Fred VanVleet, Toronto Raptors vs. Houston Rockets, $7,600
VanVleet was limited in his first start after being out for five games due to having COVID-19, but this restriction didn’t last long. In his next two, the guard saw over 40 minutes in each contest, helping him top 40 DKFP in both starts. VanVleet ranks second in the NBA in minutes per game this season, and the huge playing time isn’t going anywhere with the Raptors currently on an eight-game losing streak.
They need to start picking up wins fast if they want any chance of securing a playoff spot in the East, and VanVleet should see 35-to-40 minutes against the Rockets, barring a huge blowout. Houston’s defense rates at the fourth-worst in the league over their past 10 games and VanVleet is way underpriced for him at full strength.
Other Options: Donovan Mitchell ($8,700), John Wall ($7,100, if he isn’t rested)
Jrue Holiday, Milwaukee Bucks vs. Indiana Pacers, $6,800
For only the second time this season, the Bucks will be without the services of the two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo (knee, out) tonight. This automatically makes all the remaining key Bucks very appealing values for all formats. That one instance where the superstar was sidelined came on Jan. 9 vs. the Cavs, and Holiday was one of the main beneficiaries, scoring 38 DKFP across 36.2 minutes in the winning effort. The combo guard’s usage jumps 6.9% with Antetokounmpo off the court, helping Holiday produce 1.24 DKFP per minute.
Tonight’s weak matchup against the Pacers (11th in defensive efficiency) is totally irrelevant given Holiday’s expected workload, and the guard is a primary value for this eight-game slate.
Other Options: Kevin Porter Jr. ($6,500), Tomas Satoransky ($4,400)
Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks vs. Indiana Pacers, $7,600
The biggest usage increase on the Bucks sans Antetokounmpo goes to Middleton, who games 7.6 percentage points. This brings him all the way up to a team-high 32.3% usage rate, and in the one full game Antetokounmpo missed this year, Middleton recorded 43.75 DKFP vs. the Cavs. Furthermore, he produced a team-best 46.3 DKFP per game in the seven Antetokounmpo sat out last season.
Collectively, the Pacers are a stout group, but they are susceptible to small forwards, giving up the fourth-most DKFP per game to the position in 2020-21. At a sub $8,000 price tag, Middleton needs to be one of your core plays tonight.
Other Options: Paul George ($8,200), Buddy Hield ($6,600), Terry Rozier ($6,600)
Devonte’ Graham, Charlotte Hornets vs. San Antonio Spurs, $4,800
The unfortunate news of rookie LaMelo Ball going down for the season with a broken wrist makes Graham fantasy-relevant again. The guard should replace Ball in the starting five and see heavy playing time on a nightly basis. With Ball not in the league, Graham averaged 35.1 minutes per game as the Hornets’ starting point guard last season.
The Kansas product has supplied 32.5 DKFP per game whenever he has eclipsed 30 minutes this season, and this is an outstanding matchup against the Spurs tonight. This defense has been terrible at slowing down point guards this season, surrendering the second-most DKFP per game to the position, and Graham is a tough value play to avoid for Monday night.
Other Options: Donte DiVincenzo ($6,100), Grayson Allen ($4,100), Malik Monk ($4,000)
Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics vs. Memphis Grizzlies, $7,900
The Celtics picked up an easy win Sunday against the Magic, but they will be without Kemba Walker (rest) on Monday, with it being the second half of a back-to-back. Brown is on a serious roll right now, generating 48.6 DKFP per game in his past four, and Walker’s absence is an obvious boost for the first-time All-Star.
When the point guard is off the floor, Brown’s usage and assist rates rise 1.7 percentage points and 1.2 percentage points, respectively, and the 24-year-old is a safe bet for over 40 DKFP tonight, despite the tough matchup with the Grizzlies (seventh in defensive efficiency). In his first meeting with Memphis this season, Brown exploded for 57.75 DKFP.
