This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
After a quiet two-game Thursday, we're set for a typically massive 11-game Friday night ledger that features a multitude of intriguing matchups. The spreads mostly project for a competitive night, and while totals are slightly tilted toward lower-scoring games, there are still five above 220. There are also some big names on the injury report, though several have a chance to suit up.
Detroit Pistons at Orlando Magic (-2) (O/U: 212.5 points)
Boston Celtics at Atlanta Hawks (-1.5) (O/U: 218.5 points)
Los Angeles Lakers at Charlotte Hornets (-7) (O/U: 228.5 points)
Denver Nuggets (-5.5) at New Orleans Pelicans (O/U: 215.0 points)
Indiana Pacers at Oklahoma City Thunder (-1) (O/U: 216.5 points)
Utah Jazz at Memphis Grizzlies (-3.5) (O/U: 224.0 points)
Portland Trail Blazers (-2.5) at Houston Rockets (O/U: 233.0 points)
Los Angeles Clippers at Miami Heat (-6) (O/U: 210.5 points)
Chicago Bulls (-1.5) at San Antonio Spurs (O/U: 228.5 points)
Minnesota Timberwolves at Phoenix Suns (-9.5) (O/U: 231.5 points)
New York Knicks at Milwaukee Bucks (-9) (O/U: 216.5 points)
As mentioned, tonight's slate could produce an appealing collective DFS environment, as there are a number of matchups between teams close in the standings and in talent. The four with projected totals over 220 points all seem to have the potential to meet and exceed expectations, although the Timberwolves could have a hard time living up to their end of the bargain coming off a tough loss to the Warriors and facing a defensively stingy home squad in the Suns.
Injury Situations to Monitor
NOTE: Injury reporting is especially fluid in the NBA, where the status of multiple players can change during the course of a day. Therefore, although the following is a foundation for the latest injury report as of the time the article is written, check back throughout the course of the day with RotoWire for the latest news regarding the status of all players on that night's slate, including those carrying injury designations that aren't listed in this section.
LeBron James, LAL (knee): GTD
James missed Thursday's contest against the 76ers and could well sit out again due to lingering soreness. Malik Monk and Talen Horton-Tucker could be the primary beneficiaries in terms of extra playing time if James misses out again while Anthony Davis would be in line for a major boost in usage.
Rudy Gobert, UTA (calf): OUT
With Gobert out, Hassan Whiteside should be in line for another start.
Domantas Sabonis, IND (ankle): QUESTIONABLE
If Sabonis sits outs another contest, Torrey Craig could be in line for a start at power forward.
Jimmy Butler, MIA (toe): QUESTIONABLE
Donovan Mitchell, UTA (concussion): QUESTIONABLE
Brandon Ingram, NOP (ankle): QUESTIONABLE
If Ingram is forced to miss the contest, Garrett Temple will likely draw another start and the usage of the remainder of the starting five should also see an appreciable bump.
D'Angelo Russell, MIN (leg): GTD
If Russell were to sit out with the shin contusion he suffered on Thursday, Malik Beasley could draw a start at shooting guard.
Other notable injuries:
Kyle Lowry, MIA (personal): OUT
Lonzo Ball, CHI (knee): OUT
Damian Lillard, POR (abdominal): OUT
Jerami Grant, DET (conditioning): QUESTIONABLE
Deandre Ayton, PHO (ankle): OUT
Josh Hart, NOP (ankle): QUESTIONABLE
Gordon Hayward, CHA (COVID-19 protocols): OUT
Kelly Oubre, CHA (ankle): QUESTIONABLE
Malcolm Brogdon, IND (Achilles): OUT
Myles Turner, IND (foot): OUT
Patrick Beverley, MIN (ankle): GTD
Nassir Little, POR (shoulder): OUT
Larry Nance, POR (knee): OUT
We have five players with five-figure salaries on Friday's slate – Nikola Jokic ($11,300), Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,000), LeBron James ($10,700), Ja Morant ($10,400), and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ($10,200).
Jokic hasn't scored fewer than 50 FD points in just over two weeks and faces a Pelicans squad he scored 65.7 against in one prior meeting this season.
