This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
We kick off the final weekend of the regular season with a solid eight-game Friday night slate. Despite only three games left, we have plenty still up for grabs in terms of final positioning, including the fate of the top seed in either conference. That's terrific news for us from a DFS perspective, as it at least provides a bit more certainty with respect to the extent of involvement by higher-salaried players on certain teams. That helps offset plenty of other injuries and likely rest days for notable players on clubs that have either sewn up their postseason position or are out of contention.
Here's a closer look at the three matchups with the highest projected totals:
New Orleans Pelicans at Golden State Warriors (Projected total: 228.0 points)
This total is capped by the potential slew of big-name absences on either side, some of which are already confirmed. Lonzo Ball and Zion Williamson are already ruled out for the Pelicans, while Brandon Ingram remains questionable. Then, all of Stephen Curry, Andrew Wiggins and Draymond Green shape up as 50/50 propositions on the other side. Both clubs play at a fast pace and rank in the bottom half of the league in points per game allowed, but if the majority of the players listed as questionable sit out, expectations should naturally be lowered.
Cleveland Cavaliers at Washington Wizards (Projected total: 227.0 points)
Bradley Beal will sit another game for the Wizards, but they're still averaging 220 points over the first two games of his current absence. However, the Cavaliers have been an appreciably better defensive team on the road (109.6 PPG allowed) than at home (114.3 PPG) and are also putting up an NBA-low 99.8 points per road contest. Therefore, they could be ill equipped to take advantage of the Wizards' NBA-high 119.8 points per home contest, leading to this being a lower total than usual for a game involving Washington's porous defense.
Sacramento Kings at Memphis Grizzlies (Projected total: 226.5 points)
These clubs will carry out their rematch on a second consecutive night, which could lead to some fatigue and even potential disinterest on the part of the now-eliminated Kings. Sacramento and Memphis combined for 226 points Thursday and the Kings come in allowing 115.6 points per road game. The Grizzlies are only producing 110.1 points and giving up 110.7 points per home contest, so this total may not quite be reached, especially if De'Aaron Fox sits out yet again for the visitors.
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.
Bradley Beal, WAS (hamstring)/ Status: OUT
Stephen Curry, GSW (tailbone)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
If Curry were to sit, the usage of the remaining members of the starting five would see a sizeable boost while Jordan Poole would potentially draw a start at point guard.
Kawhi Leonard, LAC (rest)/ Status: GTD
If Leonard is held out, Luke Kennard is likely due for a start at small forward.
Paul George, LAC (rest)/ Status: GTD
If George sits out, Terance Mann could start at shooting guard.
Brandon Ingram, NOP (ankle)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
If Ingram is unable to return, Naji Marshall may see another start at small forward.
Draymond Green, GSW (finger)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
If Green sits out, Juan Toscano-Anderson could draw a start at power forward.
Andrew Wiggins, GSW (knee)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Pascal Siakam, TOR (shoulder)/ Status: GTD
Chris Boucher could be in for a start at power forward if Siakam is out again while the usage of the remainder of the starting five should see a bump.
Fred VanVleet, TOR (rest)/ Status: GTD
In VanVleet's likely absence, Gary Trent should see another start at shooting guard.
Kyle Lowry, TOR (rest)/ Status: GTD
Malachi Flynn would draw another start at point guard if Lowry is out again.
De'Aaron Fox, SAC (COVD-19 protocols)/ Status: GTD
Other notable injuries:
Zion Williamson, NOP (finger)/ Status: OUT
Donovan Mitchell, UTA (ankle)/ Status: OUT
Lonzo Ball, NOP (thumb)/ Status: OUT
Christian Wood, HOU (ankle)/ Status: OUT
Mike Conley, UTA (hamstring)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Darius Garland, CLE (ankle)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Richaun Holmes, SAC (knee)/ Status: GTD
Jerami Grant, DET (knee)/ Status: OUT
Mason Plumlee, DET (rest)/ Status: OUT
Isaiah Stewart, DET (personal)/ Status: OUT
Kelly Oubre, GSW (wrist)/ Status: OUT
OG Anunoby, TOR (calf)/ Status: GTD
Will Barton, DEN (hamstring)/ Status: GTD
Tyrese Haliburton, SAC (knee)/ Status: OUT
Harrison Barnes, SAC (groin)/ Status: GTD
Cory Joseph, DET (ankle)/ Status: OUT
Mo Bamba, ORL (illness)/ Status: GTD
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, OKC (foot)/ Status: OUT
Hamidou Diallo, DET (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: OUT
We have six players with five-figure salaries on Friday night's slate, but only four have a chance to take the floor: Russell Westbrook ($12,500), Nikola Jokic ($10,600), Luka Doncic ($10,100) and Stephen Curry ($10,100).
