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NBA DFS: Best Plays for Friday, March 11th

CJ McCollum and Brandon Ingram are sidelined for the Pelicans, opening up plenty of value on Friday’s main slate.

Orlando Magic v New Orleans Pelicans Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images

We finally have some good news involving MLB after the league’s lockout was ended on Thursday. That means that we’ll soon have basketball and baseball happening at the same time. When it comes to DFS, baseball has typically been my best sport as it’s somewhat easy to predict once we get some information to work from early in the season.

Until MLB DFS gets underway, I’ll continue to provide NBA DFS content on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. After we had a two-game slate on Thursday, the NBA is giving us an exciting 10-game slate on Friday night. Even though there could be news that alters the slate between now and lock, here are my favorite plays on DraftKings.

Point Guard

Pay-up option: Luka Doncic ($12,000)

It was an uncharacteristic game for Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday versus the New York Knicks. The Mavericks would get blown out by the score of 107-77, with Doncic being limited to 49 DraftKings points. Following Dallas’ dismal performance on Wednesday, I expect Doncic to be motivated to put that game behind him on Friday night against the Houston Rockets. Houston plays at the fastest pace in the NBA and they allow the second-most DraftKings points per game (51.74) to point guards this season.

Value option: Devonte’ Graham ($4,300)

Ahead of their matchup with the Charlotte Hornets on Friday, the New Orleans Pelicans announced that CJ McCollum will be sidelined due to the league’s health and safety protocols. Besides McCollum, Brandon Ingram is also out for the Pelicans, which should open up plenty of value on the Pelicans. Devonte’ Graham should be one of the players that benefits the most from the absences of McCollum and Ingram as New Orleans will need him to provide them more scoring. While he’s been relegated to a bench role since McCollum arrived, Graham will rejoin the starting lineup on Friday against his former team. The Hornets play at the third-fastest pace in the NBA and they allow the third-most threes (3.04) per game to point guards. You can also go up to Ish Smith or down to Jose Alvarado if you need another value point guard.

Shooting Guard

Pay-up option: Donovan Mitchell ($8,600)

The Utah Jazz revealed that Bojan Bogdanovic will be inactive in Friday’s contest with the San Antonio Spurs. While I already liked Donovan Mitchell in a pace-up game versus the Spurs, I like him a bit more with Bogdanovic out. When Bogdanovic has been out for the Jazz this season, Mitchell’s usage rate has gone up 2.7% and he’s scored 4.16 more fantasy points per 36 minutes. Devin Booker is the only other shooting guard I’d consider paying up for, so if I’m not using Mitchell or Booker, I’ll be taking the value route.

Value option: Garrett Temple ($3,500)

Along with Graham, Garrett Temple could be a candidate to join the Pelicans’ starting lineup on Friday with McCollum and Ingram out. Temple isn’t going to score 30+ points on the offensive end, but he contributes in multiple areas that can help him be effective in DFS. The Hornets give up the most DraftKings points per game (43.17) to shooting guards this season, so Temple has an extremely favorable matchup. Even if Temple doesn’t start, I expect him to get enough minutes to pay off his cheap salary.

Small Forward

Pay-up option: Cade Cunningham ($7,800)

Cade Cunningham is making a late-season push to win rookie of the year as he’s been showing exactly why he was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. The rookie point-forward has produced 34+ DraftKings points in eight of his last nine games. The only concern with rostering Cunningham is the fact that a blowout is always possible with the Detroit Pistons. While his matchup against the Boston Celtics isn’t great, Cunningham just put up 37.5 and 38 DraftKings points in two recent meetings with the Celtics. If I’m not inserting Cunningham into my lineup, I’ll be using the value options at the small forward position.

Value option: Reggie Bullock ($4,200)

Besides Doncic, I’m expecting bounce-back games from the other members of the Mavericks. Reggie Bullock has become a key contributor for Dallas as the season has progressed and he has a positive matchup against the Rockets on Friday. Houston plays at the fastest pace in the NBA and they surrender the fifth-most three-pointers (13.2) per game to opposing teams this season. De’Andre Hunter and Grant Williams are other small forwards under $5,000 that I’d consider on Friday.

Power Forward

Pay-up option: LeBron James ($11,800)

It’s do-or-die time for the Los Angeles Lakers as their nightmare season continues to spiral downhill. Even with LeBron James returning to the lineup on Wednesday night against a Christian Wood-less Rockets squad, the Lakers suffered a devastating loss in overtime. James himself produced a triple-double and supplied 71 DraftKings points. I expect James to remain active despite a knee ailment on Friday against the Washington Wizards. Los Angeles has elected to go with small-ball lineups with James at the center spot and Washington isn’t exactly an imposing team in the frontcourt, even with Kristaps Porzingis now in the lineup.

Value option: Maxi Kleber ($3,700)

I have a feeling that I’ll have a few pieces from the Mavericks and the Pelicans on Friday. Aside from Bullock, Maxi Kleber is another value player I’m liking against the Rockets. Kleber has been operating as a key frontcourt contributor for Dallas since they traded Porzingis, logging 20+ minutes in 16 of his last 17 games. Kleber can contribute on both ends of the floor, so in a fast-paced game against the Rockets, he’s capable of easily returning 5x value, especially if Dorian Finney-Smith is ruled out.

Center

Pay-up option: Karl-Anthony Towns ($10,700)

Blowouts are the only thing that has prevented Karl-Anthony Towns from producing 50+ DraftKings points in five consecutive games for the Minnesota Timberwolves. Towns has three games where he’s played fewer than 30 minutes in his last five appearances due to Minnesota dominating their opponent. If the Orlando Magic can keep it close on Friday night, then Towns should have a field day against Orlando. The Magic are giving up the seventh-most DraftKings points per game (59.31) in their last 30 games. I also really like Jonas Valanciunas and Rudy Gobert on Friday if you need to save some salary at the center position.

Value option: Mason Plumlee ($4,500)

There are multiple routes you could take if you are paying down at center, including using someone like Kleber. While I do like a few players from the Pelicans, centers have fared well against New Orleans this season. The defense of the Pelicans has allowed the 10th most DraftKings points per game (55.74) to centers this season. Mason Plumlee should draw the start for the Hornets as he’ll draw the responsibility of guarding Valanciunas. As long as Plumlee can remain out of foul trouble, he has a great chance to return 5x value. Jaxson Hayes and KJ Martin are other options to consider if Jae’Sean Tate misses his second straight game for the Rockets.