The NBA finishes the work week with a flurry this Friday with a 10-game fantasy basketball slate lineup up to start the weekend right. The schedule is highlighted by the Thunder rolling into Milwaukee to face the Bucks, followed by the Clippers hosting the Nuggets in a battle of two of the top teams in the Western Conference.
As you build your team from those matchups and the rest of the 20 teams taking the floor on a full Friday, take a look at these four bargain plays available for under $4K. Using one or two cheap plays like this that still bring production can help power your lineup to a big number and help balance out your salary cap if you include big-salaried superstars.
PROP BET TO CONSIDER
Set your lineups here: NBA $450K Mini Leap Million [$100K to 1st]
SF/PF MICHAEL PORTER JR., DEN at LAC, $3,700Porter had found a nice role as the Nuggets’ sixth man and instant offensive option off the bench in January, averaging 14.9 points, 9.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.8 steals and 35.2 DKFP over a nine-game span over the second half of the month. Unfortunately, as has been the theme throughout his brief NBA career so far, he was derailed by injury. This time it was a right ankle sprain that kept him out of the final six games before the All-Star break.
The good news for Porter, though, is that he’s starting to get back to full health and has played in all three games coming out of the break. He was limited to under 10 minutes in each of his first two contests but played 22 minutes Tuesday against the Pistons and produced 13 points, eight boards and 24 DKFP. Even if he isn’t quite back to the form he showed last month, he is trending the right way and brings a very high ceiling for a value play. If the Nuggets want to show they can hang with the best of the West, they may let MPJ get some extra run in their second unit especially if he gets rolling like he was before his latest injury.
PG/SG BRANDON KNIGHT, DET at PHO, $3,500Knight has bounced around over the past few seasons, spending time with the Rockets and Cavs before being traded back to the Pistons, who originally drafted him, as part of the Andre Drummond deal. Knight played minimal minutes in Cleveland averaging just 10.3 DKFP per game in the 16 games in which he did appear. He has been more involved in Detroit, though, and has helped them cover for some of their multiple injuries.
Knight has played 20 and 25 minutes in Detroit’s two games on their current road trip and produced 15 and 14 points along with 23.5 DKFP and 28 DKFP, respectively. He matched his season-high with six assists against the Nuggets in his most recent game, showing he’s growing into a larger play-making role for coach Dwane Casey. Knight gets a potential revenge-game as he returns to Phoenix where he played two and a half seasons. Keep an eye on the injury report, but if Bruce Brown ($5,000; knee, questionable) joins Luke Kennard (knees) on the sideline there should be room for Knight to continue to be fantasy relevant.
C BRUNO FERNANDO, ATL vs. BKN, $3,4000Fernando may be the last man standing for the Hawks at center, which sets him up nicely for a matchup at home against the Nets. Clint Capela (heel) is still a ways from making his Hawks debut, Dewayne Dedmon (elbow) had a non-surgical procedure Thursday and will miss at least the next three games, Skal Labissiere (knee) is still weeks away, and Damian Jones ($3,000; illness) is questionable after catching whatever bug is going around the Atlanta locker room. Fernando has battled injury issues of his own this season but has also shown he can be productive when given an expanded opportunity.
The rookie moved into the starting lineup Wednesday against the Magic and put up a solid 10 points, nine boards and 24.75 DKFP in 22 minutes. He has over 24 DKFP in three of his past four starts, and the Nets have allowed the fifth-most DKFP to opposing centers this season. Especially if Jones is ruled out, Fernando will get a heavy workload in the middle and makes sense as a cheap play at center.
PF/C CHRIS BOUCHER, TOR vs. CHA, $3,400Another cheap big man that may get more work and be worth a look this Friday is the Raptors’ Boucher, who can put up fantasy points in a hurry when he gets extra run. With Marc Gasol (hamstring) still out and now Serge Ibaka ($5,900; knee) ailing, Boucher could get a chance to build on his recent success as the Raptors host the Hornets.
Boucher has been a good per-minute producer throughout the season but gets crowded out when all the Toronto big-men are healthy. He has played over 16 minutes in each of his past two games, though, and produced 34.25 DKFP against the Pacers with nine points, 11 rebounds and four blocks in 17 minutes followed by 21.25 DKFP against the Bucks on 10 points, seven boards and one block in 19 minutes. He has over 20 DKFP in each of the past five games in which he has played at least 15 minutes. If Ibaka is out, he’ll be one of the top bargain plays of the night, but even if Serge plays through soreness, Boucher could get enough time to make an impact. He played 18 minutes when the Raptors blew out the Hornets in Toronto on Nov. 18 and had 28.25 DKFP on 11 points and 11 rebounds. He didn’t play as much in their second meeting in a much closer contest. If this game turns lopsided or Ibaka takes the night off, it’ll be time to go back to Swatterboy as a great cheap play with big upside.
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