This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
We're in the heart of the NBA's stretch run and there's an eight-game sample for DFS tonight. Since there are plenty of teams with postseason interests taking the floor, oddsmakers are unsurprisingly projecting many of the contests as close and that's exactly what we want to see as DFS players. Some big-name injuries to be concerned with, including a Giannis Antetokounmpo ankle sprain that just cropped up Thursday and could lead to a gametime decision and to several Bucks' chalk plays if it results in an absence for the big man.
Here's a closer look at the three games with projected totals on FanDuel Sportsbook:
Portland Trail Blazers at Brooklyn Nets (Projected total: 240.5 points)
The Blazers are allowing 115.1 points per road game while the host Nets are putting up 118.0 points per home tilt. Brooklyn could play without Kyrie Irving (groin) in addition to James Harden, but Kevin Durant just demonstrated Thursday against the Pacers, he's capable of helping the club to a big point tally without his other two star teammates. The Nets are also allowing 111.4 points per home game while Portland is putting up an impressive 115.8 per road contest, so the total here could potentially be approached.
Washington Wizards at Cleveland Cavaliers (Projected total: 227.0 points)
The Wizards are still giving up an Eastern Conference-high 118.0 points per game while the Cavaliers yielding 112.6 per home contest, over three points more than they do on the road. Washington is also playing at a league-high 107.6 possessions per game, although it's worth noting there's a significant gap between their road scoring average (111.4 PPG) and that at home (118.0). The first head-to-head between these teams finished with 229 combined points, so this number is certainly in play.
Orlando Magic at Memphis Grizzlies (Projected total: 224.0 points)
The Magic are ranked in the bottom half of the league with 112.6 points per game surrendered and Memphis comes in yielding an almost identical 113.0 per contest. Where the total starts to get a bit perplexing is when considering the offensive track records of each squad in the home/road splits that apply Friday – Orlando is scoring just 102.7 points per road game while the Grizzlies are markedly less productive on the scoring front at home (109.8 PPG) compared to the road (117.4 PPG). Each team will also be down a talented frontcourt piece in Chuma Okeke (Magic) and Jaren Jackson (Grizzlies).
Injury Situations to Monitor
NOTE: Injury reporting is especially fluid in the NBA, where the status of multiple players can change during the course of a day. Therefore, although the following serves as a foundation for the latest injury report as of the time the article is written, check back throughout the course of the day with RotoWire for the latest news regarding the status of all players on that night's slate.
James Harden, BRO (hamstring)/ Status: OUT
Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL (ankle)/ Status: GTD
Kyrie Irving, BRO (groin)/ Status: GTD
De'Aaron Fox, SAC (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: OUT
Trae Young, ATL (ankle)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
If Young misses a fifth straight contest, Brandon Goodwin should continue in the starting five at point guard while the likes of Bogdan Bogdanovic (hamstring), John Collins and Clint Capela (heel) may potentially enjoy extra usage.
Zach LaVine, CHI (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: OUT
In LaVine's ongoing absence, Garrett Temple should remain in the starting five while the remainder of the first unit sees extra usage.
Donovan Mitchell, UTA (ankle)/ Status: OUT
Mitchell's ongoing injury should lead to Joe Ingles continuing to enjoy a starting opportunity and extra usage for the remainder of the starting five.
Clint Capela, ATL (heel)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
If Capela were to sit, Onyeka Okongwu will likely draw a start at center.
Collin Sexton, CLE (concussion)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Bogdan Bogdanovic, ATL (hamstring)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
If Bogdanovic misses a second straight game, Lou Williams should stay in the starting five.
Mike Conley, UTA (hamstring)/ Status: OUT
Kemba Walker, BOS (side)/ Status: DOUBTFUL
Harrison Barnes, SAC (groin)/ Status: OUT
Other notable injuries:
Anthony Davis, LAL (calf)/ Status: PROBABLE
LeBron James, LAL (ankle)/ Status: OUT
Nikola Vucevic, CHI (hip)/ Status: PROBABLE
Dennis Schroder, LAL (calf)/ Status: PROBABLE
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (ankle)/ Status: PROBABLE
Marvin Bagley, SAC (hand)/ Status: PROBABLE
Derrick White, SAN (ankle)/ Status: OUT
Jaren Jackson, MEM (knee)/ Status: OUT
Kevin Huerter, ATL (shoulder)/ Status: OUT
Bruce Brown, BRO (knee)/ Status: PROBABLE
Cam Reddish, ATL (Achilles)/ Status: OUT
De'Andre Hunter, ATL (knee)/ Status: OUT
Terrence Ross, ORL (back)/ Status: DOUBTFUL
Grayson Allen, MEM (hand)/ Status: DOUBTFUL
Chuma Okeke, ORL (ankle)/ Status: OUT
Royce O'Neale, UTA (wrist)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
As mentioned earlier, Giannis's status is highly tenuous given the fact he exited Thursday's game against the Rockets after just one minute with his ankle injury. If healthy, he would be even more appealing than usual against a Bulls team he hung 65.4 FD points on in his one prior meeting. Westbrook "only" generated 38.5 FD points against the Cavaliers in his one previous encounter Sunday, but that's the only game within the last 10 where he's been under 50. Embiid has seen a bit of a salary drop thanks to three straight outings logging under 30 minutes and therefore has seen his production decline accordingly. However, he needed just 23 minutes to score 38.7 FD points against the Hawks on Wednesday and could avoid Clint Capela if the latter misses with his heel injury.
