Monday’s NBA slate brings seven games of action, including four matchups with a Vegas over/under of 200 or higher. Of those tilts, Portland visiting Denver looks to be the most fantasy friendly, as it combines an over/under of 208 with a tight spread of only one.
Targeting the right studs in good spots will be crucial to today’s slate as a medium-sized schedule provides just enough choices to make things difficult.
Some news and notes before we dive into the picks:
- DeMarcus Cousins (Achilles) is expected to start against the Spurs tonight. I’d like to see him play a game before I spend up for him again.
- Chris Paul (groin) has been upgraded to probable as I write this column. He was just doubtful earlier this morning, so this will be a situation to watch.
- Andre Bogut (concussion) should return today. There is some upside against the Pistons, but I would rather go elsewhere at center.
- Joffrey Lauvergne (back) will miss another game on Monday. I wouldn’t consider any Nuggets big other than Kenneth Faried.
- Nikola Vucevic (knee) remains out Monday, but Dewayne Dedmon’s price ($4,600) is simply too high for me to consider at this point.
- Zach Randolph (calf) is questionable. I would be interested in Brandan Wright, should Randolph sit this one out.
Make sure to check the news up until tip:
BUILDING BLOCKS – Studs and Must-Have Values to Build Your Core Lineup
Damian Lillard, PG, POR ($8,500): Lillard’s price continues to be much lower than his colleagues at the elite level of point guards, despite hitting 40 DraftKings points in every game but one this season. I love the spot for him in Denver, even in the back-to-back, and he serves as an affordable building block.
Jeff Teague, PG, ATL ($6,700): Teague isn’t ever a sexy play, but he’s got the consistency we are looking for in cash games. He has hit the 30 DraftKings points mark in five-straight, and a matchup with Ricky Rubio makes him an excellent play for your head-to-heads or 50-50s.
Blake Griffin, PF, LAC ($9,600): If you can afford to spend up, Griffin should continue to be a fantastic play at power forward. The stars are aligning for him to have another big game against Memphis; Chris Paul is dealing with a groin injury, and Zach Randolph is questionable with a calf issue. With Paul’s usage possibly down and potentially no Randolph to contend with in the paint, the path is clear for Griffin to have a massive game.
Meyers Leonard, C, POR ($3,900): Of the value plays on this slate, I like Leonard the best as he takes on a bad Denver defense. He will need to contribute in other areas besides points, but his broad skill set should have him at least at value for this contest.
Three more studs to consider: Stephen Curry, PG, GS ($10,500) – Paul Millsap, PF, ATL ($7,700) – Pau Gasol, PF, CHI ($7,300)
BARGAINS – Complementary Players Who Look To Have Favorable Pricing
T.J. McConnell, PG, PHI ($5,300): I want to fade McConnell, but he is threatening triple-double status when he gets 30+ minutes. That’s hard to ignore on a slate without much value at the point guard position.
George Hill, PG, IND ($5,900): Hill would be a core play, but the back-to-back combined with a heavy minutes load thus far is a bit scary. Still, he does enough in other areas that he can make value if his shot refuses to fall.
Klay Thompson, SG, GS ($6,600): With the price under consideration, I prefer C.J. McCollum to Thompson, though it’s close. Still, Klay has not had a big game yet, and he’s priced favorably in relation to his ceiling.
C.J. McCollum, SG, POR ($6,500): McCollum’s matchup with Denver is fantastic, and he is still priced below what his production has suggested over his last five games. I think you need to have one of Lillard or McCollum in your lineup.
Danilo Gallinari, SF, DEN ($6,100): While the game script looks pretty good against the Trail Blazers (208.5 over/under in Vegas), the matchup against a solid defender in Al-Farouq Aminu gives me a bit of pause. It will be hard to fade Gallo, though, given his favorable price at small forward.
Marcus Morris, SF, DET ($6,200): Morris isn’t in the best spot against the Warriors, but his 38.1 minutes per game makes him a consideration each and every night.
Draymond Green, PF, GS ($6,800): If you are looking for value at power forward in cash formats, it’s going to be difficult to fade Green, who contributes in every category available. His floor is always pretty high, and even more so considering the Pistons’ frontcourt defense outside of the shot-erasing Andre Drummond.
Al Horford, C, ATL ($7,100): Unless you want to throw big money at Andre Drummond versus Golden State, the center is rather dreadful on Monday. Horford has a reasonable floor and ceiling and is fairly priced at only a hair above $7k.
Marc Gasol, C, MEM ($6,900): Gasol has been bad this season in terms of offensive production, but I can’t see it lasting. The Grizzlies playoff hopes take a massive hit with every loss, and I am willing to bet on a bounce back performance out of desperation if nothing else.
LOTTERY TICKETS – High Risk, High Reward Plays
Rajon Rondo, PG, SAC ($6,500): With Darren Collison out, Rondo should see a full complement of minutes. It remains to be seen if he can put up consistent performances with DeMarcus Cousins back in the lineup, but there is triple-double potential if you want to roll with him in tournaments.
Victor Oladipo, SG, ORL ($7,600): There are too many better values to use in cash games, though, his across-the-board production is tempting. I like Oladipo in tournaments, as I expect people to flock to Jimmy Butler for only $300 more.
Andrew Wiggins, SF, MIN ($6,000): Wiggins finally busted out with a big performance last game, but has shot poorly all season long, which makes him a risk going forward. At $6k, I am willing to use him in tournaments, because his upside is still excellent.
Tim Duncan, PF, SA ($6,000): I love the matchup with the Kings, but is he going to play more than 20-25 minutes?
Andre Drummond, C, DET ($9,100): I cannot fade a player averaging 20 points and 20 rebounds, even against the Warriors. Use him if you want, but understand the risk involved.
BUYER’S REMORSE – Reasons for Skepticism
Derrick Rose, PG, CHI ($5,800): The explosion against OKC was an aberration, and I still don’t believe he’s fully healthy.
Rudy Gay, SF, SAC ($7,200): DeMarcus Cousins is back, and Kawhi Leonard looms. No thanks.
Nikola Mirotic, PF, CHI ($6,400): Mirotic is lacking confidence as of late, and has seen his minutes cut as a result. There are rumors that Joakim Noah may return to the starting lineup soon.
DeMarcus Cousins, C, SAC ($9,800): I prefer to see a player perform coming off an injury, especially one that may linger like Cousins’ Achilles strain.