The NBA closes out the first month of 2020 with seven games on Friday night’s fantasy basketball slate. The Nuggets and Raptors are on the road to close out their set of back-to-back games as they visit the Bucks and Pistons, respectively. The Mavericks visit the Rockets ina Texas-sized showdown of teams with matching 29-18 records and the Grizzlies and Pelicans meet in a battle of Western Conference playoff hopefuls. The Lakers host the Blazers in the final game of the night in what is sure to be an extremely emotional contest.
As you look through all seven games to find the best matchups, make sure to keep a close eye on injury and suspension situations to see where there may be some extra opportunity and value created. Based on what we know this morning, here are my top four options who cost under $4K.
PG RAJON RONDO, LAL vs. POR, $3,600Rondo and the Lakers haven’t played in almost a week since losing in Philadelphia on Saturday. He struggled in that game, shooting just 1-for-6 and finishing with just 8.25 DKFP in 15 minutes. His role and usage have been up-and-down since he sustained a finger injury, but the layoff may have helped him get back to almost 100%.
Before his down game against the 76ers, he had been a productive option when healthy or able to play through the injury. He had over 18 DKFP in six straight contests prior to that, averaging 11.2 points, 6.2 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 27.0 DKFP. Those numbers are a bit skewed by a massive 51-DKFP performance in a spot start against the Thunder, but he was a solid value play in the other games during that stretch as well. Rondo could get some extra run depending on the availability of Alex Caruso ($3,000; neck, questionable) as well.
SF/PF CHANDLER HUTCHISON, CHI at BKN, $3,600It’s been a tough second season in the NBA for Hutchison, who has battled multiple injuries and been very limited. He showed some flashes of potential in his rookie season last year and will be an interesting player to watch if he’s finally able to get healthy. He’s listed as probable with both right shoulder and left hip soreness, but the Bulls list almost everyone on the injury report, making it hard to know how much of an issue either injury is.
Hutchison had his best game of the season on Wednesday against the Pacers, scoring a season-high 21 points in 28 minutes. He also chipped in three rebounds, two assists, a steal and a block for 31.25 DKFP. He has slowly been working his way back into form and has over 15 DKFP in seven of his past nine contests. He has a pretty high floor against the Nets and showed he also has a nice ceiling if he can build on Wednesday’s performance.
PG/SG J.J. BAREA, DAL at HOU, $3,600The Mavericks won’t have PG Luke Doncic (ankle) and could also be without Tim Hardaway Jr. ($6,000; back, questionable) as they travel to Houston to take on the Rockets. While Delon Wright ($5,000) and Seth Curry ($4,800) already got a salary bump, they and Jalen Brunson ($3,800) have been inconsistent even with Doncic has been out. Barea has taken a lot of DNP-CDs but has also produced when called upon including last Tuesday in the Mavs most recent contest.
Barea logged 23 minutes against the Suns and finished with a solid 27.5 DKFP on 15 points, seven assists and a pair of rebounds. He made three spot starts early in January and produced 23.5, 28.25 and 4.25 DKFP. The real trick to deciding whether Barea is worth a look at this price is figuring out if he’ll get minutes. If he does, the veteran has shown he can still hand out plenty of assists while also knocking down some shots.
SG/SF TORREY CRAIG, DEN at MIL, $3,600Craig has been helping the Nuggets deal with their multiple injuries and has started the past nine games for Denver while Jamal Murray ($5,500; ankle), Paul Millsap ($3,900; knee), Gary Harris ($3,700; personal) and Mason Plumlee ($3,800; foot) have been unavailable. Since the Nuggets just played without all those players Thursday, their status for Friday hasn’t been established but doesn’t look promising.
The Nuggets still beat the Jazz on Thursday despite missing all those players, and Craig played 36 minutes against Utah contributing 34.5 DKFP on 13 points, 10 boards, two blocks, a steal and an assist. Over his nine starts, he has averaged 7.6 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.2 blocks and 19.6 DKFP. He has over 30 DKFP in three of his past five contests and will be a good play if he continues to get extended run as the Nuggets head to Milwaukee to face the Bucks to complete a tough back-to-back.
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.