Friday brings an eight-game slate that features heavy-hitters like LeBron James, DeMar DeRozan, Carmelo Anthony, Damian Lillard and DeMarcus Cousins in action. Let’s take a look at who’s worthy of top dollar, and who the value plays are that will let you squeeze in those superstars.
DeMar DeRozan TOR at CHA ($9,000): DeRozan has scored under 40 fantasy points only once this season and has clearly taken the reins of the Raptors offense. He’s also providing much more in non-scoring categories than your typical shooting guard, as he’s posted 4-to-7 rebounds in every game and 3-to-6 assists in his last four. The Hornets have notably given up the second most rebounds (6.8) to two-guards, and DeRozan also checks in with a whopping 169 shot attempts and 39 percent usage rate that both pace the Raptors by a significant margin.
Jeff Teague IND at PHI ($6,300): Teague ripped off 50.9 fantasy points against the Sixers on Wednesday and is primed for more in the Friday rematch. The Sixers give up the third most fantasy points (47.1) and second highest field-goal percentage (46.6), while Teague has scored 26.2 to 37.4 fantasy points in four other games in addition to Wednesday’s explosion. With a price that could easily facilitate a 5x return at a minimum, Teague makes for a strong mid-tier value play.
Marcus SmartBOS at NY ($4,900): Smart has received 27-to-36 minutes in the four games he’s played, and has tallied 21 to 25.1 fantasy points in his last three. He’s shooting well from three-point range as well and checks in at a price that makes him a particularly appealing value play, factoring in the amount of playing time he’s regularly seeing.
LeBron James CLE at WAS ($9,900): James has unsurprisingly scored 42.6 to 56.4 fantasy points in all but one game this season, and has been over 50 fantasy points on three occasions already. He’s been a better facilitator than ever as well, including posting double-digit assists in two of his last three games. The Wizards have given up the fourth most assists to small forwards (4.6), and James also leads the Cavs in field-goal attempts (160) and checks in second in usage (28.4 percent).
Carmelo Anthony NY at BOS ($7,700): Anthony draws a Celtics defense that has given up the most fantasy points (45.1) and points (25.5) to small forwards, along with the highest field-goal percentage (53.2). Anthony has scored at least 20 points in six of his seven games and should find a fairly clear path to a 5x-6x return at minimum in a competitive, back-and-forth contest.
C.J. Miles IND at PHI ($4,400): Miles’ price hasn’t changed much despite the fact he’s scored 20.8 to 31.6 fantasy points in five of his first seven games. The Sixers have yielded the fifth most fantasy points (42.1), second most rebounds (9.3) and most assists (5.2) to small forwards, making them an appealing target, particularly at Miles’ price.
DeMarcus Cousins SAC at POR ($9,500): Cousins should thrive through all four quarters against a Blazers team that’s given up the second most fantasy points (47.9) and second most rebounds (13.5) to power forwards, as well as the second most rebounds (17.0) to centers, where Cousins could see some time. He’s scored 44.8 to 52.8 fantasy points in his last three games, as well as over 50 fantasy points in two others already this season. At his sub-$10K price, he should be able to generate a solid 5x-7x return for tournaments given his matchup.
Marcin Gortat WAS vs. CLE ($6,000): Gortat makes for an excellent mid-tier play given both his track record this season and the Cavaliers’ highly vulnerable defense against centers. Tristan Thompson has proven to be no Timofey Mozgov in terms of resistance in the low post, as the Cavs are surrendering the fifth most fantasy points (48.5), second most rebounds (17.0), second most blocks (3.1) and second highest field-goal percentage (55.1) to fives. Gortat has been the epitome of consistency as well, scoring 27.8 to 35.9 fantasy points in all but one game, providing every reason to believe he’ll offer similar returns Friday.
Al Jefferson IND at PHI ($4,200): Jefferson has been impressively coming on despite still playing on the second unit, scoring 21.2, 26.3 and 28.2 fantasy points, respectively, over his last three games. The high end of the range came against this same Sixers squad Wednesday, and Philadelphia gives up the most fantasy points (51.2), second most points (25.0), fourth most blocks (2.8) and highest field-goal percentage (63.3) to centers.