Welcome to the Friday edition of NBA Top Plays! We have 11 games to get into tonight, including an exciting matchup between LeBron James and Blake Griffin on top of a DFS-friendly rematch between the Suns and Lakers late night, so it should be a fun slate on FanDuel and DraftKings.
With 22 teams on the schedule, injury news is surely going to impact some of what is written below, so make sure to keep up with the RotoGrinders DFS Alerts app – we’ll push all relevant injury news right to your phone. I also manage the Court Report on RotoGrinders in the last two hours leading up to lock, so you can get my updated thoughts there as well.
Point Guard – Kyle Lowry ($8,000 on FanDuel, $7,700 on DraftKings)
Lowry struggled some, especially in terms of scoring, to begin the year, but he’s turned a corner over his last two games which coincides with Norman Powell’s absence. That may not be a coincidence and Powell is expected to sit again tonight, so while most of those minutes are heading to OG Anunoby and C.J. Miles, Lowry should see a small uptick in his fantasy points per minute and a matchup with the Knicks provides a great opportunity to stay hot. Lowry is also averaging 0.6 steals per game, a figure I also expect to rise and it could very well begin tonight with Frank Ntilikina eating up about half the PG minutes. The Knicks are the 3rd-best matchup for opposing PGs on the year and Lowry still isn’t priced up enough to keep him from being a strong cash game play. He’s double-doubled in his last two games and has been knocking at the door of a triple-double.
Shooting Guard – Donovan Mitchell ($6,400 on FanDuel, $6,500 on DraftKings)
Ricky Rubio isn’t going to play tonight which opens up opportunity for several of the Jazz players, but Mitchell could very well be the biggest beneficiary and he’s already very much involved in the offense as it is. Mitchell’s usage rate rises 5.6% with Rubio off the floor this year and he’s averaging a very healthy 1.15 FPPM in that split, which gives him a truly elite ceiling at this price tag. He’s going to be popular, as are several other members of the Jazz, but Mitchell is an easy cash game play and I’ll try to differentiate elsewhere in tournaments. Rodney Hood could be a nice pivot off Mitchell if you still want to give yourself exposure to the Jazz at a lower ownership.
Small Forward – LeBron James ($11,400 on FanDuel, $11,200 on DraftKings)
Here’s your high-end play of the day that I’ll be locking into lineups across all formats. LeBron has simply shown too high of a floor and ceiling to make a matchup with the Clippers look unappealing and with strong value at C and SG, paying up for the King at the SF spot is wise. The Cavaliers implied team total is the 2nd-highest on this slate and given how poorly Cleveland has played defense this year, LeBron is always a viable game-stack partner and tonight that’ll hold true with Blake Griffin, Lou Williams and/or DeAndre Jordan. He’s simply doing it all as the de-facto point guard with Rose out and that isn’t going to stop tonight.
Power Forward – Blake Griffin ($8,600 on FanDuel, $8,800 on DraftKings)
Griffin doesn’t carry the same appeal as guys like Anthony Davis and Kristaps Porzingis every night, but on this particular slate he’s more appealing than both when considering price. He’s under $9K on both major sites and he’s not all that tough to pair with LeBron sitting at that salary, especially considering the wealth of value available on an 11-game slate. Blake carries a 27.5% usage rate into tonight and I’ve already briefly touched on the Cavs defensive lapses, but it’s worth noting they rank dead last in defensive efficiency and have been a dream matchup for DFS purposes all season long. If you’re trying to pay down some, Derrick Favors and Kyle Kuzma both offer plenty of mid-range appeal in plus spots with poor defensive teams.
Center – Andre Drummond ($9,100 on FanDuel, $8,900 on DraftKings)
I’ll preface this one by saying that as long as it doesn’t appear that Greg Monroe is going to be on some sort of strict minutes limit, he’s the top dollar per point option at center with Tyson Chandler still out with an illness. Monroe surprisingly drew the start last night and dropped a double-double in just over 20 minutes of court time, and now draws a matchup with Brook Lopez against a fast-paced Lakers squad. If you want to pivot in GPPs or don’t trust Monroe to duplicate, give Drummond a look. Indiana has allowed the 2nd-most FPPG to opposing centers and have been getting beat up on the glass on top of allowing 3.3 block per game to the position, so the ceiling is big here. Drummond has an outside shot at hitting the 20/20 mark for the first time this year.