We only have a seven game slate for Monday night and not a lot of games with expected high scores. We only have one game with an expected total over 200 at the moment, with the biggest spread being 9 points. That means all these games should be in play today and we will have a lot of options on which ones to target. Here are some of those targets and a breakdown of the expected pace and outcomes.
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Sacramento Kings @ Charlotte Hornets
Line: Hornets -5
As far as game targets go, this is the game with the highest expected total and the hottest pace. We also have a lot of high dollar plays here as well as some of the better value options. We have two major injury concerns here and I wanted to mention them first, because it changes a lot of the analysis. If Rudy Gay remains out for Sacramento, that means Omri Casspi becomes a great play. When he has seen 30+ minutes, his floor has been 27 and he has scores in the low 30s. That would be 5 to six times value if he is going to be taking over the Rudy Gay role.
On the other side we have Cody Zeller who is also questionable. When Zeller has been out, it solidifies minutes for Marvin Williams. Williams has seen his price rise, but if he is going to play 30-35 minutes, he can still pay off the tag. In addition to the injury news, we have Rajon Rondo who has been a walking triple double and Boogie Cousins who always puts up some big numbers. On the other side, we have sen guys like Jeremy Lin and Jeremy Lamb really start to play well at cheap prices. If PJ Hairston remains out, those two should continue to see big minutes. In a game with a total more than 10 points above the rest, we need to look for some plays here. Sacramento plays at one of the fastest paces in the league and the Hornets have also sped up their play this season. We should expect a lot of fantasy points to come from this game and some exposure to it is necessary.
- Omri Casspi ($4700) – If Rudy Gay is out
- DeMarcus Cousins ($10300)
- Al Jefferson ($6400)
- Marvin Williams ($5700)
Orlando Magic @ Cleveland Cavaliers
Line: Cavs -9
This is one of the bigger spreads we have on the day and it makes sense with the struggles the Magic have had and the talent the Cavaliers have. We have a few injury concerns in this one as well and that could lead to some increased minutes and production, especially on the Cleveland side. JR Smith is consistently putting up scores in the high 20s. It is Important to note here, because his price is still below $5000 and he has seen a ton of minutes. We also have the injury to Mo Williams which has allowed a cheap Matthew Dellavedova to put up good value. Last game with Timofey Mozgov out, Tristan Thompson was able to put up some big numbers as well at a square price. Depending how that all works out, we could see some of this again from a short bench.
On the Orlando side, we have had multiple players be there top scorer for Fantasy. It is a very tough team to get a read on and I would advise against using too many of them here. The players are all priced a tad high for my liking, especially when you consider the spot. Cleveland is a very good defensive team that does not allow a ton of points, the Magic spread it around making it difficult to figure out where the production comes from, and finally none of them are really a bargain with the whole starting five now over $6000. Vegas only expects about 93 points out of them, which is not enough to support more than one or two big fantasy performances from that side of the ball at those prices.
- J.R. Smith ($4800)
- Tristan Thompson ($5300)
- Elfrid Payton ($6200)
- Nikola Vucevic ($7000)
New York Knicks @ Miami Heat
Line: Miami -5
There are some exciting matchups in this game and it’s definitely one I want to watch. The problem is, I don’t love much of it for fantasy purposes. The total here is pretty low, so that’s an issue at only 191. Both teams have high usage players who account for a lot of the fantasy points. That by itself is not bad, but it is when you have a low total game expected and they are all up in price. Porzingis and Melo handle most of the workload for the Knicks. I like the new look line up with those two at the 4 and 5 spots. Porzingis has seen his minutes rise, and has rewarded the Knicks with two huge games in his last three.
He has a tough matchup against Hassan Whiteside who has also been playing very well lately, so that is one I want to watch. Wade and Melo dominate the ball for their respective squads. Wade has been pretty cheap lately and paying off his ever rising salary. Melo has been underperforming his in the last few, but he we all know what he is capable of when he is hot. Guys like Calderon also deserve a look. He is just too cheap for the minutes he plays now and can easily pay off his price tag.
- Jose Calderon ($3800)
- Kristaps Porzingis ($6700)
- Chris Bosh ($7700)
- Dwyane Wade ($6800)
Philadelphia 76ers @ Minnesota Timberwolves
Line: Timberwolves -7
The Total here is pretty high for a Philly game as they have struggled to score. The Spread here is also not ridiculous, so we could see a full allotment of minutes for the Timberwolves stars. Both teams have positive situations and that should lead to some solid fantasy scores from this game. Philly has been horrid at defending big men. I don’t want to point fingers, but Okafor needs to work a little harder on that end of the floor. Fellow Rookie Karl Anthony-Townes should be able to put up some decent numbers in this spot. He has one of the best matchups tonight going up against Okafor.
