Case of the post-holiday Mondays? The NBA has graced us with a rocking 11-game slate that

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Los Angeles Lakers @ Charlotte Hornets

Over/Under: 201.5
Line: Hornets -12.5

Pace: Los Angeles (12th), Charlotte (15th)
Offensive Rating: Los Angeles (29th), Charlotte (9th)
Defensive Rating: Los Angeles (30th), Charlotte (8th)
Net Rating Differential (the higher the NRD, the more likely for a blowout): 16.2 in favor of the Hornets

Nic Batum and Marvin Williams are probable for the Hornets and Kobe Bryant is probable for the Lakers.

You can attack the Lakers at any position on the court, so all the usual Hornets are in play tonight. However, beware Al Jefferson’s minutes. If fully in the mix, Jefferson is a terrific bargain at 6K given the Lakers fourth worst defense at the position the last three weeks, but he came off the bench in his first game back from suspension and the Hornets may continue to ease him back in there. When he’s back, it lessens the usage of Kemba Walker, but he’s gotta be a good play tonight against the league worst defense at the point.

On the other side, as we’ve said before, if Kobe plays, it all revolves around him, usage wise. He may see a lot of Batum tonight, so that could raise the usage around Jordan Clarkson, but Kobe is still going to be King Usage on the Lakers tonight, mitigating all other value. And as soon as I started claiming that Lou Williams could survive under any game situation, he got a stinger and hasn’t been right in the past couple of games, so it’s Kobe or bust in this one.


– Kemba Walker ($7,300)
– Nicolas Batum ($7,500)
– Al Jefferson ($6,000)
– Kobe Bryant ($6,300)

New Orleans Pelicans @ Orlando Magic

Over/Under: 203.5
Line: Magic -4.5

Pace: New Orleans (10th), Orlando (22nd)
Offensive Rating: New Orleans (12th), Orlando (16th)
Defensive Rating: New Orleans (29th), Orlando (12th)
Net Rating Differential: 6.7 in favor of the Magic

For New Orleans, Anthony Davis has been looking healthy and on top of his game, averaging over 53 DKPPG around the holidays, including an impressive 67.8 on Christmas Day against Miami. Tyreke Evans has been raising his usage steadily since his return, now at over 24% for the season and has been over 40 DKPPG himself over the last four games. His matchup isn’t tasty going against, probably, Victor Oladipo and Evan Fournier, but he’s a top 20 player in DK Net Points this season, meaning he can get a solid floor of production on peripherals even if the scoring isn’t premium. Since his salary is still below 8K, he’s still playable here. Jrue Holiday will be a must-play as soon as he’s getting 32-35 minutes per game, as his usage is on the same plane as Davis, but he’s still coming off the bench and getting 25 minutes or so per game, so he can’t be used at 5.6K salary levels.

The Pelicans continue to struggle against centers this season and Nikola Vucevic is riding a season-high level of minutes per game recently, raising his production to close to 43 DKPPG over the last week (4 games). It’s a match! Fournier is back to playing over 30 minutes per game again, mostly at the expense of Oladipo, so in this matchup, where the Pelicans add value to the SG position, Fournier is the next best play on the Magic at 5.2K.


– Anthony Davis ($10,500)
– Tyreke Evans ($7,800)
– Nikola Vucevic ($7,400)
– Evan Fournier ($5,200)

Los Angeles Clippers @ Washington Wizards

Over/Under: 206.5
Line: Wizards -1.5

Pace: Los Angeles (14th), Washington (5th)
Offensive Rating: Los Angeles (5th), Washington (17th)
Defensive Rating: Los Angeles (14th), Washington (21st)
Net Rating Differential: 4.8 in favor of the Clippers

Blake Griffin is out for the next couple of weeks and Austin Rivers is doubtful for the Clippers. Bradley Beal and Nene are out and Gary Neal is questionable for the Wizards.

