I’ve been off NBA coverage for a couple weeks now, but am jacked up to return and breakdown Monday’s nine-game slate. There are a lot of strong plays on this slate, generated by news and matchups. Here’s your cheat sheet by position:
Target worth paying up for: Kyle Lowry ($6,800) at CHI (13th)
Lowry’s played at least 38 minutes in all three games since returning from a thumb injury and is averaging over 41 DKFP in those outings. But for some reason his salary has dropped $1,100 since his return and $1,500 since prior to the injury. He’s way too underpriced regardless of matchup, and Fred VanVleet ($7,000) might sit this one out with a knee injury.
Best value: Lonzo Ball ($5,200) vs. DET (14th)
There’s not really any deep value at the PG position, but Ball is underpriced since returning from injury. He peaked at over $7,000 this season, and since he’s coming off a dud in a blowout loss to Dallas, his salary continues to decline ahead of this matchup. This is too cheap for a guy that went 10X value two games ago.
I feel Lowry makes for more of the cash play here, particularly if FVV is sidelined, and Ball is more of a GPP play. The lack of deep value makes targeting mid-priced plays like the two targets above an even more attractive route. I don’t think I’d go any higher than the Jrue Holiday ($7,100)/Donovan Mitchell ($7,400) range on this slate.
Target worth paying up for: James Harden ($12,000) vs. SAC (23rd)
If there’s a pay up spot on the slate, I’d feel pretty comfortable with James Harden. He’s at home, facing a defense that really struggles against opposing guards. The only concern here is that as double-digit favorites, Houston may not need Harden in crunch-time. When you roster someone for $12,000, you need them to hit their ceiling.
Best value: Bogdan Bogdanovic ($4,800) at HOU (30th)
On the opposite end of this matchup, it’s about time Bogdanovic breaks out of his shooting slump. He had been on a tear with De’Aaron Fox (ankle) out, but has been brutal his past four games thanks for a combined 15-for-46 from the field. If he can rebound against the team that ranks dead last against SG, it would be a breakout spot at a significant discount. Bogdanovic was $6,200 to begin the month.
If you’re not paying up for Harden, there are two routes at SG I’d look at. The first is rostering the Kings — outside of Bogdanovic, Buddy Hield ($7,100) is also in a strong spot, and the matchup is just as good for him. The second is to look at the Clippers. With Kawhi headlining a lengthy injury list, Terance Mann ($3,000) and Jerome Robinson ($3,100) could both be in play.
Target worth paying up for: Paul George ($7,800) at IND (1st)
PG is coming off a monster game in Washington on Sunday, dropping 52.5 DKFP in just 26 minutes. He should be fresh for a homecoming in Indy, and with Kawhi Leonard (knee) out, he is in position to go off against his former team.
Best value: Gordon Hayward ($3,000) vs. CLE (5th)
This has the potential to be one of the best value plays of the season, and ownership should show that. Hayward wasn’t expected to return from a hand injury until around Christmas, but is on track to return for this slate. You’ll need to make sure he does indeed get cleared, but once he does, we’re getting a player that was $7,300 on his final slate prior to getting injured. Can’t beat that type of value, especially with Marcus Smart’s ($5,400) status in doubt.
Absolutely everyone is going to roster Hayward if he remains on track to play, so it’s how you differentiate yourself from there. I think George and Brandon Ingram ($7,500) are the pay up spots. Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,300) is always appealing, but the Bucks have been almost too good to need him lately. He’s played 28 or fewer minutes in four straight, failing to top 55 DKFP in any of those games. I’ll fade him as a double-digit favorite, once again.
Target worth paying up for: Domantas Sabonis ($7,800) vs. LAC (18th)
Sabonis has been extremely consistent, but remains underpriced for his role. He’s finally playing real minutes, and has scored 45-plus DKFP in three of his past four. This sets up as a good spot at home, especially with Kawhi out for the Clips.
Best value: Darius Bazley ($3,000) at UTA (6th)
With Danilo Gallinari (ankle) ruled out, the Thunder will have to dig deep for some plays on the wing. Bazley’s shown limited potential in his past few games, but did score 13 DKFP in 15 minutes in his last outing. At the minimum salary, he could exceed value with 20 minutes, which isn’t out of the question. He’s been terrible from the field, so an average shooting night could really give him a boost.
Hayward is another option here is you prefer another option at SF. PF feels like another place to pay up for a second-tier star. Giannis is too expensive, but George, Ingram and a play like Pascal Siakam ($7,900) feel like strong plays in an affordable price range.
Target worth paying up for: Andre Drummond ($10,100) at NO (24th)
I put Drummond here because I feel he’s the safest option at center, but he’s also the most expensive. Drummond’s coming off three straight games with 58 or more DKFP, and this matchup should be a fast paced one with plenty of extra opportunities. Karl-Anthony Towns ($9,300) and Clint Capela ($7,400) also set up in very strong spots. KAT has a terrific matchup that he’s already crushed this season.
Best value: Daniel Theis ($4,200) vs. CLE (28th)
Robert Williams (hip) has been ruled out, which leaves extra chances for Theis against a terrible Cavs squad. Enes Kanter ($3,800) is another consideration, but his minutes have been very limited. The Celtics are massive favorites in this one, so feel free to get creative.
Center will be a pay up spot for at least one of those three big names. You can use the UTIL spot (of a forward position) to try and also capitalize on the Celtics being thin if you want to double down on centers.
Key news to monitor on DK Live:
Fred VanVleet (knee)
Marcus Smart (eye)
Gordon Hayward (hand)
Patrick Patterson (back)
Derrick Favors (personal)
Marvin Bagley (thumb)
Dario Saric (back)
Aron Baynes (calf) — would be on minutes restriction
Mikal Bridges (finger)
Coby White (hamstring)
Corey Joseph (back)
Bogdan Bogdanovic (knee)
Kawhi Leonard (knee)
Mike Conley (hamstring)
Danilo Gallinari (ankle)
JaMychal Green (tailbone)
Brandon Clarke (hip)
Robert Williams (hip)
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is jedlow) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.