After a nice six-game slate Thursday to get us back in rhythm, fantasy basketball is back to full strength with nine games Friday and a dozen matchups Saturday. Some of Friday’s big storylines include the Spurs visiting Kawhi Leonard and the Raptors in Toronto, Anthony Davis returning for the Pelicans in Indiana, and the Thunder hosting the Jazz in a matchup that would be a first-round series if the Western Conference playoffs started today.
With 18 teams taking the floor, there are plenty of options to consider for your lineup. If you need to save some salary, take a look at these four picks who are my top four in play for under $4K on this Friday night slate.
PG/SG AVERY BRADLEY, MEM VS. LAC, $3,800The Grizzlies and Clippers struck a deal before the trade deadline, setting up multiple revenge-game narratives Friday when the two teams meet in Memphis. Bradley is the beast bargain play of the bunch after posting two strong games with his new team before the break. He jumped right into the Grizzlies’ starting lineup and after a mediocre debut went off for 33 points, six boards, six assists and 52 DKFP against the Spurs on Feb. 12. The following night he had 15 points, five assists and a solid 25.25 DKFP. While Mike Conley ($7,600) missed the first of those two games, he was in the lineup for the second contest, but Bradley still turned in good numbers.
He is much more involved in the offense in Memphis than he was during his time with the Clippers since Memphis is searching for scoring anywhere it can find it. Bradley should stay very involved and be a low-risk play since his workload likely will stay large as he faces his former team. On the other side of the revenge narrative, JaMychal Green ($3,400) is a solid play against Memphis, but his role has been more limited with the Clippers, which makes him a higher risk play than Bradley.
SG/SF WAYNE ELLINGTON, DET AT ATL, $3,800Another veteran shooter that was on the move at the deadline and landed in a favorable situation, Ellington chose to sign in Detroit after being waved by the Suns. He played two games for the Pistons before the break and looked comfortable in 33 minutes against the Celtics in his most recent game. He had 13 points and 21.25 DKFP and shot just 3-for-10 from long range. Ellington is a well-known long-range threat, so as he settles in his shot should become more reliable and boost his production.
Ellington gets a great matchup against the Hawks on Friday and will be my top option if he joins the Detroit starting five. He could make a big difference down the stretch for the Pistons as they try to push for a playoff spot in the East. He has played more than 30 minutes three times in the past month and poured in more than 20 DKFP in each of those three contests, showing he can return nice value when given the opportunity.
SF/PF DAVIS BERTANS, SA AT TOR, $3,700As the season has progressed, Bertans has become increasingly involved in the Spurs’ offense and offers a nice long-range complement to San Antonio’s starting lineup. He started five straight before the break and averaged 28.2 minutes per contest and contributing at least 18 DKFP in four of those five contests on 10.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 0.8 blocks. He finished that run with 17 points and 24.75 DKFP against the Grizzlies.
While Rudy Gay ($5,400; ankle) and Derrick White ($5,300; heel) are expected to be available in Toronto, Bertans still should get enough run to be a solid value play. He isn’t one of the primary options for the Spurs but usually finds ways to contribute whether starting or playing with the second unit.
C ALEX LEN, ATL vs. DET, $3,700The Hawks have found a nice role for Len on their second unit behind John Collins ($7,700) and Dewayne Dedmon ($5,100). While he doesn’t log the minutes of either of those stars, Len is still the best bargain center on the board, especially since the Hawks will have to stay big against Detroit.
Len posted a massive 45.25 DKFP the most recent time the Hawks faced the Pistons. He started that game just before Christmas so is unlikely to repeat those results. However, he still offers solid upside since he had at least 22 DKFP in three of four before the break. His playing time fluctuates, but if he nears 20 minutes, he should be a nice value option in this favorable matchup.
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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.