Healthy players with salaries in the high four-figures capable of also delivering elite scores include Kyrie Irving ($9,800), Kevin Durant ($9,600), Trae Young ($9,500), Anthony Davis ($9,500) and Bradley Beal ($9,400).
Irving would be in a favorable spot if he is able to suit up, as James Harden remains out and the opposing Trail Blazers have struggled defending PGs all season. Durant is coming off compiling 42 points over 36 minutes against the Pacers on Thursday and would be in position to similarly thrive if Irving sits out. Young is questionable as mentioned earlier, but if he manages to return, he'll do so to a first unit that will be missing Bogdan Bogdanovic, Kevin Huerter and potentially Clint Capela. Davis has played 31 minutes in each of his last two and was up to 47.0 FD points in his most recent contest while getting an appealing matchup versus the Kings. Finally, Beal has scored over 20 points in 12 straight and is averaging 32.9 on 49.4 percent shooting across his last 10.
In addition to the players just mentioned in the prior section, other likely chalk plays include:
Jrue Holiday, MIL ($7,300)
Holiday will be very popular if Antetokounmpo sits, especially coming off a 65.8 FD-point tally versus the Rockets on Thursday.
Khris Middleton, MIL ($7,200)
Middleton is another Buck whose rostering rate would skyrocket without Giannis in the lineup.
Jeff Green, BRO ($6,000)
Green could be a popular mid-salary play after scoring 32.9 to 39.1 FD points in three of his last four games.
Buddy Hield, SAC ($7,000)
Richaun Holmes, SAC ($6,000)
Holmes will benefit from the same scenario as Hield.
Clint Capela, ATL ($8,700)
If Capela's announced as available without restrictions, he should be rostered heavily with multiple absences on the Hawks' starting five, particularly if Young is confirmed to be one of them.
Bobby Portis, MIL ($4,800)
Should join Holiday and Middleton as very popular facing his old squad with Giannis now officially out.
With Derrick White sidelined, both players should see plenty of usage at bare-minimum salaries.
Jeff Green, BRO vs. POR ($6,000)
As just mentioned, Green has been on a nice run recently and it actually stretches back over his last six games. The veteran big has averaged 31.0 FD points over that span while logging no fewer than 29 minutes in any contest. Green also offers a good statistical matchup against a Trail Blazers team ranked in the bottom half of the league in offensive efficiency allowed to frontcourt players (81.1 percent) and 36.7 FD points per game to centers over the last 10.
Dillon Brooks, MEM vs. ORL ($5,400)
Brooks has turned in a couple of clunkers of late that have helped keep his salary very reasonable, but he's still averaging a solid 27.8 FD points per contest over the last nine while putting up a robust 14.6 shot attempts per contest. The talented wing has tallies of 32.9 FD points or more in four of the last seven alone, and the opposing Magic make for good targets. Orlando checks in allowing the second-highest offensive efficiency to shooting guards (27.3 percent) along with the second-most FD points per game to twos (45.4), including 51.6 across the last 10.
Thaddeus Young, CHI vs. MIL ($5,300)
Young had recently seen a temporary reduction in playing time, but he's been back at 20 minutes or more in four straight and has averaged 27.4 FD points over his last six overall. The veteran big is shooting an efficient 60.4 percent during that span, and Friday may be able to avoid Giannis Antetokounmpo (ankle) altogether. Additionally, Milwaukee already comes in ranked in the bottom half of the league in offensive efficiency allowed to power forwards (25.4 percent) and also yield 56.4 FD points per contest in the last 10 games to fours.
Other value plays to consider: Norman Powell, POR at BKN ($6,300); Lou Williams, ATL at PHI ($5,800); Gary Harris, ORL at MEM ($5,800); Kyle Kuzma, LAL vs. SAC ($5,600); Lonnie Walker, SAN at BOS ($3,500); Montrezl Harrell, LAL vs. SAC ($4,800); Bobby Portis, MIL at CHI ($4,800)