The NBA is definitely not starting the final week of March slowly, with 11 games on the schedule giving everyone a jumbo-sized night of fantasy basketball options on DraftKings. It was a much lighter schedule on Sunday, though, so only the Toronto Raptors are playing the second game of a back-to-back. The Los Angeles Clippers and Washington Wizards are on the front end of their two games to start the week, and there are multiple teams still working through trade deadline roster adjustments along with injuries. As usual at this point in the season, there is sure to be plenty of availability news throughout the day on Monday, so make sure to monitor the news at @dklive on Twitter and download the DK Live app to stay up to date with who’s in, who’s out and who should be in your lineup.
Value options typically open up during the day as players' statuses are updated, but here are the four bargain plays I like the most coming into the day. They are set up to offer solid production at a reduced salary, allowing additional salary cap space for other roster spots.
C Nerlens Noel, New York Knicks vs. Miami Heat, $4,800
Mitchell Robinson (foot) suffered another significant injury on Saturday, leaving plenty of playing time in the short term for Noel. After not playing at all on Thursday, Noel played 31 minutes in the game in which Robinson’s injury occurred. He finished with six points, 11 rebounds, three blocks, two steals and two assists on his way to 32.25 DKFP. Multiple times this season, Noel has been forced to fill in for Robinson, who has dealt with a broken wrist, a sprained ankle and now a broken foot.
In the 16 games after Robinson broke his wrist, Noel averaged 6.6 points, 7.1 rebounds, 2.0 blocks and 29.3 minutes for 22.5 DKFP per contest. He didn’t face the Heat during that run but put up strong counting stats across the board despite a 9.0% usage rate. He could get more usage in this game, depending on the status of Julius Randle ($10,000), but either way, he should move into the starting lineup and be a low-risk option due to his multi-faceted production.
PF/C Kelly Olynyk, Houston Rockets vs. Memphis Grizzlies, $4,400
Olynyk was very productive in his Rockets debut which ended up being a spot start against the Timberwolves on Saturday. Christian Wood ($8,400; illness) was a late scratch with an ankle injury and is on Monday’s injury report due to an illness. If he’s out again or even just limited, Olynyk could be in for a big workload and he showed on Saturday that he can be a nice producer in a Houston rotation desperately in need of offensive options.
Olynyk only needed 25 minutes on Saturday to produce 34.5 DKFP. He made four 3-pointers and had four boards, four assists and three steals to go with his 16 points. The Rockets also won the game by 22 points and Olynyk finished with an impressive +/- of +21. After showing his value to his new squad, Olynyk could have earned more playing time in a very shallow frontcourt. In Houston’s backcourt, D.J. Augustin ($4,000) is another veteran addition who could continue to see run for a team with plenty of usage available.
PG/SG Terance Mann, Los Angeles Clippers vs. Milwaukee Bucks, $4,300
Even though the Clippers added veteran Rajon Rondo (groin) to a crowded backcourt at the deadline, there will be plenty of work for Mann at least for the next few games. Rondo is out Monday along with Patrick Beverley (knee) leaving Mann and Reggie Jackson ($4,400) available as traditional PG options. Mann has been making the most of his opportunities lately, and they have been getting great work from the 24-year-old whose Basketball Reference page actually includes “Stat Stuffer” as his nickname.
He’s lived up to that nickname in his past five contests, averaging 15.4 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists for 27.6 DKFP in 27.4 minutes per game. In those five games, he has totaled a 21.1% usage rate after just a 13.1% usage rate over his previous 39 games this season. He has turned that increased opportunity into over 29 DKFP in three of his four most recent games and is coming off a season-high 23 points on 10-of-12 shooting in the Clippers’ Saturday night win over the 76ers. If you need value in the backcourt, Terance can be the Mann you’re looking for in this matchup with the Bucks. (C’mon, you didn’t think I could pass that up — did you?)
PG Cory Joseph, Detroit Pistons vs. Toronto Raptors, $3,900
The Pistons traded for Joseph at the trade deadline and have immediately put the veteran guard into a big role, partly due to the injury to Dennis Smith Jr. (back), who will miss his third-straight contest on Monday. Joseph played 29 minutes on Saturday with Smith out, even though it was only his second game with the team. He finished with eight points, four assists, six rebounds and 23.5 DKFP.
In each of his two games with Detroit, CoJo has exactly a 20.1% usage rate, and he should be able to return solid value from under $4K if he keeps getting so much run in this game against the Raptors. It’s a revenge narrative game for both him and his coach Dwane Casey, who spent time with Toronto from 2015-2017. Casey obviously trusts Joseph a lot and should continue to lean heavily on the veteran while DSJ is out. Saben Lee ($3,800) started ahead of Joseph Saturday, but Joseph got more minutes and usage, so I think Joseph is a slightly safer play although both are value options to consider.
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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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