After the first three days of the new NBA regular season, every team has gotten their season underway coming into Friday night’s nine-game fantasy basketball contest. Every team taking the floor will be playing their second game of the season, and none of the 18 teams are playing on the second night of a back-to-back.
It has been a great start to the season, and there are lots of fun storylines to check out. I’m excited to again be able to bring you my bargain values each Monday, Wednesday and Friday here on the DraftKings Playbook. Each edition features four players who cost under $4K but are still in a place to produce nice returns on minimal investment. Here are the four bargains I like the most this Friday:
PG TYUS JONES, MEM vs. CHI, $3,600Jones showed some very nice fantasy upside when given the opportunity the past few seasons with the Timberwolves, and he put together a nice Grizzlies debut with 29.75 DKFP on Wednesday against the Heat. Jones came off the bench and played 24 minutes, totaling 15 points, seven assists, two steals and a rebound.
With Ja Morant ($6,400) firmly in the starting lineup, Jones’ role off the bench could fluctuate from night-to-night depending on how the rookie performs. The four-year veteran showed he still comes with a nice ceiling, though, and can provide nice value when he gets a chance to get it going. The Bulls dropped their opener and gave up 126 points to the Hornets, so their defense is very much still a work in progress, making this a solid matchup for Jones.
PG/SG JALEN BRUNSON, DAL at NO, $3,500Brunson is another solid guard option who can produce off the bench. Last season, he started 38 games, but at the start of this season, he is expected to back up Delon Wright ($4,800) and Luke Doncic ($9,200). Brunson had 21 DKFP in 24 minutes in the season opener with nine points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals.
As the primary ballhandler in the second unit, Brunson has the opportunity to fill up the stat sheet and contribute in multiple categories. He has a good matchup against the Pelicans and looks like he’s past a hamstring injury that slowed him down a little this preseason.
PF/C NICOLO MELLI, NO vs. DAL, $3,400The Pelicans are adjusting to the loss of Zion Williamson (knee) for a few weeks, and Melli is a very interesting option who can help fill in the gaps. Melli played 20 minutes in the Pelicans’ season opener and hit four three-pointers on his way to 14 points, five rebounds, two assists and 24.25 DKFP.
The 28-year-old Italian rookie can help New Orleans spread the floor and offers more range than Derrick Favors ($5,700) and Jahlil Okafor ($3,200). Melli’s offensive versatility should keep him very involved while Williamson is out and make him a solid cheap play with a high ceiling if he keeps hitting his outside shot.
PF/C FRANK KAMINSKY, PHO at DEN, $3,300The Suns took a huge hit on Thursday when they found out they’ll be without Deandre Ayton, who was suspended 25 games for violating the NBA’s Anti-Drug policy. Ayton is appealing and could be available if things move quickly, but he’s scheduled to start his suspension immediately and won’t return until Dec. 17 if there is no reduction. While he is out, the Suns will be very thin in the middle with Kaminsky, Aron Baynes ($3,200) and Cheick Diallo ($3,200) splitting up Ayton’s usage and minutes.
In his Suns debut, Kaminsky looked solid, producing 17 DKFP with nine points, four rebounds and two assists in 19 minutes. Last season, Frank the Tank languished on the Hornets bench most of the season and only played significant minutes towards the end of the year. In his final 21 games of the year, he averaged 12.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 23.1 DKFP in 22.6 minutes per contest. With Ayton out, Kaminsky should easily get that much playing time and have the opportunity to step into a larger role in the Phoenix offense. He’s a great bargain on this slate since pricing came out before the suspension was announced, and his salary will likely climb if he takes advantage of this opportunity.
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.