Note: Games not listed here have no significant injuries to report.
Boston @ Detroit
On the Celtics side of the ball, Marcus Smart will be returning after a hand injury sidelined him for a month. While Smart isn’t a high usage player, he will cut into Terry Rozier’s playing time and Jayson Tatum sees a 1.8% dip in usage rate when he’s on the court alongside Smart.
Reggie Bullock is dealing with an illness, but he practiced on Thursday and is fully expected to play on Friday, so there is no major news to report for the Pistons.
Atlanta @ Indiana
Malcolm Delaney has been ruled out of Friday’s game with a knee injury and Isaiah Taylor is questionable. With the Hawks spread thin for backup guards, this news means that Dennis Schroeder will probably have a bit of a longer leash and should have a safe minute’s floor of 30+.
Charlotte @ Washington
The Hornets and Wizards are both playing in the second half of back-to-back sets, so if any injury comes out of tonight’s games this article will be updated to reflect this tomorrow morning. Going into Thursday night’s games, both teams were relatively health with not major injuries to report.
Milwaukee @ Toronto
John Henson is listed as probable for the Bucks after missing four of the past five games with a hamstring injury. His return effectively ends any DFS appeal that Tyler Zeller and Thon Maker had. While Henson only has a 16.4% usage rate on the season, Khris Middleton surprisingly sees a 3.5% usage decrease in the 1,012.3 minutes they have played together this season. Here are the changes in the Bucks usage with Henson on the floor this season:
Minnesota @ Houston
After missing three weeks with a hamstring injury, Trevor Ariza is set to return for the Rockets on Friday night. Ariza’s return will likely result in a cut in playing time for players like Gerald Green, P.J. Tucker, and Luc Mbah a Moute. Ariza is a low volume player with a 14.6% usage so his return will not have much of an effect on the Rockets’ offense in terms of touches.
Miami @ New Orleans
There is no major news to report on either side of the ball for this game. However, Kelly Olynyk is expected to miss his fifth straight game with a shoulder injury. In his absence, James Johnson and Bam Adebayo will see extended run in the frontcourt and will both be viable fantasy options against a Pelicans defense that ranks 18th in FD points allowed to power forwards.
San Antonio @ Denver
Rudy Gay will return to the Spurs lineup after missing nearly two months with a heel injury. Prior to his injury, Gay sported a 24.8% usage rate and 1.01 FD points per minutes which were second and third on the team, respectively. While he is likely to be eased back into the rotation, Kyle Anderson should see an immediate hit in value. For what it’s worth, here is how the Spurs’ usage shapes up with Gay on the floor.
On the Denver side of the ball, Will Barton is listed as questionable with strep throat. If he is unable to go, there should be some extra opportunities for Gary Harris and Jamal Murray on the offensive end. In 470 minutes this season, Harris sees a 3.2% bump in usage without Barton on the floor and Murray leads the team with a 27.1% usage rate. Mason Plumlee is also set to return from a calf injury that had sidelined for the past few weeks. His return could cut into the production of Trey Lyles and Wilson Chandler. This is the Nuggets usage on the season with Barton off the floor.
Los Angeles Clippers @ Phoenix
Avery Bradley missed Thursday night’s game and it is possible that he sits out again on Friday as well. In his absence, Tyrone Wallace will shift into the starting lineup but he should be considered a GPP dart throw at best.
For the Suns, Tyler Ulis is questionable to play with a back injury. Elfriid Payton should continue to have safe minutes as the Suns’ starting point guard and he has played in this role so far, averaging 1.11 FD points per minute and a 23.2% usage rate across 89.4 minutes.
Portland @ Utah
After going through practice on Thursday, Ricky Rubio is questionable to play on Friday with a hip injury. If he is forced to miss another game, several players would continue to benefit in his absence including Donovan Mitchell, Joe Ingles, and Royce O’Neale.
Dallas @ Los Angeles Lakers
Lonzo Ball is set to return for the Lakers on Friday night and it will definitely be interesting to see how the backcourt minutes will shape out. As of now, there hasn’t been an announcement on how many minutes Ball will play but we can probably expect him to be limited in his first game back from a knee injury.