We’re back! Today’s Thursday NBA slate features only three games to come down from the excitement of Wednesday’s main event. There are still plenty of stars in our sights tonight, so here’s the rundown of the cheaper plays you can rely on around them. 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. Tonight’s slate tips at 7:00 pm EST.
Patrick Beverley, LA Clippers ($5100 FD, $4600 DK)
Beverley put forth a typical effort Tuesday night vs. the Lakers, shooting poorly (including 0-5 from 3P range) but bringing down 10 rebounds and dishing out six assists. His ability to get steals and blocks raises his floor, while he has 30-40 fantasy point upside when his shot falls.
George Hill, Milwaukee Bucks ($3800 FD, $3300 DK)
The departure of Malcolm Brogdon, who played a key role in the Bucks 2018-19 backcourt, should create opportunities for new (or in this case, old) value to emerge. Hill is a veteran backup with a reasonable floor and high ceiling. Double digit points, a smattering of rebounds and assists with 2-3 steals is what I expect in a fast paced game vs. Houston.
Also consider Landry Shamet ($4000 FD, $3700 DK (SG/SF))
Wesley Matthews, Milwaukee Bucks ($3900 FD, $3500 DK)
SG is the top-heaviest position of this small slate and won’t be where I’m looking to save. That said, Matthews will start at the two for the Bucks in what should be the fastest, closest and highest scoring game of the night. He is renowned for his ability to come up short in good spots, but if you have to save some salary here, Matthews is at least very affordable.
Also consider Derrick Rose ($5500 FD, $5400 DK)
Luke Kennard, Detroit Pistons ($4800 FD, $4700 DK)
Kennard played 28 minutes and scored 30 real points Wednesday night vs. the Pacers. We can’t expect a repeat performance, but his confidence is soaring right now and we can expect the team to put the ball in his hot hands again tonight as the Pistons host Atlanta. This should be a nice matchup for Kennard and Rose.
Cam Reddish, Atlanta Hawks ($4400 FD, $3600 DK)
Kevin Huerter is active tonight, but on a 15-minute limit. Reddish will start at the SG position and his ultimate playing time will depend on his production. He dealt with minor ailments throughout the preseason, limiting his court time, so we don’t have much to go on when projecting him tonight. I have to consider Reddish a boom or bust bargain play tonight.
D’Andre Hunter, Atlanta Hawks ($4800 FD, $4000 DK (SF/PF))
Small forward is definitely full of value tonight, and the best place to save your salary dollars. Hunter is another rookie Hawk with a starting role in tonight’s opener. Hunter was selected fourth overall, and has been fairly consistent in the preseason. His salary is a bit higher than I expected given he is going to contribute most of his fantasy value through scoring, so I’d reserve him for tournament lineups until I see how Atlanta functions with all the new pieces.
Danuel House, Houston Rockets ($4000 FD, $3200 DK (SF/PF))
House is a better value than either Atlanta wing, getting to start for the Rockets and having PF eligibility on DraftKings is a definite bonus. The Rockets like Eric Gordon off the bench, and with Gerald Green not expected to play for months, House has a real chance to carve out a role. The Bucks are a good defensive team, but at this price, his opportunity to reach value is excellent.
Marquese Chriss, Golden State Warriors ($3800 FD, $3200 DK)
I don’t want to think about, much less write the words ‘toenail infection’, but here we are. Ouch. However, he sounds like he’s improved enough and Chriss is expected to play behind Draymond Green and Kevon Looney in a thin Warriors frontcourt tonight. He’s cheaper than P.J. Tucker and JaMychal Green, both of whom can do frustratingly little with a lot of minutes. Chriss is a balanced points/rebounds guy who should be able to reach value in the 20ish minutes I expect him to play tonight.
Alex Len, Atlanta Hawks ($5900 FD, $5500 DK)
I fully expect everyone to play either Andre Drummond, Clint Capela or Montrezl Harrell tonight at center, but if you go another way, Len is your cheapest viable option. He has a clear path to 30 MPG, and in that role he has historically been a fantasy asset, at times giving 40-plus fantasy point upside.