With baseball officially completed, the attention is now completely on the NFL, NHL & NBA. During the weeknights, the NBA will be the king most evenings, especially on nights like Monday. Monday’s slate of top talent includes Steph Curry, James Harden, Blake Griffin, CP3, Kevin Durant, LeBron, Kevin Love & others. If those players alone aren’t enough to get you excited about the young basketball season, you may need to reevaluate your level of being a true basketball junkie. With that said, let’s take a look at the Monday targets.
Stephen Curry – MEM vs GS ($10,200) – In the slight case you were living under a rock or on another planet altogether, Steph Curry is hands-down the best player in the NBA any night he is on the court. Curry has been on an unbelievable tear to start off the season, averaging nearly 40 points per game & is coming off of a 53 point effort on Saturday against New Orleans. He has incorporated very much of Chris Paul’s game into his own with the improved defensive efforts & more focus on the assist numbers, all while increasing his scoring output, which many people have criticized Paul for lacking in fantasy basketball. The combination of Mike Conley & Tony Allen are normally a great defensive unit, but Curry is playing with an edge & to show that he is worth the hype this season & he looks as though he is going to study from the book of Tom Brady – not take any prisoners any night to prove any doubters wrong. Curry is always a player you can build a fantasy roster with any night & the Grizzlies are allowing exactly 100 points per game right now , 48% FG percentage & 38% from 3PT range – not the vaunted defense of past seasons. They will get right on defense soon, but not against Steph Curry as he should continue his tear of the NBA.
Russell Westbrook – OKC @ HOU ($10,300) – Depending on what you value most in a point guard, I could see where people might say Chris Paul is a better play here. From a scoring & all around game that I know is always going to be solid, Westbrook is another player that is worth the money on this night. He is back to his normal, aggressive self & after the first 2 games of the season, seems the healthiest he has been in the last two seasons. We know about the automatic 30-35 points each night, but he is also bringing in the rebounds & assists, along with solid defense. If I need a complete package of offense & defense, Westbrook is the early choice over Paul.
Other Options – Chris Paul ($9,700), Damian Lillard ($9,200), Brandon Knight ($6,600)
Matthew Dellavadova – CLE at PHI ($3,200) – Ok, so the NBA made sure we knew all about Matthew Dellavadova last season during his strong NBA Finals performance against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Guess what? It wasn’t a fluke. Delly has been averaging 22.7 DFS points this season & has been a strong backup for Mo Williams, who was slated as the starter while Kyrie Irving is out. The funny part of that plan is that Dellavadova is playing like a starter. He is a scrappy, fierce player & a true leader on the court. Players who have those kinds of characteristics are typically great assist men & great defenders. Given the increasing minutes Delly has been receiving this year & the way the offensive energy improves when he is on the court, he is a great back-up guard each night who should always hit his value as he should be around that $3,000 to $3,500 mark for a while.
D.J. Augustin – OKC at HOU ($3,100) – The veteran D.J. Augustin has been great at spelling Russell Westbrook & keeping the offense a float. Augustin is a solid shooter & can get about 20 DFS points per game. He can fill up the score sheets & help the fantasy numbers with assists & with not much defense expected from the Rockets, Augustin could have a bigger than usual night & be one of the few guys on this slate who can really outplay his value, especially in tournament plays.
Other Options – T.J. McConnell ($3,000), Patty Mills ($3,200), Michael Carter-Williams ($6,700)
Eric Bledsoe – PHO at LAC ($7,500) – Eric Bledsoe has been a player trending in the right direction for a Suns offense that is consistently getting better. Most of the game, Bledsoe will probably have J.J. Redick defending him, which is going to always be a matchup win. If the Clippers switch off at times & put Chris Paul on, Bledsoe will struggle. Either way, in this slate of games, Bledsoe should see quite a bit of open shots, especially from getting setup well by Brandon Knight’s strong early-season passing & court awareness. Bledsoe has also been filling the stats with assists of his own, as well as steals.
James Harden – OKC at HOU ($9,900) – James Harden has not lived up to his over $10k salary at all during the early part of the NBA season. He has put up nice fantasy numbers, but he has left DFS players out to dry because of his horrendous shooting. Yes, he has gone up against the Golden State Warriors, who boast one of the best defenses in the league & the Denver Nuggets, who aren’t one of the better teams defensively in the league.
