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NBA DFS: Best Plays for Friday, March 18th

Pascal Siakam and the other members of the Raptors are fantastic options against the hapless Lakers on Friday.

Toronto Raptors v LA Clippers Photo by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images

There was only one game in the NBA on Thursday night as the first day of March Madness garnered the majority of the attention in the sports world. After subjecting us to watch the Cade Cunningham-less Detroit Pistons take on the Wendell Carter-less Orlando Magic on Thursday, we’ll have 12 games to enjoy on Friday night across the association.

While we’ll have to watch the hapless Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night, there are plenty of studs to choose from in NBA DFS. For those that took part in the massive odds boost on DraftKings Sportsbook on Thursday for Gonzaga to defeat Georgia State in the first round, you have some extra money to play in DFS on Friday night. Ahead of a double-digit slate of games, here are my favorite options at each position on DraftKings.

Point Guard

Pay-up option: Dejounte Murray ($10,600)

It seems like we continue to have nights where we have to decide between Luka Doncic and Dejounte Murray at the top of the point guard position. While I wouldn’t argue using Doncic, I like Murray just as much at a slight discount compared to Doncic. Both Doncic and Murray have the potential to record a triple-double on any given night, but Murray has the slightly better matchup versus the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday. Murray has recorded 52+ DraftKings points in eight of his last nine contests and he’s playing in an expected high-scoring environment with the Pelicans visiting the San Antonio Spurs. In the $7,000-$8,000 range, Fred VanVleet and Tyler Herro are viable options in positive matchups.

Value option: Bones Hyland ($4,600)

The Denver Nuggets have rotated point guards all season amid the absence of Jamal Murray, and even though Murray could be back in the playoffs, Bones Hyland has been hot as of late. The rookie guard has received 20+ minutes in three out of his last four appearances and he’s produced 30+ DraftKings points in three straight. While the Cleveland Cavaliers haven’t been a fantastic matchup for point guards, Hyland is a go-to scorer for the Nuggets off of the bench. If you need to save a little more salary at point guard, Ish Smith and Theo Maledon are worth consideration.

Shooting Guard

Pay-up option: Devin Booker ($9,100)

I will continue to auto-lock Devin Booker into my lineups until DraftKings moves his salary closer to $10,000. Without Chris Paul in the lineup for the Phoenix Suns, Booker is being asked to handle a much larger workload (32% or higher usage rate in five of his last seven games), resulting in a higher ceiling as he’s logging more assists. While the matchup against the Chicago Bulls doesn’t look great on paper, the Bulls have surrendered the fourth-most DraftKings points per game (52.57) to point guards in their last 30 games, which is essentially the position that Booker is playing right now. Zach LaVine is also underpriced at $7,700 on DraftKings.

Value option: Josh Richardson ($4,200)

With Doug McDermott ruled out for the remainder of the season for the Spurs, Josh Richardson should be getting more minutes at the small forward position. Richardson has logged 23+ minutes in five of his last six games and he’s posted 23+ DraftKings points in four of his last six. The Pelicans have given up the 11th most DraftKings points per game (43.25) to small forwards in their last seven games. If you have enough salary left over, you can go up to Lonnie Walker instead of using Richardson.

Small Forward

Pay-up option: Kevin Durant ($10,500)

Kevin Durant is going to have to operate as a one-man wrecking crew on Friday again with the Brooklyn Nets playing at home again. Following a loss to the Dallas Mavericks, along with Kyrie Irving not being available, I’m expecting an explosive outing from Durant against the Portland Trail Blazers. The All-Star forward has notched 7+ assists in six consecutive games and we all know he has the potential to put up 40-50+ points with ease. As long as the Trail Blazers can keep it somewhat competitive, it’s hard not to imagine Durant putting on a show on Friday night. Scottie Barnes and Gary Trent Jr. are great options at small forward as they’ll be facing a reeling Lakers squad on Friday night.

Value option: Deni Avdija ($3,300)

Let’s take a bit of a risk to save some salary at the small forward position. The Washington Wizards are only 4.5 games out of the final play-in spot in the Eastern Conference, but their goal should be to get some of their younger players more minutes to finish the season. Deni Avdija’s role on the Wizards has wavered throughout the year, however, he’s played 28+ minutes in back-to-back games. In those two games, the second-year forward has eclipsed 24+ DraftKings in each of them. As long as we can get 20+ minutes out of Avdija, he should easily return 5x value at $3,300. For those that love to take dart throws, Ziaire Williams and Lindy Waters III are other small forwards that are under $3,500 that could return some value.

Power Forward

Pay-up option: Pascal Siakam ($8,900)

Pascal Siakam plays against the Lakers on Friday and he’s been performing well for the Toronto Raptors, and that’s all I should have to say about Siakam being a remarkable option on DraftKings. Siakam has supplied 52+ DraftKings points in four straight appearances, including a matchup with the Lakers on March 14th where he put up 52.75 DraftKings points. Given the matchup and the fact that Toronto plays their starters every minute possible, Siakam seems a bit underpriced on the green site. Once again, Siakam’s teammate in Barnes is also in a great matchup versus the Lakers if you need to save some salary.

Value option: Torrey Craig ($4,000)

Jae Crowder was ruled out for the Suns in their last game on Wednesday, resulting in more minutes for Torrey Craig. Craig responded with 49.5 DraftKings points in 34 minutes of action against the Houston Rockets. Crowder is currently questionable on Friday night, and seeing that the Suns can somewhat afford to rest Crowder with a sizable lead in the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, I wouldn’t be surprised if Craig starts again versus the Bulls on Friday. If Crowder makes his return to the lineup, then Thaddeus Young and James Johnson are other cheap options at power forward.

Center

Pay-up option: Nikola Jokic ($11,500)

While we have Doncic and Murray at the top at the point guard position, another difficult decision is at the center position between Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid. Embiid is questionable with a back ailment, and it wouldn’t surprise me if the Philadelphia 76ers elect to sit their potential MVP center after he played through the injury earlier this week. You can’t go wrong with either of them if they’re both active, but I do like the great potential of a triple-double bonus from Jokic on DraftKings. Jokic has contributed 57+ DraftKings points in five of his last seven games for the Denver Nuggets. And even though the Cavaliers are strong against centers, the absence of Jarrett Allen certainly helps Jokic’s ability to excel in the paint. In their last seven games, Cleveland has permitted the fourth-most DraftKings points per game (68.34) to centers.

Value option: Nicolas Claxton ($3,400)

The Nets are asking a variety of players to contribute for them in the final stretch of the season outside of Durant and Irving. At the center position, with LaMarcus Aldridge still sidelined, Brooklyn is relying on Andre Drummond and Nicolas Claxton to give them meaningful minutes at center. Claxton has garnered 20+ minutes in five consecutive games and he’s scored 22+ DraftKings points in each of his last four appearances. There’s no reason why Claxton shouldn’t see 20+ minutes again on Friday against the Trail Blazers and there’s a chance he sees more minutes if there’s a blowout. Portland has allowed the sixth-most DraftKings points per game (57.82) to centers this season, making Claxton an intriguing value option.