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  • DFS players must decide between Karl-Anthony Towns, LeBron James and Russell Westbrook as their DFS lineup centerpiece on Friday.
By Mike Barner
March 30, 2018

Get ready for a busy Friday night in the NBA, with nine games on the schedule. Playoff positioning will be on the line in several contests, highlighted by matchups pitting the Pelicans against the Cavaliers and the Trail Blazers against the Clippers. Let’s try to add even more excitement to the evening by building some winning DFS lineups. Consider using some of the players below who have favorable matchups and plugging them into our NBA Lineup Optimizer to hopefully end the week on a high note.

Point Guard

Russell Westbrook, vs. Nuggets (FD: $11,400, DK: $11,300)
Projected Points: FD: 57.4, DK: 60.28

Westbrook struggled offensively Thursday against the Spurs, which isn’t all that surprising considering they are the only team in the league allowing fewer than 100 points per game. He was only 7-for-19 from the field and 5-for-8 from the charity stripe, but salvaged his line with 11 rebounds, five assists, three steals and one block. His ability to contribute across the board continues to give him a high floor in DFS. Friday brings a much easier opponent in the Nuggets, a team against which he has averaged 23.7 points, 8.3 rebounds and 10.7 assists in three previous meeting this season.

Isaiah Taylor, vs. Sixers (FD: $4,800, DK: $4,800)
Projected Points: FD: 26.26, DK: 26.24

The Hawks will likely be missing their starting point guard Friday with Dennis Schroder (ankle) listed as doubtful. This would be the third straight game that Schroder has missed, the first two of which saw Taylor slide into the starting lineup. He certainly didn’t disappoint, averaging 23 points, 5.5 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.5 three-pointers in those two contests. At this cheap price, it’s hard to take a pass on his upside.

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Shooting Guard

Khris Middleton, at Lakers (FD: $7,500, DK: $7,900)
Projected Points: FD: 35.73, DK: 36.61

Middleton has been a steady source of offense for the Bucks, scoring at least 22 points in eight of his last 10 games. Not only does he have a career-high 24.5% usage rate this season, but he’s shooting 47% from the field. He’ll get a great chance to provide plenty of offense again Friday with the Lakers playing at the fastest pace (102.9 possessions per game) and allowing the sixth-most points per game (109.8) in the league. Don’t overlook Middleton’s defensive contributions, either, as he has at least two steals in five of his last six games.

Eric Gordon, vs. Suns (FD: $5,800, DK: $ $7,800)
Projected Points: FD: 27.86, DK: 29.51

Gordon is heating up again, averaging 22.4 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 4.4 three-pointers in his last five games. Four of those were starts, a role Gordon has thrived in this season. Chris Paul (hip) is listed as questionable Friday, and it doesn’t make much sense to push him to play against the terrible Suns. Gordon would likely stay in the starting lineup if Paul sits, giving him a great matchup against a Suns team that plays at the second-fastest pace (102.8) and allows the most points per game (113.7) in the league.

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Small Forward

LeBron James, vs. Pelicans (FD: $12,300, DK: $11,800)
Projected Points: FD: 62.62, DK: 64.89

In a rarity this late in the season, the Cavaliers are actually still battling just to get home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Injuries continue to take a toll on the team, the latest of which was Kevin Love’s concussion. Love’s status for Friday’s game is still in doubt, and if he can’t play James will have to shoulder even more of the offensive load. He has a lot of factors working in his favor Friday with the Pelicans playing at the third-fastest pace (102.6) and allowing the second-most points per game (111) in the league. James also has the fifth-highest usage rate (31.5%) in the league, giving him tremendous upside once again.

Josh Jackson, at Rockets (FD: $7,600, DK: $7,400)
Projected Points: FD: 34.51, DK: 34.76

The Suns don’t have much talent to begin with, but could also be without Devin Booker (hand), T.J. Warren (knee) and Elfrid Payton (knee) on Friday. Jackson has taken on an increased role in the offense, posting a 26.7% usage rate in March. The Suns play at a fast pace and are going to need all the scoring they can get from Jackson to just keep this game remotely close, so expect him to get plenty of opportunities to provide value.

Power Forward

Dario Saric, at Hawks (FD: $6,600, DK: $6,800)
Projected Points: FD: 32.52, DK: 34.04

The Sixers suffered a big blow Thursday with the news that Joel Embiid (face/head) will be out for as long as four weeks. In the last nine games the team played without him, Saric averaged 18 points, 9.1 rebounds and two three-pointers per contest. The Hawks struggle to defend opposing power forwards, as well, allowing the fifth-most FanDuel points and the fourth-most DraftKings points per game to the position. With an expanded role likely on tap, don’t hesitate to add Saric to your entry at this reasonable price.

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Al-Farouq Aminu, vs. Clippers (FD: $6,100, DK: $6,200)
Projected Points: FD: 26.87, DK: 27.08

Aminu had a rough game Wednesday against the Grizzlies, recording just five points and six rebounds. He had been playing well up to that point, averaging 13.4 points, 9.1 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 2.3 steals and 2.9 three-pointers in his previous seven contests. One of those performances came against these same Clippers, when he finished with 16 points, eight rebounds, six assists, three steals and four three-pointers. The Clippers play at the sixth-fastest pace (101.2) in the league, so Aminu should have plenty of opportunities to start another hot streak Friday.

Center

Karl-Anthony Towns, at Mavericks (FD: $10,900, DK: $10,100)
Projected Points: FD: 46.97, DK: 48.85

Towns absolutely destroyed the Hawks on Wednesday, scoring 56 points and grabbing 15 rebounds. He has taken on an increased role in the offense with Jimmy Butler (knee) injured, posting a 26.3% usage rate in March, his highest of any month this season. The Mavericks have struggled to slow him down, allowing him to average 24.7 points and 11.7 rebounds in their first three matchups. Don’t expect things to be any different Friday.

Richaun Holmes, at Hawks (FD: $3,800, DK: $4,200)
Projected Points: FD: 23.1, DK: 22.61

Holmes stepped in to play 22 minutes when Embiid went down with his injury Wednesday, finishing with 15 points, seven rebounds and one assist. He should get plenty of run on Friday and has thrived with extra playing time this season, averaging 16.3 points and 9.2 rebounds in 10 games that he has played at least 30 minutes. The Hawks allow the second-most points per game on both FanDuel and DraftKings to opposing centers, possibly making Holmes one of the better bargains of the night at any position.

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