After a busy long weekend across the world of sports, the NBA keeps the party going with a big Monday night of fantasy basketball action featuring nine games on the DraftKings main slate. The Indiana Pacers and Los Angeles Clippers are finishing out their back-to-back sets to start the week, while the other 15 teams in action had at least Sunday off. There are still plenty of player updates to monitor throughout the day, so make sure you're following @dklive on Twitter and have downloaded the DK Live app.
As you put together your Monday night squad, take a look at my top bargain picks that are highlighted below. Based on their form, matchup and expected workload, these four options enter the day with a good chance to outproduce their affordable price points. You can also find my bargain picks and track the results of my picks every day of the NBA season on Twitter, @ZT_Sports.
PF/C Maxi Kleber, Dallas Mavericks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers, $4,000
Kleber had a huge game against the Spurs with 45.0 DKFP all the way back on Oct. 28 and seemed to be earning a larger role in coach Jason Kidd’s rotation. However, he suffered a left oblique strain that kept him sidelined for most of November and only returned three games ago to try and pick up where he left off. After working his way back to full strength with 20 minutes last Sunday, Kleber logged over 30 minutes in contests against the Clippers and Wizards, producing 34.75 and 24.5 DKFP, respectively.
Throughout his time with Luka Doncic ($11,300), Kleber has shown he can be a nice complimentary piece. He doesn’t typically get a ton of offensive usage but can knock down opportunistic 3-pointers, clean the glass and pick up a few blocks. He has 10 blocks over his past six games dating back to before the injury, and he brings a high ceiling if he keeps playing about 30 minutes per game. With Willie Cauley-Stein sidelined with a non-COVID illness, Kleber could potentially even move into the starting lineup, but either way, he should continue to see an expanded role and offer solid value production.
SG/SF Garrison Mathews, Houston Rockets at Oklahoma City Thunder, $4,000
This Rockets-Thunder matchup has a ton of fantasy value potential since both teams are stocked with young, high-variable producers who can be boom or bust on any given night. Mathews is one of the most stable cheap options to consider in this contest since he seems to be lined up for a big workload while Jalen Green (hamstring) is sidelined. After bouncing around and spending time with the Celtics and Cavaliers earlier this season but not logging any game action, Mathews made his season debut on Nov. 15. for Houston.
In his six games, Mathews has only averaged 22.6 minutes, but he played 38 minutes in his most recent game while stepping into the lineup in place of Green for his first start of the year. Mathews had a season-high 20 points and added three rebounds and a block to finish with 28.25 DKFP. He had 24.75 DKFP in the Rockets’ previous game as well and has made meaningful contributions in each of those contests which led to back-to-back victories for Houston. They could make it three in a row as they visit the hapless Thunder, and as long as he sticks in the starting five, Mathews should be in for enough playing time to return value at $4K.
SG Chris Duarte, Indiana Pacers at Minnesota Timberwolves, $3,900
A shooting slump and a shoulder injury, possibly related, have caused Duarte to fall back into the bargain bin after his salary climbed all the way to $6,000 after his initial splash in his debut. The No. 13 overall pick in last year’s NBA draft has averaged 24.17 DKFP in 29.6 minutes per game this season on 13.1 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.0 steals per contest.
Duarte came off the bench for each of his past five games but is still playing 25.8 minutes per game and has produced at least 18.0 DKFP in each of those outings. He is getting opportunities with at least 10 field goal attempts in each of those games as well. He has hit for at least 20 DKFP in four straight, and he had his best game of that stretch on Sunday against the Bucks when he posted 27.5 DKFP on 10 points, four assists, four rebounds and three steals. Duarte is a good value play in his current role, and he could get even more work if the Pacers decide to rest some vets on the second night of their back-to-back. The Timberwolves have been playing well, but without Patrick Beverley (adductor), their backcourt defense becomes a very favorable matchup.
PF/C Robert Covington, Portland Trail Blazers at Utah Jazz, $3,800
Another player whose salary has plummeted is the veteran big-man Covington, who was regularly priced around $5K for much of the year. Now, though, he offers nice value production from under $4K, especially in what should be a gritty Western Conference matchup against the Jazz.
Covington has started all 20 games for the Blazers this year, averaging just under 27 minutes per contest. His usage rate and shooting percentages aren’t great, but he has been contributing in enough categories lately to still return value. He was ejected for throwing his mask at an official (how very 2021 of him) and finished with -0.5 DKFP in that contest. If we discard that outlier, though, he has at least 24 DKFP in five straight games while averaging 26.05 DKFP. He had double-digit shot attempts for just the second time this season in his most recent game, so the opportunity is there for more if he can find his rhythm from the field. Even if he doesn’t score a ton of points, though, RoCo can be a very solid play at this price due to his consistent contributions of steals, blocks and boards.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is z.thompson) 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.
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