Bargain Power Forwards (12/23/15)

By Tom W. Brewer @Tom_W_Brewer
NBA Daily Fantasy: Bargain Shopping for Power Forwards.

Holiday shopping can put you in a bind. You buy presents for your parents, your spouse, your kids, and your siblings, and before you know it money gets tight. Your choices are buying a nice gift for a distant relative or eating something other than ramen noodles until payday, so you find yourself in the As Seen on TV section of a grocery store wondering if your cousin Ricky might like a Shake Weight. You can face the same dilemma with your NBA Daily Fantasy team. Sometimes you spend so big on sure bets like Kevin Durant and LeBron James that you don't have much salary cap left to fill out the rest of your lineup.

Don't worry. Like a hot deal on Amazon, we've got you covered with some power forwards that fill up the stat sheet but won't cost you a fortune.

Taj Gibson – Chicago Bulls

The lowdown: Gibson is back in the Bulls' starting lineup after beginning the year relieving Nikola Mirotic from the bench. A stingy defender and a solid rebounder, Gibson is relentless in the paint.

Most recent salary: $4,300 (DraftKings), $4,500 (FanDuel), $12 (Yahoo)

Behind the numbers: Many of the skills that have given Gibson's career longevity don't typically translate to a daily fantasy sports. They don't give points for taking charges. Where the guy will earn for you is on the glass. Gibson's averaging around seven rebounds a night over the last month; combine that with the eight points per game he's averaging in December, and you have a reliable 18-25 fantasy points every time he's in your lineup.

Jon Leuer – Phoenix Suns

The lowdown: Leuer's been the victor of the cold war between Markieff Morris and Suns management. Putting in around 20 minutes per game, he doesn't do anything spectacular, but he's consistently good. In the wake of the Morris rift, that consistency has to be refreshing for Phoenix.

Most recent salary: $5,800 (DraftKings), $4,700 (FanDuel), $19 (Yahoo)

Behind the numbers: The former Wisconsin Badger is a starter now, and an effective one at that. In his 14 starts, Leuer is averaging 11 points and over six rebounds in 26 minutes of action.

Marvin Williams – Charlotte Hornets

The lowdown: Talk about your pleasant surprises. Not in Steve Clifford's wildest fantasies did he think the 10-year vet would play the way he has this season. He's been right at home in the revamped and revved up Hornets. Charlotte is playing faster and shooting more threes since Al Jefferson's injury, and as a 36% three-point shooter, Williams' ability to stretch the floor from the four has major value in Buzz City.

Most recent salary: $5,700 (DraftKings), $5,000 (FanDuel), $24 (Yahoo)

Behind the numbers: Averaging 10 points and seven rebounds per game, Williams is enjoying his most productive season since 2011 when he was a member of the Atlanta Hawks. He gets the lion's share of the PF minutes for Charlotte, despite Cody Zeller and Frank Kaminsky nipping at his heels. He's a great fit for the system; that's probably why he's putting up over 22 fantasy points a night even though he's having a down December.

Josh Smith – Los Angeles Clippers

The lowdown: Part of the Clips' star-studded second unit, Smith has done an admirable job backing up Blake Griffin in Lob City. A guy who can explode offensively at a moment's notice, Smith is getting about 15 minutes off of the bench.

Most recent salary: $3,700 (DraftKings), $3,800 (FanDuel), $10 (Yahoo)

Behind the numbers: Smith is not the player he used to be, but he still has great offensive instincts. You get the sense he's getting more comfortable with his new teammates as well, as his scoring has increased every month this season. If you're looking for a player to rely on for 15 fantasy points without breaking the bank, then Josh Smith is your guy.

David Lee – Boston Celtics

The lowdown: Just a few years removed from contributing to the Warriors' championship, David Lee finds himself coming off the bench for an emerging Boston squad. But he's not there to be Jared Sullinger's post-game whisperer—Lee still has a dependable jumper and excellent footwork down low. At age 32, he can still play.

Most recent salary: $3,900 (DraftKings), $3,900 (FanDuel), $10 (Yahoo)

Behind the numbers: Lee is one of 17 forwards on the Celtics' roster, but still accounts for over 15 minutes per game. He's racking up 15+ fantasy points a night, and now that Sullinger's back is aggravating him, Lee is in for even more playing time. If you're pressed to fill a slot or you're low on cash, he's worth a look.

Bonus tip: ‘Tis the season of giving, so here's a little nugget to help you stuff your stocking with cash. If you get desperate, look to Orlando. In Channing Frye, Aaron Gordon, and Andrew Nicholson, the Magic boast a trio of power forwards who score around 15 fantasy points without eating more than $4,000 of your salary cap. Based on minutes, I'm partial to Gordon, but any way you slice it, the results are about the same.

Finding reliable low-cost power forwards will give you some flexibility to spend a little more on superstars at other positions. The bargains are out there, so spend your salary wisely. Play smart, and get money. And don't buy your cousin Ricky a Shake Weight.