The NBA starts off 2020 with a four-game fantasy basketball slate, tipping off early at 6:00 p.m. ET. The Wizards and Magic get things underway in Washington D.C. before the Knicks welcome in the Trail Blazers at 7:30 p.m. ET in the second contest of the night. The Timberwolves bring their banged-up roster to Milwaukee to face the dominant Bucks, and we round out the evening on the hardwood with the Lakers hosting the Suns at STAPLES Center.
Even though there are only four games, there are still plenty of potential value options to consider. Karl-Anthony Towns (knee) and Andrew Wiggins (illness) have already been ruled out for Minnesota and Jeff Teague (knee) is doubtful. Aaron Gordon ($5,900; Achilles) and Bradley Beal ($8,700; calf) are questionable. Whenever big names with high usage like that sit out, there is plenty of work for some of the more affordable players to step up and claim. You’ll definitely want to keep a close watch on injury news on the DKlive app and on live.draftkings.com for all the updates. As of what we know this morning, here are the four players I like the most with salaries under $4K.
PF/C NAZ REID, MIN at MIL, $3,900The Timberwolves gave Reid his first extended look this season after the undrafted rookie from LSU followed up a strong Summer League showing by averaging 18.4 points, 9.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.9 blocks, 1.5 steals and 30.8 minutes per contest in 20 games with the Iowa Wolves. Reid rose to the occasion against the Nets and had 24.0 DKFP in 20 minutes on Monday.
Reid could get more minutes against the Bucks if Noah Vonleh ($3,100; glute) joins Towns on the sideline for a second straight game. If Vonleh returns, Reid could be forced out of the rotation entirely, although he’s definitely someone to keep an eye on if the Timberwolves go into full developmental mode later in the season. Reid has lots of upside and can fill every box in the stat sheet in the right situation. If the Bucks turn this one into a blowout, like they have most of their games recently, Reid could be in for garbage time production if Vonleh is out again.
SG/SF MIKAL BRIDGES, PHO at LAL, $3,500With Frank Kaminsky ($3,600; knee) banged up and Dario Saric ($4,000) struggling to find consistency, Bridges has been logging more time at PF and even closing out games. He’s still seen as a key part of the Suns’ young core and regularly brings a nice defensive intensity.
He has played 20 minutes or more in four straight games averaging 10.5 points, 2.5 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.5 steals in 25.9 minutes. He has double-digit points and over 18 DKFP in three of those four contests and should continue to be heavily involved as the Suns try to see how their young players can fit around Deandre Ayton ($6,700) now that the big man is back from suspension and injury.
C ANZEJS PASECNIKS, WAS vs. ORL, $3,500The Wizards’ frontcourt has been wiped out by injuries, and even if Beal returns there will still be minutes for Pasecniks as the primary backup center behind Ian Mahinmi ($5,300). While Garrison Mathews ($3,400) stole the show Monday with 28 points and 34.5 DKFP against the Heat, Pasecniks continues to be a steady producer even though he hasn’t shown that kind of high ceiling. If Beal is out, Mathews makes a lot of sense, but Pasecniks should keep getting 20-25 minutes of playing time for the next few weeks.
On Monday, Pasecniks had only two points but still posted a solid fantasy line of 23.5 DKFP thanks to 10 rebounds, two blocks, two assists and a steal. He has at least 15 DKFP in four of his past five games with double-digit points in three of those contests. With Mahinmi coming off a big game and big minutes on Monday, Pasecniks may have to give him a bit more of a break than usual in this matchup, so I like his upside at this salary.
PG/SG ANFERNEE SIMONS, POR at MY, $3,400Simons has at least 12 points off the bench in each of the past three games and has logged at least 25 minutes in each of those contests. He continues to back up Damian Lillard ($9,200) and CJ McCollum ($6,800) but has also played more minutes alongside the two guards lately, which could eventually open up more production for the second-year guard.
In almost every matchup, Simons finds a way to get his shots up, and he should be able to contribute as the Blazers visit Madison Square Garden. Barring injury, he doesn’t get enough usage to have a high ceiling. However, he has a firmly developed role and his ability to return good value isn’t dependent on one of his teammates missing time. He isn’t coming off a monster game but has been consistent enough to be a pretty safe play from under $3.5K.
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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.