The first Friday of 2020 kicks off the weekend with a six-game fantasy basketball slate as a dozen teams take to the hardwoods to get the weekend off to a good start. The Lakers host Anthony Davis’s ($10,300) former team in the final game of the night, but before that contest we have the Blazers taking on the Wizards, the Heat and Magic renewing their in-state rivalry, the Hawks visiting the Celtics, and the Suns hosting the Knicks. Probably the biggest matchup of the night, though, is the Rockets and James Harden ($10,900) hosting Joel Embiid ($9,400) and the Sixers.
As you put your team together, check out these four options if you need to save some salary while still sustaining some fantasy upside.
SG/SF JOSH HART, NO at LAL, $3,900Hart is one of several former-Lakers making their first return to Los Angeles to face their former team since being shipped off to New Orleans in exchange for Davis. Hart has been a key contributor for the Pelicans off the bench and has played over 25 minutes in all but one of his past 11 contests.
On Sunday, Hart finished 2019 with a forgettable 0-for-8 shooting performance from the field, and he’ll be looking to start 2020 on a much better note. He still had 14.5 DKFP so wasn’t a total bust but came into that game with over 19 DKFP in nine of his previous 10 games. In those 10 contests, he averaged 11.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 0.8 steals. He should be back around those levels and to 20-plus DKFP in this potential revenge game.
PF/C DANIEL THEIS, BOS vs. ATL, $3,800Theis has been the Celtics’ starting center all season but his minutes have fluctuated based on need and opponent. Lately, though, the 27-year-old German has been getting a little more playing time and contributing more on the offensive end while still keeping all his typical hustle stats.
In his past 10 games, Theis is averaging 7.8 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.4 blocks and 20.1 DKFP in 21.6 minutes per game. He has reached double-digit scoring in four of those contests and over 18 DKFP in three of his past four games. He gets a favorable matchup against the Hawks on Friday night in Boston, so Theis is a good cheap way to go at PF or C so you can spend up at other spots.
SG TYER HERRO, MIA at ORL, $3,700Miami has gotten nice production out of Herro, who they took with the No. 13 overall pick in this year’s draft. The rookie has provided instant offense off the bench and also logged heavy workloads when needed to carry the offensive load. In his past 13 games, Herro has averaged just under 30 minutes a game and only twice has taken fewer than 10 shots.
During that 13-game stretch, Herro is averaging 13.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 25.2 DKFP. Herro has at least 25 DKFP in six of his past nine games and had that number exactly against Toronto on Thursday in his first action of 2020. Herro has a very high upside if he gets rolling from long-range. This game is expected to be low-scoring, but dropping Herro’s salary this much makes him a great option. This is the first time all season that his salary has dipped below $4K.
SG/SF ERIC GORDON, HOU vs. PHI, $3,700A bit like Herro, Gordon provides instant offense off the bench and offers a high ceiling if he gets rolling. Unlike Herro, Gordon has struggled to stay on the court this season battling a knee issue that kept him sidelined for six weeks.
Gordon has looked sharp in his two games since returning. He actually started against New Orleans in his return and had 20 points and 28.25 DKFP in 20 minutes on Sunday. He returned to his role as the sixth man on Tuesday and chipped in 12 points and 17.25 DKFP in 26 minutes off the bench. Gordon should be able to return value if he plays over 25 minutes in what should be a fun game to watch between the Rockets and the Sixers.
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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.