This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
Friday's nine-game slate provides three potential avenues to follow to get us to a winning total. The Sixers-Rockets game is front and center in my build consideration, with a respectable O/U of 232. Joel Embiid remains out, so running with Ben Simmons ($9,100), Jimmy Butler ($7,200) and Tobias Harris ($7,400) are all reasonable propositions. James Harden ($11,000) predictably tops the slate, and he'll inevitably find a spot in a few lineups. But with Kenneth Faried (hip) still out, I think Clint Capela ($6,700) is an excellent play in Embiid's absence. One note about past histories in this game – ignore them. Due to injuries and trade deadline additions, the data isn't at all reliable and even further skewed without Embiid.
A second avenue is what should be an interesting situation in LA with OKC facing the Clippers. I may have miscounted, but I believe Russell Westbrook committed his 16th technical foul of the season, and that should mean he's going to serve a one-game suspension. We've heard nothing about a suspension yet, so the league may move slowly on this rule. But when it is handed down, Dennis Schroder ($5,600) will end up as a great value play. I can't promise it will happen tonight, but don't be surprised to hear this news sooner rather than later. Paul George ($9,700) played 43 minutes last night and of course erupted for a big score, and PG13 deserves serious consideration on a nightly basis.
The third avenue is to hit the Warriors-Nuggets game hard. I like Klay Thompson's ($6,100) return as the Nuggets have trouble defending that position, but loading up on a Durant/Curry stack is another potential core for your lineups. I like values like Will Barton ($5,900) and the return of Gary Harris at an ultra-cheap $4,000 for the Nuggets, along with their usual stable of starters. With a 233 O/U, this game will have a lot of pop.
Here are a few injury situations to look at. All ongoing injury spots won't be mentioned.
Jrue Holiday (abdomen) OUT: Holiday will be out for a week or more, so we may see some G-League movement at guard. But for now, Frank Jackson ($3,200) should draw the start. I'd throw some of Holiday's output to Elfrid Payton ($5,000) as well.
Ricky Rubio (hip) DOUBTFUL: Rubio's absence doesn't rock the boat, while I think a lot of people might flock to Royce O'Neale ($3,300). It would maybe be a must-drop on the other site, but I'm not touching it. For a flier, Kyle Korver ($3,700) is a better candidate to hit 6x value.
So, I pretty much gave you my thoughts about the entire slate in the first few paragraphs, but ultimately a GPP won't win with these spots exclusively. Let's look position-by-position, where I'll omit anyone mentioned above and recommend an elite target, a mid-range player and a low-cost value play at each spot.
Bradley Beal, WAS at CHA ($9,500): Unless you've been living under a rock, you know how reliable Beal is. His four-game average is solidly in the 50s, and his two-game average is also sitting in the 50 DKFP range. It's a total cheat on my part, but Kemba Walker ($8,100) has enjoyed equal success against the Wizards, with a two-game average of 58 DKFP. At least one of my lineups will use a Beal/Walker core.
Justise Winslow, CLE at MIA ($6,200): Winslow seems to like playing the Cavs, as his three-game average against Cleveland is 40.5 DKFP. His potential ceiling against the Cavs is the core reason for this endorsement. His floor should still give your roster 30 DKFP or so.
Ish Smith, DET at CHI ($3,600): Smith's recent production has been steady and comes at a low price on DraftKIngs tonight. There's a high probability for a 7k-value night for the guard competing with Reggie Jackson, but Smith usually shows up bigger in games where Detroit takes control. If Detroit gets things going early, look for Smith to start racking up points.
Kevin Love, CLE at MIA ($7,800): It's always prudent to look at guys like Kawhi and Doncic and ask yourself: "Where can I get this output for less money?". Love has the potential to deliver that when you consider his recent totals. He's been a bit under the radar with a 43.8 DKFP average over his past four games, which included a 55 DKFP explosion against the Nets. This is Cleveland we're talking about, so there's always a modicum of risk with a weak team, but that should also give Love low ownership totals.
Bobby Portis, WAS at CHA ($5,900): I'm leaning a bit more on the power forwards in this section, but it isn't on purpose; it's just where the value is. This should be a competitive game, but the Wizards have the edge in the frontcourt. Portis should be able to handle whatever the Hornets throw his way, whether it's Zeller, Biyombo or Kaminsky. His addition to the roster is a double-edged sword, as his excellent play has certainly upped Washington's value and has put them at risk of missing out on the Zion Williamson lottery. Oh, well! Maybe John Wall will come back before 2021.
Serge Ibaka, TOR at NO ($5,400): Ibaka's a good play here, even if the Pelicans elect to give Davis more time. He aptly handled the Raptors with a 42 DKFP score in their last matchup, and the big man still has the edge over newcomer Marc Gasol in terms of playing time. From a DFS perspective, Ibaka's ownership always falls short of Pascal Siakam's. And while I think he's also a reasonable play, I'm going with Serge in this game.
The matchups at center are a little troubling, and I'm finding reasons to fade almost every big man I analyze. Even though I'll reiterate considering my initial paragraphs at the end, I need to give extra consideration to Capela here. But after him, it's hard to ignore...
Andre Drummond DET at CHI ($8,800): This is a plum matchup opposite Robin Lopez and a frontcourt that may not have any answers for Drummond's imposing presence under the basket. He's a lock for double-digit rebound total, so all he needs is a good shooting night and a few blocked shots to earn his keep.
Steven Adams, OKC at LAC ($6,200): Adams should be able to handle Ivica Zubac despite logging 38 minutes last night. If a Westbrook suspension comes today, I'm definitely going Adams' way as he always enjoys a bump when Westbrook and/or George is out.
Joakim Noah, MEM vs. UTA ($4,600): He's a bit of a risky play, but Jonas Valanciunas has a mediocre history against Rudy Gobert. This could open up some extra opportunity for Noah. If Valanciunas falters, Noah would have an easy time meeting value at this price.
Again, I'll suggest you refer to the beginning of the article when considering your build – your core should begin there.