After a quiet Thursday night with just one NBA game on the schedule, the Association is back to start the weekend with a massive 12-game slate on Friday. This is the second 12-game slate of the week, and like on Wednesday, there should be plenty of spots to target for fantasy basketball value plays. While these value options appear to be set up well, pre-lock player news is always important to consider, as well. Be sure to follow @dklive on Twitter and the DK Live app so you get all the latest news and analysis.
With so many players to choose from, finding the right play from the bargain bin can seem overwhelming. If you need to balance out your favorite stars with some cheap options, check out my favorite bargains highlighted below. As we approach the start of Friday’s main slate at 7 p.m. ET, I’ll provide any updates to these values on Twitter @ZT_Sports, where you can also find my four to play under $4K each day of the NBA season.
SG/SF Josh Richardson, San Antonio Spurs vs. New Orleans Pelicans, $4,200
Editor’s Note: Spurs SG/SF Josh Richardson (calf) is questionable for tonight’s game vs. the Pelicans.
The Spurs have ruled Doug McDermott (ankle) out for the season and Keita Bates-Diop (back) out for this contest. While Keldon Johnson ($6,600) will start at PF and get a lot of usage, there should be plenty of work for Richardson, as well. Richardson has started five of the past six games for the Spurs and has averaged 28.5 minutes per game over that stretch. He was traded from the Celtics to the Spurs in the Derrick White ($4,600) trade and didn’t have an immediate reliable role with San Antonio. That has changed with the injuries piling up, and he’s now a solid enough play to consider at this salary, especially in this favorable matchup.
He has at least 11 points and 23 DKFP in three of his past four starts while averaging 11.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.3 steals per game. He had 31.75 DKFP vs. the Thunder on Wednesday on 17 points, seven rebounds and three assists over 28 minutes, and he should continue to offer very solid multi-category potential if he keeps starting for the Spurs coming down the stretch.
C Nicolas Claxton, Brooklyn Nets vs. Portland Trail Blazers, $3,400
The Nets remain without LaMarcus Aldridge (hip), and Claxton has been playing very well in his absence, establishing himself as the primary backup to Andre Drummond ($5,400). The third-year big man missed most of February with a groin injury, but he has been a very consistent contributor since returning to a significant role in Brooklyn’s second unit.
Claxton has played over 20 minutes in four straight games, with over 22 DKFP in each contest. His usage rate of 15.9% is consistent with his season average, and he has been able to score at least nine points in each game while adding 7.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.0 blocks per game. He had 28 DKFP with a double-double vs. the Magic on Tuesday and followed that up the next night with 26 minutes in the very close game vs. the Mavericks, finishing with 13 points, five rebounds and two assists. His consistent energy and defensive contributions earn him enough floor time to make him a great value option at $3.4K.
PF/C Terry Taylor, Indiana Pacers at Houston Rockets, $3,200
As an undrafted rookie out of Austin Peay, Taylor’s role has been inconsistent this season for the Pacers, but he has flashed a high ceiling when given an opportunity. In early February, he had back-to-back monster games of 52 and 46.5 DKFP after Myles Turner (foot) first got injured. With Jalen Smith ($5,700) acquired in a trade, Oshae Brissett ($4,700) stepping up and first-round pick Isaiah Jackson (concussion) getting most of the work lately, Taylor faded into the background and only averaged 10.6 minutes per game over the team’s previous eight contests coming into the week.
That all changed on Monday when he re-entered the starting lineup with the Pacers only having eight players due to a long list of injuries. Taylor scored 16 points on his way to 21.5 DKFP in 25 minutes in that game vs. the Hawks, and he got even more work on Wednesday when he played 27 minutes and had 14 points, eight rebounds and 25 DKFP vs. the Grizzlies. In that contest, Jackson sustained a concussion, as well, so that should open up playing time for Taylor in this contest in Houston.
PG/SG Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Utah Jazz vs. Los Angeles Clippers, $3,100
Like Richardson, Alexander-Walker didn’t have much of a role with his new team right after joining the Jazz at the trade deadline, but he has stepped up lately and could be in for even more work on Friday. Utah has already ruled out Donovan Mitchell (calf), Bojan Bogdanovic (calf), Udoke Azubuike (ankle) and Danuel House Jr. (knee), while Trent Forrest ($3,000; wrist) is questionable. With Bogdanovic and House out, Juancho Hernangómez ($3,200) actually drew a start on Wednesday. Hernangómez produced just 10.25 DKFP in 23 minutes, though, while Alexander-Walker was a big beneficiary off the bench.
He scored 16 points in 22 minutes and finished with 26 DKFP in that 15-point victory vs. the Bulls. Mitchell played and carried much of the load in that game, but with him out, there should be even more work for Alexander-Walker on Friday. Before he was traded, NAW showed he can fill up the box score and score plenty of points when he gets high usage, so he deserves a lot at a salary barely over the minimum in this contest.
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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 do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. 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.
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