Fantasy basketball tips and projections for Friday

Andre Drummond is coming off a monster game and is worth using Friday night. Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images

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What you need to know for Friday's games

Welcome to March! After seeing a thrilling Spurs win over the Thunder on Thursday in which Victor Wembanyama made it very clear that he loves playing against Chet Holmgren, we get a nine-game Friday night that will feature a pair of excellent matchups on ESPN. Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks will visit Jayson Tatum and the Boston Celtics at 7:30 p.m. ET in what could be an impactful game in the NBA's race for MVP, as Doncic and Tatum are running third and fourth in most polls right now. And then the Milwaukee Bucks will visit the Chicago Bulls at 10 p.m. ET in a regional matchup that's always fun. Doncic is out of his mind right now with averages of 37.3 points, 8.8 rebounds, 11.8 assists, 2.3 steals and 4.3 3-pointers over his last four games.

And if you love G League, basketball the Portland Trail Blazers are visiting the Memphis Grizzlies, while the low-key games of the night include Tyrese Haliburton and the Indiana Pacers visiting the New Orleans Pelicans and the Sacramento Kings visiting the Minnesota Timberwolves, with both games taking place at 8 p.m. ET. The big question here will be whether De'Aaron Fox (knee) will play for the Kings or be in street clothes after missing his last game.

On the injury front, I'm guessing the Clippers give Paul George (knee) another day off as they'll face the hapless Washington Wizards in L.A. in a late game, while it will be interesting to see what big men like Paul Reed (Sixers) and Andre Drummond (Bulls) will do, as both of them have been running hot and cold of late. Drummond went nuts in his last game as he started alongside Nikola Vucevic and dropped 17 points, 26 rebounds and three blocks against the Cavaliers on Tuesday, while Reed started in his last game against Boston with Joel Embiid in street clothes, but scored zero points in just 14 minutes. I'm expecting Reed to bounce back against the Charlotte Hornets, while it will be interesting to see what Drummond can do against Brook Lopez and the Bucks tonight.

Friday's Stream Team

This segment nominates three key streaming options ahead of that day's action. A streamer, by our standards, is a player available in at least half of ESPN men's basketball leagues.

Andre Drummond, C, Bulls (12.3% rostered in ESPN leagues): Drummond's Wednesday night performance was epic, and he has averaged 18.5 points, 18.5 rebounds and 2.0 blocks over his last two games. He has a nice matchup against the Hornets tonight, and I don't see why the Bulls won't run him back out there for 30 minutes again. And if you're good at center and are instead in need of a guard, Ayo Dosunmu (18.7%) is worth a look for Chicago, as he's coming off a 21-point game and has scored in double figures in eight of his 10 February games while posting solid stats across the board. He's helped by the fact that Alex Caruso is hurt and sitting out again for the Bulls.

Tre Mann, PG, Hornets (9.7% rostered): Mann was underwhelming in his last game but still had nine points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals in 29 minutes on Thursday against the Bucks and averaged 12.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.9 3-pointers in his eight February games. LaMelo Ball (ankle) is due back any day now and could even play on Friday night, but Mann should remain relevant even when that happens. And if Ball is out again tonight, Mann should have a big game.

Bennedict Mathurin, SG/SF, Pacers (23.5%): Mathurin has been mediocre on most nights, but he also blows up for a monster line about once every two weeks. The last explosion came on Monday when he hit 11-of-15 shots and five 3-pointers on his way to 34 points, nine rebounds, five assists, two steals and a block in 39 minutes against the Raptors. While he doesn't do that every night, he has averaged 19.8 points, 7.5 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.5 steals and 3.3 3-pointers over his last four games. And while you never know what he's going to do next, Mathurin could go off against the Pelicans tonight, despite the stellar defense they play.

Terance Mann, SG/SF, Clippers (3.8%): Mann has been on fire for three straight games, only one of which included Paul George. George is questionable for Friday's game against Washington due to his knee injury ,but my guess is he gets another night off against a team that has only won nine games this season. Mann has averaged 17.7 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.7 3-pointers over his last three games and should be primed for another nice game on Friday night, especially if George is in street clothes for his third straight game. And even if George does play, it would not be surprising if Mann plays well for the Clippers.

Projections and Injury Reports

Fantasy projections powered by ESPN Analytics.* Projections assume all players who are listed as GTD will play. Injury aggregation by Rotowire.com. Players available in at least 50% of ESPN leagues are listed in italics.

