There’s a nine-game fantasy basketball slate on tap for this Wednesday on the first large slate of the new year. The Thunder roll into Los Angeles led by Paul George ($9,200) and Russell Westbrook ($11,700) to take on the Lakers in the marquee matchup of the night, but there are also a few interesting contests earlier in the evening as well. As you build your lineup, make sure to check out these four options who are good plays despite salaries under $4K. They should be good sources of value to help you start 2019 strong.
SF/PF JAMES JOHNSON, MIA at CLE, $3,900Johnson’s involvement in the Miami offense was on the rise and his salary had just climbed over $4K when he got sick and was forced to miss Sunday’s game against Minnesota after being limited to just eight minutes against the Cavs on Friday. He was able to return to practice Tuesday and is expected to return to the lineup as the Heat visit Cleveland.
Before his illness, he posted four straight games with more than 22 DKFP, averaging 10.8 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.5 steals and 25.8 DKFP per game. He should be able to continue his resurgence if he’s fully recovered. When he’s full strength and at his best, he can contribute in multiple categories and be a reliable fantasy forward.
C GUILLERMO HERNANGÓMEZ, CHA vs. DAL, $3,800Hernangómez has been a great per-minute producer this season but has struggled to find consistent playing time. He has made the most of his chances, though, and is facing a huge opportunity with Cody Zeller (hand) out for multiple weeks with a fractured hand. Zeller sustained the injury Monday, and Hernangómez responded with 10 points, eight rebounds and 23.5 DKFP in just 14 minutes.
With more minutes coming his way, Hernangómez offers a high ceiling with limited risk as he takes on DeAndre Jordan ($6,500) and the Mavericks. Hernangómez has shown he can step up when given expanded minutes in the past and will be a great value play that could result in a double-double and 10x value if things go his way in Charlotte.
PF/C KENNETH FARIED, BKN vs. NO, $3,700Saturday, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (abductor) only played three minutes before hobbling off the court, clearing the way for the return of The Manimal. Faried had played only nine games all season for the Nets and had yet to log 10 minutes in any of those contests before replacing Hollis-Jefferson and going off for 21 points, 10 rebounds and 36.5 DKFP in 27 minutes against Milwaukee.
The Nets haven’t given a clear timetable for Hollis-Jefferson’s return, but he is out for Wednesday’s game against the Pelicans. Faried definitely benefitted from Ed Davis (rest) being sidelined in that contest as well, but he showcased enough upside to be an intriguing play. Pay close attention to the starting lineup, and see how Faried is involved if he continues to come off the bench. He isn’t as sure a play as Hernangómez since his role is less defined, but he does offer nice upside if he gets the chance to build on Saturday’s throwback performance.
PG/SG T.J. MCCONNELL, PHI at PHO, $3,600McConnell continues to be a steady source of value and has more than 20 DKFP in five straight contests. He has averaged 26 minutes off the bench over that span with an average of 23.5 DKFP on 8.6 points, 5.2 assists, 1.4 steals and 3.2 rebounds per game.
On Tuesday, McConnell dropped 26.5 DKFP against the Clippers with his third straight game of double-digit points along with four steals, three assists, two rebounds and even a block. He brings nice hustle to the Sixers’ second unit, and there’s a chance he’ll get extra run in a great matchup with the Suns if the Sixers can pull away early. His offensive workload can fluctuate from time to time, but for the most part he’s a solid way to get 5x value from one of your guard spots at an affordable rate, enabling you to spend up at other spots.
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.