The NBA wraps up another work week with a 20-team slate this Friday night. The Nuggets and Wizards are finishing their back-to-back set as they take on the Celtics and Heat, respectively, and the Cavs and Pacers are playing the first game of their back-to-back sets before lacing it up again on Saturday. Injuries and rotation changes continue to keep the landscape of fantasy basketball shifting, but that also opens up opportunities for new players to emerge as great bargain plays.
As we look at Friday’s 10-game slate, there are the four plays under $4K who stand out as good bargain options to bring production at an affordable salary.
PF/C MASON PLUMLEE, DEN at BOS, $3,800Plumlee played just 21 minutes in Thursday night’s rout of the Knicks but quickly piled up a game-high 40.5 DKFP. He finished with 11 points, 10 boards, six assists, three steals and a blocked shot. While that level of production was definitely a result of the game situation, Plumlee has been a very solid contributor lately off the bench for the Nuggets.
He has produced over 17 DKFP in five straight games with at least six rebounds in each contest and well-balanced production across the board. He usually plays under 20 minutes but should earn more time with his recent production and Nikola Jokic ($8,000) still not in top form. With the Nuggets on the second night of a back-to-back and playing for the third time in four nights, they may rely on Plumlee more heavily off the bench.
SG/SF SVI MYKHAILIUK, DET at IND, $3,700The Pistons have given Mykhailiuk more run lately, and the second-year player has been stepping up with good production. He got a start on Wednesday in place of Luke Kennard ($5,800), who was sitting out the second game of a back-to-back. Mykailiuk played 28 minutes but only had six points, three assists and 14.75 DKFP.
Kennard is expected to return, but Mykhailiuk’s start shows how highly the Pistons value his contributions right now. He scored 13 points and had 16.5 DKFP against the Spurs in his first game of the month and followed that with his best game of the year with 15 points, four assists and 25.5 DKFP against the Cavs on Tuesday. Mykailiuk returning to the bench doesn’t take away all his value, especially if he keeps taking and making so many shots from long-distance.
PG ISH SMITH, WAS at MIA, $3,600Despite a bad matchup against the Heat, Smith has the highest ceiling of all the bargain plays on this list as he showed stepping into a larger role than expected Wednesday. With Jordan McRae (finger) out for a couple of weeks after having a pin removed from his finger and Isaiah Thomas (calf) a last-minute scratch, Smith jumped all the way into the starting lineup. He delivered 19 points, eight assists and 33.25 DKFP and played 34 minutes and the Wizards knocked off the 76ers 119-113.
Whether Thomas’s injury keeps him out long-term or just for another game, Smith could get another great chance on Friday. In addition to Smith, Chris Chiozza ($3,000) got extra run and had six assists in 11 minutes for 11.75 DKFP. Troy Brown ($3,800) also saw some extra usage in place of McRae and has produced over 20 DKFP in three of his past four games after putting up 23.0 DKFP against the Sixers. Brown will be the better play if IT is back, but Ish has much more upside if he gets another start.
SF/PF TREVOR ARIZA, SAC at SA, $3,300If you forgot Ariza joined the Kings this offseason, you get a pass since the veteran has been injured most of the season. He missed six games due to a groin injury and personal reasons before returning Monday. He played a minor role in his return with only 12 minutes and didn’t score while producing just 4.25 DKFP.
However, Ariza finally looked like he could still have some fantasy gas left in the tank with his best game of the season on Wednesday against Portland. He logged 35 minutes and scored 11 points including a pair of three-pointers and added six rebounds, two blocks, a steal, an assist and 26.0 DKFP. It’s unclear if Ariza will continue to get that kind of run, but if he does, he offers enough across-the-box score potential to definitely be a good play at this extremely affordable option.
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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.