A dozen teams are scheduled to take the floor his Wednesday night as part of the six-game fantasy basketball slate on DraftKings. The Mavericks and Knicks are the only two teams finishing a back-to-back set as they take on the Nuggets and Hawks, respectively. The biggest matchups come in a pair of Western Conference games tipping off at 8:00 p.m. ET in the Mavs-Nuggets matchup and the Jazz visiting the Thunder in a pair of potential playoff previews.
As you get your roster together, you’ll want to be sure to find the right value plays. At this point of the season, there are still lots of things changing in rotations as teams plan for the future, push for the playoffs and deal with injuries. As a result of those changes, here are the four players under $4K that I think will be able to deliver the best bang for your buck as bargains.
Set your lineups here: NBA $400K Big Jam [$100K to 1st]
PG MONTE MORRIS, DEN at DAL, $3,900Throughout the season, Morris has steadily held down the backup PG role for the Nuggets and brings good stability to the second unit while producing solid, but not usually spectacular, fantasy numbers. He has played over 22 minutes off the bench in 11 0f his 12 games since a stint in the starting lineup and is averaging 24.7 minutes per game over that span along with 9.8 points, 3.6 assists, 1.5 rebounds and 1.3 steals.
Morris has at least 18 DKFP in eight of those 12 contests, showing he usually approaches or reaches 5x value when his salary is under $4K. Morris had 17 DKFP in 21 minutes the most recent time he faced the Mavericks and should be a low-risk way to spend under $4K at guard and count on getting solid production.
PF/C NICOLO MELLI, NO at SAC, $3,700Like Morris, Melli has been getting extended time coming off the bench for much of the season, and the rookie’s role has stayed pretty consistent even as Zion Williamson ($7,800) has ramped up to a full workload. Melli has played at least 23 minutes in each of his past three games and in six of his past eight while averaging 23.7 minutes, 9.9 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists.
Melli has produced over 20 DKFP in each of his past two contests with nine points, six assists and 22.25 DKFP against the Heat on Friday followed by 11 points, four boards, three assists and 24.5 DKFP against the Timberwolves. Melli has a little bit of a higher ceiling than Morris since he scores more points (double-digit scoring in six of his past nine), and he should be able to produce in a favorable matchup in Sacramento
SF/PF JUSTIN JACKSON, DAL vs. DEN, $3,200The Mavericks have been battling injuries lately, so their rotation against Denver is a little tricky to predict until we get a clearer picture closer to tipoff. Jackson has been productive when given minutes, though, so if he is lined up to log significant time against the Nuggets, he could be a great play at barely over the minimum. Dorian Finney-Smith ($4,400) looked good in his return from a hip injury on Tuesday but Michael Kidd-Gilchrist ($3,000; illness) remained out. With Kristaps Porzingis ($9,400) likely to sit the second game of the back-to-back like he has all season, Jackson could get more time at PF too as Maxi Kleber ($4,600) helps fill the middle.
Jackson played a season-high 32 minutes on Friday against the Grizzlies and had 24 DKFP on 10 points, four boards and four assists. He only played 19 minutes Sunday but still turned in more DKFP by producing 11 points, five assists and 26 DKFP against the Pacers. With Finney-Smith back, he was limited to only nine minutes Tuesday and had just 7.5 DKFP, but if he gets more work with others limited, Jackson has been good enough on a per-minute basis to make him worth considering.
PG/SG FRANK NTILIKINA, NY at ATL, $3,200Another ultra-cheap player that is worth considering as a flier is Frank Ntilikina, who had a monster night on Tuesday with 20 points, 10 assists and 43.5 DKFP. Since that performance hasn’t impacted his salary yet, he’s still very affordable. Ntilikina is still viewed as a key part of the Knicks’ future, so they may try to get him more run coming down the stretch, especially if he performs like this. New York is desperate for any kind of production, so they could even experiment with Ntilikina alongside starting guards Elfrid Payton ($6,500) and RJ Barrett ($5,500).
Payton struggled badly on Tuesday against the Wizards and shot just 1-of-6 in 18 minutes while being limited by foul trouble. His struggles opened the door for Ntilikina’s big game. In a favorable matchup against the Hawks, he should be able to bounce back, but Ntilikina should also be able to produce if he gets time on the floor. He also offers better defense as the Knicks try to limit Trae Young ($10,400). Ntilikina is a risky play but reminded the Knicks and fantasy players of the upside he brings with his big night Tuesday.
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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.