Fantasy basketball tips and NBA betting picks for Friday

Damian Lillard has been on a scoring rampage recently, dropping 42, 42, 30, 60 and 37 points in each of his past five games. Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

ESPN's fantasy basketball and basketball betting tips cheat sheet is your pregame destination for basketball betting predictions and our best intel and data, featuring ESPN's proprietary Basketball Power Index (BPI) to help you make smart fantasy and wagering decisions. NBA game odds for Feb. 3 are provided by Caesars Sportsbook, and fantasy advice is based on ESPN 10-team leagues.

What you need to for Friday's games

With All-Star reserves named yesterday, the word "snub" is going to be uniquely popular for a few days. With this premise in mind, who are the overlooked or underappreciated players that fantasy hoops managers should look to acquire ahead of this busy weekend of basketball?

In the space below, we detail several key names that claim immediate streaming value, such as the Sacramento Kings' Davion Mitchell on a night without - potential All-Star snub - De'Aaron Fox in the lineup. My goal today is to highlight widely-available players in ESPN leagues who claim sustained value that are arguably being "snubbed" by the fantasy market.

The Minnesota Timberwolves' Kyle Anderson is not only near the top of my projection model in terms of value for tonight's DFS slate in his matchup with the Orlando Magic, but he's also rostered in just 23% of leagues. Anderson is the type of player the market often overlooks; a modest scoring clip, but able to positively contribute to several categories. Other than Anderson, only All-Stars Shai Gilgeous Alexander, Joel Embiid, and Jayson Tatum have averaged at least 1.2 steals, 0.9 blocks, and 4.2 assists this season.

More names that claim potentially enduring value include Daniel Gafford (90% available) of the Washington Wizards. He's become a steady part of the rotation in the wake of Rui Hachimura's exit and has a whopping 10 blocks across his last three games. The Atlanta Hawks' DeAndre Hunter not only played basketball for the same high school as I did, but he's also consuming tons of minutes at a shallow position. Anderson's teammate Jaden McDaniels just might be the most underrated defensive wing in the league.

Finding interim moments for success like Mitchell's spot with the Kings this evening is critical to fantasy basketball success, but it's also savvy to make room for some lasting values.

-- Jim McCormick

Breaking down Friday's slate

Charlotte Hornets at Detroit Pistons
7 p.m. ET, Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, Michigan

Records (Against the Spread)
Hornets: 15-38 (23-28-2)
Pistons: 13-39 (23-28-1)

Line: Pistons (-1)
BPI Projection: Pistons (119.9-118.7)
Money Line: Hornets (-105), Pistons (-115)
BPI Projected winner: Pistons (54.5%)
Total: 239.5 points BPI Projected Total: 238.6 points

Injury Report:
Hornets: Cody Martin, (GTD - Knee); Kelly Oubre Jr., (OUT - Hand)
Pistons: Cory Joseph, (OUT - Back); Marvin Bagley III, (OUT - Hand); Cade Cunningham, (OUT - Lower Leg)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Best bet: LaMelo Ball under 39.5 points + assists + rebounds. While LaMelo is certainly capable of throwing up a 20-point triple-double at any given moment, he's had trouble hitting 40 total points, rebounds and assists on most nights. He had a huge 27-point triple-double against the Bucks on Tuesday, but that's the only time in his last six outings that he's had at least 40 PAR. Add in the fact that he is (hopefully) playing on the second night of a back-to-back and that he had just 23 points, one rebound and 11 assists before fouling out against the Pistons when they met on Dec. 14, and it looks like a good idea to fade Melo tonight. -- Steve Alexander

Fantasy streamer: Jalen Duren (rostered in 23.6% of ESPN leagues) is in the midst of a very good season, and leads all rookies in rebounds and was selected to participate in the 2023 Jordan Rising Stars game. He has scored 30 or more fantasy points in four of his last five games including two with 40 or more points. This season, the Hornets have been one of the most favorable matches for centers -- Eric Moody

Trend: Betting unders can be painful in today's dynamic NBA, but some spots are simply too enticing. That case could easily be made tonight with the Charlotte Hornets (unders are 10-4 in their past 14 games with a spread of three or fewer points) and Detroit Pistons (unders are 5-2 in their past seven as sportsbooks may have overcorrected for a 12-5 run on overs) set to play. From a narrative standpoint, professional athletes are creatures of habit in season and nothing has been "normal" for the Pistons over the past 72 hours due to an ice storm in Dallas delaying travel and resulting in a postponed game on Wednesday night.-- Kyle Soppe

Sacramento Kings at Indiana Pacers
7 p.m. ET, Gainbridge Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana

