Monday brings us potentially the most value-loaded NBA slate so far this season. With just six games, there’s no shortage of spectacular plays. Injuries play a role, but the big three absences are all self-inflicted: Joel Embiid (suspension), Karl-Anthony Towns (suspension) and Russell Westbrook (rest). Here’s your cheat sheet for each position:
Target worth paying up for: Ben Simmons ($8,500) at Phoenix Suns (9th)
Simmons went for a modest 47.75 DKFP without Embiid in Portland on Saturday, but that was still a season-high. Embiid’s absence likely contributed to Simmons pulling down a season-high 11 boards, while his 7-for-16 shooting held him back from a slightly bigger game. The upside is here for Simmons, who’s floor is as safe as it can be.
Best value: Langston Galloway ($3,200) at Washington Wizards (23rd)
Just look at the DK Live injury report at the bottom of the article, and you’ll notice Detroit has almost no options in the backcourt. The Wizards are a fast-paced team we’ve seen in some wild shootouts this season. You can’t beat the upside here for a head-scratching $3,200 — down $400 from his last game, in which Galloway scored more than 20 DKFP in 28 minutes.
PG is deep and valuable on this slate. Most of the plays also carry SG eligibility, and Simmons even gives you SF eligibility, so you can slot different values if you want to play one of the pure PGs. As for the top plays that require PG eligibility only, Kyrie Irving ($9,500), Damian Lillard ($8,900) and Ja Morant ($6,600) stand out most.
Target worth paying up for: James Harden ($10,800) at Memphis Grizzlies (22nd)
Just like we generally played a Chris Paul-less Harden in past seasons, we’ll do the same with a Westbrook-less Harden here. There’s not much more to break down here since we all know Harden’s ceiling. But it is worth pointing out the once-tough matchup against Memphis is a bonus for pace of play now.
Best value: Josh Richardson ($4,600) at Phoenix Suns (11th)
Richardson matched a season-high with 17 points and attempted a season-high 15 field goals minus Embiid on Saturday. So why did his salary drop $500 with Embiid still suspended? I have no idea, but that makes him a strong value play to capitalize on.
You’ll need to dig pretty deep if you’re looking to fade SG chalk. Harden and Richardson should see a ton of ownership on this slate. If you want some value with Houston, an ineffective Eric Gordon ($4,000) should see extra opportunity. Then there’s the Detroit value, which we’ll keep touching on.
Target worth paying up for: Andrew Wiggins ($6,700) vs. Milwaukee Bucks (18th)
Playing Wiggins is never comfortable, but he’s cheap enough to roster again in KAT’s last game suspended. Wiggins went for a season-high 39.75 DKFP against Washington on Saturday and did so in just 26 minutes — seven fewer than he’s played in any other game this season. This one should be competitive and require Wiggins to be involved offensively. With his salary down $400, I’m interested in one last Wiggins-chalk slate.
Best value: Bruce Brown ($3,200) at Washington Wizards (23rd)
Brown is just another way to target value for Detroit. He’s dirt cheap, in a perfect matchup, and coming off a monster game. Brown played 40 minutes against Brooklyn on Saturday, going for 39 DKFP. Just lock him into cash-game lineups.
Outside of Brown and Galloway, Luke Kennard ($5,000), who is only guard eligible, and Markieff Morris ($4,000) are the other values that standout on the thin Detroit roster. Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,300) is in consideration as always, but his salary is up after another big game. I’d target him in GPPs, but with so many studs in good spots due to big name absences, Giannis is risky to roster in cash.
Target worth paying up for: Brandon Ingram ($7,200) at Brooklyn Nets (23rd)
Ingram’s been a beast this season, and his salary is down $700 since his last main slate. He was removed after just 13 minutes on Saturday against OKC, due to a head injury. He’s been cleared for a favorable matchup against a terrible Brooklyn defense. Look for a strong bounce-back performance.
Best value: Kyle Anderson ($3,600) vs. Houston Rockets (29th)
No JJJ opens up a larger role for Anderson in the Memphis frontcourt, but he still plays that point-forward role at times. Anderson’s averaging a DKFP per minute, but playing just over 19 minutes per game. We should see that spike to at least 25 minutes in a great matchup against Houston.
This is another spot to pay for Giannis if you want, but the Simmons/Harden plays already eat some salary, and we have centers to pay for. I still think the mid-range pay up for Ingram against Brooklyn makes the most sense.
Target worth paying up for: Andre Drummond ($10,400) at Washington Wizards (13th)
Drummond killed another slate Saturday, going for 74.5 DKFP. It was his third straight game with 20 or more boards, and he kept his streak alive of hitting over 50% of his field goals in every game this season. The Wizards have a huge hole in the middle, giving them no realistic shot of defending Drummond. Another big game is very possible.
Best value: Gorgui Dieng ($3,300) vs. Milwaukee Bucks (9th)
Like Brown, this is the chalk value on this slate. Dieng played 24 minutes with KAT missing Saturday’s game, posting a wildly efficient 39.5 DKFP against the Wizards. The matchup gets more difficult, but at this salary, putting up half those numbers still exceeds value.
If you pay up for Drummond, or just want to roster another pure center, there’s plenty of flexibility on this slate. Dieng is PF-eligible, as are values on Memphis, Portland and Phoenix to capitalize on other missing players.
Key news to monitor on DK Live:QUESTIONABLE
D’Angelo Russell (ankle)
Derrick Favors (knee)
Hassan Whiteside (knee)
Rodney Hood (knee)
Tim Frazier (shoulder)
Karl-Anthony Towns (suspension)
Joel Embiid (suspension)
Russell Westbrook (rest)
Draymond Green (finger)
Jaren Jackson Jr. (knee)
Derrick Rose (hamstring)
Zach Collins (shoulder)
Reggie Jackson (back)
Kevon Looney (hamstring)
Get all the news and analysis up to the minute on DK Live.
Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.
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.