The NBA tips off the weekend with the largest fantasy basketball slate of the week as 20 teams take the floor on Friday night. There are a handful of players who cost over $10K and a massive 21 players with salaries over $8K. There are lots of options and matchups to break down. The marquee matchup takes place in Dallas as Luka Doncic ($12,600) hosts LeBron James ($11,000; illness, probable) and possibly Anthony Davis ($10,100; glute, questionable). You’ll definitely want to stay tuned to the DKlive app or live.draftkings.com for all the latest news and updates leading up to tipoff.
As you pick the right stars to build around, it’s also vital that you pinpoint some good spots to get value to help balance out your roster and stay under the salary cap. Just because a player’s salary is affordable doesn’t mean they can’t give you a big boost, so make sure you check out these four plays under $4K for Friday.
PF/C MEYERS LEONARD, MIA at BKN, $3,800The Heat’s rotation is crowded with Justise Winslow ($4,600) returning from injury, but Leonard continues to get good playing time. The team seems committed to giving him every opportunity to grow and have started him in every one of their 37 games this season. He’s only averaging 19.7 minutes per game on the season but has been getting more minutes lately, averaging 25.8 minutes per contest over his past six games.
In those six contests, Leonard has produced 7.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 19.9 DKFP. He has over 16 DKFP in five of those games and over 20 DKFP in each of his past three games. Even with Winslow’s return, Leonard logged 30 minutes against the Pacers and finished with 22.0 DKFP. He had 21 DKFP in just 19 minutes earlier this season against the Nets and gets a great matchup against Brooklyn again on Friday. He doesn’t have an ultra-high ceiling but has been steadily productive and can give him 5x value on a regular basis.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Winslow (back) has been ruled out for tonight’s game.
SG/SF WES IWUNDU, ORL at PHO, $3,600Since the potentially season-ending injury to Jonathan Isaac, Iwundu is one of several Magic players that have had to step up and assume a larger role in the rotation. Iwundu was actually already starting in the game in which Isaac was injured since he was filling in for Aaron Gordon ($6,000; calf, questionable). Dating back to that contest, Iwundu has averaged 9.0 points, 5.2 rebounds and 19 DKFP over his past five games.
Especially if Gordon is out, Iwundu should keep getting plenty of run either in the lineup or coming off the bench. He’s a bit like Leonard in that he doesn’t have a high ceiling but should be able to get around 20 DKFP fairly easily if he keeps getting extended run. Iwundu gets a nice matchup against Phoenix.
PF/C TREY LYLES, SA at MEM, $3,500The Spurs have started Lyles most of the season, but his playing time and production have fluctuated. He had his best fantasy game of the season just before Christmas when he faced the Grizzlies, scoring 17 points to go with eight rebounds and four assists on his way to 36.5 DKFP in 25 minutes.
Dating back to that game, he has averaged 7.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 19.1 DKFP over his past six contests. He has over 18 DKFP in three straight and had 18.25 DKFP earlier this season when he took on Memphis for the first time. As the Spurs make face the Grizz for the third time, Lyles brings a high ceiling even though his floor isn’t quite as reliable as Iwundu’s and Leonard’s.
PG/SG NICKEIL ALEXANDER-WALKER, NO at NY, $3,300With Jrue Holiday (elbow) and Kenrich Williams (back) out along with Brandon Ingram ($9,200; finger) playing through a finger injury, there’s potential for increased opportunity for Alexander-Walker as the Pelicans visit Madison Square Garden. The No. 17 overall pick in last year’s draft has had a limited role overall but has shown flashes when given a chance.
He played 20 minutes against the Bulls on Wednesday and produced 11 points, six assists and 25 DKFP. In November, he played over 30 minutes in two games and had 38 DKFP against the Heat and 35.25 DKFP against the Warriors. While he probably won’t get that much run, he brings good potential if he gets around 20 minutes off the bench behind Lonzo Ball ($7,300)
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.