We’ve got a loaded 11-game slate in the NBA on Monday, and as has been the case all season, there’s plenty of spots to pay up for and to save salary. Here are the targets that standout the most:
Target worth paying up for: Trae Young ($9,000) vs. Philadelphia 76ers (6th)Young’s been spectacular to begin the season. He’s played at least 36 minutes in each game, topping 62 DKFP in both. He hasn’t been shy, taking 46 combined shots in the two games, going 11-for-20 from deep. He’s scored 38 and 39 points in his two games, with exactly nine assists and seven rebounds in each game. Philly will be able to use some length against Young, but he seems to be in one of the most fantasy-friendly situations you could find this season.
Best value: TJ McConnell ($3,100) at Detroit Pistons (23rd)McConnell produced a solid 17 DKFP in 21 minutes on Saturday, and should benefit from Jeremy Lamb’s (hip) absence on Monday. Malcolm Brogdon ($6,900) is off to a tremendous start to his tenure as a member of the Pacers, averaging over 50 DKFP through two games, and makes for a great mid-priced play, but look for McConnell to get you 20 DKFP for near minimum salary if you need to save big.
Positional StrategyOutside of the high-priced studs, the guard value on this slate is all about capitalizing on injuries. Lamb’s absence opens up value, and the potential absence of Jrue Holiday ($8,600; knee) could also bring value — Lonzo Ball ($6,300) would pretty much be a must-play if Holiday is out. With Reggie Jackson ($5,200; back) considered doubtful, Derrick Rose ($5,400) remains in consideration.
Target worth paying up for: Stephen Curry ($9,500) at New Orleans Pelicans (29th)You could look to James Harden ($10,100) here, but it’s not as good of a matchup, and Russell Westbrook ($9,400) has surprisingly been the better fantasy play so far. Westbrook also has the narrative of facing his former team, the Thunder, which leaves him with more upside than Harden. As bad as the Warriors have been, Stephen Curry ($9,500) will be in by far the best game environment. The Warriors have one of the worst defenses in the league, and the Pelicans play at a rapid pace. If we get a close game that actually requires Curry to play a fourth quarter, he has an extremely high ceiling in this spot.
Best value: Kent Bazemore ($3,800) at San Antonio Spurs (29th)Bazemore’s salary has been pretty interesting so far. He’s averaging over 26 minutes per game, but his salary keeps going up and down $400-500, which is a huge difference for a player this cheap. Bazemore’s averaging 21.6 DKFP, and just played his most minutes of the season (30) against Dallas on Sunday. Another 30 minutes at this price makes him a very safe floor play.
Positional StrategyI really want to try and pay up for two guards on this slate if I can. With a lot of good center plays that can be used in UTIL, that probably means only one more guard play. I’ll have to look for value in the final guard spot, and also consider using SG/SF value in the SF spot.
Target worth paying up for: Giannis Antetokounmpo ($10,600) vs.Cleveland Cavaliers (11th)Giannis is a really interesting target to consider on this slate. He’s not priced even close to an option that’s averaging 71 DKFP, and a matchup against the Cavs leaves a crazy-high ceiling. At the same time, the Bucks are massive favorites, which could limit Giannis’ minutes. He’s also fouled out of both games this season, but topped 70 DKFP in just 28 minutes against the Rockets. I’ll probably be using my salary elsewhere, but Giannis feels like a fine play for tournaments and cash games.
Best value: Kenrich Williams ($3,200) vs. Golden State Warriors (14th)This play hinges a bit on Holiday’s status, as Williams saw 32 minutes when he was out on Saturday. It was kind of an odd situation, as Williams scored a season-low 16.75 DKFP in a game he played a season high in minutes, but he was averaging just about 1.0 DKFP per minute entering that game. If he plays another 30 minutes in a huge fantasy upside spot against the Warriors, there’s potential for 10x here.
Positional StrategyIt’s Giannis or low-priced value for me here. Along with Bazemore, Portland’s wings offer some of the best SF value on the slate. Mario Hezonja ($3,300) and Rodney Hood ($3,800) both have upside. Assuming Holiday is ruled out, Williams will be my favorite value on the entire slate.
Target worth paying up for: Pascal Siakam ($8,700) vs. Orlando Magic (27th)Siakam feels like he’s flying under the radar for a guy with so much potential. He was egregiously underpriced to start the season, and is up $1,100 entering his fourth game. While his DKFP totals have dropped in each game, this matchup against the Magic is the perfect spot to bounce back. Another one of those 66-DKFP outings he had on opening night is just around the corner, and he’ll be a great GPP play on whichever slate that happens on.
Best value: Omari Spellman ($3,100) at New Orleans Pelicans (30th)Spellman played 25 minutes in Sunday’s loss to the Thunder, and wasn’t shy, getting up 10 shots. He stuffed the stat sheet for 32 DKFP, and is in a pretty similar situation on this slate. This game has the potential to be one of the highest scoring we’ve seen all season, and with how poorly the Warriors are playing, values like Spellman bring a ton of upside into this one. Kevon Looney (hamstring) remains out, which opens up the frontcourt minutes.
Positional StrategyWe’ve got to go for value somewhere, and PF is probably the position I’m paying down at. Outside of Spellman, Hezonja and Williams are PF eligible as well. If you want an alternate value on Golden State, Marquise Chriss ($3,200) showed upside on Sunday as well.
Target worth paying up for: Andre Drummond ($9,300) vs. Indiana Pacers (25th)Drummond just saw this matchup last Wednesday, and went for a ridiculous 78.25 DKFP in 41 minutes against the Pacers. While it’s unlikely he’ll repeat that performance, it just gives you an idea of his upside in this spot. I’d expect Drummond to be the chalk center play on this slate, but there are other options to pay for. Nikola Jokic ($9,600) is in a great spot against the Kings, and could be a solid pivot play in tournaments.
Best value: Pay Up!If anything, I want to try and double down on centers using the UTIL spot. That leaves no value to slot in here.
By paying up, the only spot we can roster center value is by slotting them in at PF. Spellman and Chriss are the plays I’m most interested in there, and it just comes back to the upside for points there.
Key news to monitor on DK Live:Joel Embiid (ankle) QUESTIONABLE
Jrue Holiday (knee) QUESTIONABLE
Ricky Rubio (knee) PROBABLE
Mitchell Robinson (ankle) PROBABLE
Alex Len (rib) PROBABLE
Reggie Jackson (back) DOUBTFUL
Blake Griffin (hamstring/knee) OUT
Marvin Bagley (thumb) OUT
Jeremy Lamb (hip) OUT
Zach Collins (shoulder) OUT
Kevon Looney (hamstring) OUT
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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.