Other Options: Kawhi Leonard ($8,900), Anthony Edwards ($7,200)
Miles Bridges, Charlotte Hornets vs. San Antonio Spurs, $4,900
Along with Ball, Cody Zeller (shoulder) will be inactive this evening, and Bridges will likely see north of 25 minutes for the shorthanded Hornets. With Ball active and Zeller missing, Bridges recorded 34.75 DKFP with 28 minutes off the bench Saturday night. The forward collects 0.9 DKFP per minute sans Zeller and Ball and has provided 23.6 DKFP per game when just Zeller has been out of the lineup.
Graham has the far better ceiling in this situation, but Bridges is also a solid option that should return five-times value.
Other Options: OG Anunoby ($5,600), Pat Connaughton ($4,200), Bogdan Bogdanovic ($3,900)
Domantas Sabonis, Indiana Pacers vs. Milwaukee Bucks, $9,000
The Pacers and Heat just faced each other for two consecutive games, and Sabonis struggled against a Miami defense that ranks fifth in efficiency, scoring less than 40 DKFP in both tilts. However, the All-Star was unstoppable in his last start before this miniseries, destroying the Nets for a 61.25 DKFP triple-double, and his price has dropped to the lowest it has been in 14 games for Monday’s juicy matchup with the Bucks.
Not having Antetokounmpo, who is the reigning defensive player of the year, is obviously going to hurt the Bucks’ defense, and they were already a solid spot to begin with, yielding the ninth-most DKFP per game to opposing power forwards. Sabonis went off for 59 DKFP against them last month and just like his salary, his ownership should be depressed with two back-to-back duds in his game log.
Other Options: Jayson Tatum ($8,600), PJ Washington ($6,800)
Marcus Morris, Los Angeles Clippers vs. Atlanta Hawks, $5,000
Morris has started in each of the Clippers’ past three games, and head coach Tyronn Lue confirmed that Morris will be starting ahead of Nicolas Batum ($4,100) going forward. Saturday night, Los Angeles blew out the Hornets, limiting Morris to only 21 minutes, but in the prior two, the forward was amassing 28.4 DKFP with 33.5 minutes per game.
Overall, the 31-year-old is generating 26.9 DKFP per game when a member of the first unit this season, and Serge Ibaka (back) and Patrick Beverly (knee) will both be out Monday night. This tightens the Clippers’ rotation and Ibaka’s absence leads to more minutes at center for Morris in small-ball lineups. This matchup vs. the Hawks is average (14th in defensive efficiency), but $5,100 is just too low of a cost for Morris with a starter’s role.
Other Options: Daniel Theis ($4,800)
Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz vs. Chicago Bulls, $8,400
This is a smash spot tonight for Gobert. The Bulls are one of the weakest interior defenses in the league. They are allowing the fourth-most points in the paint per game, which translates to them giving up DKFP to opposing centers at the third-highest rate in the NBA.
Paying up for Gobert isn’t optimal for cash games, but for GPPs, the center is very intriguing. The two-time defensive player of the year has surpassed 40 DKFP in six of his past eight, including a season-best 74 DKFP outburst vs. the Warriors, and he has only garnered a DraftKings main GPP ownership of 8.3% over his past three starts.
Other Options: Christian Wood ($8,000), Jarrett Allen ($7,600)
Bobby Portis, Milwaukee Bucks vs. Indiana Pacers, $4,100
In the only tilt Antetokounmpo missed this year, Portis was the player who took his place in the starting five. Unsurprisingly, the very efficient player (1.13 DKFP per minute) excelled with the extra playing time, posting 42.75 DKFP in a season-high 33.3 minutes. Portis’ size will be needed tonight, going against Sabonis and Myles Turner, and he should see a minimum of 25 minutes Monday with a ceiling close to 35 minutes.
This makes Portis a near-must play at only $4,100. In the nine contests he has cracked 25 minutes this season, the 26-year-old is averaging 33.5 DKFP per game.
Other Options: Robert Williams ($6,000), Ivica Zubac ($5,100), Bismack Biyombo ($3,400)
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