The Pace here should be pretty quick, so that always spells out a game to look at Ricky Rubio as well. Actually everyone has been performing against the Sixers, so the whole starting five should probably see some of the better stat lines they have all year in this one. As for the Sixers, I’m not a guy who loves picking the back court star out among McConnell, Stauskas, and Canaan. All 3 are cheap and usually one of them has a good game relative to the price tag. I prefer to look to the frontcourt for my plays with them. Guys like Okafor, Noel, Robert Covington and Jerami Grant are the ones I would look to here.
- Karl-Anthony Towns ($7200)
- Ricky Rubio ($7100)
- Nerlens Noel ($6100)
- Robert Covington ($4400)
Detroit Pistons @ Milwaukee Bucks
Line: Pistons -2
This is a paced down game for the Pistons and about where Milwaukee plays now a days. The big story line will be Drummond vs. Monroe as the former teammates square off. Bot have flourished with their time apart. Drummond has become a monster in the blocks. Routinely putting up 20 and 15 boards like it is easy. Monroe has also been doing some work and in a more well rounded manner. He has a bunch of double doubles already as well, but he fills up the whole stat sheet. Drummond will likely outscore and out rebound his old running mate, but you also have to factor in the $2500 discount on Monroe when choosing between them. As far as other options here, the cheap forwards come to mind.
Ersan Ilyasova saw his minutes dip into the teens, but he has since seen them get back into the high 20’s and he has produced nicely for a small price tag. Same goes for Jabari Parker on the Bucks. Jason Kidd is giving him a few more minutes a game and his talent is not an issue. He can put up points when he is out there, but his minutes off the injury have been the issue. If he sees more minutes, he will score more fantasy points. Take advantage of that uptick while the price is still very low.
- Andre Drummond ($9700)
- Greg Monroe ($7200)
- Jabari Parker ($4200)
- Ersan Ilyasova ($4300)
Phoenix Suns @ San Antonio Spurs
Line: Spurs -8
The San Antonio Spurs play an efficient style of basketball that allows them to have a high scoring average and a lower number of possessions then you would expect. That means they also limit the opponents pace a little and are already a very solid defensive team that does not make it easy for opponents to score. This game probably ticks up Spurs a bit and ticks down the Suns. Lamarcus Aldridge is questionable and it would open some great value if he is out. While everyone will run to West and Diaw, the guy who saw the uptick in minutes and production last game was Time Duncan. Diaw is not really a true big man, and West is still rounding back into shape. Duncan was the guy who got the bump last game. He is still pretty cheap too. Besides Duncan, the only Spur with truely safe minutes is Kawhi Leonard. He is always in play, especially with a plus matchup here.
For the Suns, the guards are where you look. I know everyone is in love with Brandon Knight and his two 70+ fantasy point performances last week, but pump the brakes a little. Those came against Denver and the Lakers who we usually target players against. This matchup is not as soft. Bledsoe is still the way I prefer to look and he has been paying off his price tag lately. For only a $200 difference, I take Bledsoe over Knight all day. Markieff Morris had been banged up, but he got his minutes and his swagger back last game. He is playing 35 minutes now, which is in the 30-35 range he was seeing. I expect the production to get back to where it was. I also expect the price to get back to where it was, but right now it’s at $5300 which is $1000 cheaper. Take advantage of that price break while you can.
- Eric Bledsoe ($8400)
- Markieff Morris ($5300)
- Tim Duncan ($6300)
- Kawhi Leonard ($8200)
Oklahoma City Thunder @ Utah Jazz
Line: Utah -3.5
This game has a whole bunch of questions surrounding it. Kevin Durant is doubtful, so that means the play Russ with no Durant narrative is back in play. He paid off price tags this high with 5 to 7 times value routinely last season, so that is definitely something to consider. The problem is that Utah plays slow and is one of the best defensive teams in the league. In fact their defense has their own narrative that daily fantasy players would just rather stay away.
So the interesting question is do you take the guy you always have to take when Durant is out even when he is going up against the defense you are never supposed to play anybody against? Russ is the one and only option I would even consider on OKC. On the flip side, OKC does pace up the Jazz, so we should see some good performances. Favors has been solid, Hayward is pretty reasonable, Gobert is overpriced, and guys like Burks, Burke, and Hood are all interesting options. All should have slightly better than average games here against a faster paced team that is suspect on defense.
- Russell Westbrook ($12300)
- Derrick Favors ($7600)
- Gordon Hayward ($6200)
- Rodney Hood ($5000)