The NBA begins the week leading up to the All-Star festivities with a full nine-game fantasy basketball slate Monday. You’ll need to get your fantasy basketball fix early this week since the Association will take a week off after Thursday’s games. The week starts strong with some good matchups, including the Nets visiting the Raptors in a possible playoff preview, Luka Doncic ($8,700) and the Mavs rolling into Houston to face the Rockets in an in-state showdown, and the new-look Clippers visiting the Timberwolves. Of the 18 teams in action, 15 had Sunday off while the Heat, Mavericks and Trail Blazers will all be finishing out a back-to-back with their Monday matchup.
As you take a look at all nine games and get your squad assembled, take a look at these top studs and values who I think are primed for big games. Make sure that before tipoff you circle back and check the DK Live app or live.draftkings.com for the latest news in case anything breaks that should impact your lineup. Here’s a look at who I’m targeting this Monday:
StudDennis Smith Jr., NY at CLE, $6,400 — Since joining the Knicks, Smith has taken over quickly as the leader of the offense and is getting heavy usage. He had a slow debut against Memphis but followed that with 25 and 31 points in two games against the Pistons, finishing with 39.25 and 48.0 DKFP, respectively. On Saturday, he struggled a bit with his shot, going just 4-for-17 but still had 33 DKFP on 13 points, three steals, six assists and four rebounds. He gets a great matchup against the Cavs and should remain the focal point of New York’s offense. He has averaged 19 shots and 40.25 DKFP per game over his past three contests and should keep out-performing his salary in this matchup. Other Options — Russell Westbrook ($11,400), Kyle Lowry ($7,200)
ValuePatrick Beverley, LAC at MIN, $5,100 — Beverley likely will remain in the starting lineup and get a heavy workload after Tobias Harris and Avery Bradley were traded at the deadline. He stepped up Saturday with 12 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and two steals for 37.75 DKFP against the Celtics. He has more than 24 DKFP in six of his past eight games, including three contests with more than 40 DKFP. He offers balanced production and limited risk since he should continue to get heavy usage as the Clippers continue their road trip with a contest in Minnesota.
Other Options — Reggie Jackson ($5,600), Trey Burke ($3,900)
StudLuke Doncic, DAL at HOU, $8,700 — Doncic scored 13 points in the fourth quarter Sunday to help the Mavs rally back and beat the Trail Blazers. He finished with 28 points, nine rebounds, six assists and 50.75 DKFP. He has more than 50 DKFP in three of his past four games and six of his past nine. He is doing a little bit of everything for the Mavs, who clearly are committed to building around the promising rookie moving forward. This is Doncic’s team, and he has a high ceiling in what is likely to be a high-scoring contest in Houston. Other Options — James Harden ($12,000), Josh Richardson ($6,300)
ValueJordan Clarkson, CLE vs. NY, $5,200 — The Cavs moved Rodney Hood ($3,900), George Hill ($3,500) and Alec Burks in trades over the past few months, leaving plenty of work for Clarkson as the leader of the second unit. He has scored at least 18 points in five of his past six games, averaging 19 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 31.7 DKFP. He gets a good matchup against the Pistons and makes a solid mid-range value while he continues to get such heavy usage.
