After some great showcase games on Thursday, the NBA is back to a jam-packed massive slate on Friday with 11 games on tap even after two cancelations due to the health and safety protocols. Of the 22 teams taking the floor, the Milwaukee Bucks and New York Knicks are the only two on the second night of a back-to-back, but there are 10 teams scheduled to take the floor again on Saturday. Keep a close eye on how rotations continue to be impacted by the accelerated schedule.
Especially with all the injury and illness uncertainty, you’ll want to stay tuned to @dklive on Twitter and download the DK Live app to stay up-to-the-minute with all the latest news leading up to tipoff. Players resting, dealing with injuries or working their way through the health and safety protocols can open up big value as other players step up to fill in for them.
With 22 teams in action, there are lots of big stars to consider, but you may also need to weave a bargain play or two into your lineup to keep it under the cap. Check out some of my favorite cheap plays who come with nice upside at affordable salaries
C DeMarcus Cousins, Houston Rockets at Detroit Pistons, $4,600
The center spot will be key to building lineups tonight since it's loaded with top-end talent and also some of the best values. It’s definitely a good night to consider using your UTIL spot on a second center option, and one of the cheap options lined up for a big role is Cousins, who will have to help the Rockets cover for the absence of Christian Wood (ankle). Boogie started one game earlier this season and played a season-high 24 minutes against the Pacers. He finished that game with 40 DKFP on nine points, 14 rebounds, four blocks and two steals.
While there are some question marks as to how big of a role the veteran can fill, he has been able to play all but one of the Rockets’ games after getting a late start due to the health and safety protocols. Even if isn’t quite ready to play more than 25 minutes, he showed in that matchup against the Pacers that he can be a great value if given more time on the floor. Cousins is putting up an impressive 1.4 DKFP per minute so far this season, and he’ll look to take advantage of a great matchup in this one since the Pistons have allowed the second-most DKFP in the NBA this season to opposing centers.
SF/PF Taurean Prince, Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Brooklyn Nets, $4,300
Another former fantasy standout enjoying a bit of a renaissance is Prince, who seems ready to step into a prominent role with the Cavs after coming over from the Nets in the James Harden trade. Prince played 31 minutes against his former team on Wednesday in the first game of this set and produced 17 points, seven boards, four assists and 35.75 DKFP in the Cavs’ double-overtime thriller. Even though his minutes and production definitely got a boost from the extra sessions, Prince looks ready to have a significant role for coach J.B. Bickerstaff, especially while the Cavs are dealing with injuries.
Whether he and Jarrett Allen ($6,600) continue to come off the bench or eventually end up in the starting lineup, they both come with nice fantasy potential. Prince is usually pretty efficient and can turn in stats across the box score, so take advantage of his reduced salary that hasn’t been impacted yet by his expanded role with his new team.
SG Jeremy Lamb, Indiana Pacers vs. Orlando Magic, $3,700
Lamb made his return to the court on Wednesday, 11 months after tearing his ACL last February. The Pacers understandably kept him on a short leash, playing him only 19 minutes, but Lamb still scored 10 points and 16.5 DKFP in his limited workload. He looked sharp in his debut, especially in the first half, attacking the basket and staying very active defensively. He actually had the highest plus/minus on the team with a plus 10.
While they’re sure to be as cautious as possible with Lamb, the Pacers desperately need his scoring at SG after trading away Victor Oladipo. Caris LeVert (kidney) is sidelined by a medical issue discovered during the trade, so the Pacers have been relying heavily on Edmond Sumner ($3,800), Justin Holiday ($4,800) and Aaron Holiday ($3,500) to fill the backcourt spot next to Malcolm Brogdon ($8,200). While those options do have their moments, none of them can offer the consistent scoring and high ceiling that Lamb has flashed in the past. If he’s ready to go, Indiana will get him up to speed and in the lineup as quickly as possible. This matchup against the Magic should be a good one for Lamb to continue to ramp to full strength, and I think he’ll be able to return value at this bargain salary even in his reduced minutes.
C Daniel Gafford, Chicago Bulls at Charlotte Hornets, $3,100
Wendell Carter Jr. ($5,800; thigh) is doubtful, so the Bulls will likely start Gafford against the Hornets. The 22-year-old has averaged just 14.0 minutes in his 12 games but should be in for a much larger role if Carter is ruled out as expected. Gafford has brought good athleticism and energy when he’s on the floor and has averaged 1.0 DKFP per minute. The 22-year-old is averaging 13.9 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.1 blocks and 2.2 steals per 36 minutes, and while he may not get quite that much run, he won’t have to reach those levels to be worth this salary barely over the minimum.
The Hornets typically like to play with a true center on the floor and will be likely adding Cody Zeller ($3,500; hand, probable) back into the mix. While Zeller could also be a great value if he’s ready for a full workload, there is risk involved in taking a player in his first game back from an extended layoff. Zeller and Bismack Biyombo ($4,200) will likely share minutes, but Gafford is the only non-small-ball option the Bulls have in the middle, so look for him to get as many minutes as he can handle while Carter is out.
Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.
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.
If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) (IL). Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ/WV/PA), 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN), 1-800-522-4700 (NH/CO), 1-800-BETS OFF (IA) or TN REDLINE: 800-889-9789. 21+ (18+ NH). NJ/PA/WV/NH/IN/NH/IA/CO/IL/TN only. Eligibility restrictions apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for full terms and conditions.