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Damian Lillard
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Rotogrinders Exclusive

NBA DFS Plays: Friday

by David “headChopper” Kaplen

NBA Friday is back with a big slate of games tonight. Always keep an eye on the news with the Rotogrinders App to make sure you are setting the best roster you can. Let's dig in deeper now and find some top plays at each position on FanDuel and DraftKings tonight.                             

Point Guard       


Damian Lillard (vs. Denver)         

I’m betting on Damian Lillard tonight because he fits the criteria of a player that I love to roster on nights like this. He’s at home, in a competitive game against a conference rival that has a Vegas spread of only 2.5 and a 214 total on the game. We have a game that should remain highly contested all the way through the fourth quarter and a player that has the ball in his hands more than any other Portland player. Lillard has a 30.7 usage rate this season and fills the sheets in all the categories, including 27.1 points per game, 5.3 rebounds per game, six assists a game, and even kicking in 1.2 stocks (steals+blocks) in 2018. There’s plenty of options at this position on the slate, but very few are as safe as Lillard, and he always offers massive upside if he gets hot.


Others to Consider: Jamal Murray, Trae Young


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Shooting Guard               


Bradley Beal (vs. Philadelphia) 

Bradley Beal has been a solid fantasy performer for a couple years now, with this season being no different. He averages right around 1.05 to 1.1 fantasy points per minute, depending on which site you’re looking at. The big factor in selecting him tonight is the recent trend in minutes. Washington is hanging on by a thread to salvage any part of this season, and in doing so, they are playing their premier players as much as they can possibly handle. Over the last five games Beal is averaging slightly over 40 minutes per game. That’s a staggering number and he’s turned that into an average of nearly 43 Fanduel points per game. Philadelphia gives up the seventh most points per game this year (113.1) and this game has a whopping 235 total on it. With Washington projected to score nearly 114 points tonight, one would only imagine that a good portion of those points are going to come from one of the two players on this team that is relied on heavily for offense.             


Others to Consider: Devin Booker, Donovan Mitchell



Small Forward 


Josh Richardson (vs. New Orleans)         

Miami, a typically defensive-minded team that ranks middle of the pack in opponent points per game and near the bottom of the pack in their own points per game, has a Las Vegas team total of 113 tonight. That’s the fifth-highest on the slate, and it’s all due to the fast pace of New Orleans and their lack of defense. So, this is a classic example of an opportunity we can take advantage of. Players from Miami usually don’t get this type of game flow every night. The first guy I’m looking at is Josh Richardson, who owns a 24.1% usage rate for this team and racks up nearly 1 fantasy point per minute across all sites. He gets a bump in both of those rates when Goran Dragic is out, which he is tonight. Richardson is one of the more underrated fantasy assets in the game, as he averages nearly 35 minutes a game this year to go along with his ability to stuff the stat sheet in all categories. It’s a fantastic opportunity to take advantage of this matchup.                        


Others to Consider: Jabari Parker, T.J. Warren


Power Forward


John Collins (vs. Oklahoma City)               

John Collins is back with Atlanta after missing the first portion of the season due to injury. They warmed him up the first couple of games coming off the bench and then plugged him in the starting lineup five games ago. Since that point he has seen his minutes slowly rise, finally culminating with 31 minutes played last game out again Charlotte. That’s an intriguing number because through his first two seasons in the NBA, Collins has steadily shown the ability to rack up over a fantasy point per minute when he’s on the floor. He can fill out a stat sheet in a lot of categories including blocks and rebounds, and with Atlanta in rebuild mode, his usage rate has increased from 18% last season up to 21.8% this year. He’s a mid-range option that is fairly safe in this category, assuming he can stay out of foul trouble.               


Others to Consider: Blake Griffin, Jayson Tatum




Nikola Jokic (vs. Portland)           

Nikola Jokic has “struggled” recently by his standards. He hasn’t exceeded 41 DraftKings points per game in five games. However, he also hasn’t dipped below 35 DraftKings points, outside of 1 outlier. It’s led to a reduced-price tag on an exceptional player. He is now only the seventh-highest priced center on both DraftKings and Fanduel tonight. Looking at this list of guys ahead of him in salary, only Andre Drummond and Joel Embiid are players at this position that I think exceed Jokic on a nightly basis in terms of fantasy. So, with Denver in one of the more competitive game environments on the night (2.5-point favorite at Portland), I think this makes for a solid play in cash games because of the floor and price tag, but also a great tournament play due to the fact that Jokic could very easily exceed 7X his salary on both sites if things break his way.                


Others to Consider: Nikola Vucevic, Clint Capela

David “headChopper” Kaplen
David “headChopper” Kaplen is one of the godfathers of Daily Fantasy, having been near the top of the rankings since DFS emerged in 2010. Nearing double-digit live final qualifiers, David’s crowning achievement is winning the 2013 FanDuel Basketball Champion in Las Vegas. HeadChopper can be found on twitter @headChopper.