Here are some plays that jump out on DraftKings at each position for Monday’s eight-game NBA slate, along with some strategies unique to this slate.
Worth Paying Up For: James Harden, Brooklyn Nets vs. New York Knicks ($11,000)
Whether it’s a pace up or pace down game, suffocating defense or not, at home or away, rain or shine, blowout or close game, it doesn’t matter for Harden. He is going to stuff the stat sheet and get his. The only question is how much fantasy goodness he will provide.
Over the past four games, he’s played 38, 38, 41 and 44 minutes while triple-doubling in three of those games. That translated to 64, 52, 73 and 80 DKFP. On the season, Harden is averaging 1.48 DKFP per minute.
The matchup stinks for Harden as the Knicks are last in pace and fifth in defensive efficiency. They also suppress the fantasy points per minute to points guards by 6.18% below average. Harden scoffs at matchups, though. The floor/ceiling combo is one of the best on the slate because he contributes and can excel in all categories.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Delon Wright, Detroit Pistons vs. San Antonio Spurs ($5,600)
Since returning from a seven-game absence, Wright has played 22 and 32 minutes. He’s contributed 14.75 and 30.75 DKFP respectively. On the season, he’s averaging 0.94 DKFP per minute.
Wright will likely make his third straight start and play over 30 minutes again. The matchup is a good one as the Spurs are the most generous to point guards, boosting the fantasy points per minute by 14.02% above league average.
In 31 games this season, Wright has scored at least 30 DKFP in 14 games with three games over 40 and one game with 56.75, so he does have the ability to access ceiling games.
Worth Paying Up For: Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards vs. Milwaukee Bucks ($9,400)
DraftKings Sportsbook has this game with the highest O/U at 242.5 and these two teams just played on Saturday with the Bucks winning, 125-119. The Wizards are tops in pace of play while the Bucks are fifth, so there will be plenty of possessions and opportunities for fantasy goodies.
Beal hasn’t faced this Bucks team this year, but in two meetings last season he went for 60.5 and 61.5 DKFP. Now, Russell Westbrook, who is a usage hog and just went for 80.5 DKFP against the Bucks on Saturday, affects Beal to a degree but he should still get his. There have been only four games this season in which Beal’s usage rate has been below 30%.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Immanuel Quickley, New York Knicks at Brooklyn Nets ($5,600)
Quickley averages 1.08 DKFP per minute but Tom Thibodeau has been reluctant to give him substantial playing time when Elfrid Payton and Derrick Rose are healthy. Well, the universe has been exalting the name of Immanuel because both Payton and Rose missed the last game and are likely to miss this one as well.
During Saturday’s game sans Rose and Payton, Frank Ntilikina received the start but Quickley ended up playing 33 minutes. He contributed 21 points, three rebounds, four assists and two steals while garnering a usage rate of 22.1%. Back on Jan. 13, Quickley played 22 minutes against the Nets and produced 19 points, two rebounds, three assists and one steal.
Worth Paying Up For: LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers at Golden State Warriors ($10,300)
LeBron is averaging 1.44 DKFP per minute. He’s scored at least 50 DKFP 20 times this season, with five of those over 60 and two over 70.
Now, he’s played the Warriors twice this season, going for 33.25 and 41 DKFP. In the 33.25 game, LeBron shot 6-for-16 from the field and only racked up five rebounds and five assists in 38 minutes. In the other game, the Lakers won by 25 so he only played 24 minutes.
DraftKings Sportsbook has the Lakers favored by only 2.5 points with the O/U at 224.5, so the game should be competitive and LeBron should be heavily involved. He’s had a usage rate of 32.6% over the past 11 games.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Will Barton, Denver Nuggets vs. Indiana Pacers ($5,300)
Barton was such a headache earlier in the season as he’d score 13 DKFP one day then 31 the next. He was just so inconsistent. Over the past six games, though, he’s been the opposite, contributing 32, 26, 35.5, 26, 35.75 and 34.5 DKFP. He’s been shooting 53% from the field, draining more shots from downtown, grabbing more rebounds and racking up more steals. He’s a 44% shooter on the season, so this heater won’t likely continue forever, but he’s in a nice groove right now.