With Blake out over the holiday, Doc Rivers stared Josh Smith, and played him for five whole minutes before deciding that he needed someone who would not only shoot the outside shot, but could make it as well so positive spacing could occur. That means that Paul Pierce could be seeing more time on the court, like the 27 minutes he got against the Jazz. At 3.5K, he’s a sneaky value play in tournaments tonight. Washington is usually pretty rough on centers, but that hasn’t been the case lately and DeAndre Jordan doesn’t need great matchups to succeed anyway for his blocks/rebounds game to thrive.

Surprisingly, the Clippers have been very good at defending the SG position the last three weeks, limiting the awesomeness of Garrett Temple with both Beal and probably Neal out. Also limiting the awesomeness is that Temple is now 4.9K. He’s still getting 35-38 minutes so he’s still a solid play with so few offensive options and over 100 point team total tonight, however. Marcin Gortat has been playing great without those same options available and has been averaging over 40 DKPPG. Against Jordan, who is a positive matchup for Marcin, he’s in play even at 7.1K.

John Wall v. Chris Paul is a tough matchup for both, but without Beal or Blake, both will be very involved and their tough matchup against each other should be offset by the increased usage for both. (P.S. Remember when Chris Paul had dipped below 8K? Those were good times.)


– DeAndre Jordan ($7,200)
– Paul Pierce ($3,500)
– John Wall ($9,700)
– Marcin Gortat ($7,100)

Atlanta Hawks @ Indiana Pacers

Over/Under: 205.5
Line: Pacers -2

Pace: Atlanta (13th), Indiana (8th)
Offensive Rating: Atlanta (6th), Indiana (14th)
Defensive Rating: Atlanta (13th), Indiana (7th)
Net Rating Differential: 0.3 in favor of the Pacers

Rodney Stuckey is questionable for the Wizards. Tiago Splitter is out for the Hawks.

Jeff Teague is always very productive when focused. He was nearly held scoreless against the Knicks in the first half in his last game before waking up and dropping 25 DK points in the second half on them. He’s back in Indianapolis, which is his home and he is always laser focused there. It’s quite a bit anecdotal and planted firmly on Narrative Street, but with the Pacers being sixth weakest to PG over the past ten games, it bears noting, especially since his salary has dropped to 6.3K. I believe we’ll see Paul George slide over to the 4 to take on defending Paul Millsap, which will hinder Millsap’s scoring but he’s a top 15 DK Net Points player, so it won’t completely close him off to production and probably helps Al Horford, who is in a positive matchup, be more productive.

The Hawks have been surprisingly soft defending the SF position this year, possibly due to the playing time Kent Bazemore has received there, and that bodes ill if Paul George stays at the three after all. Active, high usage players play well against Atlanta, so George is a top tier play in a close game with a solid game total, for less than 9K. The Hawks have struggled defending backcourt as well in the past 10 games, so Monta Ellis and George Hill have positive matchups as well.


– Jeff Teague ($6,300)
– Al Horford ($6,300)
– Paul George ($8,900)
– Monta Ellis ($5,600)

Brooklyn Nets @ Miami Heat

Over/Under: 194
Line: Heat -9

Pace: Brooklyn (18th), Miami (29th)
Offensive Rating: Brooklyn (28th), Miami (11th)
Defensive Rating: Brooklyn (24th), Miami (4th)
Net Rating Differential: 10.8 in favor of the Heat

Hassan Whiteside is a game time decision for the Heat.

Reason #2,463 why you should always check on your own biases or previous knowledge: All season Miami has been tough on PGs, so I’ve stayed away from rostering against them, uniformly. However, over the last three weeks, as Goran Dragic has gotten more involved offensively, they’ve been a positive matchup for teams. Looking deeper the correlation is that, while they’ve definitely shut down weaker PGs, the active, higher usage PGs have begun to score a lot on the Heat. Does Jarrett Jack qualify here? His usage is solid at around 21% and his offensive rating is highest on the team and he gets 34-36 minutes per game, so I’d say he does qualify as a play here. Also, playing on 12/16 against Miami, Jack played 36 minutes and scored 44.5 DK points. With the Heat tougher on where the Nets traditionally play through, their frontcourt, Jack is the spotlight play for the Nets tonight.

