Joe Harris was brilliant off the bench for the Brooklyn Nets, scoring a team-high 28 points -- two shy of his career mark -- in an upset over the visiting Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday night. Harris, who qualifies at both small forward and shooting guard, is mostly a shooting specialist in fantasy terms. However, he also delivered 10 combined assists and rebounds last night to deliver the top fantasy score among SG-eligible players on DraftKings. Harris is now sixth in the NBA in made 3-pointers. It's worth adding Harris, who is available in over 50% of ESPN leagues, in roto and category formats for his shooting prowess alone, while his value in daily fantasy competition is also on the rise.
With Kyrie Irving absent from the team for personal reasons and Kevin Durant still out due to the NBA's COVID-19 protocols, Caris LeVert enjoyed Westbrookian usage last night as he orchestrated the Brooklyn offense whenever he was on the floor. Whenever Irving or Durant miss time, LeVert becomes an identifiable building block in DFS. Even when playing alongside his superstar peers, it's worth noting that LeVert is tied with Paul George at 12th in the entire NBA with a 30.4% usage rate.
Sticking with the Nets, Jarrett Allen made his second straight start on Thursday and performed quite well against Joel Embiid, sinking all but one of his six shots from the floor while compiling 15 points and 14 combined assists and rebounds. The transition from DeAndre Jordan to Allen as the team's starting (and primary) center seems irreversible now, given just how much better the younger player is proving himself to be.
Robert Covington, Portland Trail Blazers: 3 points (1-4 FG), 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 TO
Philadelphia's Seth Curry tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday and will clearly miss a stretch of games while away from the team. Shake Milton led the 76ers in both scoring and assists last night as he shifted into the starting lineup in place of Curry. Milton is a great addition in all fantasy formats given what should be a busy, high-usage role in the games ahead.
Reports suggest that Denver's Michael Porter Jr. is facing a minimum of 10 additional quarantine days due to health and safety protocols, sidelining the young scoring force for up to two more weeks. Will Barton hasn't lit up box scores just yet in starting while Porter has been out, but his versatile play-making ability merits more attention from fantasy managers given what should be a busy role ahead.
Minnesota lost its sixth straight game last night and simply isn't very competitive with Karl-Anthony Towns sidelined. One rare positive for the Timberwolves has been the play of young frontcourt talent Jarred Vanderbilt, who produced his first career double-double last night and is making the case for more work.
Injuries of note
In some good news for both the Pistons and fantasy managers, Derrick Rose is listed as probable to play on Friday against the Suns despite leaving the floor this past Wednesday due to a knee injury. Without a real lead point guard in the starting lineup, Rose becomes Detroit's most pivotal distributor tonight.
Christian Wood is listed as questionable with a knee ailment that held him out of Houston's last game. If Wood remains sidelined, DeMarcus Cousins makes for a strong plug-and-play option in redraft formats and a solid DFS value against the Magic this evening.
Analytics advantage for Friday
With Markelle Fultz suffering a season-ending injury earlier this week, rookie Cole Anthony vaults into a big role for an Orlando team otherwise light on PG depth. This season, Anthony has produced an assist percentage around 30% when Fultz hasn't been on the court -- and sees his usage rate jump by nearly two percentage points. His shooting rates thus far have been sluggish, but with plenty of minutes, shots, and potential assists for the North Carolina product tonight, he's at least in a solid spot to deliver fantasy value against the Rockets.
Top players to watch on Friday
Tonight's tilt between the Pelicans and Hornets airs on ESPN and features the Ball brothers. Lonzo Ball and LaMelo Ball are the only brothers in NBA history to both be selected in the top five of the draft. It will be compelling to see how Lonzo and LaMelo compete this evening. Fittingly, Jeff Van Gundy will be calling the game on ESPN and brother Stan Van Gundy is the Pelicans' head coach. The brotherly theme doesn't end there, as Charlotte also rosters twins Caleb Martin and Cody Martin. All in all, tonight's matchup accounts for two of the 11 sets of brothers currently playing in the NBA.