Chicago Bulls v Indiana Pacers

The NBA finishes out the work week with an eight-game fantasy basketball slate this Friday night, highlighted by the Rockets hosting the Pacers while the Thunder host the Sixers in early action and both the Celtics and the Lakers trying to continue their sizzling starts on the West Coast as they match up with the Warriors and Kings, respectively. There is plenty of star power scheduled to be in action led by James Harden ($12,300), LeBron James ($10,800) and Karl-Anthony Towns ($10,000), who are the three players with five-figure salaries.

If you’re stretching your salary cap to include some of the more expensive options, you might need to dive into the bargain bin to find some cheap options to balance out your salaries. To help you find the best value options, here are my four in play for under $4K for this Friday.


EDITOR’S NOTE: Bradley (leg) will miss 1-2 weeks, per The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

Bradley is listed as probable with a lower leg injury but should be a good value if he takes the court for Los Angeles in its first matchup of the season against the Kings. Bradley played just 24 minutes Wednesday since the Lakers were cruising past the Warriors and finished with only 9.25 DKFP. Before that, though, he had at least eight points and 18 DKFP in six straight games.

During those six contests, Bradley averaged 10.8 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.2 steals and 21.7 DKFP. He doesn’t have the highest ceiling with LeBron James and Anthony Davis ($9,600) dominating the offensive usage, but he usually plays almost 30 minutes a game and contributes solid complementary scoring and other stats, which put him in the range of returning 5x value. Especially against a banged-up Kings backcourt (more on that in a minute), Bradley should be a safe way to get solid returns under $4K.


While they aren’t as high profile as the Warriors, the Pacers have been beaten up by injury early in the season and will remain without key contributors as they visit the Rockets. Myles Turner (ankle), Jeremy Lamb (ankle) and Edmond Sumner (hand) are all out and Victor Oladipo (knee) still is working his way back from last year’s injury, which has opened the door for McDermott to actually get some good run. McBuckets has been a little up-and-down over his past four games but has scored at least nine points in each outing and produced 37.25 and 28.5 DKFP in two of those contests. In a game where there should be plenty of 3-point opportunities, McDermott has a high ceiling and should get enough run to be a fantasy factor. He isn’t as reliable as Bradley but does have nice upside.

I couldn’t quite fit in a center on my top four in play under $4K, but there are two big men in this matchup I like a lot. Goga Bitadze ($4,000) will be returning from his concussion and should be a good play after posting more than 18 DKFP in his previous four games, averaging 27 DKFP in 24 minutes during that span. Tyson Chandler ($4,000) also should be a good deal for Houston since he’ll get the start in place of Clint Capela (concussion) and get enough minutes to do damage on the boards especially. While neither of them quite qualifies for this post, consider them bonus picks and use them in the middle if you go cheap at center.


The Rockets likely will be without Eric Gordon (knee) and Danuel House ($4,200; back, doubtful) in addition to Capela as they host the Pacers, so there should again be plenty of minutes for McLemore as Houston starts a back-to-back set. McLemore started against the Clippers on Wednesday and had eight points, five boards and 18.25 DKFP in 23 minutes.

He could end up with even more workload Friday and still is affordable. If House stays out, McLemore likely will get another start. Austin Rivers ($3,700) saw a huge bump in minutes against his dad and the Clippers, but McLemore still is my preferred fantasy option since he contributes in multiple categories and should get more work on the wing if P.J. Tucker ($4,500) spends more time at C with no Capela.


The Kings lost De’Aaron Fox (ankle) on Monday for 3-4 weeks after he severely sprained his ankle in practice. While Cory Joseph ($4,600) drew the start Tuesday and played 38 minutes, Ferrell looked better and could earn his way into more time while Fox is out. Farrell was out of the rotation while Fox and Joseph were healthy but looked good this preseason when given a chance.

Ferrell played 16 minutes Tuesday and quickly had nine points on 3-of-4 shooting to go with three rebounds and three assists to post 17.25 DKFP compared to just 18 DKFP for Joseph. If he can earn more looks against the Lakers, he could grow his role for the coming weeks and also be a great return on his salary, which is barely more than $3.5K.

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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.