Friday’s eight-game slate lacks the elite daily fantasy sports star power, with just one player, DeMarcus Cousins, priced north of $10,000. Cousins has turned himself into one of the most bankable DFS commodities this season, alongside Stephen Curry and Russell Westbroook, but there is a host of palatable options at center on Friday. The preference here is to go for one of those, while acknowledging that fading Cousins isn’t ever really that fun, while spending up at point guard and small forward, two spots with plenty of depth in their top tiers for Friday, as well.
PG: John Wall ($9,700) @ PHI:Wall’s recent performance has left a bit to be desired, even though he mixed in a triple double against the Pelicans on Tuesday. He has played fewer minutes than usual over the last week, sitting in the mid-30s when he typically plays somewhere between 36 and 40 minutes per game. Assuming that’s a short-term anomaly, he should get right back on track against the 76ers. They’ve surrendered the seventh-most points per game to point guards this season. Washington and Philadelphia are also expected to play to a 214.5 over/under, suggesting a pace that should cater to Wall’s strengths.
SG: J.J. Redick ($4,900) @ SAC: You don’t need me to tell you DeMar DeRozan is the best play at shooting guard on Friday, even considering he costs $1,200 more than the next most expensive player at the position. You do, however, need to pair DeRozan with a value option, and that’s where Redick enters the discussion. The issue with picking the former Duke star is he has to do all his fantasy damage in the scoring department. The good news for Friday is that he has an ideal matchup to catch fire from behind the arc. The Kings have allowed the most three-point makes per game, as well as the most fantasy points per game to shooting guards. If you asked Redick to craft his ideal defense to oppose, it would look a lot like what Sacramento trots out every night.
SF: Paul George ($8,800) vs. CHA: George is on another heater, averaging 25.5 real points and 42.3 fantasy points per game over his last eight contests. George to LeBron James isn’t an apples-to-apples comparison (neither is Pacers to Cavaliers, for that matter) but we just saw the latter go for 23 points, seven rebounds and seven assists in a win over Charlotte earlier this week. That’s an effort George can replicate. Nic Batum is a solid on-ball defender, but he’s no Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. The latter would have made George’s life much tougher on Friday if he were healthy.
PF: Aaron Gordon ($6,200) @ NY: Gordon continues to impress in the starting lineup, scoring 19 points and pulling down eight rebounds in Orlando’s loss to Golden State on Thursday. The Arizona product did most of that work against reigning Defensive Player of the Year Draymond Green, once again flashing a ceiling that has to have Orlando very excited about his future. He has scored at least 30.3 fantasy points in his last seven games, averaging 10.6 points, 11.1 rebounds, 1.3 blocks and 33.8 fantasy points in that timeframe.
C: Marcin Gortat ($7,000) @ PHI: The double double machine had an off night in Chicago on Wednesday, scoring just eight points with eight rebounds in a Washington loss. He has built up plenty of equity for us to give him a pass for one bad game. The fact remains that he’s one of the most reliable double double threats in the $7,000-price range that you’re going to find at any position. It would be an absolute shock if he didn’t give his fantasy owners a double double against a Philadelphia defense that has surrendered the most fantasy points per game to centers this season. Not only is he one of the many options who make fading Cousins possible, he is the best of the group.