Conversely, teams successfully attack the Nets at the frontcourt, so Chris Bosh and Hassan Whiteside are both top plays for the Heat tonight. Whiteside has seen his minutes increase as his fourth quarter time has gone up, and has averaged 33 minutes per game over his last four. At 7.1K, he has the 40+ DK point upside and 50 burger potential against the Nets. Bosh has been extremely consistent, averaging 35 DKPPG for the year, so this matchup against the Nets, at 7.1K also, is prime for Bosh.


– Jarrett Jack ($6,500)
– Brook Lopez ($6,900)
– Chris Bosh ($7,100)
– Hassan Whiteside ($7,100)

Toronto Raptors @ Chicago Bulls

Over/Under: 196
Line: Bills -1.5

Pace: Toronto (26th), Chicago (9th)
Offensive Rating: Toronto (4th), Chicago (27th)
Defensive Rating: Chicago (5th), Toronto (11th)
Net Rating Differential: 3.0 in favor of the Raptors

Joakim Noah is out for the Bulls.

With Noah out, the two players that have benefitted most, minutes wise, has been Pau Gasol (+3 mpg) and Taj Gibson (+6 mpg). This has seen Gasol’s DKPPG rise by 5-6 points and Gibson’s go up nearly ten per game. Gibson’s salary has risen to 5.3K, but Pau’s is still 7.6K, making Pau the top play here, even against Toronto’s solid center defense. Derrick Rose has been using a lot of possessions lately, but is still averaging barely 30 minutes per game and has a terrible matchup against Kyle Lowry tonight. Jimmy Butler maintains his excellence and 37 minutes per game and you make babies cry if you don’t like this guy and his production. One man’s opinion.

Further proof of Butler’s excellent is that the Bulls are fantasy friendly to every position except Butler’s, so that means I’m off DeMar DeRozan tonight, but Lowry is in play. Nobody else on Toronto is super intriguing since everyone is healthy again there, but if Jonas Valanciunas is going to get light minutes in his first game back, Bismack Biyombo is still an alright play at 5.5K and coming off back to back 40 burgers.


– Pau Gasol ($7,600)
– Jimmy Butler ($7,500)
– Kyle Lowry ($8,300)
– Bismack Biyombo ($5,500)

Minnesota Timberwolves @ San Antonio Spurs

Over/Under: 195
Line: Spurs -14.5

Pace: Minnesota (17th), San Antonio (27th)
Offensive Rating: Minnesota (18th), San Antonio (3rd)
Defensive Rating: Minnesota (19th), San Antonio (1st)
Net Rating Differential: 16.2 in favor of the Spurs

Pretty simple analysis here. The Spurs are oppressive against every single position on the court. Everybody gets grounded into jelly, production wise, when they come in contact with the Spurs. So paying regular salaries for guys like Ricky Rubio (6.6K) or Karl-Anthony Towns (6.9K) is hard to do. So Zach LaVine, with 28% usage and at 5K and Towns (24% usage) will be the best targets in this one on the Timberwolves side, but it’s better to avoid completely.

Always a risk of one-sided game or Popovich limiting minutes, so in a game that has a 14.5 point spread for the Spurs and a 16.2 Net Rating differential and at home in San Antonio, the risk is real tonight. Kawhi Leonard is up to 8.7K and has been magnificent on the court, but like the Denver game last time out, it’s hard to pay when he may not see that fourth shift of the game. Only Tony Parker is priced low enough among the starters to potentially make value here, but he’s been maddeningly inconsistent himself and in a prime spot to see lower minutes. Have you gotten the picture to avoid this game unless fielding a tremendously contrarian team?


