Friday night is going to be a wild one in the NBA after a busy trade deadline has teams ready for the final push to the postseason, which is now just over 50 days away. There are 11 games on the schedule for Friday, providing a giant slate of fantasy basketball on DraftKings.
The Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat and Portland Trail Blazers are all finishing up back-to-back sets while 10 of the other 22 teams in action will turn around and play again on Saturday. With so many games going on and players still joining their new teams after trades, there is sure to be plenty of availability news throughout the day on Friday, so make sure to monitor the news at @dklive on Twitter and download the DK Live app to stay up to date with who’s in, who’s out and who should be in your lineup. Value options typically open up during the day as players' statuses are updated, but here are the four bargain plays I like the most coming into Friday. They are set up to offer solid production at a reduced salary, allowing additional salary cap space for other roster spots.
SG/SF Dwayne Bacon, Orlando Magic vs. Portland Trail Blazers, $4,800
No team was more aggressive sellers at this season’s NBA Trade Deadline than the Magic, who shipped out Nikola Vucevic to the Bulls, Aaron Gordon to the Nuggets and Evan Fournier to the Celtics. There should be plenty of usage available for the remaining options in Orlando the rest of the way, which should mean some extra helpings of Bacon for the next few weeks. Bacon started 26 games for Orlando while filling in for various injuries earlier this season and averaged 11.2 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.2 assists in those contests. Bacon scored at least nine points in four of six starts in his most recent tenure in the lineup despite only a 17.8% usage rate. With so few offensive options remaining, Bacon’s usage should tick up in this contest against the Blazers.
Bacon hasn’t made a three-pointer in his past two games but totaled 10 in his six games prior to that. He can hit from deep while chipping in solid defensive and rebounding stats. Especially if Terrence Ross ($7,500; knee, questionable) remains sidelined, Bacon should be in for a much larger workload in the short term.
SG/SF Bogdan Bogdanovic, Atlanta Hawks at Golden State Warriors, $4,500
Bogdanovic is another wing whose usage is on the rise and makes a solid value option with positional flexibility to play at either a guard or forward spot. Bogdanovic is coming off a 20-point performance against the Kings on Wednesday, adding four boards and two steals to produce 34.0 DKFP. He played 32 minutes in that game, which was his highest minutes total since the first week of the season. To this point, the return of De’Andre Hunter ($5,200; knee, probable) hasn’t crowded Bogdanovic’s workload, since the Hawks definitely view him as part of their core.
Bogdanovic was sidelined with a knee injury of his own for over six weeks but seems to be getting his footing as part of the Hawks’ second unit. He has played at least 29 minutes in three of his past four games and averaged 28.1 DKFP on 16.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.0 steals over that stretch. If he keeps getting so much run, his non-scoring numbers should continue to return, and he’ll be a solid play in this matchup with the Warriors.
SG Paul Watson, Toronto Raptors vs. Phoenix Suns , $3,800
Editor’s note: Raptors SG Paul Watson (health protocols) has been ruled out tonight.
While the Raptors opted not to follow through on the biggest trade rumor they were connected to, they did make several trades that thinned out their backcourt depth. Kyle Lowry ($7,900) and Fred VanVleet ($8,000) are still around as starters but Norman Powell, Terence Davis and Matt Thomas were all traded away off the Raptors’ bench. The Raptors will be looking to Watson and Malachi Flynn ($3,200) to pick up some extra work off the bench as a result, and Watson has shown some flashes of upside which makes him an intriguing play if he steps into an expanded role.
Watson played 21 minutes on Wednesday against the Nuggets and hit four three-pointers on his way to 12 points, six rebounds and 24.5 DKFP. He has averaged just under 20 minutes per game over his past 10 contests but has only had a 10.4% usage rate. In his game Wednesday, he had a 14.9% usage rate, and he could be a good value if that’s the kind of work he gets moving forward now that those other options are all playing elsewhere. Powell’s departure in particular should open up more work for Watson.
C D.J. Wilson, Houston Rockets at Minnesota Timberwolves, $3,400
The Rockets acquired Wilson in the P.J. Tucker ($3,500) trade earlier this month, which is why he’s already playing for his new team and starting to establish himself as a decent option in a very thin Rockets rotation. Wilson was playing only sparingly with the Bucks but has established himself as the primary backup behind Christian Wood ($8,400), quickly passing Justin Patton ($3,500), who had a brief stint as a value starter.
Wilson played a season-high 19 minutes on Wednesday against Charlotte and finished with eight points, eight boards and 21.5 DKFP. That game was a 25-point blowout loss for the Rockets, but unfortunately for Houston, that has become the norm now for this team. Wilson had a 24.9% usage rate and 23.0% rebound rate in his 19 minutes, and he should be able to post strong numbers as part of the Rockets’ second unit if he keeps getting around 20 minutes of run the rest of the way. The Timberwolves have been a favorable matchup for opposing centers this season, and Wilson doesn’t have to do much to be a great value at this ultra-cheap salary.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Z.Thompson) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.
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