This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
Friday's NBA featured slate begins at 7:00 PM Eastern time and includes 10 games. None of the teams played Thursday, so they'll all come in fresh. With five of the league's six worst defensive teams (New Orleans, Atlanta, Memphis, San Antonio, Minnesota) in action, there are plenty of favorable matchups to take advantage of Thursday.
Games to Target
Rockets (-5) at Timberwolves O/U: 233.5
Both of these defenses rank among the league's ten worst, and each team possesses stars with tremendous upside in what's projected to be the night's highest-scoring affair. The Rockets are especially appealing given they rank second in the league offensively with 118.4 points per game.
Nuggets (-3) at Pelicans O/U: 230
The Nuggets will be looking to capitalize on facing a New Orleans team that sits 29th defensively with 117.7 points per game, and injuries should lead to a shortened rotation for a Denver team that normally likes to spread the wealth. Meanwhile, the Pelicans' sixth-ranked offense at 114.5 points per game has added another weapon recently, with Zion Williamson's set to make his second NBA appearance.
Games to Fade
Magic (-1) vs. Celtics O/U: 212
Scoring will be hard to come by in this one, as Orlando allows the fewest points in the league at 104.3 per game and Boston gives up the third-fewest at 105.4.
Pacers (-6) at Warriors O/U: 215.5
Indiana's another stingy defensive team, holding opponents to the seventh-fewest points per game at 106.1. Both the Pacers (109.1) and Warriors (105.4) rank in the bottom-10 in points per game offensively, so the scoring in this game should be limited.
Scarcity isn't much of an issue in this large slate, but the small forward position is noticeably lacking in top-end talent compared to the others. While every other position is set to have at least seven healthy options priced at $7,500 or more, small forward could have as few as three such players.
Injury Situations to Monitor
Andre Drummond missed Wednesday's game due to a cut on his lip, but Detroit's center is listed as probable against the Grizzlies.
Trae Young missed Wednesday's game due to a thigh contusion and is questionable after participating in some portions of Thursday's practice.
Jimmy Butler returned Wednesday after sitting out Monday with right hip soreness, and now he's dealing with right knee soreness perhaps due to overcompensation in his movement due to the hip. The knee soreness has him listed as questionable against the Clippers.
Jayson Tatum didn't return after straining his groin in the third quarter of Wednesday's game, and that injury has him questionable to play in Orlando.
Malcolm Brogdon's tough luck with injuries continues, as a concussion suffered after taking an elbow to the head in Wednesday's game will keep him out Friday and likely beyond that for the Pacers.
James Harden ($11,100) only costs $700 more than Russell Westbrook ($10,400) as the Rockets get set to face Minnesota's 25th-ranked defense at 114.6 points allowed per game. Westbrook has been far more effective recently, averaging 67.5 fantasy points over the past four games to Harden's 46.3 during that same stretch.
Nikola Jokic ($9,700) is a nightly triple-double threat with averages of 19.4 PPG, 10.0 RPG and 6.4 APG, and Denver's center should thrive as the focal point of the offense with Jamal Murray (ankle) unavailable against New Orleans' generous defense. He's had no problem handling increased responsibilities recently, topping 50.0 fantasy points in six of his last nine games.
If Trae Young ($9,400) is able to play through his thigh injury, he'll be an appealing GPP option against a Thunder side allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to point guards. He brings massive upside to the table thanks to exquisite shooting ability and court vision while scoring at least 62.5 fantasy points in half of his last 12 games played - reaching as high as 80.3 over this timeframe.
Dewayne Dedmon ($4,600) has spent much of the season unhappy with his role in Sacramento, but he's getting the chance to shine as the Kings' starting center with both Bagley and Holmes sidelined. After producing a 13-point, 10-rebound double-double Wednesday in Detroit, Dedmon gets a golden opportunity for an even stronger performance against a Bulls' team allowing more fantasy points to centers than any other team.
DeMar DeRozan ($7,900) had a streak of seven games with at least 44 fantasy points snapped Wednesday in New Orleans, when he managed just 29.3. Expect a bounce-back effort from the Spurs' leading scorer at home against a Suns' squad ranking in the bottom-10 defensively with 114.1 points allowed per game.
Jerami Grant ($6,000) has benefited from increased playing time and responsibilities as Denver continues to battle a bevy of injuries. In addition to Murray, Paul Millsap (knee) and Mason Plumlee (foot) remain out, while Michael Porter Jr. (back) and Gary Harris (groin) are questionable. Grant has stepped up in the last two games while his teammates recover, averaging 18.0 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 1.5 APG, one block per game and two steals per game. He should continue to produce against the league's second-worst defense.
Zion Williamson ($6,400) only played 18 minutes in his NBA debut Wednesday against the Spurs, but the rookie first overall pick still managed to take over the game in the fourth quarter en route to 22 points, seven rebounds and three assists. With coach Alvin Gentry likely to ratchet up Williamson's workload a bit here, this could be a buy-low opportunity before Zion's price starts to skyrocket.
Shabazz Napier ($5,300) and Jarrett Culver ($4,700) have split Minnesota's point guard duties in the four games since Jeff Teague was traded to Atlanta, and Napier has served as the better fantasy play in three of them. Napier's averaging 9.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG and 7.0 APG since the deal, and his superior passing ability makes the former UConn standout the preferred option over the explosive rookie sixth overall pick heading into a fast-paced matchup with Houston that should offer plenty of opportunities to rack up points and assists.
Pascal Siakam ($7,700) is returning to pre-injury form, making him an intriguing option at just $7,700 - even in a game against the Knicks with an over/under of 217 that's on the lower side. His fantasy point total has climbed in each of the last four games, and Toronto's best player looked like his old self with 44.3 fantasy points in 34 minutes against the 76ers on Wednesday.
Danilo Gallinari ($6,800) should keep rolling against the league's third-worst defensive team. He's hot heading into this home matchup against a Hawks' team allowing 117.0 points per game, averaging 23.4 PPG and 6.6 RPG over the past seven games.
If Drummond unexpectedly sits, Memphis's Jonas Valanciunas ($7,200) would have free rein inside against a depleted Detroit frontcourt. The Lithuanian center has been a dominant interior force over the past five games, averaging 17.6 PPG and 13.4 RPG.
Eric Gordon ($4,600) doesn't do much except score, but just that skill should be enough for him to provide nice bang for the buck against Minnesota's leaky defense. He's poured in 20 or more points in three of his last five games and at least 17 points in five of the past seven.