Philadelphia 76ers @ Washington Wizards
Line: Wizards -13
The 76ers have lost their last eight games, including one by 9 to Washington last week. They are really struggling on both sides of the ball. The Wizards have won 5 of their last 7 while scoring slightly over 100 and limiting their opponents to just under it. The Wizards are led by John Wall who is having one of his better seasons as a pro. He has scored about 50 fantasy points in 11 of the last 15 games, so he is clearly the engine that drives that offense. Guys like Otto Porter and Marcin Gortat have played well lately and are other options to consider against a porous 76ers defense. Gortat looks like a standout on paper, but the rotation has changed since Markieff Morris was added to the mix. Gortat and Nene have split time at the center spot and his upside has been limited.
For the 76ers, Jahlil Okafor is a scoring force. The problem for fantasy is that is all he does. He is only averaging 4.5 rebounds in his last two games and has struggled to grab boards all season. It’s tough to get upside out of him if that’s all he does. Sure, he may score 20-25 real life points, but if he continues to do that and only finish with 31 fantasy points, then it’s not a great situation. Ish Smith has started to play better and guys like Nerlens Noel, Robert Covington, and Jerami Grant have alternated good and bad games for Philly. This should be a high paced game, but I do worry about a blowout with Philly on the road and on the tail end of a back-to-back. Washington plays fast and Philly is bad on defense, so I can see a lot of fantasy points coming if the game stays close. That is a big if though.
Editor’s Note (6:15 PM ET): Jahlil Okafor is out for tonight’s game. Jerami Grant will get the start in his place for the 76ers, according to 76ers beat writer, Tom Moore.
Editor’s Note (6:40 PM ET): Markieff Morris will start in place of Jared Dudley tonight. Further, Nene is OUT for the Wizards as they get the ultimate soft landing spot in a home game against the Sixers. Morris’ minutes are somewhat in question but the starting nod definitely helps his fantasy outlook on Monday night.
- John Wall ($9600)
- Otto Porter ($4900)
- Jahlil Okafor ($6100)
- Ish Smith ($6400)
Indiana Pacers @ Cleveland Cavaliers
Line: Cavs -8
After going 12-3 over a fifteen game stretch, the Cavs have lost 3 of the last 4 since. They lost a tough one to Toronto, followed by a loss to Washington as LeBron sat out. I do not think it’s time to hit the panic button yet and look forward to seeing them get back on track in this one against the Pacers. The Pacers vaunted D from year’s past is not the same now. They play a tad faster than Cleveland and give up a few more points. Guys like LeBron, Love, and Kyrie all had solid 5X+ returns two weeks ago when these teams met, so I would expect those guys to do the same here.
For Indiana, George Hill went off for 40 last time he faced Kyrie’s defense. With Paul George having a tough assignment on both ends of the floor, it made sense that someone else would step up. Monta Ellis did not play well vs. Cleveland, and the big guys like Turner and Mahinmi do not have ideal matchups to exploit. I expect the Cavs to win here in a decent total game, but I’m not sure I like the upside of many of these higher priced options.
- George Hill ($5400)
- Ian Mahinmi ($5000)
- LeBron James ($9500)
- Kyrie Irving ($7700)
Utah Jazz @ Boston Celtics
Line: Celtics -5
This is an interesting spot here. The Celtics play fast and tend to be in higher scoring games. That is why we see such a high total for a game that involves the Utah Jazz. The Jazz are definitely paced up in this one. The Jazz also have a dominant frontcourt, which is good for them against the Celtics who struggle to stop frontcourt players. We also have the narrative of Gordon Hayward going up against his former college coach here in Brad Stevens. Hayward has not done well against them in the past, and his role has diminished with the Jazz now healthy.
For the Celtics, this is a tough matchup for any offense. Isaiah Thomas and Jared Sullinger have been carrying them lately. Guys like Smart, Bradley, and Crowder have been solid to really good, but none of them have been great on a consistent basis. The matchups are tough all over for the Celtics who are paced down and facing a very good defensive team. I think one or two Boston players do well, but it’s not smart to go heavy on them in this one.
- Isaiah Thomas ($7200)
- Jared Sullinger ($5900)
- Derrick Favors ($7500)
- Rudy Gobert ($6700)
Houston Rockets @ Milwaukee Bucks
Line: Rockets -2
The Rockets are a middle of the pack playoff team in the Western Conference and recent game logs show why. In the last 10 games they have losses to the Spurs (2), OKC, Utah, Portland, and Golden State. A lot of those teams are the ones we expect to see make it past round 1. The wins are against teams they can beat, like Miami, Phoenix, and Portland. Milwaukee is not up in the elite tier of opponents, but they are not as bad as the teams that Houston has beat up on. This should remain a pretty close game throughout, so both teams are in play. I also expect a hot pace and a decent amount of scoring. For the rockets, that will likely come from James Harden again. Other guys like Beverley and Ariza are also in play, with Dwight Howard being the second best option due to a solid matchup against a weak interior defense.
For the Bucks, we have seen the guys in the SG, SF, and PF roles get a lot of minutes lately. Giannis has the best upside, but Parker and Middleton have both seen big minutes and been pretty consistent lately. Houston is pretty bad against the forward spots, so it’s easy for me to pick my favorite targets here. They also stink at guarding shooting guards with Harden’s lack of defense, so Middleton needs to be included as well, even though I can only choose two.