Other Options — Cory Joseph ($4,400)
StudPaul George, OKC vs. POR, $10,300 — George and the Thunder host the Trail Blazers as they look to keep rolling after winning 10 of their past 11. George helped get the win Saturday in Houston with 45 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and 68.75 DKFP. He has more than 53 DKFP in eight of his past nine games dating back to the most recent time he faced the Trail Blazers and dropped 64 DKFP on 36 points, eight rebounds, four assists and five steals. He could need to be more active on the glass in this contest since Jerami Grant (ankle) has been ruled out. George has flourished wherever he has played this season and is averaging more than 50 DKFP per contest. Given his recent form and favorable matchup, PG13 is once again a centerpiece to build your lineup around. Other Options — Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,300), Andrew Wiggins ($6,500)
ValueJabari Parker, WAS at DET, $5,600 — The Wizards landed Parker along with Bobby Portis ($6,300) in a trade that sent Otto Porter Jr. ($5,700) to Chicago, creating plenty of opportunity for Parker to step up. With Jeff Green ($5,200; hip, questionable) now ailing, Parker could be even busier as he continues to try and settle in with his new squad. So far, the transition has gone outstanding for Parker, who had 42.75 DKFP against the Cavs on Friday and followed that with 39.25 DKFP in a revenge game against Chicago. He is offering balanced production across all categories and getting a heavy workload, so he has a high ceiling against Detroit, especially if Green is unable to play.
Other Options — Dorian Finney-Smith ($4,100), David Nwaba ($3,800)
StudLauri Markkanen, CHI vs. MIL, $7,900 — Markkanen still has a ways to go on defense but is already a fantasy beast for the Bulls, especially after the Parker-Portis trade opened up more playing time for the second-year forward. Markkanen has more than 40 DKFP in six of his past seven games and was just one rebound short of having a double-double in each of those contests. In those seven games, he has averaged 23.4 points, 13.6 rebounds and 43.3 DKFP. Markkanen hasn’t faced the Bucks yet this season since he was injured for the teams’ two previous meetings. Other Options — Kenneth Faried ($6,800), Danilo Gallinari ($6,000)
ValueLarry Nance Jr., CLE vs. NY, $5,900 — The Knicks have been one of the most generous matchups this season for opposing big men, so look for Nance to be a good value as the Cavs host New York. Nance has posted a double-double with at least 30 DKFP in five straight contests. He had 40.5 DKFP against the Pacers on Saturday with 16 points, 10 boards, two assists, two blocked shots and a steal. His well-rounded stat lines give him a high ceiling as he showed with 50.25 DKFP against the Wizards on Friday. Kevin Love ($7,300) is slowly working his way back into the lineup and Tristan Thompson (foot) is nearing a return, so Nance’s long-term value is questionable. However, for this matchup, he is still a good play.
Other Options — Dwight Powell ($4,800), Trey Lyles ($4,000)
StudNikola Jokic, DEN vs. MIA, $10,400 — The Nuggets are back home after their four-game trip as they host the Heat. Jokic has averaged 53.4 DKFP at home compared to just 46.6 DKFP on the road, and he comes into this matchup in the midst of an impressive run. The big man posted a triple-double in three of his past four games and six of his past 10. He had 65.5 DKFP against Brooklyn on Wednesday and followed that with 63.5 DKFP Friday against the 76ers. After taking the weekend off, he’ll get back to work against Hassan Whiteside ($7,300), who also has been playing well lately. Jokic burned the Heat for 63.3 DKFP when he faced them earlier this season with 29 points, 10 assists and 11 rebounds. The Nuggets will continue to look to him as the center of their offense, making him worth a look almost every time he’s on the schedule. Other Options — Karl-Anthony Towns ($10,000), Bobby Portis ($6,300)
ValueCody Zeller, CHA at IND, $4,500 — Zeller has looked strong since returning from his hand injury. He has averaged 27.8 DKFP in his three games back on 8.3 points, 10.7 boards, 2.3 assists and 1.0 steals per game. He returned to the starting lineup Saturday against the Hawks and should continue to see 25-30 minutes of playing time for the Hornets the rest of the way. He kept his fantasy value since the Hornets didn’t land Marc Gasol ($7,000), and Bismack Biyomo ($3,600) and Guillermo Hernangómez ($3,600) struggled to find consistency while he was out. Zeller has posted more than 25 DKFP in each of his three games back due mostly to his non-scoring numbers, which makes him a low-risk play as the Hornets visit the Pacers.
Other Options — Mitchell Robinson ($4,100), Ivica Zubac ($4,000)
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.