The NBA is back, and boy did we miss it over the All-Star Break. Just about everyone is rested and healthy, and a full slate of 11 Friday night games means we’ll have to be very choosy with our bargain plays and go against the grain on some of the usual picks. Let’s grab a couple superstars at the top and then bargain shop for guys who might be able to take on a bigger minutes load later.
SF/PF LeBron James CLE $11.2K vs Memphis
There really aren’t many star matchups that leap off the page tonight, so sometimes you just need to go with the obvious. LeBron averaged 64 fantasy points in his last five games, with at least 54 fantasy points in every game of that stretch. The big recent addition has been an even higher assist rate, with James averaging 12 assists a game this stretch as he takes on an even bigger playmaker role with more complimentary pieces around him. The Cavs didn’t show up on national TV Thursday night, and LeBron will surely look to take over and get things back on track against a team that has no one with a snowball’s chance of stopping him. As an added bonus, this is one of the lowest LeBron prices you’ll see all season.
PG/SG Victor Oladipo IND $9.6K vs Atlanta
Oladipo was on a tear heading into the break with a 50-point game and two 60-point games in his last five efforts. His rebounding is up of late and he continues to reap the benefit of taking on a bigger playmaking role with Darren Collison sidelined, so that gives him a bigger assist upside and has helped him score 30+ points in those three big games. One other overlooked thing is the steals, as 19 steals in the last five games mean an extra 7.6 points a game on defense. He should have his way with Atlanta’s outmatched guards.
SF/PF Tobias Harris LAC $6.9K vs Phoenix
Harris is quietly flourishing in his new role with the Clippers. He’s had 34+ fantasy points in five of his last seven for the team, so he’s outproducing his season average as he picks up the slack a bit more on the boards and dropping dimes. Phoenix is the worst defense in the league, and Harris looks like he could be the biggest beneficiary Friday night.
C Alex Len PHX $4.8K vs Los Angeles Clippers
It looks like Tyson Chandler won’t suit up for this one, so that means extra minutes for Len who has been pretty good this season per minute. He played 38 minutes in the Suns’ last game before the break and responded with 14 points, seven boards, five blocks, and three steals for a huge 39-point fantasy effort. He’ll have his hands full against DeAndre Jordan but should be in line for big minutes.
SG/SF Kelly Oubre WAS $4.5K vs Charlotte
Oubre is coming off the bench but playing starter minutes, and he’s spiked with three 28+ point fantasy games in his last six as he’s getting a little more of the spotlight with John Wall sidelined. Oubre’s assists are up during that stretch, and he’s taking the most shots of his career right now. The Hornets bench is pretty bad, so Oubre should be a dangerous weapon.
PG/SG Dwyane Wade $4.4K vs New Orleans
If there’s anyone who ought to benefit from a week away from basketball, it’s old man Wade. He’s only playing around 22 minutes a game off the bench for Miami, but he’s making them count and recently had 10/11/6 against Toronto in just 26 minutes. This is an upside play for a guy with a week of rest playing against a bad bench.
PG/SG Andrew Harrison MEM $4.3K vs Cleveland
Harrison is starting in the back court with Tyreke Evans now, and he’s been lighting it up recently with two 38-point fantasy games in his last three heading into the break. With Memphis lacking offense, Harrison has been given the green light to shoot, and that should be the case again with Wayne Selden still out. He has big bargain potential and is our token guy against the Cavs tonight.
PF/C Greg Monroe BOS $4.1K vs Detroit
We’re hunting for big upside at the bottom of our roster, and Monroe’s upside is a potential minutes boost. Now that he’s had a week to get integrated into Boston’s schemes better, perhaps Monroe will see a boost from the 11 minutes a game he played in three home games into the break, especially as he visits an old home in Detroit. Monroe always produces points and rebounds when playing and could get 25 or 30 fantasy points if he doubles his minute load.