I once had a friend who legitimately considered Ramon Sessions to be his favorite player in the NBA. His reason was simple: Sessions had won him many Fantasy Basketball leagues based on his perpetual superhuman performances in the final week of the regular season. I bring this up to make two points. First, you should probably cut your season-long redraft leagues a week short going forward if you haven’t in the past. Second, NBA rotations can get weird when there’s little on the line.
On Monday’s five-game featured slate on DraftKings, we’re going to have to confront the latter issue head on. Milwaukee, Toronto and Los Angeles are already locked into their seeds, while Dallas announced Sunday afternoon that Luka Doncic (ankle) and Kristaps Porzingis (knee) will both be sitting out for what essentially amounts to rest purposes. You’ll have to keep your head on a swivel to keep up with all the news and lineups, which is why you should download the DK Live app. For everything else, let’s dive in.
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Fred VanVleet, TOR at MIL, $7,300 - I’m a little torn with this play. Following Sunday’s win over Memphis, Nick Nurse said that “you’ll see a little bit of everything” in reference to how he’d be managing minutes over Toronto’s final three regular season games. That’s a pretty non-specific answer, but if VanVleet is active, you know the undrafted free agent is going to be giving it his all. VanVleet has averaged 41.0 DKFP per contest so far in Orlando, while he’s yet to dip below 30.0 DKFP in any of the Raptors’ five matchups. His 21.3% usage rate within that span is also the second-highest among Toronto’s starting five.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Fred VanVleet (knee) is listed as questionable for today’s game vs the Bucks.
Other Option: Jamal Murray ($7,100)
Trey Burke, DAL at UTA, $3,700 - Burke hasn’t come close to matching his massive performance against Houston in Dallas’ recent games, but he should have a lot of opportunity on Monday with the aforementioned Doncic sidelined. It’s not like this is all that risky a play, either. Even in a vacuum, you could make the case that’s Burke’s price is off. In the bubble, Burke ranks sixth on the Mavericks is offensive possessions (248), while he’s also averaged 1.02 DKFP per minute. That’s volume and efficiency.
Other Option: Eric Bledsoe ($5,400)
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Devin Booker, PHO vs. OKC, $8,700 - Unlike so many teams on this slate, the Suns have something to play for. In fact, Phoenix basically has to sweep its remaining schedule to have a chance at the eight-seed. So, in theory, that should mean a huge role on Monday for Booker, who has been impressive so far in Orlando. In five games, the All-Star has averaged 29.4 points and, maybe more importantly, 1.37 DKFP per minute. That’s all the result of volume, as Booker’s enjoyed a 33.1% usage rate in that same span of time.
Luguentz Dort, OKC at PHO, $4,000 - Do you know who currently ranks second on the Thunder in minutes played since the restart? It’s not Chris Paul ($8,200), it’s Dort. The Canadian has registered 128 across Oklahoma City’s first five games in the bubble; a stretch where Dort’s actually been relatively productive. On Friday, he hit four 3-pointers. On Sunday, he grabbed 10 rebounds. Dort’s defensive savvy keeps him on the court and, at that point, you’re bound to score a few fantasy points through sheer osmosis.
Other Option: Seth Curry ($4,100)
Jimmy Butler, MIA vs. IND, $7,200 - Look, I’m not the only person who’s going to be looking to take a stroll with Butler down narrative street on Monday. The veteran is reportedly on track to return from a foot injury and face the Pacers, which would square him off with T.J. Warren ($8,400) for the first time since Butler had some choice words for his opponent back in January. However, the appeal of Butler as a DFS asset is more than rivalry. At $7.2K, this is tied for the cheapest salary the 30-year-old has had all season. The last time? Well, it was Nov. 7 and Butler hit 6x value with 46.75 DKFP against the Suns.
Other Option: T.J. Warren ($8,400)
Duncan Robinson, MIA vs. IND, $5,000 - It’s possible that Butler’s presence cuts slightly into Robinson’s role, but the sharp-shooter has been running hot in Miami’s past three contests. In that span, Robinson is averaging 22.3 points and 10.7 3-point attempts per game. That’s staggering. Robinson also comes into this matchup with Indiana leading all Heat players in minutes logged in the bubble (155).
Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL vs. TOR, $10,600 - While there’s always a chance that Mike Budenholzer decides to randomly sit Antetokounmpo for the second-half, it’s always hard to pass up the Greek Freak at a price tag below $11K. Also, the reigning MVP has been dominant so far in Orlando when given the opportunity. In the four games Antetokounmpo has logged at least 30 minutes, he’s averaged an eye-popping 65.0 DKFP. I wouldn’t worry about Toronto’s defense, either. While the Raptors do possess the NBA’s lowest defensive rating in August (99.6), Milwaukee and Toronto are the two fastest-paced teams on Monday’s slate.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Giannis Antetokounmpo (tooth) is listed as out for today’s game vs. the Raptors.
Other Option: Deandre Ayton ($8,000)
Jerami Grant, DEN at LAL, $4,800 - Even with Jamal Murray ($7,100) back in action, the Nuggets remain without the services of Will Barton (knee) and Gary Harris (hip). One of the main beneficiaries of their absence has been Grant, who’s consistently logged around 30 minutes per game in the bubble. Grant’s been especially good lately, averaging 20.3 points across Denver’s past three contests. With the team seemingly content to limit Paul Millsap’s ($4,700) role until the playoffs, Grant deserves a look.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Jerami Grant (knee) is listed as questionable for tonight’s game vs the Lakers.
Rudy Gobert, UTA vs. DAL, $7,600 - This just feels like a good price to get Gobert. The big man has been dominant in his past three games, averaging 19.7 points, 14.0 rebounds and 44.7 DKFP. It’s also unclear who exactly is going to be tasked with trying to control the lengthy Gobert in the paint with Porzingis already having been ruled out. I have an idea who I think Rick Carlisle will try (more on that in a second), but Gobert should have the advantage in any matchup against the shorthanded Mavericks.
Other Option: Nikola Jokic ($9,100)
Boban Marjanovic, DAL at UTA, $3,000 - There are so very few games where you can legitimately find a matchup for Marjanovic on the defensive end, but, with Porzingis out, I feel like Dallas will have to find run for the hulking center against Gobert. Now, I’m not suggesting that Marjanovic is going to be matching the All-Star minute-for-minute, yet we’ve seen that the Serbian doesn’t need all that much time to make a fantasy impact. In fact, Marjanovic has posted 1.41 DKFP per minute played in 2019-20.
Other Option: Serge Ibaka ($5,100)
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theglt13) 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.