After a week-long All-Star break, the NBA returned to action Thursday, and Friday night features a stuffed nine-game slate that gets the weekend off to a great start. The Timberwolves, Thunder and Suns are on the second night of their respective back-to-backs, while the other 15 teams will be playing for the first time in a full week. While fatigue shouldn’t be a factor for those teams, there is still plenty of injury news to keep up with, so be sure to follow @dklive on Twitter and the DK Live app leading up to tipoff.
As you search for just the right bargain value option to round out your Friday night roster, check out my favorite cheap plays highlighted below, who I think are poised to outproduce their affordable price points. As we approach the start of the main slate at 7:00 p.m. ET, I’ll provide 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 Immanuel Quickley, New York Knicks vs. Miami Heat, $4,300
Quickley has had an uneven sophomore season in New York so far, but he should get a chance to shine the rest of the way now that Kemba Walker (knee) has been shut down for the season. Derrick Rose ($6,200; ankle) could eventually pick up some of Walker’s minutes, but he’s doubtful for this contest, giving Quickley a shot to step up first.
He went into the break on a high note, shooting 7-for-10 and producing 18 points, six rebounds, four assists and 34.5 DKFP in 21 minutes vs. the Nets. It was a welcomed breakout for IQ after he shot just 21.6% from the field over his previous eight games and averaged only 9.9 DKFP on 16.2 minutes per contest. The Knicks have underwhelmed overall this season, but shutting down Walker could signify a move to let the younger players get more run the rest of the season. Despite his inconsistency, Quickley still has a lot of talent and upside, and he should get at least this game to showcase his ceiling with a heavy workload before Rose returns.
PG Ish Smith, Washington Wizards vs. San Antonio Spurs, $4,200
Smith was one of my big winners at the trade deadline, as he moved from Charlotte’s backlogged backcourt to a wide-open opportunity in Washington. The Wizards traded Spencer Dinwiddie ($5,400) and lost Bradley Beal (wrist) for the season, so they needed to get Smith back in the Montrezl Harrell ($5,600) deal. Smith has already provided a nice veteran presence in his return to Washington, and he has led the second unit very well while Raul Neto ($4,700) has been starting.
Smith played more minutes and was more productive than Neto vs. the Nets in the Wizards’ final game before the break. The veteran put together 15 points, six assists and 29 DKFP in his 27 minutes compared to 23.5 DKFP in 21 minutes for Neto. Since joining the Wizards, Smith has averaged 10.5 points, 5.3 assists, 2.3 rebounds, 1.0 steal and 24 DKFP on 22 minutes per game with an 18.8% usage rate. Smith has had over 19 DKFP in all four of his gams since joining the Wizards and should be a great play at this price vs. the Spurs. If you need big-man value, it’s also worth taking a look at Smith’s partner in the second unit, Rui Hachimura ($4,000), who has been working his way back to full strength after a delayed start to the season.
SG/SF Eric Gordon, Houston Rockets at Orlando Magic, $4,000
The Rockets opted not to trade the 33-year-old veteran at the trade deadline, and he has been a productive part of the rotation when available this season. He sat out Houston’s final game before the break with groin soreness but isn’t on the injury report for this contest, which should be a high-scoring one vs. the Magic.
Overall, in his 47 games, Gordon has averaged 23.25 DKFP on 29.7 minutes per game with a 19.7% usage rate. In his past 12 games, he has averaged 14 points, 3.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 21.4 DKFP on 31.2 minutes per game. He usually logs heavy workloads in games which the Rockets are competitive throughout and produced at least 28 DKFP three times in that 12-game span, including in his most recent active contest, which was against the Suns.
PG/SG Lonnie Walker IV, San Antonio Spurs at Washington Wizards, $3,900
The Spurs were another team that opened up playing time in the backcourt at the trade deadline. Right after the trade of Derrick White to Boston, Devin Vassell ($5,000) emerged as a great option in an expanded role, but Walker should also be in a spot to step up now that he’s getting back to 100% after battling knee soreness immediately following the trade.
In his three games since returning to full speed, he has attempted a whopping 46 shots, accruing a massive 26.9% usage rate in those contests. He typically is a high-volume shooter off the bench, but he was actually relatively efficient in those three games, scoring 17, 21 and 17 points. He also added five rebounds in each of his two most recent games, producing 33.25 and 28.75 DKFP. Walker is going to be a restricted free agent after the season, so the Spurs need to give him enough playing time to decide if they’ll match any offer sheet he gets in the upcoming offseason. Especially if he continues chipping in non-scoring production, he’ll have a lot of upside in this matchup vs. Washington.
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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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