The NBA is back to work and ready to help everyone through the final Monday of 2020 with a fun five-game slate this Monday night. The games are nicely spaced throughout the evening and the 10 teams in action give us plenty of fantasy options to work with.
The action starts with a pair of games tipping at 7:30 p.m. ET when the Detroit Pistons visit the Atlanta Hawks and the new-look Brooklyn Nets try to bounce back from their first loss of the season by finishing their back-to-back at home against the Memphis Grizzlies. At 8 p.m. ET, the Oklahoma City Thunder host the Utah Jazz, before the Houston Rockets and James Harden ($11,200) roll into the Mile High City to face the Denver Nuggets at 9 p.m. ET. The late game is the second of a back-to-back set for the Los Angeles Lakers, who will be hosting the Portland Trail Blazers after cruising to a win late last night against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
With plenty of star power on those 10 rosters, you’ll need to manage your DraftKings salary carefully and target some lower-priced options to help balance out your big-name acquisitions. You’ll also want to keep a close eye on any late-breaking availability news by following @DKlive on Twitter or downloading the DK Live App to keep up with all the latest DFS-impacting news. Especially with the Nets and Lakers playing for the second night in a row, there are questions about whether Kevin Durant ($8,600), LeBron James ($10,000) and Anthony Davis ($10,100) will play, which will be slate-defining decisions.
PG/SG Delon Wright, Detroit Pistons at Atlanta Hawks, $4,600
The Pistons are resting both Derrick Rose and Blake Griffin for this Monday matchup in Atlanta, which will leave plenty of great value on the rest of their roster. Since Rose and Griffin are the top two on the team in usage percentage, Wright is one of several players in line for a usage bump, and he’ll look to build on a strong second game with the Pistons in which he totaled 35 DKFP in 42 minutes as part of a double-overtime loss to the Cavaliers. Wright scored all seven of the Pistons’ points in double-overtime and finished with 19 points, six boards, four assists and a block. Wright has the second-highest true shooting percentage on the team behind only Mason Plumlee ($5,700) and could be the focus of the offense for much of the night alongside rookie Killian Hayes ($4,200) in the backcourt. Hayes has gotten off to a slow start to his NBA career, so Wright should continue to shoulder the load.
The Hawks have started the season strong with wins over the Grizzlies and Bulls, but they have given up over 100 points in each game. Both these teams are younger overall and want to play at a good enough pace to produce plenty of points in this matchup. Wright has a very high ceiling with Rose out, and I also really like Josh Jackson ($4,200) as another potential value play coming off the Pistons’ bench. Leading up to tipoff, check on who will start in Griffin’s spot since either Jackson or Sekou Doumbouya ($3,400; foot, probable) could get some extra run.
SG/SF Luguentz Dort, Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Utah Jazz, $4,300
The Thunder are expected to be one of the worst teams in the NBA this season as they continue their rebuilding process, but it also looks like there will be plenty of opportunities for some good cheap fantasy value from players getting lots of minutes for OKC. Dort started and played a team-high 35 minutes in their season-opening win over the Hornets. He took 12 shots, tied for second-most on the team, and finished with 15 points, five rebounds, two assists, a block and a steal for a total of 28.75 DKFP.
Dort is still expected to struggle with his efficiency, but his volume will likely be enough to make up for that in this rotation. He should also continue to be able to provide nice non-scoring numbers, making him a low-risk, high-upside play while his salary is around $4K.
C Enes Kanter, Portland Trail Blazers at Los Angeles Lakers, $4,300
The Trail Blazers brought Kanter back this offseason to serve as the primary backup for Jusuf Nurkic ($6,800), and so far it seems like a great match for Kanter to provide solid numbers off the bench. Kanter played 26 minutes in the Blazers’ opener and made all seven of his shots on his way to 14 points, eight rebounds and 24 DKFP against the Jazz. He followed that with 10 points and nine rebounds in just 18 minutes against the Rockets in a much more competitive contest.
The Lakers have plenty of size, with or without Anthony Davis, so the Blazers will have to keep a big on the floor most of the night. With Carmelo Anthony (COVID-19 protocols), Nassir Little (COVID-19) and Zach Collins (ankle) all ruled out already for this contest, the Blazers will have a hard time going with any kind of small-ball rotations. Newly-arrived Derrick Jones Jr. ($4,000) should be in for plenty of minutes at PF, and if he plays alongside Kanter that should allow Kanter to pile up points and rebounds in a hurry as he has done in spurts throughout his nine years in the NBA.
SG/SF David Nwaba, Houston Rockets at Denver Nuggets, $3,700
The Rockets remain extremely short-handed with John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and Eric Gordon all still in quarantine due to the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols. Their absence opened the door for Nwaba to move into the starting lineup in Houston’s opening game against the Blazers and play 27 minutes. While his defensive abilities are likely what kept him on the floor for such a significant workload, he did take 10 shots as well, going 4-of-10 for 10 points, two rebounds, two blocked shots, a steal and 18.5 DKFP.
Since the Rockets will have to play Nwaba heavy minutes again in this contest against the Nuggets, he makes sense as a sub-$4K play and can flex to either a guard or forward spot. In the early going, the Nuggets have allowed 122.5 points per game this season and Houston allowed 128 in their only contest. There should be plenty of offense in this Western Conference matchup so getting players logging big minutes in this matchup should be a priority in your lineup construction.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is jetsfan196) 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.