Happy Halloween! The NBA is offering up a seven-game slate starting at 7 p.m. ET, and nothing is scarier than seeing snowflakes in your DraftKings lineup.
Let’s dive into some of my favorite plays at each position. Hopefully, there will be more treats than tricks.
Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets vs. Indiana Pacers ($9,500) – The Nets have had a multitude of issues to start the year, but Irving has not been one of them. He’s been scoring the ball at an elite rate, racking up at least 30 points in four of his past five games. He erupted for at least 62 DKFP in two of those four contests, giving him a strong ceiling for his price tag.
Irving also draws a fabulous matchup Monday vs. the Pacers. They rank first in pace and 28th in defensive efficiency to start the year, and it’s hard to beat that combination for fantasy purposes. The Nets’ implied team total of 122.5 points leads the slate by a comfortable margin, so there’s plenty of merit in targeting Irving in this spot.
Dennis Smith Jr., Charlotte Hornets vs. Sacramento Kings ($6,000) – The Hornets are currently without LaMelo Ball and Miles Bridges, plus Terry Rozier remains doubtful with an ankle injury. That means the team will likely be without their three best players from last season.
Smith has stepped into the starting point guard role of late, and he’s unsurprisingly thrived. DSJ has always been an outstanding per-minute producer, and he’s racked up 1.02 DKFP per minute so far this season. He’s coming off 37.1 minutes in his last outing, and he responded with 36.25 DKFP. He also narrowly missed a triple-double, falling just one rebound and two assists shy, and any player with that kind of upside is a strong option at just $6,000.
Other Options – Trae Young ($9,700), Fred VanVleet ($7,700)
Terance Mann, Los Angeles Clippers vs. Houston Rockets ($4,400) – The Clippers have the potential to be pretty thin on Monday. Kawhi Leonard has already been ruled out, while John Wall is not expected to play on the second leg of a back-to-back. Additionally, Robert Covington is currently in health and safety protocols, so he could also be sidelined.
That opens up a nice role for Mann. He averaged 0.80 DKFP per minute last season, and he’s been right around that figure to start the new season. He has the potential to play upwards of 30 minutes on this slate, and he draws an outstanding matchup vs. the Rockets. They’re merely 23rd in defensive efficiency this season, and it wouldn’t be shocking if they continue to slip down the standings. They were dead-last in that department last year, and they haven’t made any note-worthy changes to their rotation.
Other Options – Tyrese Maxey ($6,000), Reggie Jackson ($5,300)
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks vs. Detroit Pistons ($12,500) – Antetokounmpo stands in a tier of his own on this slate. He’s in his own tier virtually every time he takes the floor, but the gap between him and the rest of the field is particularly wide on Monday. Only two other players are priced above $10,000 — Joel Embiid and Ja Morant — and both are questionable.
Antetokounmpo has taken his already elite game to another level this season. He’s averaged 1.89 DKFP per minute, and Morant is second on the slate at 1.54. That gap is so wide you could drive a truck through it.
Antetokounmpo posted a usage rate of at least 40.7% in three of his past four games, and he should continue to be a bit more involved than usual with Khris Middleton sidelined. Antetokounmpo remains one of the best in the business at piling up peripherals, so any increase in scoring potential takes his already elite ceiling to another level. Add in a matchup with the Pistons — who are dead-last in defensive efficiency this season — and Antetokounmpo is incredibly difficult to fade.
Lauri Markkanen, Utah Jazz vs. Memphis Grizzlies ($7,100) – Markkanen’s salary has started to creep up, but I would argue he’s still too cheap at $7,100. He’s scored at least 40.25 DKFP in four of his past six games, and the lone exceptions have been games where he didn’t see his full complement of minutes. Markkanen has increased his per-minute production from 0.93 DKFP last season to 1.18, so he has far more upside with the Jazz than he did with the Cavaliers.
The Jazz will get Mike Conley back in the lineup after sitting out their last game, but that shouldn’t have a huge impact on Markkanen. His usage rate was just 26.8% with Conley out of the lineup, which wasn’t a massive departure from his average of 25% for the season. Utah has quietly played at the second-fastest pace in the league this season, and the Grizzlies rank eighth in that department. These are clearly not your father’s Jazz and Grizzlies, so this game has some sneaky shootout potential.
Other Options – Kevin Durant ($10,000), Gordon Hayward ($6,200)
Jalen Smith, Indiana Pacers at Brooklyn Nets ($5,500) – Predicting the Pacers’ frontcourt has been basically impossible this season, but Smith has been the one constant. He’s coming off a season-high 33.7 minutes in their last outing, and he played 31.1 and 29.2 minutes in the two games prior.
That’s great news for Smith, who has been a fantastic per-minute producer since arriving in Indiana. He averaged 1.12 DKFP per minute last year, and he’s increased that figure to 1.15 this season. He seems locked in for around 30 minutes vs. the Nets, and he can do some serious damage in that spot. The Nets rank 29th in defensive efficiency this season, and the Pacers racked up 125 points against them on Saturday.
Other Options – Bobby Portis ($5,400), Isaiah Stewart ($5,200)
Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors vs. Atlanta Hawks ($8,900) – If there’s one thing that fantasy players can count on, it’s Nick Nurse running his players into the ground in October. Siakam is coming off a modest 35.8 minutes in his last outing, but the Raptors lost that game by 22 points. He had played at least 38 minutes in each of his three previous contests, giving him one of the largest potential workloads on Monday’s slate.
Siakam has also been incredibly efficient with his playing time to start the year. He’s increased his production to 1.38 DKFP per minute, which is the third-highest mark among centers on Monday’s slate.
Other Options – Domantas Sabonis ($8,200), Ivica Zubac ($6,700)
Myles Turner, Indiana Pacers at Brooklyn Nets ($5,500) – Antetokounmpo is one of the players who has averaged more DKFP per minute than Siakam this season, which is not surprising. The other is Turner, who has racked up 1.39 DKFP per minute for the Pacers. Of course, Turner has barely been in the lineup, appearing in just two games. He missed the team’s last contest due to injury management — the Pacers apparently need to preserve him for their grueling stretch run — but he should be back in the lineup on Monday.
Turner has always possessed an extremely appealing fantasy skill set, combining the ability to knock down 3-pointers and pile up blocked shots. His fantasy output had been limited in the past due to splitting time with Domantas Sabonis, but Sabonis is now in Sacramento. Turner should put up career-best numbers when he’s on the floor this season, even if that may not be as often as we’d like.
Other Options – Alperen Sengun ($5,200), Mason Plumlee ($4,600)
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is mlamarca) 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 do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. 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.