The NBA keeps their schedule cranked up to full speed with 11 more games on tap to start the week this Monday night. The Cleveland Cavaliers, Denver Nuggets, Minnesota Timberwolves and New York Knicks are all playing for the second day in a row, while the Detroit Pistons, Memphis Grizzlies and Portland Trail Blazers will turn around and play again Tuesday starting the week with back-to-back contests.
With the constant flux of rotations due to injuries, illness or load maintenance, keep a close eye on @dklive on Twitter throughout the day and download the DK Live app to stay up-to-the-minute with all the latest news and fantasy impact leading up to tipoff. While this particular slate is loaded with star power at the top of the salary chart, you’ll also need to balance out your DraftKings lineup with some cheap plays. Check out my four favorite bargains listed below.
SG/SF Will Barton, Denver Nuggets vs. Detroit Pistons, $4,800
The Nuggets started fast and won big over the Jazz on Sunday, but they did suffer the loss of Gary Harris Jr. to a left adductor strain. While his production had been mixed, Harris had been playing big minutes lately, averaging 35.3 minutes per contest in his five previous games coming into Sunday. While he hasn’t been ruled out for Monday’s contest yet, it seems likely that he’ll be shelved for a little bit which will open up lots of playing time in the Nuggets’ backcourt next to Jamal Murray ($7,200). Monte Morris ($3,800) and Facundo Campazzo ($3,100) will likely mix in more at PG with Murray sliding over to SG, but Barton could also take advantage of the extra time and usage and brings a higher ceiling than those sub-$4K options. Barton matched his season-high with 37 minutes on Sunday due to Harris’s injury and finished with 18 points, six assists, three rebounds and 35.25 DKFP. His usage rate was still only 14.7% but his true shooting percentage of 75.8% helped him have one of his best fantasy days of the year.
Barton’s production has been inconsistent throughout the season, but he did step up with good games in the two earlier games this season that Harris missed. Barton had 22 points and 36.5 DKFP in the first of those contests, which was against the Nets, and he followed that up with 17 points and 32.0 DKFP against the Warriors in the following game. If Harris misses time as expected, Barton should be able to once again have a good shot at 30-plus DKFP which is very good value for a player under $5K.
PF/C Xavier Tillman, Memphis Grizzlies at San Antonio Spurs, $4,800
While the Grizzlies are back from their 12-day layoff due to the NBA’s health protocols, they are still without starting center Jonas Valanciunas. Tillman should get a chance to step up in his absence, and the rookie from Michigan State may be a little under the radar after foul trouble held him back on Saturday in his most recent performance. It was actually Gorgui Dieng ($4,700) who had a big game in that contest, but long-term the Grizzlies are better off with Tillman getting the extra run. After a late start to the season due to left patellar tendinitis, Tillman quickly passed the veteran Dieng on the depth chart and was serving as the primary backup behind Valanciunas before the big man was sidelined. Tillman played big minutes in each of the two games just before Mephis’s layoff, posting 31 DKFP against the Sixers and 25 DKFP against the Suns.
Even in just 21 minutes against the Spurs on Saturday, Tillman was able to post six points, six boards, three assists and two blocks for 24 DKFP. He has averaged over 1.0 DKFP per minute in five of his past six contests, and as long as he can avoid foul trouble, he should be back around over 26 minutes in this rematch with San Antonio. Tillman still has lots of upside to offer for as long as Valanciunas is sidelined.
PG/SG Theo Maledon, Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Houston Rockets, $4,300
The Thunder have gotten great play from rookie PG Theo Maledon, who has stepped into the starting lineup in place of George Hill (thumb) and is showing off his very high ceiling. The Thunder traded up in the second round to grab the 19-year-old from France, and they’re very excited about his potential as a scorer and creator both at PG and playing off the ball.
Maledon has started each of the past three games for OKC, averaging 26.1 DKFP in 28.3 minutes per game on 13.7 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 0.7 steals. Maledon was red-hot from long-range on Monday, knocking in all six of his 3-point attempts and finishing with 24 points, which was double his previous career-best. While he’ll have to miss some shots eventually, he should continue to get plenty of looks while Hill is out and could definitely play his way into a larger role long-term for a Thunder team looking for any kind of consistent offensive output. He will probably have some ups and downs, but he’s definitely trending the right way coming into this matchup with the Rockets and should be a great value play with his high ceiling and prominent role.
PG/SG De’Anthony Melton, Memphis Grizzlies at San Antonio Spurs, $4,300
Melton’s role is much less secure than Maledon’s, but he also has nice potential in this matchup with the Spurs. He actually was left completely out of the rotation in the Grizzlies’ final game before their 12-day break, but he ended up logging a season-high 32 minutes in their return on Saturday. In that expanded role, Melton had 20 points, five rebounds, two assists, two blocks and 35.25 DKFP for his best fantasy performance of the season and led the Grizz in points and minutes.
When given minutes, Melton has shown he can produce. He had played over 20 minutes in three earlier games in January and had over 22 DKFP in each of those three contests. However, his role is still a little shaky. There is a chance his playing time gets squeezed, but there’s also a chance he used the recent time off to get fully ramped up and ready to roll after he started the season on the sideline in the health and safety protocols. He has definitely shown the potential to be a solid value play at this price for Memphis’s rematch with the Spurs on Monday night.
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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 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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