Thursday’s NBA slate features only three games. We’re still very much figuring out rotations, as are real NBA teams, which makes the first couple weeks of the season a fantasy roller coaster. There are 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 FD/$5000 DK 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 7:30 pm EST.
Patrick Beverley, LA Clippers vs. San Antonio ($5400 FD, $4900 DK)
There’s always a spot for Beverley here, with his mostly solid floor and higher upside if it’s a scoring night for him. The Spurs have continued a trend from last season as they rank second in fantasy points allowed to opposing point guards right now. This game carries the highest point total of the night and is expected to stay pretty close. Beverley and the other Clippers should benefit a bit from the faster pace of San Antonio.
Derrick White, San Antonio at LA ($4900 FD, $4400 DK)
As noted above, this should be a great game to draw from tonight. White represents the hot hand, point-chasing play of the night as he finally had a huge game with 21 points, five rebounds and three assists against Portland. Even if he’s not that good again, the positive game environment and 20-plus minutes he’s playing off the bench should be enough for him to reach value.
DeAndre’ Bembry, Atlanta Hawks vs. Miami ($4900 FD, $4700 DK)
The loss of Trae Young for tonight’s game opens up a few spots of value. Bembry started the second half after Young was hurt in Tuesday’s game and is a good candidate for more action tonight. He’s been consistent so far this season, with at least one (usually more) rebound, assist, and steal in every game to go with about eight points per game. If those scoring numbers bump just a bit, he’s easily at 5-6X value.
Bryn Forbes, San Antonio Spurs at LA ($4400 FD, $4100 DK)
If you need to save a bit more and don’t mind being more dependent on pure shooting, Forbes is my choice. JJ Redick has been awful, Nickeil Alexander-Walker is way too boom or bust to trust, so where else are you going at SG for this price? Forbes is averaging 17 points per game and over five rebounds a game, with very little volatility.
Also consider: Josh Hart, New Orleans Pelicans ($5700 FD, $5000 DK)
Kenrich Williams, New Orleans Pelicans vs. Denver ($4600 FD, $3800 DK)
Williams is coming off a great game vs. the Warriors and with all the injuries the Pelicans are dealing with, should be in for another solid opportunity tonight even with Jrue Holiday likely back. Given that he can absolutely stuff the stat sheet, Williams offers a perfect combination of high floor and high ceiling for the price.
Will Barton, Denver Nuggets at New Orleans ($5900 FD, $5000 DK)
Expensive for a bargain play, but a nice cash game option to pair with one of the studs available at SF tonight. Barton and all the Nuggets get a fantasy-friendly matchup with the Pelicans who continue to rank poorly (28th) in defensive efficiency. That, in combination with the fast pace of play of New Orleans, sets up a positive game script for the Nuggets.
Also consider: Rudy Gay, San Antonio Spurs ( $4600 FD, $4500 DK)
Jaxson Hayes, New Orleans Pelicans vs. Denver ($3800 FD, $3500 DK)
Hayes might be a one-hit wonder, but there is a need for strong frontcourt play in New Orleans until Zion Williamson and Derrick Favors return to the court. In his debut Monday night, Hayes put up 19 points, three rebounds, and one each assist, steal, and block. That was in 24 minutes. He’s definitely a risk, but with a salary this low, is the key to fitting the stars you want tonight.
JaMychal Green, LA Clippers vs. San Antonio ($3500 FD, $3300 DK)
Green has played over 21 minutes in each of his last two games (at least 15 MPG in all five games), and has scored double digit points in three of five games so far this season. His peripherals are severely lacking, and the fact that Kawhi Leonard is back in action tonight give me pause in rostering him in every format, but the matchup is a good one for PFs and the salary is just so low I had to include him here.
Mason Plumlee, Denver Nuggets at New Orleans ($3900 FD, $3400 DK)
As usual, if I’m going to punt at center, I want to go very low. Plumlee isn’t going to win any tournaments tonight, but he shouldn’t crush your lineups either at this price. 17-22 fantasy points is a reasonable expectation as we again harp on the defensive woes and fast pace of the Pelicans.