Injury Situations to Monitor
Nikola Jokic, DEN (calf): GTD If Jokic were to sit a second straight game, Thomas Bryant and Zeke Nnaji would likely be in line to handle the majority of center minutes once again. LeBron James, LAL (foot): QUESTIONABLE Should James not be available, Troy Brown would likely take over at small forward while Anthony Davis would see especially elevated usage. Kawhi Leonard, LAC (personal): QUESTIONABLE If Leonard sits out a second straight game, Russell Westbrook could continue to log especially elevated usage and Norman Powell may fill in at small forward. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, OKC (ankle): OUT In SGA's ongoing absence, Isaiah Joe is likely to remain in the starting five while Josh Giddey and Jalen Williams' usage should remain particularly high. Julius Randle, NYK (ankle): OUT With Randle out the rest of the regular season, Obi Toppin and Jericho Sims will likely handle power forward duties while Jalen Brunson and RJ Barrett could receive extra scoring opportunities. Tyrese Haliburton, IND (ankle): OUT With Haliburton out once again, Andrew Nembhard and T.J. McConnell should be primary beneficiaries. Lauri Markkanen, UTA (hand): OUT In Markkanen's absence, Simone Fontecchio is likely to remain in the starting five. Other notable injuries: Paul George, LAC (leg): OUT Bradley Beal, WAS (knee): OUT Kyle Kuzma, WAS (ankle): OUT Damian Lillard, POR (calf): OUT Jusuf Nurkic, POR (knee): OUT Terry Rozier, CHA (foot): OUT Kelly Oubre, CHA (shoulder): QUESTIONABLE Keldon Johnson, SAN (injury management): GTD Anthony Davis, LAL (foot): PROBABLE Anthony Edwards, MIN (illness): PROBABLE Karl-Anthony Towns, MIN (calf): PROBABLE
Elite Players We have 10 players with five-figure salaries that have a chance to play on Friday's slate – Nikola Jokic ($12,000), Joel Embiid ($11,800), Anthony Davis ($11,300), Jayson Tatum ($11,000), LeBron James ($10,600), Stephen Curry ($10,400), Domantas Sabonis ($10,200), Kawhi Leonard ($10,100) and Trae Young ($10,000). If Jokic can play through his calf injury, he'll look to score over 60 FD points for the fourth time in the last five games and faces a Suns team he's already posted 56.1 and 81.5 FD points against this season. Embiid has been under 50 FD points in his last two outings, but he faces a Raptors team he already eclipsed that mark against once this season. Davis could potentially take the floor without LeBron James and just dropped 66.8 FD points across 38 minutes against the Bulls on Wednesday. Tatum was blistering hot against the Bucks on Thursday by shooting 80.0 percent from three-point range on his way to 51.1 FD points in 30 minutes. James will have to clear his questionable designation, but if he does play, he'll be looking to build on the 42.6 FD points he put up over 31 minutes against the Bulls on Wednesday in his second game back from his extended absence. Curry racked up 65.6 FD points across 36 minutes versus the Pelicans on Tuesday and will be well rested while facing a highly vulnerable Spurs squad. Sabonis saw a streak of nine straight games with more than 40 FD points snapped against the Blazers on Wednesday, but he only logged 29 minutes in Sacramento's postseason-clinching victory. Whether his minutes are limited Friday remains to be seen. Leonard is uncertain for Friday due to the personal matter that kept him out Wednesday against the Grizzlies. If he can go, he'll aim to exceed 40 FD points for the third time in the last four games. Young dipped to 29.2 FD points in a tough matchup against the Cavs on Tuesday, but he should be ready to go for what should be a wire-to-wire matchup against the Nets.
Expected Chalk Other likely chalk plays include: Ja Morant, MEM ($9,900) Morant produced his first big game since returning from his extended absence by scoring 55.2 FD points against the Clippers on Wednesday and should therefore remain very popular Friday. Devin Booker, PHO ($9,700) Booker still posted 49.1 FD points with Kevin Durant back on the floor Wednesday and should remain in his fair share of lineups. Kristaps Porzingis, WAS ($9,600) Porzingis will once again take the floor without Bradley Beal and Kyle Kuzma and is coming off having scored 62.6 FD points over 33 minutes against the Celtics on Tuesday. Jaylen Brown, BOS ($9,400) Brown put up 45.5 FD points against the Bucks on Thursday and managed 59.1 three games ago, which should help keep him very popular Friday. Russell Westbrook, LAC ($8,300) Westbrook turned back the clock without Kawhi Leonard and Paul George available Wednesday to record 59.8 FD points, so he should be especially appealing at this salary if Leonard sits out again. Key Values Austin Reaves, LAL at MIN ($6,000) Reaves has emerged as a consistent source of complementary production over the last several weeks, averaging 32.6 FD points over the last 12 games on averages of 18.4 points, 6.3 assists and 3.6 rebounds while shooting 56.3 percent from the field. The second-year wing has drawn four straight starts at shooting guard and has posted over 45 FD points twice in the last five games alone. The Timberwolves make for favorable targets, as they've allowed 39.3 percent three-point shooting to two-guards and 43.9 FD points per game to the position over the last seven. Isaiah Joe, OKC at IND ($5,500) Joe should be due for another start at point guard in place of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander on Friday, a role in which he registered 35.9 FD points across 32 minutes against the Hornets two games ago. A rough shooting night against the Pistons on Wednesday bumped Joe down to 14.8 FD points in that contest, but he could be in position to bounce back nicely Friday. The Pacers will continue without Tyrese Haliburton (ankle) in the backcourt, and they check in allowing the second-most FD points per game to point guards in the last seven contests (57.3), five of which Haliburton has missed. Malaki Branham, SAN at GSW ($5,500) While several Warriors will make good options Friday against the highly vulnerable Spurs defense, Branham is also an intriguing option at his salary. The rookie has eclipsed 20 FD points in three straight, including 29.4 in his most recent outing against the Jazz on Wednesday. Branham has shot an impressive 52.5 percent during that brief sample, and he now gets a crack at a Warriors team surrendering the third-highest offensive efficiency rating to shooting guards (25.2) and elevated 37.4 percent three-point shooting to the position. ALSO CONSIDER: Andrew Nembhard, IND vs. OKC ($6,400); Malik Monk, SAC at POR ($5,700); Drew Eubanks, POR vs. SAC ($5,600); Ochai Agbaji, UTA at BOS ($5,300)