Draymond Green could emerge as the NBA fantasy favorite in a slate filled with elite talent.
The Friday night slate is loaded with star power, from Russell Westbrook, Stephen Curry and John Wall at point guard, to Kevin Durant and LeBron James on the wing, to Anthony Davis and Draymond Green in the frontcourt. You can likely fit two of these players in your lineups if you so desire, but the question is which two? The first player I'd grab is Green, who could play an increased role as a facilitator, even though Curry is expected to start. Second in the superstar power rankings is Westbrook, who should abuse the putrid Lakers’ defense, even if he only gets three quarters to do so. Let’s now fill out the lineup around those two.
PG: D’Angelo Russell ($5,000) vs. OKC: Westbrook won’t be the only point guard worth watching in Staples Center on Friday. Russell scored a career-high 27 points in the Lakers’ loss to the Kings on Thursday, giving anyone who picked him a robust 36.4 fantasy points. His usage has been borderline criminal this season, and there’s no doubt the Ohio State product needs to be getting more time. Perhaps that will happen for him after what he did Thursday.
SG: Victor Oladipo ($6,000) @ BKN: We’re betting that Elfrid Payton will be out again because of an ankle injury. The Magic are calling him questionable for now, but even if he returns Oladipo should stick in the starting lineup. In two games without Payton, Oladipo is averaging 19 points, six rebounds, four assists, 1.5 steals and 33.7 fantasy points. The Nets, meanwhile, allow the seventh-most fantasy points per game to shooting guards.
SF: Paul George ($8,800) @ NO: George’s 30-point streak ended at three, but there’s plenty of reason to believe he could start a new streak on Friday. The over/under on Pacers-Pelicans is 205, and while the Pelicans have done a great job limiting small forwards from a fantasy perspective, George is in that group that can go off against any opponent. With Durant and James in action Friday, George provides a pivot with a ceiling just as high as the top options at the position.
PF: Jon Leuer ($4,600) vs. MIA: We’re going cheap here after paying up for Draymond Green at the top spot. Leuer was back up into the mid-20s in minutes in Phoenix’s last game on Wednesday, scoring 14 points and pulling down three rebounds. In his last five games with at least 22 minutes, he has averaged 25.6 fantasy points. If he can hit that number, he’ll more than turn a profit at $4,500. The matchup with Miami is tough, but we need to find savings somewhere on this busy Friday night slate.
C: Zaza Pachulia ($6,700) @ MIL: Pachulia and the rest of the Mavericks’ starters—other than Chandler Parsons—got their last game off after going to double overtime with the Kings on Tuesday. In his last six games, Pachulia is averaging 33.6 fantasy points per game, and has had at least 31.9 fantasy points in all of those contests. The Bucks are tied for 26th in the NBA in overall rebounding rate and are dead last in defensive rebounding rate. Pachulia should easily keep his 31.9-plus point streak alive.