Kobe Bryant

Monday will be a somber day in the NBA as the entire sports world grieves the loss of legendary NBA player Kobe Bryant. There are currently six NBA games scheduled for Monday’s main slate on DraftKingsalthough fantasy owners will have to check back in to make sure the games will be played as scheduled. It’s also possible that some players who were close to Bryant may be excused from playing, which was most notably seen with Nets PG Kyrie Irving on Sunday. Like many NBA players, Irving grew up idolizing Bryant and developed a strong relationship with him, and Irving was in no condition to play on Sunday.

Bryant is one of the greatest and most iconic basketball players in history, and for many people, he represents the epitome of excellence in sports. Bryant ranks fourth all-time on the points scored leaderboard and won five championships with the Los Angeles Lakers, winning Finals MVP twice. Bryant was especially known for his “Mamba Mentality”, which was a reference to Bryant’s nickname combined with his incredible focus and relentless desire to be great. When Bryant’s protege, Kyrie Irving, hit the championship-winning shot at Golden State in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals, he said that he channeled Kobe’s “Mamba Mentality” as his mindset when taking the clutch shot, and then immediately called Bryant via FaceTime during the Cavs’ postgame celebration in the locker room to thank Bryant for his mentorship. It was this type of fearless mentality that inspired millions of kids like Irving who grew up idolizing Bryant.

As for Monday’s injury report, Russell Westbrook (rest) is expected to sit out, and James Harden (thigh) appears unlikely to play. Jimmy Butler (ankle), Kendrick Nunn (Achilles), Goran Dragic (calf), Nerlens Noel (face), and Willie Cauley-Stein (not injury related) also have statuses that are uncertain.

For up-to-the-minute news, analysis and lineups, download the DK Live app, as NBA news, injury reports and betting lines on DraftKings Sportsbook can change throughout the day. Value also unexpectedly can open up due to late lineup changes and late injury news, making it important to stay up-to-the-minute with the DK Live app until lineups lock. You also can follow DK Live on Twitter @dklive.

Here are some plays that fantasy owners can consider using on DraftKings:

Set your lineups here: NBA $425K Fadeaway [$100K to 1st]


POINT GUARD

Stud

Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz vs. Houston Rockets ($7,900) — Mitchell takes a heavy 30% usage rate into a matchup against the Rockets, who rank in the bottom third of the league in points and assists allowed to opponents, with their assist prevention sitting at third worst. Mitchell has seen a tick up in facilitating when point guard Mike Conley is not on the court with him, and the Jazz have elected to stagger Mitchell and Conley’s minutes since Conley returned from a hamstring injury by bringing Conley off the bench. Mitchell is creating nine potential assists per game in January, second on the Jazz. Mitchell’s 20 field goal attempts per game ranks in the top 10 among all players, and he carries point and assist upside in this matchup. The downside is that the Jazz are 10-point favorites on DraftKings Sportsbookso the game has some blowout risk.

Value

Austin Rivers, Houston Rockets at Utah Jazz ($3,600) — With Russell Westbrook (rest) expected to sit out and James Harden’s (thigh) status in doubt, Rivers is set for a potentially large increase in role. Westbrook and Harden both have massive usage rates sitting north of 32%, usage that will now be available for other Houston players such as Rivers to soak up. Westbrook and Harden have also combined to create 30 potential assists per game on over 90 total passes per game, ball-handling and passing volume that will now be available for players such as Rivers. A matchup at Utah isn’t appealing, but the boost in volume at this price tag makes Rivers a worthy value play. Rockets PG Chris Clemons ($3,000) is also a punt play option at the minimum salary.


SHOOTING GUARD

Stud

Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls vs. San Antonio Spurs ($9,800) — LaVine has seen a bump in usage recently in part due to injuries to players such as Lauri Markkannen (pelvis). LaVine is coming off a massive 43% usage rate in the Bulls’ most recent game–his season-high–and has posted a heavy 33% usage rate in January, eighth most among all starters. In Chicago’s most recent game, LaVine took a heavy 30 shots, including 12 from 3-point range, and finished with a massive 72.5 DraftKings fantasy points (DKFP). LaVine will take potentially huge volume into an appealing matchup against the Spurs, who rank in the bottom third in points allowed, assists allowed and 3-pointers allowed to opponents.