With all of that said, Harden with a salary under $10k is a good play in this potential high-scoring game. Harden should be able to hit his value at this price & a great shooter like Harden will come out of this shooting slump very soon. The stat sheet filling has been good so far, but Harden’s value will always come in scoring points.
Other Options – Klay Thompson ($6,900), Khris Middleton ($5,600), J.J. Redick ($5,200)
Manu Ginobili – SA at NY ($4,200) – Yes, Manu Ginobili has slowed down has he has gotten older & yes, he is coming off of the bench as a sixth man for the Spurs, but he has started the season strong & could be a sneaky play on Monday against a Knicks squad who don’t have a lot of quality defenders at the guard position. Ginobili still has the aggressiveness to get to the basket on a regular basis, shoot the outside ball effectively, & make a variety of assists & defensive plays that can prove useful in the back-up guard position, especially in tournament games.
J.J Redick – PHO at LAC ($5,200) – This is a bit rare as Redick is listed as a stud & as a value. He has the best pure shooter playing on Monday night & no matter what, to win in DFS, there needs to be a shooter who can get hot on any given night & Redick is absolutely the guy for that. He is a key scoring option for the Los Angeles Clippers, their best clutch shooter & the one starter who can truly get hot quickly from outside.
Other Options – Danny Green ($4,500), Dion Waiters ($3,800), Andre Roberson ($3,000)
Kevin Durant – OKC at HOU ($9,700) – Right now, Kevin Durant is still feeling out his body & how much he can do after his foot surgery that basically made him miss most of last season. He is not as explosive right now as he normally is, but he has become a very nice second option with Westbrook drawing attention on offense. This price will not last very long once Durant gets more comfortable back on the court, so utilize him now. With Houston’s offense not being very strong, I can’t see Trevor Ariza holding Durant down long enough for him to not make a significant impact on this matchup.
LeBron James – CLE at PHI ($9,700) – LeBron gets the second slot only because it is obvious that he is holding back just a little bit in the early part of the season. It is no secret that the Cavs are trying to rest King James up for the NBA playoff push in April, so while he is a great find on most nights, keep in mind that he won’t be logging those 40-45 minute games as often. The stats will be there & he should be able to put up his MVP numbers against a young Sixers squad…….but if the game gets out of hand early, I would be shocked to see James in there any longer than humanly possible.
Kawhi Leonard – SA at NY – ($9,700) – Kawhi Leonard has been a nice DFS pick in the early season, & has put up comparable numbers to LeBron & Durant. But the biggest reason why I am high on Leonard on Monday night – there is a good chance Carmelo Anthony will be trying to guard him………..in other words…………Leonard should have a Thanksgiving-sized feast.
Other Options – Carmelo Anthony ($8,900), Giannis Antetokounmpo ($6,400), Trevor Ariza ($5,600)
Harrison Barnes – MEM at GS ($4,900) – With all of the defensive attention on Steph Curry, Barnes has benefited by becoming a very consistent player who can be depended on for about 22-25 fantasy points per night by benig a stats stuffer. The better defenders on Memphis have to focus on Curry & Klay Thompson lighting them up from 3PT range, which will leave Barnes with much easier matchups. He has performed at or above his value each game so far & that shouldn’t change anytime soon.
Andre Iguodala – MEM at GS ($4,400) – Last year’s NBA Finals MVP has been a great sixth man so far this season being Barnes & Draymond Green’s backup. He is a stats stuffer & has a great ceiling with the looks he will get against most defenses each night because of the high-flying offensive system of the Warriors. He is not the flashy player that he was early in his career, but he is the type of guy you need on a DFS roster to win consistently on any night.
Other Options – Joe Johnson ($4,900), Paul Pierce ($3,800), Richard Jefferson ($3,000)
Blake Griffin – Pho at LAC ($9,800) – Blake Griffin has been an absolute monster during the early part of the season. He has been unstoppable in the post, he is stronger & even more explosive than he has been in the past. His jump shot is much more consistent. I say all of this to say that I can’t see Markieff Morris or even Tyson Chandler being able to guard him one-on-one. Plus, when you have Chris Paul on the court making sure you are being fed easy baskets & the chance to get plenty of rebounds, it’s easy to be a starter on any DFS squad every night.