– Zach LaVine ($5,000)
– Karl-Anthony Towns ($6,900)
– Kawhi Leonard ($8,700)
– Tony Parker ($5,200)

Milwaukee Bucks @ Dallas Mavericks

Over/Under: 199
Line: Mavericks -6.5

Pace: Milwaukee (25th), Dallas (16th)
Offensive Rating: Milwaukee (26th), Dallas (8th)
Defensive Rating: Milwaukee (27th), Dallas (15th)
Net Rating Differential: 6.8 in favor of the Mavericks

Deron Williams is questionable for the Mavericks and Jerryd Bayless and John Henson are questionable for the Bucks.

If you played DFS over the holiday weekend then you were treated, for good or bad depending on if you rostered him or not, to J.J. Barea’s Christmas-time spectacular. Barea scored 53.3 and 38.5 DK points the last two games and, if Williams misses again, he’s back on target against the Bucks, who have been very bad the last three weeks defending that position. Barea was 3.6K and 4.3K in those two games, but his salary is 5K now so ANY minutes at all from Williams is a death knell to playing Barea tonight. Staying in the same quick rise salary department, Chandler Parsons came off his minutes restriction and has begun to ball, scoring over 33 DK points in three of his last four games. He’s getting back to the mid-30s minutes and should be pushing Ray Felton back to a super-sub role on the team. In emerging this week, Parsons salary has gone up to 5.2K, which is still a good play even though Milwaukee is neutral towards SF over the last 10 games. Wesley Matthews has a positive matchup against MIL and has been getting the minutes at 34 per game. Lastly, Dirk Nowitzki at 6.3K is a solid play as well here, but lacks tournament upside due to being locked in at no more than 31-32 minutes in games.

Dallas is a solid defensive team, but Greg Monroe can still excel in this matchup against Zaza Pachulia. Michael Carter-Williams has been good, but if Bayless starts to get time again at the point, then MCW’s salary at 6.7K is too high for any kind of value. Khris Middleton is 6.1K and has scored over 37 DKPPG in his last four games.


– Chandler Parsons ($5,200)
J.J. Barea (if no Deron) ($5,000)
– Greg Monroe ($6,700)
– Khris Middleton ($6,100)

Cleveland Cavaliers @ Phoenix Suns

Over/Under: 201.5
Line: Cavs -8.5

Pace: Cleveland (28th), Phoenix (3rd)
Offensive Rating: Cleveland (7th), Phoenix (21st)
Defensive Rating: Cleveland (6th), Phoenix (20th)
Net Rating Differential: 7.1 in favor of the Cavs

Eric Bledsoe is out and Markieff Morris is suspended for the Suns. Kyrie Irving is probable for the Cavs.

Wow, the Suns are in horrible shape. the coaching staff is getting flipped, save for head coach Jeff Hornacek, who now has to worry about his own spot. Markieff Morris is in a feud with Jeff and has basically not been the same since watching his twin brother, Marcus, get shipped out for some magic beans. Bad times. There is still basketball to be played, and the Suns player who will see more value is Brandon Knight, whose usage soars over 30% without Bledsoe and Morris on the court this season, per NBAwowy. If Irving is back, that helps Knight as the Cavs star point is terrific offensively, but not as sharp defensively as Matthew Dellavedova. Jon Leuer has seen his salary rise to 5.7K without Morris but is still an alright play against Kevin Love and the Cavs. The chalk play will be Devin Booker, who is expected to start at SG with Bledsoe out. At 3.5K and getting something around 25-30 minutes, Booker brings 3-pt bonuses and scoring but nothing in the way of peripherals which will limit huge value upside.

The Cavs are coming off a tough Christmas Day loss to the Warriors and a brutal day-after-Christmas hangover blowout to the Blazers in Portland. It’s a game that saw LeBron have his lowest total of the season at 23 DK points. But they’ve had a day off to lick their wounds and since the main starters didn’t play long minutes in that game, they won’t be feeling too bad about the third game in four days, so James, Kevin Love and company should be ready to get back into the saddle and establish the level of play they’ve shown all season. The best thing about that Portland loss is that LeBron’s salary is back below 10K, which is a great place to roster the King. It’s a positive matchup for Love as well who hasn’t yet lost any production while Irving is on the floor, going 44.3 and 43.5 in the two games prior to the blowout in Portland.