Records (Against the Spread)
Kings: 29-21 (28-22-0)
Pacers: 24-29 (28-25-0)

Line: Kings (-2.5)
BPI Projection: Kings (122.2-121.9)
Money Line: Kings (-140), Pacers (+118)
BPI Projected winner: Kings (51.1%)
Total: 235.5 points BPI Projected Total: 244.1 points

Injury Report:
Kings: De'Aaron Fox, (OUT - Personal)
Pacers: None reported
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Fantasy streamer: Davion Mitchell (rostered in 1.9% of ESPN leagues) should get the start for the Kings tonight as De'Aaron Fox will miss his matchup with ex teammate Tyrese Haliburton for personal reasons. There's not a lot of thinking to do here but do yourself a favor and try to forget about Mitchell's numbers as a starter this season. It's a small sample size of just three games but he's averaged just 8.0 points and 4.0 assists in the starting lineup thus far. He's going to build on those numbers tonight against a tired Pacer team who blew a fourth-quarter lead and lost a heartbreaker to the Lakers last night. Mitchell will also likely be fired up to play against his former teammate tonight, assuming that Haliburton is cleared to play in a back-to-back. -- Alexander

Fantasy streamer: Malik Monk (rostered in 11.6% of ESPN leagues) is an excellent streamer with De'Aaron Fox already ruled out due to personal reasons. In my opinion, Monk is a better fantasy option than Davion Mitchell, who has struggled in previous starts this season. Monk has scored 24 or more fantasy points in three consecutive games. The Pacers rank 24th in points allowed per 100 possessions. -- Eric Moody

Portland Trail Blazers at Washington Wizards
7 p.m. ET, Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

Records (Against the Spread)
Blazers: 25-26 (26-24-1)
Wizards: 24-26 (24-25-1)

Line: Wizards (-4)
BPI Projection: Wizards (122.2-119.2)
Money Line: Blazers (+152), Wizards (-180)
BPI Projected winner: Wizards (56.6%)
Total: 236.5 points BPI Projected Total: 240.3 points

Injury Report:
Blazers: Jusuf Nurkic, (OUT - Calf)
Wizards: Anthony Gill, (OUT - General Soreness)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Fantasy streamer: Deni Avdija (rostered in 13.6% of ESPN leagues) has kind of been ballin' out of late, scoring in double figures in four straight games and seeing at least 27 minutes in five of his last six. He went off for 25 points, nine rebounds, a steal, a block and two 3-pointers in Monday's win over the Spurs and his rebounding has been top notch as well. Avdija is averaging 16.3 points, 9.5 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.0 3-pointers over his last four games and he's averaging 9.2 rebounds over his last nine games. It's not a coincidence that the Wizards have won six straight games while Avdija's gotten hot and he'll look to keep it going against a banged up Blazers team tonight. Jusuf Nurkic is out with a calf injury and Jerami Grant is very questionable due to a possible concussion. Not only is Avdija a strong stream right now, but he's worth picking up in most formats. -- Alexander

Fantasy streamer: Drew Eubanks (rostered in 3.1 % of ESPN leagues) should be in the starting lineup tonight as Jusuf Nurkic has been ruled out with a calf injury. Additionally, Jerami Grant doesn't sound all that likely to play after leaving Wednesday's game with concussion symptoms, which could make Eubanks even more important tonight. He had a nice 11-point, 11-rebound double-double on Wednesday with a steal and a block, and is averaging 7.7 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in six starts this season. I think he'll fare better than that tonight against Daniel Gafford and Kristaps Porzingis as the Blazers will try to slow down one of the league's hottest teams. Additionally, whoever starts for Grant is worth a stream as well and it will likely either be Nassir Little or Trendon Watford. -- Alexander

Fantasy streamer: Daniel Gafford (rostered in 8.5% of ESPN leagues) is in a great spot against on Friday night against a Trail Blazers' team that ranks 25th in points allowed per 100 possessions. The fact that Portland is a poor defensive rebounding team bodes well for Gafford who has scored 30 or more fantasy points in three of his last four games. -- Eric Moody

Best bet: Damian Lillard over 34.5 points. Lillard is out of his mind right now, scoring 42, 42, 30, 60 and 37 points in each of his last five games and he had a stretch earlier in January when he scored 44, 40, 36, 50, 30 and 34 points in a six-game run. The Wizards are the 13th easiest team in the league for point guards to score against and Lillard will have to try to make up for the loss of Jusuf Nurkic (calf) and possibly Jerami Grant and his 21 points per game, as Grant is very iffy with a possible concussion. Lillard should be able to keep it going tonight and while I don't love that 34.5 number all that much, he is going to likely have to drop 50 if the Blazers are going to have a shot at winning tonight. -- Alexander

