Friday's four-game slate starting at 1:30 p.m. EDT features the last of the NBA's play-in games before we move on to postseason play. All eight teams involved are safely in the playoffs, so many key players are getting the night off while others could see limited involvement. While those absences create many opportunities to find value, this situation also makes it difficult to trust some of the usual contributors.
Game to Target
Rockets vs. 76ers (Betting Line TBD)
Regardless of who's on the floor in this one, the game is likely to be played at a fast pace. With injuries to important starters on both sides, top role players will be auditioning for expanded roles come playoff time.
Game to Fade
Raptors vs. Nuggets (Betting Line TBD) Both of these teams pride themselves on depth and defense, so this game is likely to be more of a grind than the others. While it's tough to predict how much we'll see the top players in any contest, those from this game are especially unappealing given the available alternatives these teams have at their disposal.
PG: Even with some prominent injuries, point guard still offers a slate-high six healthy options priced over $7,000. The best values at the position will likely come from the lower-price tiers given the uncertainty over playing time for the top options.
SG: Only three shooting guards are listed over $7,000 and all three have point guard eligibility, making this position more of an afterthought.
SF: Small forward has five healthy players over $7,000 and plenty of options in the middling price tiers below that, so there's no shortage of selection.
PF: Power forward is healthier than the other positions despite missing its two priciest options due to injuries. With four players above $7,000 and a bevy of options in the tiers below, power forward offers a similarly robust selection to small forward.
C: With a number of prominent centers sitting out, Nikola Jokic could be the only one priced above $7,000.
Take the above numbers with a grain of salt, as we could see more scratches before tip-off, which could shift the balance of power between the positions.
Injury Situations to Monitor
Russell Westbrook (quadriceps) will miss at least the first round of the playoffs, so he certainly won't be available for Houston in this one.
Both T.J. Warren and Domantas Sabonis are out for the Pacers due to their respective foot injuries. Myles Turner will join them on the sidelines with a sprained wrist, as will Victor Oladipo (ankle). On the bright side, Malcolm Brogdon (neck) is off the injury report, though he's unlikely to see a heavy workload.
Jimmy Butler (foot), Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic will be held out by the Heat so as to not give the Pacers a look at Miami's stars prior to their first-round clash. The winner of this game will get the No. 4 seed, but the usual motivation to get home court advantage doesn't exist in these circumstances.
Chris Paul is out for the Thunder with a sprained left hand.
It's unclear how much James Harden ($11,500) will play, but his upside is massive sans Westbrook if he sees his regular allotment of minutes. He's a high-risk, high-reward choice, as it's easier to fit Harden's massive salary in with so many affordable options playing bigger roles in this slate, but he also has a much greater chance of seeing his minutes cut and thus significantly underperforming.
Tobias Harris ($8,100) should shoulder more of the offensive load without Simmons and possibly Embiid. This matchup with the defensively challenged Rockets would normally represent a terrific time to lock Harris in, but there are questions regarding court time like every other prominent player in this slate.
Neither Kawhi Leonard ($10,000) nor Paul George ($8,600) offer much appeal here. They're both likely to have their minutes drastically cut and will face a Thunder team allowing the second-fewest fantasy points to small forwards.
Nikola Jokic ($9,400) faces the same issues against Toronto, as the pair of Clippers' stars above have against Oklahoma City.
Kyle Lowry ($8,700) recently returned from a back injury, so there's little reason for the Raptors to push him here.
Tyler Herro ($5,700) is coming off a career-best 30-point output, and the rookie sharpshooter is averaging 24.0 PPG, 6.3 RPG and 4.7 APG over his past three games. With Miami resting some prominent veteran contributors, look for much of the offense to run through Herro against the depleted Pacers.
Chris Boucher ($5,300) has been outstanding for the Raptors over the past two games, averaging 22.0 PPG, 10.0 RPG and 3.0 blocks per game. Given that he's unlikely to be a prominent member of the rotation come playoff time, Boucher should get plenty of run in this one to build on his recent success.
Raul Neto ($3,800) has been a spark plug off the bench as the backup point guard to Shake Miltonsince Simmons went down. After averaging 19.5 PPG and 4.5 APG in the past two contests, Neto is unlikely to see much of a reduction from the 26 minutes he averaged during those games.
With both Paul and Dennis Schroder (quarantine) unavailable, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ($7,600) should have the ball in his hands early and often while he's on the floor, putting him in position to rack up plenty of points and assists. The Thunder's lack of healthy point guards could also lead to a sizable role for SGA, despite this game's minimal importance.
Lou Williams ($5,800) is used to making the most of a diminished role as a star Sixth Man, so he's likely to make the most of his playing time here. With Patrick Beverley (calf) still out, Williams should see decent run due to the lack of bodies available for the Clippers at point guard.
Eric Gordon ($4,600) will likely have a minutes ceiling around 25, but that should be enough for him to do plenty of damage against a 76ers' team below full-strength. This will be just Gordon's second game since returning from an ankle injury, so the Rockets will want to give him a chance to shake the rust off rather than let him take it easy.
Bol Bol ($3,900) was a force to be reckoned with during the scrimmage games, but the lanky big man saw his role significantly diminished once the games in the bubble started to count. With little reason for Denver to push its top players, the rookie should get an opportunity to show off his combination of range and shot-blocking.
T.J. Leaf ($3,000) could play big minutes for the Pacers with most of the team's other big men sitting, especially if Goga Bitadze (knee) can't go. Though Leaf has recently struggled to crack the rotation, there's no better time to get him some reps than in this largely meaningless contest.