Cleveland Cavaliers at Detroit Pistons
7 p.m. Little Caesars Arena, Detroit

BPI Projection: Cavaliers in the 9th highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury Report:
Cavaliers: Donovan Mitchell, (GTD - Knee); Tristan Thompson, (OUT - Suspension); Ty Jerome, (OUT - Ankle)
Pistons: Marcus Sasser, (OUT - Knee)

Cavaliers projections:

Pistons projections:

Charlotte Hornets at Philadelphia 76ers
7 p.m. Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia

BPI Projection: 76ers in the 7th highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury Report:
Hornets: LaMelo Ball, (GTD - Ankle); Mark Williams, (OUT - Back)
76ers: KJ Martin, (GTD - Ankle); De'Anthony Melton, (OUT - Back); Robert Covington, (OUT - Knee); Joel Embiid, (OUT - Knee)

Hornets projections:

76ers projections:

  • Tyrese Maxey, PG/SG: 47.7 FPTS (26.8 pts, 3.9 reb, 6.0 ast, 3.1 3PM)

  • Tobias Harris, SF/PF: 34.7 FPTS (16.3 pts, 5.7 reb, 3.3 ast)

  • Buddy Hield, SG/SF: 29.9 FPTS (12.4 pts, 3.3 reb, 3.9 ast, 2.8 3PM)

  • Kelly Oubre Jr., SF/PF: 26.6 FPTS (15.0 pts, 4.7 reb, 1.1 ast)

  • Paul Reed, PF/C: 23.3 FPTS (9.5 pts, 8.8 reb, 1.3 ast)

  • KJ Martin, SF: 12.3 FPTS (5.7 pts, 2.8 reb, 0.9 ast)

  • Mo Bamba, C: 11.2 FPTS (4.9 pts, 3.6 reb, 0.7 ast)

Dallas Mavericks at Boston Celtics
7:30 p.m. TD Garden, Boston

BPI Projection: Celtics in the 4th highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury Report:
Mavericks: Luka Doncic, (GTD - Ankle)
Celtics: None reported

Mavericks projections:

Celtics projections:

Golden State Warriors at Toronto Raptors
7:30 p.m. Scotiabank Arena, Toronto

BPI Projection: Warriors in the 6th highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury Report:
Warriors: Andrew Wiggins, (GTD - Personal); Gui Santos, (OUT - Knee)
Raptors: Chris Boucher, (GTD - Illness)

Warriors projections:

Raptors projections:

  • Scottie Barnes, SF/PF: 41.3 FPTS (20.6 pts, 8.0 reb, 6.7 ast, 1.5 blk)

  • RJ Barrett, SG/SF: 34.0 FPTS (21.5 pts, 4.7 reb, 3.5 ast, 2.0 3PM)

  • Immanuel Quickley, PG/SG: 32.2 FPTS (17.4 pts, 4.5 reb, 4.0 ast, 2.4 3PM)

  • Jakob Poeltl, C: 26.3 FPTS (10.9 pts, 9.0 reb, 2.5 ast, 1.6 blk)

  • Kelly Olynyk, PF/C: 21.0 FPTS (7.7 pts, 4.6 reb, 3.7 ast)

  • Gary Trent Jr., PG/SG: 20.4 FPTS (11.0 pts, 2.7 reb, 1.2 ast, 2.2 3PM)

  • Bruce Brown, SG/SF: 17.3 FPTS (7.7 pts, 3.3 reb, 2.1 ast)

Portland Trail Blazers at Memphis Grizzlies
8 p.m. FedExForum, Memphis

BPI Projection: Grizzlies in the 8th highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury Report:
Blazers: Deandre Ayton, (GTD - Hand); Moses Brown, (GTD - Wrist); Malcolm Brogdon, (OUT - Elbow); Scoot Henderson, (OUT - Thigh); Shaedon Sharpe, (OUT - Abdomen); Robert Williams III, (OUT - Knee)
Grizzlies: Brandon Clarke, (GTD - Achilles); GG Jackson, (GTD - Quadriceps); John Konchar, (GTD - Thumb); Luke Kennard, (GTD - Illness); Derrick Rose, (OUT - Back); Jaren Jackson Jr., (OUT - Quadriceps); Scotty Pippen Jr., (OUT - Back); Desmond Bane, (OUT - Ankle); Marcus Smart, (OUT - Finger); Ja Morant, (OUT - Shoulder)

Blazers projections:

Grizzlies projections:

