The NBA starts the second half of the month and the final full week of action before Christmas with a solid seven-game fantasy basketball slate this Monday. In the headline game, the Mavericks will be playing their first game without Luka Doncic (ankle) as they visit the Bucks, who will be without their own starting PG Eric Bledsoe (shin). In other action, the Rockets host the Spurs in a Texas-sized rivalry, and the Suns return from Mexico to host the Blazers in the latest game of the night.
As you look through all 14 teams to find the best matchups, make sure to take time to find some good value plays to help you be able to spend up for the superstars you want. Here are my top four in play for under $4K this Monday.
PF/C MARKIEFF MORRIS, DET vs. WAS, $3,900The Pistons listed both Blake Griffin ($5,900; knee) and Andre Drummond ($9,300; eye) as questionable for this game against the Wizards. The obvious beneficiary if either or both is sidelined is Christian Wood ($4,500), who has huge upside when he actually gets minutes. However, the absence of one or both starting big men would also open up good playing time for Morris, who comes at an even more affordable rate.
Morris played 27 minutes against the Rockets on Saturday and finished with 29.0 DKFP on 15 points, eight boards and two assists. He also had a strong effort in the preceding game with 22.25 DKFP on 16 points in 17 minutes against the Mavericks. Morris played with Washington for parts of four seasons, so there’s some potential revenge narrative in play as well.
Editor’s Note: Griffin has been ruled out for tonight’s game. Drummond will be available to play.
SG/SF KEVIN PORTER JR., CLE at TOR, $3,800Porter has been a regularly recurring character in my bargain picks lately, and the 19-year-old continues to get every chance to develop coming off the Cleveland bench. Porter has played over 20 minutes in six of his past seven games averaging 23.2 minutes per game over that stretch. He has averaged 12.0 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.4 steals and 22.0 DKFP per contest during that run, highlighted by a career-high 24 points an 39 DKFP last Wednesday against the Rockets.
In the Cavs’ most recent contest, Porter played 25 minutes on Saturday in Milwaukee, finishing with 15 points and 20 DKFP. Usually, he chips in enough non-scoring stats to make him a solid play under $4K. He doesn’t have quite as much upside as some of the other bargain options, depending on how injuries play out, but he has been very reliable as a key contributor in the Cavs’ second unit.
PG/SG ANFERNEE SIMONS, POR at PHO, $3,800Because of their schedule, the Blazers are still adjusting to the loss of Rodney Hood (Achilles) for the season. They have played just three times in the past nine days since the injury. In each of those three games, Simons has played over 22 minutes after playing under that mark in six of his previous eight. While Kent Bazemore ($4,500) will likely continue to get the biggest boost to his fantasy value from Hood’s injury, Simons seems to be ready to pick up some usage as well and has shown he can be a very productive option when given the chance.
In the three games since Hood’s injury, Simons has averaged 10.7 points, 2.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 19.5 DKFP in 24.6 minutes per contest. He had a big game with 16 points and 28.75 DKFP as the Blazers blew out the Knicks but struggled a bit in their 15-point loss to the Nuggets. Simons is primarily backing up Damian Lillard ($8,400) and CJ McCollum ($6,500), but he looks like he could also be ready for more time on the floor with the two star guards as well.
PG/SG DELON WRIGHT, DAL at MIL, $3,700Luka Doncic’s ankle injury opens up a lot of usage on the Mavericks over the next couple of weeks. The first player everyone is looking at is Jalen Brunson ($5,500), who stepped up with 18 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and 38.25 DKFP while filling in after Doncic left Friday’s game against Miami. While Brunson is a great play with a high ceiling, his price has already been adjusted to reflect his increased role. On the other hand, Wright is still extremely affordable and has spent most of the season playing ahead of Brunson as Doncic’s primary backup.
Brunson’s big game pushed Wright to the back burner, and the timing definitely wasn’t in Wright’s favor. He was just returning from a two-game absence due to a strained adductor and was limited to just nine minutes and 7.0 DKFP. There’s definitely a chance that he’ll still be limited and isn’t ready to assume a significant chunk of Doncic’s workload. However, Wright has also shown us in the past that he has an incredibly high ceiling when he’s at his best. Both Wright and Brunson have shown flashes of brilliance but struggled with consistency. Coach Rick Carlisle could go with the “hot hand” strategy while also mixing in Seth Curry ($4,000) and J.J. Barea ($3,100) as steady, veteran options. While Brunson is more likely to have a good game, there’s definitely a chance that Wright carries the load and goes off, as well. Since he’s so extremely affordable, Wright is worth a look as the Mavs try to establish their rotation and workload share for the next few games.
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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.