We have exactly two weeks left in the NBA regular season, and there is still plenty left to be decided. The top spot in the Eastern Conference is still up for grabs, while the middle of the Western Conference remains as chaotic as ever. The fourth-place Suns and 12th-place Jazz are separated by just four games, so we could be in store for a wild finish.
We have another eight games to choose from on Monday, and the main slate gets underway on DraftKings at 7 p.m. ET.
Let’s dive into some of my favorite plays at each position.
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Kyrie Irving, Dallas Mavericks at Indiana Pacers ($9,800) – The Mavericks are in a little bit of trouble. They’re currently on the outside looking in for the play-in tournament, and while they’ll have some opportunities to make up ground, they’re going to be without Luka Doncic on Monday. He’ll serve a one-game suspension after picking up his 16th technical of the year, leaving the team without its top offensive option.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Mavericks PG Luka Doncic had his 16th technical foul rescinded and will not be suspended for tonight’s game vs. the Pacers.
Irving has also missed plenty of time recently, but it seems like the Mavs have no choice but to push him on the second leg of a back-to-back. He has unsurprisingly seen a boost in value in games without Doncic since joining the Mavericks, increasing his usage rate to a team-high 32.8%. He’s averaged 1.23 DKFP per minute in those contests, and he’s played at least 38.5 minutes in four of his past six games.
Irving also draws an excellent matchup vs. the Pacers. They rank tied for first in pace and 26th in defensive efficiency, making them one of the best teams to target for fantasy purposes.
Shaedon Sharpe, Portland Trail Blazers vs. New Orleans Pelicans ($6,200) – The Blazers were one of the biggest surprises of the early season, but they have completely collapsed over the second half of the year. A lot of their wounds seem self-inflicted, with the team looking to improve its draft position instead of contend for a postseason spot. With that in mind, expect to see Damian Lillard, Anfernee Simons, Jerami Grant and Jusuf Nurkic all out of the lineup once again vs. the Pelicans.
As long as that’s the case, Sharpe stands out as one of the best backcourt options on the slate. The talented 19-year-old rookie has gotten the opportunity to spread his wings for the shorthanded Blazers of late, scoring at least 34.5 DKFP in three straight games. He’s increased his production to 0.92 DKFP per minute with all of the currently unavailable members of the Blazers off the floor this season, and he’s played at least 35.3 minutes in three straight games. His price tag has increased drastically over that time frame, but he’s still too cheap at $6,200.
Other Options – Jalen Brunson ($7,800; questionable), Chris Paul ($7,400)
Keon Johnson, Portland Trail Blazers vs. New Orleans Pelicans ($4,300) – As long as the Blazers continue to sit their best players, they’re going to be the primary source of value on Monday’s slate. Johnson isn’t expected to see nearly as much playing time as Sharpe, but he’s been the superior per-minute producer this season. He’s averaged 0.89 DKFP per minute for the year, and he’s increased that figure to 1.06 DKFP per minute over the past month. He’s averaged better than a fantasy point per minute in his past two contests, where he racked up 31.0 and 22.25 DKFP against the Bulls and Thunder. There’s no reason he can’t do it again vs. the Pelicans.
Other Options – Ryan Arcidiacono ($4,000), Alex Caruso ($3,500)
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks at Detroit Pistons ($11,600) – Monday’s matchup between the Bucks and Pistons could get ugly quick. The Bucks are currently listed as 17.5-point road favorites against a Pistons team with nothing to play for. Milwaukee was in a similar spot last week vs. the Spurs, and they ended up winning by 36 points. The Bucks have played in a bunch of blowouts of late, which has limited Antetokounmpo’s fantasy production. He’s racked up 26.6 minutes or less in three of his past five games, and he’s scored 54.5 DKFP or fewer in four of them. However, Giannis remains the best fantasy contributor in the league on a per-minute basis. He’s averaged 1.87 DKFP per minute over the past month, which is easily the top mark on Monday’s slate. Giannis still managed 54.5 DKFP in the team’s easy win over the Spurs last week, and while that wasn’t quite enough to return value, the fact that he did it in less than 24 minutes is remarkable. He has a tremendous ceiling if he plays around 30 minutes against the Pistons, and if this game does stay competitive, no one on the slate can match his ceiling.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Bucks PF/C Giannis Antetokounmpo (knee) is listed as out tonight vs. the Pistons.
Brandon Ingram, New Orleans Pelicans at Portland Trail Blazers ($8,900) – While the Blazers’ offense is going to get plenty of love on Monday, don’t sleep on the Pelicans. The Blazers' defense has been absolute trash since the All-Star break, allowing the fourth-most points per 100 possessions. They’ve also played at an above-average pace, so this is a great spot for the Pelicans to put some points on the scoreboard.
Ingram has been scoring the ball extremely well for the Pels of late, finishing with at least 30 points in four of his past five games. He’s also provided excellent non-scoring numbers during that stretch, including one triple-double. Add it all up, and he’s increased his production to 1.31 DKFP per minute over the past month. With the Pelicans fighting for a postseason spot, expect Ingram to continue to carry a heavy workload.
Other Options – Kawhi Leonard ($10,100),
Karl-Anthony Towns ($8,300)
Nassir Little, Portland Trail Blazers vs. New Orleans Pelicans ($3,800) – Of all the Blazers’ options on this slate, Little stands out as the best. Unlike some of his teammates, he hasn’t seen the same drastic increase in salary of late. He’s still priced at just $3,800, which drastically undersells his role for the team at the current time. He’s coming off 31.4 minutes in his last contest, and he responded with 36.0 DKFP.
That might be a bit of an outlier – Little has averaged just 0.73 DKFP per minute for the year – but he posted an elite 33.0% usage rate in that contest. If he’s going to continue to operate as one of the team’s top-scoring threats, he’s a near must-play at $3,800.
Other Options – Bennedict Mathurin ($4,800), Maxi Kleber ($3,600)
Christian Wood, Dallas Mavericks at Indiana Pacers ($6,700) – Wood has had an up-and-down season in his first year with the Mavericks. He’s spent most of the year coming off the bench, and there were stretches where he played less than 20 minutes per game. However, with Doncic currently out of the picture, Wood is going to have to do some heavy lifting vs. the Pacers. He played 34.0 and 29.4 minutes in his last two games without Luka, and he racked up 44.75 and 38.75 DKFP. For the year, he’s increased his production to 1.33 DKFP per minute in games without Doncic. If he can get to 30 minutes vs. the Pacers, he has tremendous upside for his price tag.
Other Options – Nikola Jokic ($11,400), Jonas Valanciunas ($7,900)
Drew Eubanks, Portland Trail Blazers vs. New Orleans Pelicans ($4,300) – I debated writing about someone like Mitchell Robinson for this spot just to end the Blazers’ monotony, but that would be disingenuous. I currently have Eubanks projected for around eight more fantasy points than Robinson, and he’s $500 cheaper. It may feel boring to keep hammering the Blazers, but it’s the correct decision for cash games on today’s slate.
Eubanks should serve as the team’s primary center if Nurkic is out, and he’s averaged 0.94 DKFP per minute over the past month. He’s coming off 32.7 minutes in his last outing, and he responded with 38.0 DKFP.
Other Options – Jalen Duren ($5,000), Mitchell Robinson ($4,800)
Set your DraftKings fantasy basketball lineups here: NBA $350K Fadeaway [$100K to 1st]
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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.