The NBA wraps up a fun work week of action with nine games on tap for this Friday night, featuring a star-studded cast led by seven players taking the floor with salaries of at least $9,700. While James Harden ($12,500), Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,300) and Joel Embiid ($11,000) make attractive options as they try to continue their incredible recent rates of production, they also take a huge chunk of your salary cap and can leave you stretched thin to fill in your final few roster spots. These four fantasy basketball bargain values can help balance out your spending since they cost less than $4K but still offer significant upside given their form, opportunity and matchup this Friday.
C IAN MAHINMI, WAS vs. MIL, $3,700The Wizards have been without Dwight Howard (back) for much of the season, and Thomas Bryant ($5,600) has been their primary center. Recently, though, the Wizards are working in backup big-man Ian Mahinmi a little more, and the former Pacer has put together several nice performances. He has at least 27 DKFP in each of his past three games and at least 16 DKFP in five of his past six. He had six points, five steals and eight rebounds for 27 DKFP on Wednesday after back-to-back games with more than 30 DKFP on Sunday and Tuesday.
Mahinmi had a productive stretch in 2015 before signing with the Wizards but has been limited by injuries and limited playing time since. He still is coming off the bench behind Bryant and part of his recent increase in playing time has been due to Bryant’s foul trouble. However, he has shown he can make an impact when given extra run and should continue to be Washington’s primary big off the bench with Markieff Morris (back) out for the next several weeks. Mahinmi is worth a look as the Wizards host Brook Lopez ($4,900) and the Bucks.
PF/C MAXI KLEBER, DAL at MIN, $3,600Kleber is another big man who has stepped up lately in an expanded role. He started for the Mavericks on Wednesday in place of Dennis Smith Jr. (back), who has been ruled out for Friday’s game as well. Kleber’s entry into the lineup gave Dallas a big lineup with Luka Doncic ($8,400) sliding to PG. That alignment would seem to set up well against the Timberwolves, since Minnesota also tends to play big.
When he entered the lineup for just the fourth time this season, Kleber responded with 13 points, nine rebounds, two blocks, a steal and an assist for 32.25 DKFP. He has been a low-level producer off the bench with at least 14.75 DKFP in seven of his past nine games, but the extra time with the starters resulted in a nice overall value performance for him against the Suns. If he stays in the lineup as Dallas heads on the road, he should be involved enough in this high-scoring contest to again be a solid cheap play.
SG/SF KYLE KORVER, UTA vs. LAL, $3,500The Jazz are out of PGs with Raul Neto (groin) joining Ricky Rubio (hamstring) and Danté Exum (ankle) on the sidelines. All three are expected to miss at least the next couple of games, which leaves starting SG Donovan Mitchell ($7,900) to serve as the team’s primary PG. When Mitchell slid to PG in Utah’s most recent game Wednesday, he created an expanded role for Korver, who should get a chance to step up and possibly even start at home against the Lakers.
Korver shot just 4-of-12 on Wednesday but had seven rebounds to go with his 11 points on his way to a solid 23.75 DKFP in 24 minutes. With more minutes coming his way and a good matchup against Los Angeles, the veteran sharp-shooter has a high ceiling and a relatively high floor as well. He has been good at chipping in non-scoring stats since re-joining the Jazz earlier this season in a trade from the Cavaliers.
PG/SG CAMERON PAYNE, CLE at HOU, $3,500The Cavs offloaded Korver to make room to evaluate some younger talent and find pieces for their future. That same strategy is why they decided to sign Payne to a 10-day contract this past week after he was waived by the Bulls. Payne has gotten good run on the wing since joining the Cavs and is trying to prove he deserves a spot for the rest of the season with Cleveland or another NBA team.
He has played 22 minutes in each of his two games with the Cavs and scored double-digit points in each outing. He had 10 points, three assists and two boards for 18 DKFP against the Pacers and followed that with 16 points, two assists and 20.0 DKFP against the Pelicans. The Cavs will continue his audition as they visit the Rockets, and there’s a good chance Payne will help soak up some garbage time late in this contest, giving him a chance to continue to produce and prove his worth.
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