Before taking over Super Bowl Saturday with a rich, 12-game schedule, the NBA starts the month of February with a limited five-game slate this Friday. Even though there are only 10 teams taking the court, there are lots of options to consider for your fantasy basketball team. There aren’t a lot of viable bargain options, but as you get your squad together, check out these four options if you need a player under $4K, who can help both to stretch your salary cap and still provide solid returns.
C NERLENS NOEL, OKC AT MIA, $3,900Noel isn’t a lock to get extended run tonight depending on the status of Steven Adams ($6,400; ankle), but with such a limited slate, Noel still deserves a look if you go cheap in the middle to spend up elsewhere. He got a spot start for Adams on Tuesday against Orlando and put up an impressive 33.75 DKFP with 12 points, seven rebounds and a season-high five blocks.
In his first year with the Thunder, Noel actually has been a solid per-minute producer but doesn’t get 20 minutes regularly enough to be a lock. However, Noel is a great option if Adams is out or limited in Miami. He always has been a versatile option across the statsheet and fills up the defensive categories when given the chance.
SG/SF WAYNE ELLINGTON, MIA VS. OKC, $3,600On the other side of the Heat vs. Thunder matchup, Ellington also has been productive in a pair of spot starts after being out of the rotation for much of the season. Coach Erik Spoelstra said sitting Ellington was difficult earlier this season, so he might try to keep riding the veteran in Friday’s matchup.
He started and played 31 minutes Sunday against the Knicks on his way to 22.25 DKFP on 19 points and a rebound. He was starting in place of Tyler Johnson ($4,200) but remained in the lineup Wednesday even though Johnson returned. Ellington had 24.5 DKFP in that contest with 13 points, four rebounds and an assist. His lack of non-scoring numbers give him a lower ceiling and higher risk than Noel if both start, but Ellington has the clearer path to playing time and is showing he still can contribute.
PG TONY PARKER, CHA VS. MEM, $3,600While Ellington and Noel have more upside, neither has been as consistent as Parker. The veteran backup PG is probable for this matchup due to a sore ankle and expected to be able to play after sitting Wednesday against Boston.
Before missing that game due to the injury, Parker had at least 14 points and 20 DKFP in four of his previous five games. He typically is the primary backup for Kemba Walker ($8,100) and plays 17-20 minutes per game. As the leader of Charlotte’s second unit, he has a more well-established role than Ellington or Noel but lacks the high ceiling of his fellow veterans unless they are not in their teams’ lineups.
SF/PF JAMES ENNIS III, HOU at DEN, $3,500Ennis doesn’t usually produce eye-popping stat lines, but he gets consistent enough playing time and balanced production on a regular basis to be a cost-saving option on this limited slate. He has averaged 17.8 DKFP on 6.6 points, 4.4 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 1.6 steals and 0.6 blocks in more than 25 minutes a game over his past five contests.
He doesn’t get many shots with James Harden ($12,900) and Chris Paul ($6,800) running the show but chips in solid rebounding and defensive numbers. He has more than 16 DKFP in five of his past six games and typically plays enough minutes to make him a cheap option with limited risk.
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