What’s up everyone and welcome to Ben’s Building Blocks! If you’ve never read my content before, welcome. To those that have, welcome back. I truly appreciate everyone that reads and supports during NBA season. This article is designed for me to highlight the top plays of the day. Obviously, things can change rapidly in the NBA with injury news close to lock, so I would be sure to subscribe to our premium package for access to our Final Thoughts cheat sheet, our premium discord channel and my core plays. Our Core Plays product gives you the ability to tail all of our analysts in your contests each night. We do the work for you, and you simply plug and play with our premium Core Plays. With that being said, let’s hop into the plays…
Garland checks in as my top-overall option tonight against the OKC Thunder. Cleveland will be without both Donovan Mitchell and Ricky Rubio tonight, in what should be a close game. OKC should be even more inclined to push the pace with Cleveland on a B2B, OKC ranks top-three in pace compared to Cleveland who is one of the slowest teams in basketball. Garland is averaging over 40 DK points per game without Mitchell (and Rubio) this season — yet is priced as if Mitchell will be playing. Lu Dort has also been ruled out for the Thunder, which makes the individual spot for Garland much better. He is projecting for high-ownership, but it’s chalk I’m willing to eat on a small slate.
Once again, Jarrett Allen will be a top option for me and I’ll post below the blurb that I wrote about him yesterday:
Allen should be one of the higher-owned options tonight at his position in a great match-up against the Houston Rockets. Houston is on a back-to-back, while the Cavs should be rested after not playing yesterday. Cleveland will be missing Donovan Mitchell tonight, which has been good news for Allen this season. He gets the biggest usage rate (5%) and PPG spike on the team with Mitchell off the floor, and is averaging around 20 PPG with him out. Houston ranks bottom-five in fantasy points allowed to centers, and they have struggled in terms of FG% allowed in the paint — where Allen does all of his damage. Most will be locking in Garland and Mobley tonight, but Allen is viable in all formats and one of the top plays on the slate.
This is a fantastic match-up for Allen and the Cleveland big-men. OKC has shifted to smaller lineups as of late and they’re one of the worst rebounding teams in the league. Cleveland finds themselves as one point dogs here and if the game stays competitive I’m expecting big games from both him and Evan Mobley. It’s very likely that 3+ Cavs is the optimal build route on Friday night.
Clarke started in place of Adams on Wednesday, and whoever starts between him and Xavier Tillman will be one of the top value plays on the slate. Clarke is averaging over a full fantasy point per minute this season and our Projections Portal currently has him at 26 minutes tonight. Luckily, this game is earlier on the slate so we should have the news in time to make informed decisions — but make sure you’re paying attention to the Memphis starting lineup.
OwnersBox Top Play
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Jaren Jackson Jr
Jackson fouled out against Golden State in classic JJJ fashion, but I love the spot for him here. It’s pretty much a guarantee that he’s going to be lower-owned than Clarke and you can even pair them together without any issues. Desmond Bane is Q to play tonight, and with him and Adams off the floor Jackson sports a massive 1.4 fantasy point per minute number. He gets a near 5% usage rate increase with those guys off the floor as well, and even mid-20’s in minutes could provide a monster game on Friday night.
Written by Ben Hossler (Follow @BenHossler on Twitter)