After a light two-game slate on Thursday, the NBA is back to tip off the weekend with a fully-packed 11-game slate this Friday night. The Lakers and Timberwolves are both in action for the second straight day on the road as they visit Charlotte and Phoenix, respectively. Make sure to follow @dklive on Twitter and the DK Live app throughout the day for fantasy-relevant breaking news and analysis for this slate.
With injuries piling up at the end of a busy week for many teams, rotations continue to be in flux coming into the weekend. Whether your squad is pretty much assembled and you’re looking for a final member or you prefer to start your team with cheap plays and work your way up the salary chart, I think the four players highlighted below are in great spots to outproduce their bargain-basement salaries. As we approach roster lock, I’ll give any updates to these values on Twitter @ZT_Sports, where you can also find my four to play under $4K each day of the NBA season.
PG/SG Bogdan Bogdanovic, Atlanta Hawks vs. Boston Celtics, $4,400
Bogdanovic just came back from missing five games with a knee injury, but he looked back to full strength and seemed ready to contribute on Wednesday against the Kings. In just 23 minutes, Bogdanovic supplied 35.25 DKFP on 18 points, seven assists, three rebounds and a steal.
He has only played six games since Christmas, but he has scored at least 15 points and posted at least 26 DKFP in all but one of those outings, which was the game he left due to injury. While he came off the bench on Wednesday, he will likely return to the lineup soon since he was in a starting role earlier this season. When he’s fully healthy, he typically plays around 28-to-30 minutes and contributes across the stat sheet. Whether off the bench or back in the starting five, his solid blend of upside and reliability will likely force Bogdanovic’s salary to rise as he settles back into his productive role. Take advantage of the discount for this matchup Friday.
SG/SF Devin Vassell, San Antonio Spurs vs. Chicago Bulls, $4,000
The Spurs will welcome DeMar DeRozan ($8,500) back to San Antonio along with the rest of the banged-up Bulls. Vassell has been one of the key young producers to step into DeRozan’s former spot and has been seeing increased playing time since returning from the health and safety protocols in mid-January. While his efficiency can be uneven, making him a little controversial in fantasy circles, Vassell’s volume is definitely there and gives him strong upside. He has attempted at least 10 shots in each of his past 12 games, so even though he’s only shooting 43.2% from the field, he has averaged 14.0 points over that span. Missed shots don’t hurt you in DraftKings scoring, so Vassell is a solid play at only $4K.
In his 12 games this month, Vassell has averaged 26.2 DKFP on 14.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 0.8 steals in 27.9 minutes per game. He has put up at least 30 DKFP four times in that span and even hit 40.5 DKFP in a rout of the Thunder. He has at least 23 DKFP in three straight as well and should be able to return 5x value in this matchup since the Bulls are missing several key parts of their defense.
SF/PF Terance Mann, Los Angeles Clippers vs. Miami Heat, $4,000
The comeback Clippers have been without Marcus Morris Sr. (personal) this week in addition to Paul George (knee) and Kawhi Leonard (knee), who are dealing with long-term injuries. Mann has taken on more work as a result and moved into the starting lineup for both of the Clippers’ back-to-back wins on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Mann was a key contributor to the Clips’ huge comeback win over the Wizards, playing 32 minutes and logging 16 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals for 33.25 DKFP. He started again the following night and finished with 20 DKFP on 14 points, two assists and a steal. In his past 17 starts, Mann has reached at least 20 DKFP 13 times, so he’s a very solid pick at only $4K with Morris still out. Mann doesn’t typically log an extremely high usage rate but piles up enough counting stats to give him a high ceiling and a high floor.
PF/C Jalen Smith, Phoenix Suns vs. Minnesota Timberwolves $3,400
The Suns catch the Timberwolves on the back half of a brutal back-to-back made up of road games in Golden State and Phoenix. While the uncertainty around injuries to D’Angelo Russell ($7,800; shin) and Patrick Beverley ($4,300; ankle) could open up value in Minnesota’s backcourt for Jaylen Nowell ($4,000) and Malik Beasley ($3,800), there’s already some nice value in the frontcourt on the Phoenix side of things due to injury. Deandre Ayton (ankle) and JaVale McGee (knee) will remain out for a second straight game. On Wednesday, Bismack Biyombo ($5,800) started and posted a solid 27.5 DKFP in 29 minutes, but it’s also worth noting that Smith re-entered the rotation as well. Prior to that contest, Smith hadn’t played in three straight games since the rotation was too crowded. He looked at home in his return, though, quickly posting eight points, seven rebounds and 21.25 DKFP in 19 minutes.
Smith played a larger role prior to the Suns bringing back Biyombo and logged a six-game stretch when he averaged 32.3 DKFP in 25.5 minutes per game on 15.8 points and 10.2 rebounds. While he probably won’t get quite that much run with Biyombo around, he should get enough minutes as the primary backup big man to return value on this extremely affordable salary. He also has the potential to really go off if this game gets out of hand and he cleans up in garbage time.
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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 do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. 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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