The NBA starts another month with a solid seven-game slate this Monday as it begins the final four-day stretch before the All-Star break. With 14 teams in action, there are plenty of stars to consider, bargains to find and injury situations to monitor. The Charlotte Hornets and the Houston Rockets are playing for the second day in a row, so be sure to keep an especially close eye out for news update from those teams. To keep up with all the latest fantasy-relevant info, follow @dklive on Twitter and be sure to download the DK Live app.
As you build your DraftKings lineup for what should be a great slate, make sure to take a look at these four cheap plays that can offer solid production at reduced salary while also enabling you to stack up superstars in other roster spots.
SF/PF Miles Bridges, Charlotte Hornets at Portland Trail Blazers, $4,800
Bridges helped the Hornets cover for multiple injury absences on Sunday night and continued to find success in an expanded role. Against Sacramento, the Hornets were without Devonte’ Graham ($5,800; knee), Gordon Hayward ($7,300; hand) and Cody Zeller ($4,900; hip). They still managed to get the win thanks to monster games from LaMelo Ball ($8,700) and PJ Washington ($6,200) along with a game-winner from Malik Monk ($5,500). Amongst those big-game heroics, though, don’t lose sight of the fact that Bridges played 32 minutes and was very efficient with 13 points, nine boards and 31.75 DKFP.
Due to all the injury and availability issues for Charlotte lately, the third-year forward has averaged almost 29 minutes per game over his past 10 contests. During that span, he has produced an average of 26.2 DKFP on 11.3 points, 7.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists and a 14.3% usage rate. He can take a back seat to some of those other scoring options, like Washington last night, and still produce very productive fantasy games. Unless all three starters return for the Hornets, which seems unlikely, look for Bridges to be a solid play with upside under $5K as he finishes his back-to-back against the Trail Blazers.
PG/SG Aaron Holiday, Indiana Pacers at Philadelphia 76ers, $3,500
This game will be critical to monitor for injury news since the 76ers listed both Joel Embiid ($10,600; ankle) and Tobias Harris ($7,900; knee) as questionable and the Pacers listed their backcourt of Malcolm Brogdon ($8,100; knee) and Jeremy Lamb ($4,200, knee) as questionable as well. If Embiid is out, Dwight Howard ($3,500) becomes a great play, and if Harris is out then Shake Milton ($4,500) would step into a larger role. Everyone will be watching the Sixers closely, but there could also be some value on the other side if Holiday is asked to carry more of the load for the Pacers.
While T.J. McConnell ($6,100) has been excellent lately and is priced up in anticipation of his expanded role, Holiday has also seen an uptick in opportunities. His production has been erratic at times but he has taken at least nine shots in seven of his past 11 games with a usage rate of 23.7% over that span. He has scored at least 15 points in three of his past five games, producing over 20 DKFP in each of those contests. If either Lamb or Brogdon is sidelined, that should allow him even more chances at an expanded role, raising his ceiling. The chances should be there either way for the third-year pro and he could be a great bargain play if he can capitalize on those opportunities.
SG/SF PJ Dozier, Denver Nuggets at Chicago Bulls, $3,200
The Nuggets have been without JaMychal Green (shoulder), Paul Millsap (knee) and Gary Harris (thigh) for the past several games, so they must have been thrilled to get Dozier back in action after he missed over a month with a hamstring injury. All three of those players have been ruled out for Monday’s game in addition to rookie R.J. Hampton (health protocols), who will be sidelined through the All-Star break.
On Saturday, Dozier played just 14 minutes in his return since the Nuggets blew the doors off the Thunder. He looked sharp, though, with nine points, six rebounds and 20 DKFP in that limited action. In his six games prior to the injury, Dozier was averaging 21.5 minutes per game and could easily return to around that level quickly given the Nuggets' lack of depth on the wing. He usually contributes good rebounds and assists along with solid scoring, so I think he has a very nice ceiling if his role increases for this matchup against the Bulls.
C Justin Patton, Houston Rockets vs. Cleveland Cavaliers, $3,200
Apparently, you can’t just grab a center from the G-league, toss him into your starting five and have instant success. Who knew? Patton was scooped up by the Rockets on a two-way deal and thrust into a large role since DeMarcus Cousins was waived and Christian Wood (ankle) is still sidelined. Patton has played four games for Houston, and even though he has looked a little out of place, he can be a viable fantasy punt play since he is being asked to absorb so much of the workload.
He moved into the starting lineup for Sunday’s game against the Grizzlies and fouled out after 26 minutes. He had 10 points, five rebounds and two blocks for 20.25 DKFP before departing, and the Rockets ended up getting crushed by 49 points. As they finish their back-to-back against the Cavaliers, they’ll have to contend with Jarrett Allen ($8,500) down low, so the Rockets could again turn to Patton for significant playing time. He did show some potential in his time in the G-league and should be able to do enough to return good value at this bargain-basement salary if he’s in the starting lineup again on Monday.
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