Value

Eric Gordon, Houston Rockets at Utah Jazz ($6,900) — While Gordon’s price has substantially spiked with both Westbrook and Harden unlikely to play, he is still a nice fantasy consideration given a potential huge boost in volume. Gordon ranks first on the Rockets in points per touch and ranks third among regular Rockets rotation players in usage rate behind only Westbrook and Harden. In limited time with both Westbrook and Harden off the court at the same time this season, Gordon’s usage rate is massive, and big volume could help overcome a difficult matchup at Utah.


SMALL FORWARD

Stud

Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat vs. Orlando Magic ($8,000) — Butler’s status is uncertain after injuring his ankle in Friday’s game, but provided he plays and is not limited, Butler can be considered in part due to a price drop. Butler’s $8,000 salary is down from $8,400 in his last game and lower than his average salary of about $8,300 for the month of January. A matchup against a tough Orlando defense isn’t great, but Butler had fantasy success against the Magic in his previous game against them, scoring 50.5 DKFP.

Value

Dion Waiters, Miami Heat vs. Orlando Magic ($3,500) — Waiters is only worth fantasy consideration if Miami ends up being stretched thin due to injuries to Butler, Dragic and Nunn, who are all listed as questionable to play. With Dragic and Nunn out on Friday, Waiters finally made his season debut, chucking up nine 3-point attempts in 18 minutes and finishing with 25.5 DKFP. If the trio of Butler, Dragic and Nunn are out, Waiters is a salary relief option, and he is capable of chucking up tons of shots in limited minutes. Waiters also carries risk given his poor standing in the Heat rotation. Download the DK Live app and follow DK Live on Twitter @dklive for up-to-the-minute news on the Heat’s injury report.


POWER FORWARD

Stud

LaMarcus Aldridge, San Antonio Spurs at Chicago Bulls ($7,200) — The Bulls have been very weak on the glass, ranking as the third worst rebounding team in the league by the percentage of missed shots rebounded. Aldridge ranks first on the Spurs in rebounds per game and will be in good position to clean the glass against one of the weakest rebounding teams in the league.

Value

Thaddeus Young, Chicago Bulls vs. San Antonio Spurs ($4,900) — Young has made two consecutive starts in place of Lauri Markkanen (pelvis), playing a season-high 35 minutes in his most recent game. A subpar usage rate generally limits Young’s fantasy value, but a boost in minutes in a good matchup against the Spurs gives him some salary relief appeal on Monday. As mentioned above, the Spurs have been poor defensively, and they also haven’t been great on the glass, ranking around the middle of the pack by the percentage of missed shots they rebound.


CENTER

Stud

Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons vs. Cleveland Cavaliers ($9,600) — Drummond faces a Cavs team that has been foul defensively, allowing the second most points per possession and second most assists per game to opponents. Most notably for Drummond, Cavs have been poor at defending the interior, allowing the most field goals per game within five feet of the basket, the zone that Drummond attempts most of his shots in. Drummond has taken the third most shots per game within five feet of the basket among all players. Drummond has clobbered the Cavs in three previous matchups this season, averaging 61 DKFP per game while shooting an efficient 55% from the field. Drummond was out of the lineup recently due to a swollen lip but had a successful return to the lineup on Saturday, scoring 54.25 DKFP in 40 minutes against the Nets, so playing time is not expected to be an issue.

Value

Tristan Thompson, Cleveland Cavaliers at Detroit Pistons ($5,700) — Thompson has matched up well against the Pistons and Andre Drummond this season, averaging 44 DKFP in three games against the Pistons while scoring no less than 30 DKFP. Thompson scored an explosive 65.5 DKFP in his most recent game against the Pistons after scoring 35 points on an outstanding 15-of-20 shooting in an overtime win. Thompson’s $5,700 price tag is his lowest since the middle of December, making him a salary relief candidate.

Set your lineups here: NBA $425K Fadeaway [$100K to 1st]


For up-to-the-minute news, analysis and lineups, download the DK Live app and follow DK Live on Twitter @dklive.


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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is timfinn521) 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.


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