The Wizards have yet to clinch a play-in spot and face a Cavaliers team that should be ill-equipped to slow down Westbrook, who's now averaging 53.8 FD points per game and has scored at least 67.5 FD points in six of the last seven games. While the salary is extremely elevated, his recent ability to consistently offer more than 5x return keeps him firmly in play. Jokic and the Nuggets still have a shot to climb to the No. 3 seed and he faces an excellent positional matchup. Doncic and the Mavs are looking to hold off the Trail Blazers for the fifth spot and the star guard gets a very favorable matchup versus what should be a Raptors' makeshift first unit. Finally, Curry's status will need to be monitored carefully, but he draws an excellent matchup against a depleted Pelicans squad if he does play.
The 76ers still need a win to secure the top seed in the East, so Embiid - who's coming off his worst outing of the season against the Heat on Thursday while still apparently dealing with an illness that cost him the prior contest - should be out there for a solid complement of minutes if healthy. Meanwhile, Valanciunas just racked up 45.1 FD points against the Kings on Thursday, while Wright would be in for another first-unit assignment if De'Aaron Fox misses another game and has delivered FD-point tallies of 47.8, 59.4 and 60.0 within his current six-game starting tenure.
In addition to the players just mentioned in the prior section, other likely chalk plays include:
Buddy Hield, SAC ($7,000)
Hield should continue being popular after eclipsing 30 FD points in seven straight and with De'Aaron Fox likely out again.
Collin Sexton, CLE ($7,800)
Sexton has eclipsed 40 FD points in each of the last two and could well take the court without Darius Garland again.
Jordan Clarkson, UTA ($7,600)
Clarkson has been thriving in the absence of Donovan Mitchell, who remains out Friday.
Terence Davis, SAC ($6,800)
Davis has scored between 35.1 and 41.5 FD points in his last four games and should keep enjoying an elevated role.
Kristaps Porzingis, DAL ($6,800)
Porzingis accumulated 29.5 FD points over 21 minutes in his return against the Pelicans on Wednesday and sports an appealing salary.
Dillon Brooks, MEM ($6,000)
Brooks has regularly outpaced his salary recently, and even with the increase Friday, a rematch against a Kings team he lit up for 49.7 FD points on Thursday should make him highly rostered again.
Malachi Flynn ($5,600) - TOR
Flynn should start again and carries a salary that isn't commensurate to the amount of usage he should log.
Tim Hardaway, DAL vs. TOR ($6,300)
Hardaway encouragingly tallied 36.8 FD points against the Pelicans on Wednesday despite Porzingis returning and playing 21 minutes. The veteran guard should remain on the first unit against a Raptors team again likely to sit four starters. Hardaway is averaging 33.3 FD points on red-hot 55.2 percent shooting – including 48.4 percent from distance – during his current six-game starting stint at shooting guard, while Toronto checks in allowing the third-highest three-point shooting percentage (39.2) of any team on the road. The Raps are also giving up 50.3 FD points per game to twos in the last five contests, furthering Hardaway's case at what is still a very reasonable salary for his ceiling.
Dillon Brooks, MEM vs. SAC ($6,000)
As mentioned in the prior section, Brooks had no trouble with the Kings' shoddy backcourt defense Thursday and there's no reason to think matters will be any different Friday, especially now that Sacramento has officially been eliminated from postseason contention. Brooks' aforementioned 49.7 FD-point haul against Sacramento is far from his only recent success, as he's also compiled 35.8 and 40.4 FD points in the two prior matchups while eclipsing 30 FD points in three other contests over the last 13. The Kings are allowing a Western Conference-high 25.8 percent offensive efficiency to two-guards, along with 44.2 FD points per game to the position on the season. Sacramento is also yielding the sixth-highest overall three-point percentage (37.9) while Brooks has put up over 20 shot attempts in three straight, including 21 from behind the arc during that span.
Sekou Doumbouya, DET vs. DEN ($4,700)
As detailed earlier in the injury section, all of Mason Plumlee, Isaiah Stewart and Jerami Grant are slated to be absent from the Pistons' frontcourt Friday, which should open up an abundance of opportunity for Doumbouya. The 2019 first-round pick has already drawn starts in seven of the last eight Grant sat out and has averaged 24.4 FD points over the previous four contests. The second-year big is also sporting a 20.7 percent usage rate and is averaging 28.1 FD points per 36 minutes without his trio of teammates on the floor. Friday, he faces a Nuggets team allowing an NBA-high 28.2 percent offensive efficiency to power forwards, along with 51.2 FD points per game to the position over the last five.
Other value play to consider: Kyle Anderson, MEM vs. SAC ($5,900); Saddiq Bey, DET vs DEN ($5,900); Ivica Zubac, LAC at HOU ($5,800); Gary Trent, TOR at DAL ($4,900); Terance Mann, LAC at HOU ($4,500)