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NBA Matchup Plays: Friday

by Scott Malewig
Updated On: December 3, 2018, 6:02 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.


DAL @ DEN over/under 211, Mavericks -2

With the close spread on this game and the talk of Dallas starting to rest some of it’s players, I’d be very careful rostering the Mavericks starters tonight. Dirk Nowitzki and Rajon Rondo seem like the prime candidates for rest, with Monta Ellis and Tyson Chandler both dealing with injuries as well. The best move here, with Chandler Parsons already out, is to target Al-Farouq Aminu, as he’d step into an even larger role if any of the other guys was out. JJ Barea makes for a similar, but riskier play.

MIN @ LAL over/under 202, Lakers -5.5

This game is a little lower scoring of a line than I would have expected, but with Kevin Martin sick, it’s changed things a bit. It sounds like he’s probable to play, so that puts us in a tough situation as he was probably the top shooting guard of the night prior to that news. There should be plenty of value here either way as both of these teams have been getting inconsistent performances from their players.



Enes Kanter -- C OKC

Kanter finally slipped up on the double-double front in his last game, due to the blowout by San Antonio. I expect him to get right back on the horse tonight in a dream matchup with the Cousins-less Kings frontcourt. Kanter’s defense is really his only issue and it’s not going to be one fantasy-wise. He should dominate Jason Thompson, Ryan Hollins and whoever else the Kings throw at him both on the offensive end and on the glass.

Kawhi Leonard -- SF SAS

He’s in here again. With the Spurs one of the few teams still playing aggressively for seeding, it’s hard not to like Leonard in this game. He played a solid 33 minutes in this same matchup a couple days ago and hit what I felt like his floor in terms of fantasy production in those minutes at this point. The matchup will be fast-paced with the Rockets playing up in tempo, even from the Spurs.


Kenneth Faried -- PF DEN

Faried’s minutes have been annoyingly up and down over the past couple weeks again as the Nuggets inch closer to the end of a lost season, but he’s been playing some pretty inspired basketball. Faried has double-doubled in four of his last five games, including a monster 29 point, 11 rebound game last time out against the Lakers, in just 29 minutes. Whether it’s Dirk Nowitzki or a fill-in at power forward for the Mavericks tonight, Faried should have a nice athletic advantage in his time there, while his energy should give the aging Tyson Chandler some trouble at center.


Jordan Clarkson  -- PG LAL

Clarkson has been rock solid of late and provides a ton of upside, especially with Jeremy Lin ruled out for tonight. Clarkson will play all the minutes he can handle at point guard and probably see a huge shot volume once again. We’ve seen him exceed 20 shot attempts many a times this season and I expect tonight to be another one of those situations in a great matchup with Zach LaVine, who remains very raw defensively.

Kevin Martin -- SG MIN

Martin is the big chess piece on this slate for me. Prior to his illness report, he was far and away my top play at shooting guard. He’s listed as probable, but with that report out there, he’s going to be much lower owned than originally expected, especially with Jabari Brown starting for near minimum again tonight at the same position. I still think he has massive upside, but there’s a lot more downside than there previously was.


Also Consider

Ramon Sessions -- PG WAS

As well as Deron Williams has been playing lately, he’s still far from a lockdown defender at this point in his career. Sessions has pretty fresh legs and looked good against the Sixers. His price has jumped, but the Wizards aren’t just going to roll over without John Wall as their playoff seed is at least up in the air a bit still. Sessions may not possess massive upside, but in a competitive game, he has a nice floor and some profit potential.

Justin Hamilton -- C MIN

Hamilton is playing around 30 minutes a game for the depleted Wolves right now as they really only have two true frontcourt options in he and the foul prone Adrien Payne. His matchup with the Lakers is one that is really hard to pass up if you’re looking for a value center option, because the matchup isn’t quite as good tonight for guys like Brandan Wright and Bismack Biyombo despite their similar prices and slightly heavier minutes.



James Harden -- SG HOU

As much as I like Harden, I simply can’t see paying his salary tonight with both Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis on the board. Shooting guard isn’t deep, but there’s enough value to pass on this play with ease against two premier wing defenders in Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green. Harden is always capable of a huge game, but that’s almost what you need at this price with the other options out there to spend on this evening.

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.