FanDuel Bargain Bin
Today’s Thursday NBA slate has five games. A slew of injuries Wednesday opens up some new value plays, but we’ll feature some old faves too. Since you’ll want to spend on James Harden and a star center, we’ll look for bargain plays that offer a solid ROI for the most part. In this column, I generally set $6000 as the bargain threshold, and I try to indicate when I think a position is particularly well-suited--or not--to using the cheap plays given the landscape of the particular slate.
Ish Smith $5500: Ish Smith is a no-brainer tonight, with Reggie Jackson having sprained his ankle badly Wednesday night. The Pistons travel to Orlando for the best point guard matchup in the league (most fantasy points allowed), and enjoy a significant pace boost. He’s solid with upside at this salary tonight.
Briante Weber $3500: Chris Paul’s injury opens up some additional opportunity for Weber, who has played 16 and 17 minutes in the last two games. He hasn’t done much with them, and there’s certainly a risk that continues, as James Harden would be expected to pick up most of the slack in the backcourt. If you desperately need to save at PG, pairing Weber with Smith is one way to go.
J.J. Redick $5500: Both Redick and C.J. McCollum are exciting options in this game, as neither team defends the perimeter particularly well. Redick is shooting well from three-point range, going 4-of-8 in his last effort en route to 24 points. He’s been a solid scorer for Philly all season, especially on a full day of rest, and I like him to balance any lineup tonight.
Marcus Smart $5600: Smart was a popular play Wednesday, with Jaylen Brown out, but he disappointed big time. In fact, he hasn’t had a decent game since the week before Christmas. So why consider him tonight? Well, for tournaments, he’s going to have low ownership, the game has the highest point total of the slate, and Houston’s faster pace and relatively high turnover rate provides the opportunity for a few extra peripheral stats.
Reggie Bullock $4400: Bullock and Stanley Johnson ($4000) are catching my eye tonight in a top matchup with the Magic. Both are viable options to save at SF. Since mid-December, Johnson has seen an uptick in minutes, and has responded with around 22-23 fantasy points per game. Bullock is more volatile, but still effective with Avery Bradley out. I’d go Bullock in GPPs, Johnson in cash games.
Courtney Lee $5900: I expect Lee to see pretty low ownership facing the Spurs in the night’s lowest scoring game, but he’s been so consistently good lately that it’s hard to totally fade him. Note that at the top of the SF list tonight, Giannis Antetokounmpo is really hard to afford, and Jimmy Butler has played 83 minutes already this week, including 42 MPG last night. I think it makes sense to save here, and think Lee can find enough room to keep his steady scoring going.
Al-Farouq Aminu $5500: Aminu is back to a normal role, though his minutes are still fluctuating from low-20’s to over 30 MPG. He’s coming off a 10-rebound effort and but hasn’t been scoring as much as normal. The matchup he gets tonight at home vs. Philly is one of the best in the league, and he’s got a great shot to reach value with either a double-double or a few marks in the blocks/steals column.
John Henson $5200: Never an exciting option, Henson could surprise tonight as Minnesota is one of the best frontcourt matchups in the league, and has been even better lately. Note that they also played an overtime game Wednesday night, and defense is usually the first thing to go in these situations. Henson has the upside of a multi-block game and though Karl-Anthony Towns is probably going to out-rebound him by a wide margin, Henson can hold his own and score in the paint enough to hit 25 fantasy points tonight.
Bismack Biyombo $5500: There are at least three top centers you’ll want to prioritize tonight, and I’m not sure there are any lineups in which I’ll fade Towns, Andre Drummond or Joel Embiid for Biyombo, but if you choose to save here, Biyombo is going to get the minutes. Coming off a 5-block, 12-rebound game, he proves he can provide value even if he’s not scoring.