Phoenix Suns at Boston Celtics
7:30 p.m. ET, TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts

Records (Against the Spread)
Suns: 27-26 (28-25-0)
Celtics: 37-15 (26-25-1)

Line: Celtics (-9.5)
BPI Projection: Celtics (121.5-110.9)
Money Line: Suns (+345), Celtics (-455)
BPI Projected winner: Celtics (83.5%)
Total: 221.5 points BPI Projected Total: 232.4 points

Injury Report:
Suns: Devin Booker, (OUT - Groin); Jae Crowder, (OUT - Not Injury Related); Cameron Payne, (OUT - Foot); Landry Shamet, (OUT - Foot)
Celtics: Marcus Smart, (OUT - Ankle); Danilo Gallinari, (OUT - Knee)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Best bet: Jayson Tatum over 43.5 points + assists + rebounds. Tatum continues to deliver epic performances for bettors. With 94 career games with 30 or more points, he ties Sam Jones for the fourth most among Celtics players behind Larry Bird (223) Paul Pierce (197) and John Havlicek (179). Tatum has exceeded 43.5 PAR in four consecutive games. There is a strong chance he'll have his fifth against the Suns. -Eric Moody

Trend: The Boston Celtics are big favorites tonight as they wrap up a four-game homestand with the Devin Booker-less Phoenix Suns. I don't blame you if laying the big number is tough to do given the number of close games the C's have played over the past two weeks, but what about the point total? When Boston is a big favorite (9-plus points), overs are 11-6 and over tickets have cashed in seven of Phoenix's 11 games in which they are getting more than three points. -- Kyle Soppe

Toronto Raptors at Houston Rockets
8 p.m. ET, Toyota Center, Houston, Texas

Records (Against the Spread)
Raptors: 23-30 (26-27-0)
Rockets: 13-38 (19-29-3)

Line: Raptors (-7.5)
BPI Projection: Raptors (121.5-114.2)
Money Line: Raptors (-335), Rockets (+260)
BPI Projected winner: Raptors (72.9%)
Total: 225 points BPI Projected Total: 235.1 points

Injury Report:
Raptors: O.G. Anunoby, (OUT - Wrist); Otto Porter Jr., (OUT - Foot)
Rockets: Jabari Smith Jr., (GTD - Hip); Jalen Green, (OUT - Calf); Kevin Porter Jr., (OUT - Foot)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Fantasy streamer: Kenyon Martin Jr. (rostered in 11.1% of ESPN leagues) came through in Wednesday's win over the Thunder with 18 points, seven rebounds, four assists and a 3-pointer on 7-of-13 shooting in 32 minutes. Martin has scored in double figures in four straight games and in eight of his last nine, and while he doesn't rack up a ton of steals, blocks and 3-pointers, he is capable of contributing in each one of those categories. With the Rockets having one of the best fantasy playoff schedules in the league it's a bit surprising he's not rostered in more leagues by now. Over his last four games Martin is averaging 15.8 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists and has hit 28-of-44 shots (64%). Go get him. -- Alexander

Fantasy streamer: Precious Achiuwa (rostered in 19.3% of ESPN leagues) has been starting with O.G. Anunoby hurt and with Anunoby's name all over the place in trade rumors, Achiuwa could be the guy for the Raptors the rest of the way. He's hit double digits in rebounds in five of his last seven games and is averaging 16.6 points and 9.9 rebounds over that stretch. He's also blocked a shot in three straight games and has at least one steal in four straight. His points over/under tonight is 14.5 and a glimpse at his game log will tell you that's a tough call either way, but he should not only be locked and loaded as a fantasy streamer, he's worth grabbing in nearly any league. -- Alexander

Fantasy streamer: Tari Eason (rostered in 10.1% of ESPN leagues) could be provided additional minutes with Jabari Smith Jr. leaving Wednesday's game due to a ribs injury. Eason has scored 32 or more fantasy points in three consecutive games. In games he's played 25 or more minutes, the rookie averages 14.4 points and 9.8 rebounds. -- Moody

Best bet: Fred VanVleet over 34.5 points + assists + rebounds. VanVleet has been playing well lately and has a great matchup against the Rockets, who rank 28th in points allowed per 100 possessions. Over the last seven games, he has averaged 23.9 points, 8.0 assists, and 4.7 rebounds. This season, the Rockets have given up the most points per game and assists per game to point guards. -Eric Moody

