointers.

    Randle's been playing well with Anthony Davis (shoulder) out of the lineup and it looks like that run might continue. Keep him out there as he's now an integral part of the Pelicans offense.