Kevin Love – CLE at PHI ($7,500) – Many people were asking after last season how would Love fit in with LeBron, Kyrie & the rest of the Cavs crew. This year, we are getting our answer – just fine. Love is playing like his old Minnesota T’Wolves self & with seeing mostly one-on-ones most nights, he gets the chance to score from inside & out & get the rebounds he is used to. He is consistently a double-double threat & should be able to show Nerlens Noel some veteran tricks on Monday.
Draymond Green – MEM at GS ($7,000) – Another example of TCE – The Curry Effect. Green gets many opportunities at great stats when everyone on Earth is focused on the babyface. He is gritty, not afraid to play hard defense on any player on the court & be an offensive facilitator, letting the offensive opportunities come to him. Green’s stats are about effort & any time you have a chance to play a guy who is immune to defensive matchups, get him somewhere in your lineup.
Other Options – LaMarcus Aldridge ($7,300), Nerlens Noel ($6,900), Serge Ibaka ($6,200)
Kristaps Porzingis – SA at NY ($4,600) – The young Porzingis has been getting used to the NBA lifestyle & the expectations of being a first-round pick by the New York Knicks. While he has been learning the game & going through regular rookie woes from time-to-time, he has been a double-double threat each night. He has shown that he can shoot outside & work down in the post some. He’s low-post work does need time to develop, however, at $4,600 & against the Spurs, who will most likely put Tim Duncan on him most of the time, Porzingis will be good for some effort stats which could help out in tournament styles.
Tristan Thompson – CLE at PHI – ($4,500) – Thompson is not going to be a guy who is expected to score a ton of baskets, but his rebounding & shot blocking ability off the bench are great values here. Thompson, the guy who LeBron strongly stood up while he was holding out this past summer, has been a workhorse on the glass & is getting back into game shape quickly. He has a high ceiling due to being called on to spell Timofey Mozgov for many minutes. He is a double-double threat off the bench & at $4,500, a guy who could be the true meaning of what the utility role means on DK.
Other Options – Kyle O’Quinn ($3,900), Brandan Wright ($3,400), Ed Davis ($5,000)
DeAndre Jordan – PHO at LAC – ($8,000) – DeAndre Jordan has been is usual double-double self this season & going against an older Tyson Chandler won’t change that. He is absolutely dominant around the basket & has improved his defensive effort with his shot blocking ability. A big part of me believes that he will begin creeping up to that $9,000 mark soon, so make sure you can play him at this price as long as you can. He is a good target in any league.
Karl-Anthony Towns – POR at MIN ($6,100) – The early returns on Towns is that he is living up to being the #1 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. He is a true center in every sense of the position – rebounding, scoring around the basket, being very comfortable with the offense going through him. He can step outside & hit jumpers & solid at the free throw line, which will make guarding him down low a nightmare on most opposing centers. Portland will most likely take turns guarding Towns with Meyers Leonard & Mason Plumlee, but Towns is more skilled than both & should have a strong showing.
Other Options – Marc Gasol ($8,000), Brook Lopez ($7,000), Dwight Howard (if healthy) ($7,000)
Jahlil Okafor – CLE at PHI ($6,100) – Okafor has had a strong start to his NBA rookie season, averaging 18 points & 6 rebounds per game so far. The Sixers have made it clear that Okafor is going to be the top offensive option, which will mean many minutes & plenty of opportunities to get shots – and rebounds off of missed shots.
Steven Adams – OKC at HOU ($4,200) – I love this matchup for Adams tonight against Houston. Dwight Howard is being watched carefully because of his back issues & is probably holding back quite a bit from his normal style of play, meaning Adams will be matched up against backup center Clint Capela. Adams is a hustle player, who gets many put backs around the basket off of rebounds from Westbrook, KD & Ibaka. His blocking out skills are highly underrated & should be a 20-25 point fantasy player with an upside of about 35, possibly 40.
Other Options – Meyers Leonard ($4,500), Enes Kanter ($6,100), Festus Ezeli ($3,400)