The Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant ($5,900) had his best game of the season on Wednesday night on the road against the Washington Wizards. Bryant poured in 31 points and managed 41 fantasy points on the evening.
NBA.com's David Aldridge talked about Bryant's performance early on Wednesday night:
This performance wasn't enough to convince anyone he'll be amazing for the rest of the season, but it does seem as though Bryant might have found some peace since announcing he would retire at the end of the season.
On Friday, the Lakers and Bryant visit the Atlanta Hawks on the next stop of the legend's farewell tour. With some of the pressure of the season seemingly lifted off of him and a full day's rest between this and Wednesday's game, expect Bryant's jumper to fall again on Friday night.
The Hawks are one of only five teams in the Eastern Conference allowing 100 points or more per game. Bryant may not top 30 points again, but expect him to put up at least 20, and that should help facilitate a fantasy performance worth his mild DraftKings salary.
|Optimal NBA DraftKings Picks for December 4|
|PG||Shane Larkin||NY Knicks||$3,700|
|F||LeBron James||New Orleans||$10,000|
|Salaries per DraftKings, picks by Mazique|
James Harden ($10,500)
The guy whose stat line looks the most like Bryant's old numbers is the Houston Rockets' James Harden. After a slow start to the season, the Beard has again established himself as one of the most dependable fantasy performers in the NBA.
He's had at least 51 fantasy points in his last six games, and he's eclipsed 60 or more in three of his last 10. While he's still not the most efficient scorer (.398 field-goal percentage), he takes a ton of shots (20.8 field-goal attempts per game) and rebounds (6.7) and collects his share of assists (6.6).
Because of this, Harden is still a sure bet on off nights. If he finds the range in Big D against the Dallas Mavericks, he could deliver a 75-plus fantasy-point performance.
LeBron James ($10,000)
LeBron James rarely explodes for monster 60-70 fantasy-point nights. However, if you want a guaranteed 45, he's your guy. King James had at least 44 fantasy points in each of his last 10 games.
On Friday, James might be in line for one of those monster nights. He and the Cleveland Cavaliers are on the road against the NBA's worst defensive team in the New Orleans Pelicans.
Alvin Gentry's team allows 109.1 points per game to opponents, 46 percent shooting from the field and just under 40 percent accuracy from three-point range.
James is ever the willing passer. Expect him to get his share of points but to also rack up the assists, finding open shooters against a defense that doesn't defend the arc well. Can you say triple-double?
Julius Randle ($6,200)
Bryant's woes and retirement have been getting all of the attention in Laker land, but second-year power forward Julius Randle is putting together a solid NBA season.
He's becoming a double-double machine. Randle has tallied three straight and five in his last 10 games. With his reasonable DK salary, he has the potential to pay big dividends on Friday if he can continue his streak.
Shane Larkin ($3,700)
While his minutes have been a little inconsistent, the Brooklyn Nets' Shane Larkin has seemingly settled in as his team's first man off the bench. Recently, he's been quite productive in relief of starter Jarrett Jack.
Larkin filled the stat sheet with 11 points, five rebounds, eight assists, a block and two steals for 35.75 fantasy points against the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night. It's a safe bet that head coach Lionel Hollins will look to him for solid minutes again on Friday against the New York Knicks.
When given the time, Larkin has produced this season. It's worth the draft slot and the modest DK salary to choose him on Friday.
Play today’s Sharpshooter contest for FREE with your first deposit. Use Promo Code BLEACHER REPORT to get a 100 percent first-deposit bonus up to $600.
Follow Brian Mazique on Twitter