The NBA is ready to send you into the weekend with a nine-game fantasy basketball slate highlighted by some nice divisional matchups and potential playoff previews. The 18 teams on the floor tonight all head yesterday off, so they should be ready to roll with fairly typical rotations.
As you assemble your squad, there are a lot of stars set up for success, but you might need to go cheap at a few spots to balance out their five-figure salaries. To help you find the best bargains available, here are my top four in play for under $4K, who can help you save enough to invest in the megastars you can’t build your team without this Friday.
SG/SF KEVIN HUERTER, ATL at BOS, $3,900While Trae Young ($6,100) rightfully is getting plenty of attention, he isn’t the only first-round rookie the Hawks are giving extended run this season. Atlanta picked Huerter with the 19th overall pick and have given him plenty of chances to prove himself. He has started each of the Hawks’ past eight games, playing 28.5 minutes and contributing 9.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.0 steal and 21.4 DKFP per contest.
Huerter has more than 20 DKFP in each of his past six contests and has played more than 36 minutes in each of his two most recent games. He likely will get another heavy workload in Boston and be able to return solid value against the Celtics. The Hawks’ “other rookie” is a nice option with positional flexibility under $4K.
SG/SF FURKAN KORKMAZ, PHI vs. IND, $3,800The 76ers are thin on the wing, especially with Jimmy Butler (groin; $7,500) battling injury. Butler played just 10 minutes Monday before the injury, and Korkmaz helped pick up the slack, scoring 18 points in 26 minutes and posting an impressive 32.25 DKFP. The Sixers rewarded him with a spot start Wednesday with Butler out, and he delivered with 18 more points and 36.25 DKFP.
If Butler is out for a second straight game, Korkmaz will be a great value option with a high ceiling. He isn’t as proven as Huerter or as locked into his role, but Butler’s absence opens a huge opportunity for him. If Korkmaz starts again, he’ll be the best bargain on the board and offer nice multi-category production even in a tough matchup with the Pacers.
SF/PF DERRICK JONES JR., MIA at MEM, $3,700The Heat’s rotation continues to shift as players shuttle on and off the injury report, but Jones has played a significant role on Miami’s road trip so far since returning from his hamstring injury. Jones has played at least 25 minutes in each of his past three games and done good work in each contest. He had seven points, 11 boards and 28.25 DKFP against the Clippers followed by 14 rebounds, three blocks, eight points and 37 DKFP against the Lakers in the Heat’s two-game stop in Los Angeles. He continued his success Wednesday against the Jazz with 23 DKFP on eight points, five steals and four rebounds.
Even though he hasn’t scored in double digits in any of those contests, Airplane Mode has put together enough non-scoring stats to be a nice value option. His defensive intensity and work on the glass should keep him involved in Miami’s rotation as it visits the Grizzlies, and he contributes enough in non-scoring categories to be a low-risk producer when he is getting expanded playing time.
PG/SG T.J. MCCONNELL, PHI vs. IND, $3,600McConnell has been getting good minutes lately for the 76ers, and his involvement isn’t dependent on Butler’s absence like his teammate and fellow bargain Korkmaz. McConnell has played 20-plus minutes in seven straight games, averaging 25.6 minutes, 10.6 points, 2.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.6 steals and 21.9 DKFP over that stretch.
McConnell has scored in double digits in each of his past three games and produced a solid 24.5 DKFP against the Nets in the Sixers’ loss Wednesday. If Butler is out, McConnell would benefit, but even if Butler returns McConnell has been getting enough run off the bench to be a good guard option. He doesn’t have the high ceiling of Korkmaz, but he has been more consistent and always finds a way to contribute solid non-scoring stats.
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.