Worth Paying Up For: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks at Washington Wizards ($11,100)
Giannis is averaging 1.67 DKFP per minute. That’s good. He now faces a Wizards team that plays at the fastest pace and is 27th in defensive efficiency. These teams just played on Saturday and Giannis went off for 70.75 DKFP. Shocking.
Now, Russell Westbrook went bonkers in that game and the Bucks won by a mere six points. There’s a real chance of blowout as DraftKings Sportsbook has the Bucks favored by 8.5 points. In that scenario, Giannis would have a hand in the blowout but you’d end up with a good, not great performance. That is the risk.
I’d let ownership percentage determine whether to roster Giannis or not because if the game stays close and the ownership is low, YAHTZEE!
Best Bang For Your Buck: Dario Saric, Phoenix Suns vs. Memphis Grizzlies ($4,200)
Saric is averaging 1.1 DKFP per minute. Since returning from a 13-game absence, Saric has played 12 games and often played in the mid-to-high teens minutes. Over the past four games, though, he’s played 26, 18, 24 and 26 minutes, contributing 33.75, 21.25, 19.75 and 24.7 DKFP respectively. He’s attempted nine, nine, nine and 17 shots while garnering a usage rate of 20.8%, 20.9%, 22.7% and 39.6%. When he’s on the court, he’s involved and has plenty of opportunities to score. He doesn’t provide much in the defensive categories but if he gets the minutes, he should be productive.
Worth Paying Up For: Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets vs. Indiana Pacers ($10,700)
Jokic averages 1.6 DKFP per minute. Not bad. There are only three things in this world that can slow down Jokic: injury, foul trouble and teammates going ballistic. Even so, he’d still find a way to produce. He’s scored at least 50 DKFP in 27 games with 12 of those over 60, seven over 70 and one over 80. Who does that?
These teams just played three games ago and Jokic only went for 45.5 DKFP. Only. The Nuggets won by 10 and Jokic almost triple-doubled, but it was a spread-out attack as both Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. played well.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Cody Zeller, Charlotte Hornets at Sacramento Kings ($4,900)
This game has the second-highest total on the slate at 239 with the Hornets favored by 3.5 points on DraftKings Sportsbook. The Kings play at the ninth-fastest pace while the Hornets are 12th. Sacramento, meanwhile, is 30th in defensive efficiency. Yipee for Hornets players!
Zeller averages a respectable 1.05 DKFP per minute. The issue has been the playing time. There have been stretches when he’s played over 30 minutes but the team seems to like him playing in the mid-20s, especially with P.J. Washington playing the small-ball center role. With that said, he has played 26 and 23 minutes in the past two games and that range should be expected for this one.
Overall Lineup Strategy
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There are so many studs to choose from but where will the value come from? The Bucks/Wizards and Hornets/Kings games will likely garner the most ownership, and for good reason as the game environments should be juicy. There are plenty of games with tight spreads and totals in the 220s, which should provide many paths to victory tonight. The key, like most nights, will be what value opens up later in the day.
- Ish Smith (quad)
- Hassan Whiteside (health protocols)
- LaMarcus Aldridge (trade/buyout)
- DeMar DeRozan (personal)
- Hamidou Diallo (groin)
- Killian Hayes (hip)
- Jahlil Okafor (knee)
- Dennis Smith Jr. (health protocols)
- Austin Rivers (personal)
- Mitchell Robinson (hand)
- Derrick Rose (health protocols)
- Kevin Durant (hamstring)
- Blake Griffin (coach’s decision)
- Patrick Beverley (knee)
- TJ Warren (foot)
- Gary Harris (thigh)
- Monte Morris (quad)
- Jaren Jackson Jr. (knee)
- Cameron Johnson (health protocols)
- Anthony Davis (calf)
- Marc Gasol (health protocols)
- Wayne Ellington (groin)
- Elfrid Payton (hamstring)
- Davis Bertans (calf)
- Raul Neto (rib)
- James Johnson (personal)
- Jeremy Lamb (knee)
- Immanuel Quickley (groin)
- Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (knee)
- LeBron James (ankle)
- Kyle Kuzma (heel)
- Serge Ibaka (back)
- Alex Caruso (concussion)
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is sontzu) 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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