– Brandon Knight ($7,600)
– Devin Booker ($3,500)
– LeBron James ($9,800)
– Kevin Love ($7,700)

Philadelphia 76ers @ Utah Jazz

Over/Under: TBD
Line: Utah -9.5

Pace: Philadelphia (7th), Utah (30th)
Offensive Rating: Philadelphia (30th), Utah (15th)
Defensive Rating: Philadelphia (26th), Utah (18th)
Net Rating Differential: 14.2 in favor of the Jazz

Derrick Favors is questionable and Alec Burks is out for the Jazz. Jahlil Okafor is highly questionable for the Sixers.

If Favors misses again, it’s all Gordon Hayward against for the Jazz. With Favors, Gobert and Burks out, Hayward’s usage leaps to 32.6% this season. The Jazz already get the ball into Hayward’s hands late to trigger the offense, so now he has even more reason to use possessions. The other beneficiary is Rodney Hood, if he can stay healthy (pulled a glute in his last game, but returned) and avoid fouling. Hood’s usage also goes up to over 26% in the scenario listed above. With burks out, Trey Burke becomes even more involved off the bench as a scorer and is in play at 4K and against the Sixers points.

For Philly, Ish Smith came right in, started and played 31 minutes. If Smith is afforded this playing time, he has proven to be a very productive DFS player and, at 4.8K and against a friendly matchup in Utah, he’s a good value play in a game a lot will avoid because of Utah’s pace and reputation. If Okafor misses, Nerlens Noel is a standout play as well. In the last three weeks, the Jazz have been more friendly up front since they have to play Favors more at the center spot. Noel is still at 5.6K in salary and had a 37.3 game against Phoenix with Okafor out.


– Gordon Hayward ($7,200)
– Rodney Hood ($4,700)
– Ish Smith ($4,800)
– Nerlens Noel ($5,600)

Sacramento Kings @ Golden State Warriors

Over/Under: 220
Line: Warriors -13.5

Pace: Sacramento (2nd), Golden State (1st)
Offensive Rating: Sacramento (19th), Golden State (1st)
Defensive Rating: Sacramento (25th), Golden State (3rd)
Net Rating Differential: 18.4 in favor of the Warriors

Harrison Barnes is doubtful and Leandro Barbosa is out for the Warriors.

220 game total. It’s possible that by the end of the third quarter, the score could be 95-75 here, even if the Warriors had game in hand. Is that enough to Draymond Green and Stephen Curry to value here? Curry at 10.7K, no, but Green is at least possible here at 9.3K. Klay Thompson is the best pick for exposure here, as Green and Thompson have been the biggest beneficiaries by far from Harrison Barnes’ absence. Thompson at 7.3K against a Kings team that is the worst again opposing SG, is almost a lock here.

Another beneficiary of Barnes’ absence have been the small forwards that got to play the Warriors without him. The team defense against SF has done a 180 degree turn since Barnes’ injury and has been the worst in the league the last three weeks. Rudy Gay/Omri Casspi approve of this development, though probably Casspi more since Green will likely stick to Rudy. Rajon Rondo has been playing high 30s in minutes which, if he does so in this game, will likely pile up the peripherals. Surprisingly, they’ve also been weaker against centers, even though Andrew Bogut has seen more time recently. This is good for DeMarcus Cousins, who has been back playing center with Casspi playing forward with Gay. But, then again, when isn’t it good to play DeMarcus Cousins?


– Klay Thompson ($7,300)
– Draymond Green ($9,300)
– DeMarcus Cousins ($9,900)
– Rajon Rondo ($8,400)