This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
Five players in Saturday's main slate have five-figure prices. Naturally, in order to roster at least one of them, we'll need to identify some value pieces that can open up sufficient salary. The good news is that with 12 teams in action and some key injuries to starters, there's no shortage of candidates to choose from in terms of finding savings. Without further adieu, let's highlight who some of those players are at each position:
J.J. Barea, DAL at GS ($5,000): Barea continues to be underpriced relative to his upside, which has most recently been evidenced by eclipsing 30 fantasy points on four occasions over his last 11 games, and vaulting over 20 fantasy points in another three contests during that stretch. The Warriors check in allowing the sixth-most assists (8.6) per game to point guards, which dovetails well with the fact Barea is averaging an efficient 5.5 dimes across just 19.7 minutes per contest and 10.0 assists per game when factored out over 36 minutes. His usage relative to playing time is also impressive, as he's averaging a career-high 10.4 shot attempts per game. In a game that should force the Mavs into a bit of a quicker pace than usual, he's set up as an attractive bargain option.
Tyler Johnson, MIA vs. MIL ($4,200): Johnson could well draw starting point guard duties Saturday if Justise Winslow (ankle) is out, and he's likely to log heavy minutes even if he comes off the bench. The fifth-year pro has scored 21.2 to 30 fantasy points in his last three games while playing at least 21 minutes in each, and he projects for a larger workload versus the Bucks. Milwaukee's numbers against point guards are impressive overall, but the combination of Johnson's minuscule price and the sizable role he should enjoy in the Heat's short-handed backcourt make him very worthy of the investment.
Eric Gordon, HOU vs. SA ($5,900): Gordon retains a price befitting of the second-unit role he usually occupies, which makes him an appealing value play in his current starting role. Gordon has scored 21.9 and 31.1 fantasy points over the last two games, and he'll face a Spurs team Saturday that's allowed the third-most made threes (3.2) per game to shooting guards. Gordon has hit nine triples over the last two games alone and is averaging 8.4 attempts from distance, and he should remain similarly aggressive in what projects to be a tightly contested battle. He's already averaging 34.7 fantasy points over two prior meetings against the Spurs, furthering his already strong case.
Dwyane Wade, MIA vs. MIL ($4,900): Wade is the second member of the Heat backcourt sporting a sub-$5k price that makes for a very viable value play Saturday. In his case, the matchup is much better than Johnson's, as the Bucks have allowed the third-most fantasy points (43.1) to two-guards, along with the most rebounds (6.9), second-most assists (5.3) and eighth-most made threes (3.1) per game to the position. Wade has scored at least 40 fantasy points twice in his last five games and a solid 24.2 in another contest during that span. That provides a glimpse at the impressive upside he still carries – one which he could well approximate in Saturday's matchup.
Trevor Ariza, WAS vs. PHO ($6,000): There will be some interesting sub-plots at the small forward position in the Wizards-Suns matchup, given the recent swap between the two teams. Ariza faces off against a team he had some critical words for following his recent trade and will be in a good spot to build on his strong start with the Wizards. Ariza has scored 51.6 and 35.7 fantasy points, respectively, in his first two games with Washington, and the Suns come in allowing the seventh-most fantasy points (42.1), fourth-most points (22.5) and sixth-most assists (4.0) per game to small forwards. Phoenix is also yielding the second-highest shooting percentage (48.8) to threes, while Ariza is shooting a solid 44.7 percent over his last four games dating back to his last two contests with the Suns.
Kelly Oubre, Jr., PHO at WAS ($4,800): On the other side of the matchup is Oubre, who also hit the ground running with his new teammates in his first game with the Suns last Wednesday. The emerging wing totaled 29.7 fantasy points over 26 minutes against the Celtics and now draws a matchup against a Wizards team that's allowed 39.9 fantasy points per game to small forwards, along with the third-most rebounds (9.3) per game to the position. The versatile Oubre is capable of exploiting that weakness, as he's currently equaling his career high with 4.5 boards per contest. It's also worth noting he's flashed a ceiling on multiple occasions that far outpaces his current price, as he's posted 29.7 to 41.5 fantasy points in four of his last seven games alone.
PJ Tucker, HOU vs. SA ($4,900): Tucker racked up 25.9 fantasy points over 24 minutes the last time he saw the Spurs on Nov. 30, and he's scored 21.4 to 34.2 fantasy points in his last four games as well. The veteran will face a San Antonio team that's allowed the sixth-most points (23.2) per game to power forwards, along with the third-highest shooting percentage (52.0). Notably, the Spurs are also allowing the sixth-most points in the paint per game on the road (51.5), which should also work in Tucker's favor.
Richaun Holmes, PHO at WAS ($4,700): Holmes has been a valued member of the Suns' frontcourt rotation all season, and he'll come into Saturday's favorable matchup having scored 22.4 to 40.4 fantasy points in four of his last six games. Those numbers offer a glimpse at his ability to outpace his current price, and he'll stand a good chance of doing so versus a Wizards squad that's allowed 47.0 fantasy points per game to power forwards, along with the fourth-most rebounds per game (12.3) to the position. Holmes is shooting a career-high 65.7 percent this season and should log minutes in the high teens at minimum, giving him a strong opportunity for a favorable return.
Thomas Bryant, WAS vs. PHO ($4,600): Bryant has flashed some nice upside lately relative to price with a pair of 30 fantasy-point efforts and another tally of 21.3 over his last 10 games. While his production has been a bit of a rollercoaster at times, he's set up for one of his better performances Saturday. The Suns are allowing the second-most fantasy points per game to centers (62.5), along with the fifth-most points (25.8), fifth-most rebounds (17.4), and the most steals (2.2) to fives. Phoenix has also been highly susceptible to scoring near the basket, allowing the third-most points in the paint per game (51.7). In turn, Bryant is logging 68.0 percent of his scoring in that part of the floor.