Giannis "only" posted 37.3 FD in his most recent game against the Cavs, but that still came over only 29 minutes. Prior to that, he'd produced over 50 FD in five of seven and he's facing a Knicks team he's already managed over 50 against twice this season.
As mentioned earlier, James' status will have to be closely monitored, as there's at least a 50/50 chance he misses a second straight outing due to knee soreness. If he does go, he gets a very favorable matchup against a Hornets squad that's extremely fast-paced and particularly vulnerable in the frontcourt.
Morant has recorded 54.2 to 64 FD in four straight, pushing his season average to 44.9 FD points per contest. He's also facing a short-handed Jazz team that will be missing Rudy Gobert.
Gilgeous-Alexander has scored 57.8 and 58.6 FD in his last two, leading to the salary increase. However, he's facing a short-handed Pacers squad that just gave up 158 points to the Hornets earlier in the week and ranked in the bottom-10 in offensive efficiency allowed to point guards.
In addition to the players just mentioned, other likely chalk plays include:
Dejounte Murray, SAN ($9,900)
Murray has seen his salary drop from earlier in the week, but he's still posting over 45 FD points with regularity and is facing a Bulls team that's less intimidating defensively in the backcourt without Lonzo Ball.
Jayson Tatum, BOS ($9,700)
Tatum and his teammates have put together some lopsided victories in the last two games and he's scored 72.5 and 50.8 FD in those contests.
Devin Booker, PHO ($9,400)
Booker has produced 54.9 and 63.4 FD in his last two and draws a good matchup against a Timberwolves team on the second game of a back-to-back and which is much more defensively vulnerable on the road.
Karl-Anthony Towns, MIN ($9,300)
KAT scored 58.4 FD Thursday against the Warriors and has put up at least 43.4 in 11 of the last 12 games overall.
Anthony Davis, LAL ($8,900)
Davis registered 61.9 FD over 33 minutes against the 76ers on Thursday without LeBron James available and could be set to take the floor without him again Friday night in a highly favorable matchup against the Hornets.
Kevin Porter, HOU vs. POR ($6,200) (Update: Porter is now questionable due to an illness, and if he's ruled out, I suggest pivoting to one of the suggestions in the "Also Consider" section below)
Porter is averaging 30.3 FD per contest over the last 10 games, a stretch during which he's shooting an impressive 38.2 percent from three-point range. The young guard scored 30.5 FD points over 29 minutes against the Blazers in his one prior meeting with Portland this season, and this rematch has one of the highest projected scoring totals of the night. The Blazers also rank just outside the bottom 10 in offensive efficiency allowed to point guards (25.7 percent) and are allowing 46.8 FD points per game to ones, along with the fifth-most assists per contest to the position (8.9).
Goga Bitadze, IND at OKC ($5,400)
Bitadze has been solid during his starting stint in place of Myles Turner (foot), scoring over 30 FD points in two of the four games and posting 19.5 and 24.2 FD points in the other pair of contests despite foul trouble in each limiting him to 22 and 19 minutes, respectively. The big man could be more successful avoiding the ref's whistle Friday, as OKC averages the fewest free throws per home game in the league (17.7) and draws the least personal fouls in the NBA in that split as well (16.5). The Thunder has also allowed the seventh-highest offensive efficiency to centers (32.7 percent) and yielded the fourth-most FD points per game to the position (56.8), furthering Bitadze's case.
Malik Monk, LAL at CHA ($4,900) (Update: Monk has been ruled out with a groin injury, so I suggest pivoting to one of the suggestions in the "Also Consider" section below)
As mentioned earlier, Monk could be in for an elevated workload again Friday if LeBron James sits out, and it would come against his former squad, which has proven defensively vulnerable at times this season. Monk checks in having scored 34.0 and 26.3 FD points the last two games, and the Hornets come in allowing the seventh-highest offensive efficiency to shooting guards (22.3 percent) and eighth highest to second-unit players (42.8 percent). Charlotte also plays at a pace that's essentially as fast as that of the Lakers, ensuring there should be plenty of possessions for Monk to work with if he sees another minutes load in the high 20s/low 30s as he has the last pair of games.