The NBA rings in the New Year with a five-game slate, but it appears the league wants you to kick off 2016 frugally. There’s just one player—John Wall—with a five-figure price tag, and the next highest-priced player is at only $8,700 (Kyle Lowry, Pau Gasol). It’s almost too hard to spend all your money on Friday, making this a unique slate this season. We’ve yet to have a night like this, where there are so many different avenues to travel with five games on the schedule. Let’s find one of those avenues below.
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PG: Ish Smith ($5,800) @ LAL: Smith has played 32 minutes per night in the Sixers’ last three games and put up at least 40.1 fantasy points in his last two nights on the floor. Smith showed that he had this in him in New Orleans before the trade, and now that he’s on a team committed to getting him minutes he’s one of the greatest daily fantasy bargains. The Lakers, as we well know, have allowed the most fantasy points per game to point guards this season.
SG: Jimmy Butler ($8,300) vs. NY: After scoring just five points against the Raptors on Monday, Butler came back with 28 points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals in a win over the Pacers. The Knicks have allowed the ninth-most points per game to shooting guards this season, and if Derrick Rose is out again because of his hamstring injury, Butler should see his usage rate increase over a typical night.
SF: Otto Porter ($6,000) vs. ORL: Porter had another strong night on Wednesday, scoring 20 points and pulling down nine rebounds in a loss to Toronto. In his last two games, he’s averaging 20.5 points and 8.5 rebounds, putting his thigh injury comfortably in the rear-view mirror. Orlando is league average in terms of fantasy points allowed to small forwards, making this a matchup that shouldn’t bother Porter. He remains a solid bargain at just $6,000.
PF: Chris Bosh ($7,500) vs. DAL: Bosh is the second-most expensive power forward available on Friday, but the price isn’t even close to prohibitive. He has been steady all year, rarely falling beneath 30 fantasy points, and he has had at least 41.2 points in four of his last six games. The Mavericks, meanwhile, have surrendered the fourth-most fantasy points per game to power forwards this season.
C: Nikola Vucevic ($8,200) @ WAS: Vucevic remains one of the hottest players in the league, scoring at least 20 points in seven consecutive games. Over that time he has averaged 23.1 points, 9.1 rebounds and 41.1 fantasy points per game. The Wizards do have one of the best defenses in the league, but Vucevic has turned himself into a matchup-proof center.