Since the entire NBA has Christmas Eve off on Tuesday, Monday features a jam-packed 11-game fantasy basketball slate. There are a handful of players whose salaries have climbed to over $10K led by Trae Young ($11,200), whose salary moves past James Harden’s ($11,000) due to a favorable matchup against the Cavs.
Whether you’re looking to build around those guards or some of the other high-priced options, there are some nice bargains to consider to help balance out your salary cap. Check out these four in play for under $4K.
PG/SG ELIE OKOBO, PHO vs. DEN, $3,700Okobo got a spot start on Saturday for Ricky Rubio ($7,000; illness), who is questionable for Monday’s game. The second-year guard has been stepping up lately with Rubio and Devin Booker ($7,900) both battling injury. In his start Saturday, he finished with 29 DKFP on 17 points, four rebounds and three assists in a season-high 30 minutes.
In each of his past three games, Okobo has scored at least 10 points and produced over 20 DKFP. If Rubio is out or limited, Okobo will be a great play, but he’s worth a look even if Rubio is able to return, although he’ll have a lower ceiling. First-round rookie Ty Jerome ($3,100) also had a good game in Rubio’s absence with a career-high 15 points and 25 DKFP in 22 minutes. Both Suns’ guards are worth a look if Rubio is out, but Okobo is a lightly better play if he gets another start.
PF/C CHRIS BOUCHER, TOR at IND, $3,500I hyped up Boucher on Friday when he stepped into a larger role after injuries to Marc Gasol (hamstring) and Pascal Siakam (groin), but he took a back seat to Serge Ibaka ($7,700), who logged 36 minutes and had 44.5 DKFP. Boucher ended up with just 10.25 DKFP in 13 minutes in that contest, but he showed his great upside with a big game on Sunday.
Boucher helped the Raptors rally from a 30-point deficit against the Mavericks and finished with 21 points, seven rebounds, four blocks and 41.25 DKFP. Boucher made a big dunk and hit two free throws in the closing minute of the game to help the Raptors complete the comeback and showed a very solid connection with Kyle Lowry ($8,800). Boucher may not totally eclipse Ibaka every night like he did in that game, but he does have the potential to step up with big numbers like this. His high ceiling and great per-minute numbers make him a great play at under $4K on this slate and one of my top pickups from the waiver wire for season-long leagues.
PG/SG SHABAZZ NAPIER, MIN at GS, $3,400Another player coming off a big game on Sunday who benefits from salaries coming out before Sunday’s results were all in is Napier, who moved into the starting lineup for the Timberwolves in place of Jarrett Culver ($3,200) the past two games. Napier struggled in his first start of the season on Friday, shooting just 1-for-6 but still finishing with 18.5 DKFP since he added four rebounds, five assists and a steal to his four points.
On Sunday in a matchup against his former team, the Trail Blazers, Napier dropped 18 points in 30 minutes to go with four boards, four assists and three steals on his way to an impressive 35.5 DKFP. He has been playing well and working his way back to full strength after a hamstring injury hampered him earlier this season. If he sticks in the lineup, he has an extremely high ceiling as Minnesota finishes its back-to-back with a favorable matchup against Golden State.
PF/C SKAL LABISSIERE, POR vs. NO, $3,100Carmelo Anthony ($6,100; knee) left last Friday’s game with a knee bruise and missed Sunday’s game against Minnesota. In those two games, Labissiere has stepped into a larger role and put up very solid numbers. He had eight points, five rebounds, three assists, two blocks and 22.25 DKFP in 24 minutes in the game where Melo was hurt and followed that with 11 points, eight rebounds, two blocks, two assists and 28.0 DKFP in 26 minutes on Sunday.
Labissiere has gone off a few times, including when he dropped 56 DKFP against the Bucks in a spot start earlier this season. While he doesn’t appear to have a clear path to enough playing time to make that a realistic ceiling, he has been playing well and taking advantage of the extra opportunities. If Anthony remains out, Labissiere is a solid late play as an alternative to Boucher, although Boucher does have a higher ceiling.
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