Trend: The Toronto Raptors are the talk of the NBA world as we near the trade deadline given their number of impact pieces that could be on the move, but as long as they all continue to dress for the Dinosaurs, tonight profiles as a good spot to invest. The Raptors are 9-5-1 ATS this season against bottom-10 defenses (16-21-1 ATS against the rest of the NBA) while the Houston Rockets are just 7-12 ATS against bottom-10 pace teams. -- Soppe

Orlando Magic at Minnesota Timberwolves
8 p.m. ET, Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Records (Against the Spread)
Magic: 20-32 (29-21-2)
Timberwolves: 28-26 (26-28-0)

Line: Timberwolves (-5)
BPI Projection: Timberwolves (120.9-114.7)
Money Line: Magic (+170), Timberwolves (-205)
BPI Projected winner: Timberwolves (67.3%)
Total: 229.5 points BPI Projected Total: 234.5 points

Injury Report:
Magic: Jonathan Isaac, (GTD - Knee); Chuma Okeke, (OUT - Knee)
Timberwolves: Bryn Forbes, (GTD - Ankle); Rudy Gobert, (GTD - Groin); Jordan McLaughlin, (OUT - Calf); Karl-Anthony Towns, (OUT - Calf)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Best bet: Paolo Banchero under 31.5 points + assists + rebounds. Over the last 15 games, he has averaged only 29 PAR. On the road, Banchero faces a stout Timberwolves defense that ranks seventh in points allowed per 100 possessions. -- Eric Moody

Trend: You're not alone if laying a handful of points with the Minnesota Timberwolves gives you the heebie geebies: 7-12 ATS this season when giving more than four points. Layer in the fact that, after tonight, they have a tough travel schedule (three games in three cities over the course of four days) and that the Orlando Magic are quietly printing money for their backers of late (20-8 ATS run after a 9-13-2 start to the season) ... this is a spot where the 'dog is certainly live.-- Soppe

Philadelphia 76ers at San Antonio Spurs
8 p.m ET, AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas

Records (Against the Spread)
76ers: 33-17 (27-22-1)
Spurs: 14-38 (23-29-0)

Line: 76ers (-10)
BPI Projection: 76ers (125.5-114.8)
Money Line: 76ers (-480), Spurs (+360)
BPI Projected winner: 76ers (83.4%)
Total: 233.5 points BPI Projected Total: 240.3 points

Injury Report:
76ers: Joel Embiid, (GTD - Foot)
Spurs: Tre Jones, (GTD - Foot); Jeremy Sochan, (OUT - Back); Romeo Langford, (OUT - Hip); Devin Vassell, (OUT - Knee)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Best bet: Joel Embiid over 48.5 points+ assists + rebounds. He gets a very favorable matchup against a Spurs team that ranks 30th in points allowed per 100 possessions. San Antonio allows opponents an effective field goal percentage of 58.4%, the highest in the league. In the last 11 games, Embiid has averaged 34.3 points, 3.2 assists, and 10.7 rebounds. This season, the Spurs have given up the third most points per game to centers. In his last six games against the Spurs, Embiid has averaged 31.8 points, 4.2 assists, and 12.0 rebounds. -- Eric Moody

Atlanta Hawks at Utah Jazz
9 p.m. ET, Vivint Arena, Salt Lake City, Utah

Records (Against the Spread)
Hawks: 26-26 (23-27-2)
Jazz: 27-26 (30-23-0)

Line: Jazz (-1.5)
BPI Projection: Jazz (125.5-120.7)
Money Line: Hawks (+100), Jazz (-120)
BPI Projected winner: Jazz (52.7%)
Total: 241 points BPI Projected Total: 242.1 points

Injury Report:
Hawks: None reported
Jazz: Simone Fontecchio, (GTD - Foot); Micah Potter, (OUT - Elbow)
Note: BPI numbers factor players who are ruled out but assumes GTD players will play

Best bet: Clint Capela over 23.5 points + rebounds. Capela had 15 points, 19 rebounds and two blocks in a home loss to the Jazz back in November, and while Walker Kessler wasn't nearly as involved as a Jazz big man then as he is now, Capela should still be capable of having a nice night in Utah. Kessler did play 16 minutes in that game, hit all six of his shots and finished with 12 points, six rebounds and three blocks, so Capela should already know what he's up against. -- Alexander

Trend: Whether it is home-cooking, thin air or something else, the Utah Jazz are an impressive 9-4 ATS in their past 13 home games. Not a bad trend to take into tonight, especially when you consider that this is one of the league's most well rested teams (in the midst of a month stretch where they play just two road games). -- Soppe