Editor’s Note (7:10 PM ET): Michael Carter-Williams has been scratched for the Bucks. With late swap you can still get him out of your lineups tonight and we should expect Jerryd Bayless, who returns tonight from an injury, to see a lot of work. He’s riskier given the return from injury variable but Khris Middleton, who was already a strong option, should see a bump in production and usage (he’ll be on the ball more) as well.
- James Harden ($10300)
- Dwight Howard ($7300)
- Giannis Antetokounmpo ($7800)
- Jabari Parker ($6400)
Memphis Grizzlies @ Denver Nuggets
Line: Grizzlies -2
I guess the road game is what has the spread so close here because Denver has not looked good and Memphis is playing surprisingly well. When the Grizzlies traded Green and lost Gasol to injury, many thought they would struggle, but they have now won 4 of the last 6. Mike Conley has stepped up his game and received help from guys like Barnes and Randolph. It has not always looked pretty or been productive for fantasy, but they are getting the job done as a team. Denver, on the other hand, is still a mess. Gallo is out, so, once again, it’s Will Barton’s time to shine. If he is under 100% owned today I think it’s a mistake for cash games. He was a monster earlier in the year without Gallo and already played 40 minutes and threw up a big number in the last game when Gallo was hurt. His price has not adjusted back up to account for his new role yet. Even in a tougher defensive matchup, I think he is a lock today.
It gets tougher from there, though. Jokic has the ability, but does not always let it show. He alternates a 40 fantasy point game with one where he fails to reach 20. He’s GPP only, but he does have upside. D.J. Augustin has seen his role increase here as well. Denver needs a better PG option and D.J. Augustin can actually play. He’s been dirt cheap and producing, so he is a guy worth a look. The Grizz are not the same defensive stalwarts without Gasol in the middle, so I can see some points on both sides of this game. With the low prices on both sides for some guys with big minutes expected, I think you need to look hard at them for some cash game safety and potential upside in tournaments.
- D.J. Augustin ($3500)
- Will Barton ($5600)
- Lance Stephenson ($4000)
- Jamychal Green ($4300)
Oklahoma City Thunder @ Sacramento Kings
Line: Thunder -10
Both Rajon Rondo and Rudy Gay are questionable for tonight’s game. That is why Vegas did not post a line yet on this game. When they do, you can expect the number to be pretty big. Sacramento plays at one of the fastest paces in the league and has one of the most porous defenses. Ditto for OKC, although they are slightly better on the defensive end. Each team routinely scores in the 100-120 range and allows their opponents to do the same. This one should be very high scoring. DeMarcus Cousins is an absolute monster for the Kings and would be asked to do a ton if Gay and Rondo were to sit out. Darren Collison has been good enough to warrant consideration even when Rondo was healthy, so he becomes a top option if Rondo is indeed out and he gets all the minutes.
OKC is very easy to nail down for me. I play Durant and/or Westbrook whenever I can. In this matchup with the hot pace and points expected, I think you need one of the two. I lean Westbrook where I can, but if value opens up at point guard and I don’t like small Forward options, I can easily pivot to Durant to get exposure here. I prefer Westy if I can afford him because of the triple double potential, but Durant can go 30 and 12 with 4 or 5 made 3s and put up a big fantasy number. This game is going to feature some big time stat lines, so it will be tough to try to fade it all together.
Update: Rondo is now DOUBTFUL for tonight’s game. Rudy Gay is also doubtful for tonight’s game. Omri Casspi and Ben McLemore look to be the main beneficiaries. Casspi sees a 14.1 percent increase in Fantasy Points Per Minute with Gay out. Collison sees a 54.31 percent increase in Fantasy Points Per Minute when Rondo is out.
Editor’s Note: Rajon Rondo missed shootaround today, and, as mentioned, he is questionable for tonight’s game. If he misses, look for Darren Collison to take the reigns again of the Sacramento offense.
- Kevin Durant ($10400)
- Russell Westbrook ($11100)
- DeMarcus Cousins ($10700)
- Darren Collison ($5400)
Brooklyn Nets @ Los Angeles Clippers
Line: Clippers -13
The Clippers are a good team that improved by adding Jeff Green as a wing scorer they desperately needed. the Nets are a bad team that got worse by releasing Joe Johnson who was a contributor for them. The line here is not a surprise, with the Nets going on the road to LA. Chris Paul has been a stud for the Clippers in Blake Griffin’s absence. The Nets struggle to guard point guards anyway, so this one is likely to get ugly. That makes Paul a risk, because the blowout potential is high here. Jeff Green has been putting in work since the trade. He has gone for 6X in two of his last three games and is starting to see more minutes. He has a good matchup with guys like Markel Brown and Bojan Bogdanovich.
Thaddeus young has been the biggest bright spot for the Nets lately. He and Brook Lope are carrying this offense, although Brook is in a little bit of a slump. Donald Sloan is the only other guy I would consider. He has done well lately, but the big price increase zaps his upside. Overall I think this game is one I will look to use only a guy or two from. Too much uncertainty and too high of a chance for a blowout to risk much here for cash games.
- Thaddeus Young ($6800)
- Brook Lopez ($7400)
- Jeff Green ($5100)
- Chris Paul ($9900)