After a pretty quiet week of NBA action (several small slates) things open up considerably on Monday night, as NBA DFS fans get a strong 9-game slate to work with on FanDuel. Part of the problem was evident on Sunday, when FD broke an all day slate down into several small slates.
Smaller slates can still be fun, but it’s good to have a little more filling to locate value so you can afford elite options. That will undoubtedly be a goal on Monday, when a long line of studs led by Giannis Antetokounmpo heads the player pool.
The big question will be which expensive stud you’ll want to use and how you build your team around them. Let’s dive into Monday’s daily fantasy basketball scene with a look at our favorite team:
PG: Jamal Murray – Denver Nuggets ($4.7k)
I’m eyeing Eric Bledsoe’s value in this spot, but Murray went off (32 actual points) in his last game and gets a solid matchup in Portland (Blazers rank just 14th against points guards) tonight. This is a big game for both sides and when Murray feels it, his scoring splurge tends to last for a couple of games.
He’s the starter and if he can get off to a hot start tonight, he’ll quickly provide us with a massive discount. I do like the value with Bleddy tonight, as well, while Mike James ($5.3k) is worth a look if he gets his starting job back.
PG: Lonzo Ball – Los Angeles Lakers ($7.6k)
Ball will likely be a popular play after going off (69 fantasy points!) in his last game, but he seems to be playing with confidence and is being way more aggressive. That bodes well for him tonight, as he faces a bad Suns defense that he destroyed earlier this year.
Make no mistake about it, Ball is a rookie and tough to trust at this price, but I can’t ignore the upside or matchup on this slate. While I’m high on Ball, a fantastic pivot could be Ricky Rubio ($7.5k) who is basically the same price and could be lower owned as he takes on his former Timberwolves team (revenge narrative).
SG: Klay Thompson – Golden State Warriors ($6.6k)
Is tonight one of those awesome Klay Thompson nights where he pops off for 50+ points? Those seem to come once a year now, while Stephen Curry (quad) being questionable certainly opens the door to added usage for Thompson.
I like Thompson here even if Curry plays, as Thompson still shoots the ball a ton and will be at home against a middling Magic defense (just 14th versus shooting guards). There is blowout risk here, but when Klay is hot he does most of his damage in the first few quarters, anyways. He’s in a great spot at comes in at a solid price, so I don’t see much reason to avoid pulling the trigger.
SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope – Los Angeles Lakers ($4.7k)
I have a lot of interest elsewhere at shooting guard, as Devin Booker and Bradley Beal can be a ton of fun, while guys like Austin Rivers and Lou Williams are slated for a ton of run for a mangled Clippers team. There is also the case of J.J. Redick’s revenge narrative as he heads back to L.A. for the first time.
That all has my interest, but KCP is dirt cheap, logs 30+ minutes a game and will take on Phoenix’s garbage defense (30th against shooting guards). KCP himself is erratic, but he hasn’t had the luxury of torching the Suns yet. At this price, we can get some value and hope he turns in one of his coined blow-up games in a really nice spot.
SF: Brandon Ingram – Los Angeles Lakers ($5.9k)
Truth be told, I never feel great about using Ingram, but he’s one of the top scorers for this Lakers team, gets plenty of run and has a great matchup against the Suns. In theory, this is a great spot to target Ingram, who is a solid price and goes up against a Suns defense that isn’t good in general and ranks just 18th against small forwards.
Most of the exposure to the Lake Show will be to an arguably over-priced Lonzo Ball ($7.6k), but we can get cheap offense in this game, which features a gaudy Total of 227 at Bovada, as well as a tight -1.5 spread. Oh, and when Ingram faces Phoenix earlier this year, he poured on 25 actual points. It’s likely he’ll enjoy another strong outing against them tonight.
SF: Kevin Durant – Golden State Warriors ($10.2k)
If Curry is indeed going to be out, you’re going to want to ramp up your exposure to the Dubs, who will be at home against a better Magic squad than you’re accustomed to seeing. Curry’s absence will hand out more shots to the other top Golden State scorers, while also contributing to a (hopefully) closer contest.
Even if Curry suits up, KD is pretty cheap for the floor/ceiling he has to offer. Durant’s matchup is palatable (Magic rank 13th vs. SF), while we all know by now he’s borderline matchup proof. Everyone else will be contemplating paying up for Giannis and LeBron, so this is a nice pivot where we can save and still get a stud.
PF: Derrick Favors – Utah Jazz ($5.4k)
Favors is a fantastic spot to start your NBA DFS build for Monday, as star center Rudy Gobert (knee) will miss the next 4-6 weeks with a knee injury. That forces Favors into a bigger role than usual, as he’ll be tasked with playing more minutes at the five spot.
That’s precisely what happened in Utah’s last game, where Favors beasted (24 points, 12 rebounds) in 35 minutes of action. With a plus matchup at home against a middling interior Timberwolves defense, Favors is set up as one of the top value plays for tonight’s daily fantasy basketball slate.
PF: Paul Millsap – Denver Nuggets ($7.3k)
Power forward is loaded tonight and I could go in a number of directions, but why pay up when Thrillsap is flat out wrecking these days. Millsap seems to finally be in a groove with his new team, as he’s registered 45+ fantasy points in three of his last five outings and has topped at least 32+ fantasy points in 8 of his last 9 games.
Millsap is feeling it and tonight he’s in an up tempo matchup with the Portland Trail Blazers. This is a huge game for both parties and carries a tight -1 spread and 212 Total. With plenty of scoring in this one, I expect Millsap to crush this price tag and make the expensive PF options less necessary than you might think.
C: Kevin Love – Cleveland Cavaliers ($7.5k)
Love isn’t the consistently elite guy that DeMarcus Cousins or Karl-Anthony Towns are, but he remains a decent price and has actually popped off with two 50+ fantasy outings over his last three contests. A road date with the Knicks is not a brutal matchup, as New York boasts the 24th most efficient defense and with Enes Kanter at the five, can give way to elite production at the center position.
The Cavs do a good job moving Love all over the floor, so I wouldn’t be too worried about the matchup specifically. He should be in a good spot to meet value at this price, while it’s worth noting that he averaged over 22 points and 10 rebounds per game across three meetings with New York last year.
There’s also always something about using high upside players at Madison Square Garden, while Cleveland (6-7) should come in focused as they try to get back to .500.