WATCH: Levitan’s NBA Leverage for Monday’s six-game slate
The NBA has six games on tap for Monday night, as the league launches into the final week before All-Star Weekend, which will give most teams more than a full week off. Fantasy basketball owners still will have three full slates before the break, though, including tonight’s solid 12-team contest.
As you fill out your DraftKings lineups to start the week with a win, don’t miss these players whom I believe have a chance to produce good fantasy points despite being available for less than $4K of your salary cap.
ROYCE O’NEALE, SF, JAZZ ($3,900)
O’Neale moved into Utah’s starting lineup Sunday night against the Trail Blazers while Ricky Rubio (hip) was sidelined. O’Neale didn’t score a ton of points in his first career start, but the 24-year-old rookie was a productive fantasy option, finishing with 31.75 DKFP on four points, 11 rebounds, six assists and two steals. O’Neale now has over 20 DKFP in five of his last six games.
One of the reasons the Jazz were able to trade Rodney Hood to the Cavaliers last week was O’Neale’s emergence as a solid multi-category producer. The Hood trade definitely opens minutes for O’Neale for the remainder of the season, and he’s the top option under $4K and almost a must-play for me in cash lineups with Rubio sitting again against the Spurs.
KHEM BIRCH, PF/C, MAGIC ($3,700)
Another promising rookie seeing more minutes, Birch is helping fill in the middle for Orlando while Aaron Gordon (hip) and Nikola Vucevic (hand) are sidelined with injuries. Birch should have another chance to put his raw talent on display in a good matchup against the Bulls.
Birch has played at least 18 minutes in four of his last five games, and has more than 18 DKFP in three of those four outings. He had six points, nine rebounds, one assist and one steal in 24 minutes against the Bucks on Saturday, totaling 20.75 DKFP.
Birch is a candidate for a low-level double-double if he plays those kinds of minutes again, and he also should add in a few blocks. The newly christened “Khembiid” doesn’t have the same upside as his nickname-sake, but he has produced some wildly entertaining athletic plays while putting up solid fantasy points.
DAVID WEST, PF/C, WARRIORS ($3,700)
At the other end of the experience spectrum, West continues to offer Golden State a veteran presence off the bench, and he could be set up for more minutes than usual as the Warriors host the Suns. West even could jump into the starting lineup because of injuries to Draymond Green (finger) and Jordan Bell (ankle), both of whom won’t play.
West has been in good form lately after missing a couple of games earlier this month for personal reasons. Since he has returned, he has posted 21.5, 33.25 and 20.5 DKFP while shooting a combined 14 of 17 from the field and adding nice rebound and assist numbers. West typically doesn’t log a ton of minutes, but he has produced good enough numbers to be worth a look, especially if he has an expanded role in a favorable matchup against Phoenix.
JAMES ENNIS III, SG/SF, PISTONS ($3,300)
Detroit acquired Ennis from Memphis at last week’s trade deadline for Brice Johnson and a second-round draft pick. After dealing with weather delays, Ennis made his Pistons debut Sunday against the Hawks, and he played a surprising 23 minutes, finishing with 14 points, four rebounds and two steals for a solid 25 DKFP.
While Ennis still is risky because of an undefined role with his new team, the fact that he played so extensively and was effective is a great sign. He’ll have a good matchup against the Pelicans in the second half of the Pistons’ back-to-back, and he should be a nice play at such a low salary. Despite the risk, there’s plenty of upside to like in Ennis, along with his flexibility of availability at both guard and forward slots.
OVERFLOWS FROM THE BARGAIN BIN(Other cheap options worth considering)
- Alec Burks, Jazz PG/SG, vs. Spurs ($3,800)
- Andre Iguodala, Warriors SG/SF, vs. Suns ($3,700)
- Marreese Speights, Magic PF/C, at Bulls ($3,700)
- Frank Ntilikina, Knicks PG, at 76ers ($3,700)
- Dwight Buycks, Pistons PG, vs. Pelicans ($3,700)
- Quincy Acy, Nets PF/C, vs. Clippers ($3,700)
- Paul Zipser, Bulls SF/PF, vs. Magic ($3,400)
- Justin Anderson, 76ers SG/SF, vs. Knicks ($3,400)
- Emeka Okafor, Pelicans C, @ Pistons ($3,000)
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.