The NBA Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each day’s slate using the FantasyLabs Tools and metrics to highlight notable players.
Monday features a nine-game slate starting at 7 p.m. ET.
This seems like an awesome opportunity to buy low on Russell Westbrook. His salary has dropped all the way to $8,300 on DraftKings, which is the lowest salary we’ve ever tracked for him in our Trends database.
He has struggled recently, posting a negative Plus/Minus in five of his past six games, but there are reasons for optimism moving forward. He remains highly involved in the Rockets offense — he’s posted a usage rate of 33.8% over those six contests — but his fantasy numbers have been plagued by poor shooting numbers. Westbrook has never been a sharpshooter, but he should improve up on his marks of 38.7% from the field and 18.2% from 3-point range over that time frame.
He’s also in an excellent spot today vs. the Portland Trail Blazers. The Rockets’ implied team total of 119.0 ranks second on the slate, and Westbrook owns an Opponent Plus/Minus of +3.64 on DraftKings.
The Pacers have the potential to be one of the best sources of value today. Malcolm Brogdon, T.J. McConnell and Jeremy Lamb have already been ruled out, while Domantas Sabonis is listed as questionable.
Aaron Holiday should see a bump in playing time — he’s currently projected for 33.1 minutes in our NBA Models — and he’s averaged a respectable 0.83 FanDuel points per minute this season. He’s a steal at just $4,100 on FanDuel given his Bargain Rating of 99%.
On the other side of the same matchup, the Nets are dealing with their own injury issues at the moment. Caris LeVert is expected to miss the next 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery on his thumb, and Kyrie Irving is out with a shoulder injury.
Spencer Dinwiddie has already seen a big boost in value recently due to the LeVert injury, and he’ll be asked to carry a massive workload with Kyrie out. He’s posted a ridiculous usage rate of 40.2% with both players off the court this season, resulting in an average of 1.22 DraftKings points per minute. He’d be tough to fade at $6,000 in that situation.
Damian Lillard has seen a massive workload this season, and he’s currently projected for 38.1 minutes in our NBA Models. He could do some damage with that much playing time vs. the Rockets, who have played at the third-fastest pace this season. He leads the position with 14 Pro Trends on DraftKings.
James Harden has reached the point where his ridiculous stat lines don’t phase us anymore. He’s coming off one of the most insane games I can personally remember, posting a usage rate of 53.9% and launching a ridiculous 41 shot attempts from the field. That contest came without Westbrook, so we shouldn’t expect the same workload today, but he’s posted a usage rate of at least 38.0% in every game but one this season.
The only real question is if he’s a bit too expensive at $12,000 on DraftKings and $12,500 on FanDuel. I would argue that there are better values available, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he ends up being the highest scorer on the slate.
RJ Barrett has carried a much more reasonable workload recently, but that hasn’t stopped him from being a nice fantasy asset. He’s scored at least 30.25 DraftKings points in two of his past three games, and his current $5,600 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 91%. He’s averaged 0.90 DraftKings points per minute this season, so he doesn’t need a massive number of minutes to pay off his current salary.
Luka Doncic has SG eligibility on DraftKings, where his $9,800 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 91%. He has actually been better than Harden on a per-minute basis this season, averaging 1.71 DraftKings points per minute, and he provides similar median and ceiling projections at a significant discount. He looks like the preferred option if you’re paying up at the position.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has taken a step forward in his second season. He leads the Thunder in minutes per game and usage rate, and he’s also shooting 40.0% from 3-point range on 4.2 attempts per game. His ability shoot the ball was one of his biggest question marks entering the league, so that’s a really good sign. Overall, he’s averaged 0.93 DraftKings points per minute this season, and his $6,300 salary on DraftKings results in a Bargain Rating of 85%.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is well on his way towards his second straight MVP award. The only thing that has been able to stop him this season from a fantasy perspective has been reduced playing time in blowouts. He’s averaging a ridiculous 1.94 DraftKings points per minute this season, and he’s averaged over 68 DraftKings points per game in the seven contests in which he’s played at least 34.6 minutes. He’s on pace to set new career-highs in usage rate, assist rate and rebound rate.
Today’s contest vs. the Bulls could certainly turn into a blowout — The Bucks are favored by 8.5 points on the road — but Giannis has massive upside if it doesn’t. The Bucks lead the slate with an implied team total of 119.25 points; both of these teams rank in the top nine in pace. There should be a lot of possessions in this contest, and no one in basketball makes more out of a possession than Giannis.