Sacramento Kings at Minnesota Timberwolves
8 p.m. Target Center, Minneapolis

BPI Projection: Timberwolves in the 4th highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury Report:
Kings: De'Aaron Fox, (GTD - Knee); Sasha Vezenkov, (OUT - Ankle)
Timberwolves: Anthony Edwards, (GTD - Ankle); Kyle Anderson, (GTD - Knee); Jaylen Clark, (OUT - Achilles)

Kings projections:

  • Domantas Sabonis, PF/C: 44.7 FPTS (20.1 pts, 11.8 reb, 7.3 ast)

  • De'Aaron Fox, PG: 43.2 FPTS (23.0 pts, 3.5 reb, 5.1 ast, 2.6 3PM)

  • Keegan Murray, SF/PF: 28.2 FPTS (14.1 pts, 5.3 reb, 1.6 ast, 2.4 3PM)

  • Kevin Huerter, SG/SF: 24.2 FPTS (11.9 pts, 4.1 reb, 2.2 ast, 2.2 3PM)

  • Malik Monk, SG/SF: 24.2 FPTS (12.3 pts, 2.6 reb, 4.0 ast, 2.0 3PM)

  • Harrison Barnes, SF/PF: 18.9 FPTS (10.4 pts, 2.6 reb, 1.0 ast)

  • Trey Lyles, PF: 13.3 FPTS (6.5 pts, 3.1 reb, 0.8 ast)

Timberwolves projections:

Indiana Pacers at New Orleans Pelicans
8 p.m. Smoothie King Center, New Orleans

BPI Projection: Pelicans in the highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury Report:
Pacers: Aaron Nesmith, (GTD - Ankle); Doug McDermott, (OUT - Calf)
Pelicans: Dyson Daniels, (OUT - Knee)

Pacers projections:

Pelicans projections:

Milwaukee Bucks at Chicago Bulls
10 p.m. United Center, Chicago

BPI Projection: Bucks in the 3rd highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury Report:
Bucks: Khris Middleton, (GTD - Ankle)
Bulls: Alex Caruso, (GTD - Hamstring); Torrey Craig, (OUT - Knee); Lonzo Ball, (OUT - Knee); Patrick Williams, (OUT - Foot); Zach LaVine, (OUT - Foot)

Bucks projections:

Bulls projections:

Washington Wizards at LA Clippers
10:30 p.m. Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles

BPI Projection: Clippers in the 2nd highest-scoring game of the slate.

Injury Report:
Wizards: Bilal Coulibaly, (GTD - Pelvis); Isaiah Livers, (OUT - Hip)
Clippers: Ivica Zubac, (GTD - Illness); Paul George, (GTD - Knee)

Wizards projections:

  • Kyle Kuzma, SF/PF: 42.5 FPTS (24.2 pts, 7.6 reb, 4.1 ast, 2.5 3PM)

  • Deni Avdija, SF/PF: 32.9 FPTS (17.2 pts, 8.5 reb, 3.5 ast)

  • Tyus Jones, PG: 32.1 FPTS (13.3 pts, 3.5 reb, 5.9 ast)

  • Marvin Bagley III, PF/C: 29.7 FPTS (14.7 pts, 9.8 reb, 1.3 ast)

  • Jordan Poole, PG/SG: 27.9 FPTS (15.2 pts, 2.8 reb, 3.8 ast, 2.1 3PM)

  • Corey Kispert, SG/SF: 25.9 FPTS (13.9 pts, 3.5 reb, 2.1 ast, 2.3 3PM)

  • Landry Shamet, SG: 20.7 FPTS (12.5 pts, 2.7 reb, 1.2 ast)

Clippers projections:

  • Kawhi Leonard, SF/PF: 43.7 FPTS (24.1 pts, 6.1 reb, 3.8 ast, 2.1 3PM)

  • James Harden, PG/SG: 39.0 FPTS (17.6 pts, 5.3 reb, 7.1 ast, 2.7 3PM)

  • Paul George, SG/SF/PF: 34.4 FPTS (18.7 pts, 4.4 reb, 3.4 ast, 2.8 3PM)

  • Ivica Zubac, C: 24.0 FPTS (10.7 pts, 8.6 reb, 1.4 ast, 1.4 blk)

  • Russell Westbrook, PG: 21.8 FPTS (10.6 pts, 3.5 reb, 3.5 ast)

  • Terance Mann, SG/SF: 21.2 FPTS (10.4 pts, 4.2 reb, 1.6 ast)

  • Norman Powell, SG/SF: 20.7 FPTS (12.0 pts, 2.8 reb, 1.0 ast, 1.9 3PM)