The NBA tips off the work week with a six-game slate on Monday that features some interesting matchups. The Jazz will try to bounce back from a poor showing on Sunday in Toronto as they visit the 76ers; The Warriors visit the Hawks in a matchup of two teams with the worst records in their respective conferences; and the Kings take on the Bulls in the late game from the West Coast.
As you break down every matchup and figure out which players from the dozen teams in action you’ll be building around, you may need to fill a roster spot or two with some lower-priced options. Here are my top four in play for under $4K that are worth a look since they can deliver plenty of upside with minimal investment:
SF/PF JAMES ENNIS III, PHI vs. UTA, $3,800With Josh Richardson ($5,800; hamstring) doubtful and likely to miss his third straight game, Ennis could continue to see a larger role since he has been more productive lately than Furkan Korkmaz ($4,100) or Matisse Thybulle ($3,500). While Korkmaz and Thybulle have gotten a bump in minutes, it has been Ennis who has posted 31.5 DKFP and 23 DKFP in the two games Richardson has already missed.
Ennis had a season-high 20 points last Friday in New York and added four boards, two assists and a block on his way to 31.5 DKFP. He followed that with a well-rounded nine points, four rebounds, two steals, two assists and a block for 23 DKFP in 27 minutes the following night against Indiana. Ennis has gotten inconsistent playing time due to the Sixers’ depth, but with Richardson out and the logjam in the second unit eased a bit, he should be a solid play against the Jazz.
PG/SG DE’ANTHONY MELTON, MEM vs. IND, $3,400The Grizzlies were extremely short-handed to start their back-to-back on Sunday in Minnesota with Ja Morant (back) being the biggest name missing. Since Morant is week-to-week, there should be minutes available in the short-term future for Melton to find a larger role. He has spent most of this season bouncing back and forth to the G-League but did show some nice potential last season with the Suns.
Melton looked good in 23 minutes on Sunday, producing 35.75 DKFP against the Timberwolves on nine points, eight assists, seven rebounds, two steals and a blocked shot. While Tyus Jones ($5,600) is expected to start, and will likely carry most of the load, Melton’s well-balanced, multi-category production gives him a very high ceiling if he can carve out over 20 minutes a night.
PG DENNIS SMITH JR., NY at MIL, $3,200The Knicks lost Frank Ntilikina ($4,500; back) to injury after he played just seven minutes against the Celtics, and coach David Fizdale seemed to indicate there was a good chance Ntilikina would miss Monday’s game even though the issue isn’t thought to be major. With Elfrid Payton ($5,000; hamstring) also injured, Smith stepped into a huge role Sunday and produced an excellent stat line.
DSJ had 17 points, seven assists, two blocks and 32.75 DKFP against Boston while logging a massive 38 minutes. He had an almost-identical 32.5 DKFP against Dallas earlier this season in the only other game in which he played more than 22 minutes. Even if Payton is cleared to return, he will likely be on a minutes limit and Smith will do most of the work. If Ntilikina is out, Smith will be the top bargain to target despite a tough matchup with the Bucks.
PF/C BRUNO CABOCLO, MEM vs. IND, $3,000The Grizzlies got the win against Minnesota on Sunday despite being without Jonas Valanciunas ($7,500; illness) and losing Brandon Clarke ($5,000, hip), who was questionable coming into the game and left early. Without those two big men, Caboclo got the chance to step up and delivered 12 points, 13 boards and 36.25 DKFP.
Before Sunday’s big game, Caboclo had been very limited and had been left out of the rotation entirely in eight games due to a coach’s decision. He has potential, though, to continue to produce if both Clarke and Valanciunas are out on the second game of the Grizz’s back-to-back. The Pacers play with plenty of size, so Caboclo could be asked to play over 20 minutes again. If he does, he’s a good value to consider, so keep a close eye on the Memphis injury situation leading up to tip-off.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Z.Thompson) 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.