The Pacers feature a pair of SFs worth consideration today in Justin Holiday and T.J. Warren. Holiday is the cheaper option — his $3,800 salary on FanDuel comes with a Bargain Rating of 81% — and he should see plenty of minutes given Indiana’s current injury situation. He’s currently projected for 34.4 minutes in our NBA Models, and players with comparable salaries and minute projections have historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +3.52.
Warren is more expensive, but he possesses the higher upside. He’s increased his usage rate to 24.5% with Brogdon and Lamb off the court this season, so he has the potential to improve upon his average of 0.80 FanDuel points per minute.
Pascal Siakam is coming off his worst game of the season, which makes this an excellent buy-low spot. His salary has dropped from $10,100 to $9,300 on FanDuel, and no one is projected for more than his 40.4 minutes in our NBA Models. He leads all SFs with 14 Pro Trends on FanDuel.
Danuel House is expected to rejoin the Rockets rotation today, and he played at least 31.7 minutes in four of his past five games prior to getting hurt. He’s averaged a solid 0.83 DraftKings points per minute, so that should be more than enough playing time to make him a viable option at just $3,700.
Domantas Sabonis was a late addition to the injury report, but he’s in an amazing spot if he’s able to suit up. For starters, he seems underpriced at just $7,300 on DraftKings given his Bargain Rating of 91%. He’s averaged 1.26 DraftKings points per minute this season, and he leads the team with a usage rate of 28.1% with Brogdon and Lamb off the court. That’s a pretty large increase compared to his average usage rate of 24.3%.
Sabonis also has one of the best possible matchups vs. the Nets. They’ve been crushed by opposing big men for most of the past two seasons, giving him an Opponent Plus/Minus of +4.09 on DraftKings.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson has seen a solid increase in playing time for the Raptors after the injuries to Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka. He’s played at least 25.3 minutes in each of his past three games, and he’s averaged a strong 0.99 FanDuel points per minute this season. He’s an excellent value option at just $4,400.
Dario Saric is another strong target on FanDuel, where his $5,000 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 91%. He’s played at least 29.2 minutes in three of his past four games, and he’s averaged 0.86 FanDuel points per minute this season. He has an excellent ceiling at just $5,000: He’s scored at least 32.7 FanDuel points in three of his first 11 games.
Kawhi Leonard is currently questionable with a knee injury, and it would be tough to ignore Paul George if he’s ultimately ruled out. George has played limited minutes in his past two games, but he’s posted a usage rate of at least 46.1% in both contests. He’s probably due for some shooting regression — he’s shot 58.8% from the field and 56.3% from 3-point range — but he could see some regression and still be a value at $8,100 on DraftKings. He’s averaged a ridiculous 2.33 DraftKings points per minute to start the season.
There are lots of studs to consider paying up for today, which could result in reduced ownership for Karl-Anthony Towns. He has a tough matchup vs. the Utah Jazz, resulting in an Opponent Plus/Minus of -0.37 on DraftKings, so most people will likely look to pay up for Harden or Giannis instead.
That makes him an appealing pivot for GPPs. The Timberwolves will likely be without Andrew Wiggins again today, which gives Towns even more upside than usual. Towns has increased his usage rate to 32.4% with Wiggins off the court this season, resulting in an average of 1.92 DraftKings points per minute. He’s scored at least 55 DraftKings points in each of his past two games without Wiggins, and his 13 Pro Trends on DraftKings are tied for the most at the position.
Tristan Thompson has quietly been one of the better values in fantasy recently, posting an average Plus/Minus of +7.65 on DraftKings over his past 10 games. That said, his salary really hasn’t budged over that time frame, and his current $5,600 price tag comes with a Bargain Rating of 92%.
He has a solid matchup today vs. the Knicks, who rank just 23rd in defensive efficiency. They have been pretty good on the glass, but Thompson still owns an Opponent Plus/Minus of +1.45 on DraftKings. Without Kevin Love today, he’s an incredible value.
Myles Turner benefits from the same elite matchup as Sabonis, and he scored 45.2 FanDuel points in his first game back from an extended injury absence. Overall, he’s averaged 0.96 FanDuel points per minute and is currently projected for 34.7 minutes, which makes him a nice target at $6,900. If Sabonis were to be ruled out, Turner would become one of the strongest plays of the day.
Hassan Whiteside isn’t the most consistent option, but he possesses big upside at $6,700 on DraftKings. He’s averaged a strong 1.29 DraftKings points per minute this season, and the Blazers have been willing to play him upwards of 35 minutes in games that stay competitive recently. He has a nice matchup today vs. the Rockets, resulting in an Opponent Plus/Minus of +2.70 on DraftKings.
Pictured: Bucks F Giannis Antetokounmpo (34)
Photo Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports