The NBA starts off the week at full throttle with another nine games set to tip Monday night, providing plenty of DraftKings fantasy basketball action to start the week off right. Four of the 18 teams in action are playing for the second day in a row, so keep a close eye on the Boston Celtics, Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons and Golden State Warriors, who could be dealing with extra fatigue, new injury issues or possibly choose to rest players. Changes to the rotation also present potential value options as players step into larger roles, so make sure to follow @dklive on Twitter and download the DK Live app to stay up-to-the-minute with all the latest news leading up to tipoff.
There are plenty of high-profile, high-priced options that are worth considering at the top of the salary structure, but you’ll need to balance out some of those hefty salaries with some cheap plays as well. Check out these four players who seem primed to outproduce their minimal salaries based on form, matchup and expected workload.
PG Jalen Brunson, Dallas Mavericks at Houston Rockets, $3,300
Brunson stepped into the starting lineup on Sunday night in place of Luka Doncic ($10,300; quad, questionable) and had a great game filling in. Doncic’s status is still up in the air for this matchup in Houston, but if he’s sidelined again, Brunson will become a “free space” play that you’ll need to take advantage of at this salary.
In his start on Sunday, the third-year guard from Villanova had 31 points, seven assists, five rebounds, a steal and three 3-pointers on his way to 49.25 DKFP. He played a massive 38 minutes after logging no more than 20 minutes in his first five games of the season. However, he did have over 18 DKFP in four of those five games, so even in his more limited role, he could be worth this salary that’s barely more than the minimum. Since Doncic leads the NBA in usage rate, his absence allowed Brunson to pick up 26.4% usage on Sunday, the highest percentage on the team in Doncic’s absence. While he may not hit his ceiling and go off for the second game in a row, he has to do so little to return great value that he becomes almost a “must-play” if Doncic is out again Monday. Even if Doncic plays, there’s a good chance Brunson will still return value if he gets even just a few more minutes than normal
PF/C Bobby Portis, Milwaukee Bucks vs. Detroit Pistons, $4,900
Portis seems to be thoroughly enjoying his new role with the Bucks and is providing them with great energy and production in their second unit. He had his second double-double of the year in Friday’s win over the Bulls, playing 25 minutes and producing 35.0 DKFP on 13 points and 12 boards. While some of that production did come in garbage time, Portis has been getting plenty of run regardless of game situation, playing at least 25 minutes in four of his past five games. He has scored double-digit points and put up at least 25 DKFP in all four of those games.
The Pistons have allowed the sixth-most points per game so far this season, giving up 116.3 per contest. They let the Celtics put up 122 on Sunday afternoon and could also be fatigued or choose to rest players in their back-to-back. If the game gets lopsided, that could actually mean even more work for Portis, though, so look for Portis to be good value whenever the Bucks are heavily favored
C Tristan Thompson, Boston Celtics at Toronto Raptors, $4,400
The Celtics are still starting both Thompson and Daniel Theis ($4,800) together in an odd lineup that may not work long-term, but the upside of the arrangement is that Thompson is definitely getting plenty of minutes with his new team to produce solid numbers. Thompson’s best game of the season was a 14-point, 10-rebound double-double worth 29.0 DKFP against the Pacers last Tuesday, but he also notched a strong showing with 12 points, 11 rebounds and 28.25 DKFP against the Pistons on Sunday. He is averaging 9.7 points, 9.0 rebounds and 23.6 DKFP over his six games with the Celtics and has over that average in each of his three most recent games, signifying his role and production are on the rise.
There is a chance that Thompson sits out this second game of a back-to-back as he did earlier this season, but if he is sidelined to be cautious with his hamstring, his teammate Robert Williams ($4,100) is an easy swap. Williams played 23 minutes in the most recent game that Thompson missed and has six points, four blocks, 10 rebounds and 30.5 DKFP against the Grizzlies. It’s also worth keeping a close eye on the Boston injury report to see if Jeff Teague ($4,200; ankle) is able to play after spraining his ankle on Sunday. If Teague is out, rookie Payton Pritchard ($3,700) would be an intriguing value option lined up for more run.
SF Sterling Brown, Houston Rockets vs. Dallas Mavericks, $3,900
While Houston is still trying to find its “normal” rotation after the NBA health and safety protocols and an injury to James Harden ($11,100; ankle, questionable) left them shorthanded, Brown has been a nice piece off the bench for them on the wing. He has played over 25 minutes in two of his four games and produced 23.0 and 23.5 DKFP in those two games. He was in the health and safety protocols himself at the start of camp but has quickly made up for the lost time. His 26 minutes Saturday resulted in three 3-pointers, 11 points, six boards and 23.5 DKFP against the Kings. He has hit multiple 3-pointers in each of his four games this year and scored 10 points or more in three of those four.
If Harden is out, Brown is almost certain to hit value since he’ll log so many more minutes, but even if Harden plays, Brown seems to be developing into an important “three-and-D” wing and could start to see more run with the top unit after leading the team in Offensive Rating last game and increasing his rebounding percentage as well.
Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.
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.
If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) (IL). Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ/WV/PA), 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN), 1-800-522-4700 (NH/CO), 1-800-BETS OFF (IA) or TN REDLINE: 800-889-9789. 21+ (18+ NH). NJ/PA/WV/NH/IN/NH/IA/CO/IL/TN only. Eligibility restrictions apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for full terms and conditions.