Things are about to get very dicey and in a few days the NBA playoffs will start and everything will be the exact opposite with teams operating tighter rotations. That could lead to volatile daily fantasy basketball contests, but it also opens up killer value if you make the right plays in the right spots.
Due to this, I’m pretty much chasing the big win with a “stars and scrubs” daily fantasy basketball strategy over the next three slates.
Monday’s is pretty wide open on a nine-game slate, as there are eight teams with zero chance at a playoff spot and one (Toronto) with nothing to play for.
Pay attention to star names being scratched, big injuries that can open up value and playoff contenders still fighting to get into postseason play or improve their seeding.
With that, let’s dive into Monday’s NBA DFS slate with a look at my favorite FanDuel lineup for tournaments:
PG: Russell Westbrook – Oklahoma City Thunder ($12.5k)
Westbrook is still looking to will his Thunder into the playoffs, so I’m all about him on this slate. He is not cheap and a road date with a slow Miami team is far from ideal, but I need studs that are actually giving it their all to close out the year.
I know Westbrook is going to do everything he can to get to the playoffs, so even in the face of a tough matchup I want him on this slate.
Beyond that, I don’t trust some of the other top point guards on the schedule. That, or they just aren’t enticing. I’d rather pay for Westbrook’s 50-point fantasy floor and hope he pushes for 70 fantasy points tonight.
His game in Miami isn’t projected to be super explosive, but a -3.5 spread at GTbets probably ensures a close game with a full game out of one of the best players on this slate.
PG: Sindorious Thornwell – Los Angeles Clippers ($3.7k)
This is a pure floor volume deep dive. The Clips have been eliminated from playoff contention, which could mean they sit most of their key plays to wrap up the year.
Austin Rivers and Lou Williams were already in doubt to suit up Monday, so if they sit Thornwell could be looking at 25-30 minutes of floor time.
That’s obviously worth targeting at this low price, as is a tasty home tilt with a terrible Pelicans defense. Thornwell is far from a reliable talent, but I get him at almost the bare minimum and he could end up seeing a ton of time against a really bad defense. I’ll take my chances in a GPP setting.
SG: C.J. Williams – Los Angeles Clippers ($3.5k)
It gives me nausea to roster both Thornwell and Williams, but they’re insanely cheap, at home and have an awesome matchup on paper.
Los Angeles has no reason to force Austin Rivers and Lou Williams onto the floor at all tonight, so if there are going to be big minutes to be had, you should be ready to pounce.
That doesn’t mean you have to take both of these deep dives, but for the purpose of loading up as much as possible, I’m down for this NBA DFS strategy tonight.
SG: Damyean Dotson – New York Knicks ($4.1k)
I’m also interested in Detroit’s Luke Kennard ($4.2k) in this second SG spot. You can look at Jrue Holiday and a few other top level shooting guard options, but I’d rather just punt this spot. The main reason why is there isn’t an elite option I feel I have to have here and there’s some solid value options.
Dotson is one of them, as he’s logged 29+ minutes in each of his last two outings. The Knicks have nothing to gain by tossing Tim Hardaway Jr. back onto the court and I wouldn’t be that shocked if they sat other key players to allow Dotson to get more run.
There is clear risk here, but Dotson has proven to be able to score at the NBA level already and if he’s going to get big run against a bad Cavaliers defense, I’m certainly interested. Just make sure you stay on top of all the New York player statuses going into lineup lock.
SF: Jimmy Butler – Minnesota Timberwolves ($8.2k)
I love Butler as an elite GPP play. Not only is his price way down compared to earlier in the year, but anyone paying up at SF is targeting King James or Giannis Antetokounmpo. I’d love to get LeBron in this spot, but I’m already committing high level cash elsewhere.
This could be an amazing pivot off of James, especially since the T’Wolves are still fighting for their playoff lives. Butler only logged 23 minutes in his return from a knee injury, but Minnesota needs to go all out to simply make the playoffs this year.
Assuming Minny drives Butler into the ground to make the postseason, he could get 30+ minutes in his second game back. The only issue is a potential blowout against Memphis, but that’s even more reason for him to be really low-owned. I’ll take a shot here and grab a potentially elite SF option at a severe discount and low ownership.
SF: Michael Beasley – New York Knicks ($6.5k)
It should be known that this second SF spot is a bit of an “in limbo” pick for me tonight. I don’t really want to use Marshon Brooks against Jimmy Butler defense, while Beasley is going to need some kind of guarantee for his minutes if I’m going to trust him at this price.
Of course, his price and shaky role are precisely what combine to make him an elite GPP play.
THJ and Enes Kanter won’t play tonight, so on the surface Beas feels like a pretty good play. If he’s listed as out you’ll have to make changes, but for now he helps me get the team I want and he obviously could go nuts against a bad Cleveland defense at home.
PF: Anthony Davis – New Orleans Pelicans ($13.2k)
The Brow is super expensive, so on a nine-game slate I’m hopeful his ownership will go down a bit. With King James, Russell Westbrook and a few stud centers also on tap, I think it’s possible he could be somewhat contrarian at this steep price.
Even if he isn’t, fading Davis as an elite hammer against a weak Clippers defense could prove costly. If you want to pick between him or Ridge, he’s the call. He should get you 50 fantasy points without trying and he obviously can push for 90 if he’s on fire.
The Brow has been on fire lately and has put up over 60 fantasy points per game against L.A. on the year. I expect another 60-burger tonight, if not much more.
PF: Jeff Green – Cleveland Cavaliers ($4.5k)
I am also into Anthony Tolliver ($4.6k) in this same price range, but Green is locked into a big role for the Cavs and is fresh off of a crazy 41-point fantasy outing. I could take this opportunity to pivot off of him to a lower owned Tolliver and if Blake Griffin is out again tonight, that’s certainly an option.
Green doesn’t need 40+ fantasy points to pay off at this price, however. I’d take 30-35 gladly and he’s got a favorable matchup against a weak Knicks team.
C: Deyonta Davis – Memphis Grizzlies ($3.8k)
I really want Russ and Davis tonight, so I don’t mind wrapping this roster up with another dive via Deyonta Davis. That is made possible due to a ton of Grizz bigs being banged up, while star center Marc Gasol (rest) will almost certainly sit this one out after playing a ton last night.
Davis is looking at 22-25 minutes in this spot and Karl-Anthony Towns is not an elite defender down low. I’m sure the Timberwolves could crush Memphis here, but I’m also not certain that keeps the Grizzlies from handing young guys solid run. I’ll take a chance on Davis just because he’s cheap and he has the ability to rack up peripheral stats.
Overall, I’m going in with an eye on an elite pairing with Westbrook and The Brow. I think pivoting from Davis to Ridge is in play, but that’s not really what I want to do.
The underlying theme is getting star talent that has something to play for and value plays that should be in for solid run. I think Westbrook, Butler and The Brow make up a nasty stud trio, while Green’s Cavs are still playing for their division and the #3 seed.
The only question mark is Beasley, but with Monday being New York’s season finale, it’s possible the Knicks just let him run wild. If you sour on him you can always consider pivoting to Marshon Brooks or Josh Richardson.
The deep dives all make good sense. Thornwell and Williams could be in for a ton of minutes, while Dotson and Davis also should be looking at strong roles with the season winding down.
If you’re not down for these big risks, feel free to use the NBA DFS picks you do like and pivot elsewhere. Whatever you decide, I wish you luck in your FanDuel daily fantasy basketball contests tonight!
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