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 seven-game slate starting at 7 p.m. ET.
New offer from FantasyLabs: Get our NFL models and tools free when you sign up for the NBA monthly plan!
John Wall remains underpriced across the industry.
He’s posted a positive Plus/Minus on DraftKings in nine straight games, and he’s in an elite spot tonight against the Wizards. Washington has been a dream matchup for fantasy this season — they rank first in pace and 29th in defensive efficiency — and the Rockets will also be shorthanded.
Christian Wood remains out of the lineup with an ankle injury, while Victor Oladipo has been ruled out with a foot injury. Wall has increased his usage rate by +4.5% with Wood, Oladipo, and James Harden off the court this season, so he carries more upside than usual.
Wall also spent the first 10 years of his career with the Wizards, so this is a #RevengeGame if you’re into that.
On the other side of that matchup, Raul Neto stands out as an elite value at $3,700. Russell Westbrook is not expected to play on the second leg of a back-to-back, and Ish Smith has already been ruled out with a quad injury. That leaves Neto to handle the majority of the point guard duties.
He’s currently projected for 28.5 minutes in our NBA Models, and players with comparable salaries and minute projections have historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +3.83 (per the Trends tool).
Coby White got off to a slow start this season, but he’s started to turn things around. He’s posted a positive Plus/Minus on FanDuel in four straight games, including a 40.9 FanDuel-point performance two games ago. His 10 Pro Trends are tied for the most at the position on FanDuel, where his $5,800 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 78%.
Kyrie Irving should be a very popular target on today’s slate. Kevin Durant will miss the next two games with an injury, which means Irving should command a higher usage rate than normal. He’s also in an elite spot vs. the Kings, who rank dead last in defensive efficiency this season. The Nets’ implied team total of 123.0 is the top mark on the slate, and Irving’s $9,000 salary on DraftKings comes with a Bargain Rating of 92%.
The shooting guard position is absolutely loaded on today’s slate, particularly at the top.
You can make an argument for a few different players as the top overall option, but it’s hard to ignore James Harden without Durant. He’s increased his usage rate by +2.3% in games without Durant since joining the Nets, which gives him a bit more upside than usual on a per-minute basis. He’s also been playing a ton of minutes for the Nets: No one on the slate is projected for more minutes in our NBA Models. He also benefits from the same elite matchup as Irving.
One thing to keep in mind is that Irving and Harden have been negatively correlated (-0.23). It’s tempting to stack both players without Durant, but history suggests you may be better off picking one or the other. It’s going to be tough for both players to hit a GPP-winning ceiling in the same contest.
There are a couple of intriguing value options at shooting guard as well. Garrison Mathews stands out on DraftKings at $3,600. He’s started the past two games for the Wizards, and he should remain in the starting lineup against the Rockets. He’s coming off a dud yesterday vs. the Celtics, but he did finish with 21.25 DKFP two games ago.
Bruce Brown is another option. He will likely start in place of Durant, and he’s put together some big performances in limited playing time recently. He’s scored at least 27.9 FanDuel points in two of his past three games, and he played 25.9 minutes or less in both contests. He could see a few additional minutes today, which makes him very appealing at $3,600 on FanDuel.
Bradley Beal will be another highly-owned option if Westbrook is given the night off.
He’s already leading the league in usage, and he’s increased his usage rate to 40.3% with Westbrook off the court this season. He’s averaged 1.54 DraftKings points per minute in that situation, so he definitely has the potential to outproduce Harden at a cheaper salary. Beal is way underpriced on DraftKings given his Bargain Rating of 98%.
Donovan Mitchell could be a bit overlooked today. Most people will likely flock to Harden or Beal, but Mitchell should continue to benefit from the absence of Mike Conley. He’s increased his assist rate by +13.1% in games without Conley this season, which gives him significantly more upside than usual.
Kawhi Leonard was out of the lineup yesterday, but he’s tentatively expected to return tonight against the Heat. Yesterday’s game was the front leg of a back-to-back, so Kawhi’s “injury” was probably more rest-related than anything else.
We don’t have an official injury designation on Paul George yet, but he seems unlikely to suit up. If that’s the case, Kawhi will be asked to carry a larger workload offensively. He’s increased his usage rate by +2.9% with George off the court this season, resulting in an average of 1.37 DraftKings points per minute.
Make sure to get any updates on Kawhi using the Labs Insiders tool.
Joe Ingles is an absolute steal at just $4,900 on FanDuel.
He’s posted a positive Plus/Minus in each of his first four games without Conley, and he’s scored at least 35.6 FanDuel points in two of those contests. Overall, he’s increased his production to 0.92 FanDuel points per minute over the past month, and he’s currently projected for 33.1 minutes in our NBA Models. His matchup against the 76ers isn’t ideal, but he’s simply too cheap to pass up.
Jae’Sean Tate stands out as a nice source of value on DraftKings. He’s priced at just $4,600, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 97%, and he has the potential to see a few additional minutes against the Wizards. He’s currently projected for 30.4 minutes in our NBA Models, and players with comparable salaries and minute projections have historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +2.39.
Andrew Wiggins is also underpriced on DraftKings. He owns a Bargain Rating of 92%, and he’s rebounded nicely after a slow start to the season. He’s averaged 0.96 DraftKings points per minute over the past month, and he’s taking on a Cavaliers’ squad that ranks 23rd in defensive efficiency.
Julius Randle was a slight disappointment yesterday, but he still figures to benefit from the injury to Mitchell Robinson. He finished with 33.2 minutes yesterday against the Rockets despite the fact the Knicks won that game by 22 points. He could see more playing time today, and Randle has averaged 1.21 FanDuel points per minute over the past month. Randle leads all power forwards with 13 Pro Trends on FanDuel in a decent spot vs. the Hawks.
Sticking with the Knicks, Nerlens Noel is listed as a PF on FanDuel even though he’s operating as the Knicks’ starting center in place of Robinson. He logged 32.6 minutes yesterday and has averaged 1.02 FanDuel points per minute this season, which makes him close to a must-play at just $4,800. The Hawks have also struggled against centers this year, giving Noel an Opponent Plus/Minus of +2.65.
Draymond Green went down with an injury Saturday against the Nets, but he’s listed as probable for tonight’s matchup vs. the Cavaliers.
As long as he’s active, he should continue to play big minutes with James Wiseman and Kevon Looney out of the lineup. Green has finished with at least 35.6 minutes in three of his past five games, and he’s averaged a strong 0.97 DraftKings points per minute over the past month. He’s an excellent value at $6,700 on DraftKings given his Bargain Rating of 95%.
It doesn’t get much less exciting than rostering Royce O’Neale in DFS, but he’s a safe bet for a bunch of minutes tonight against the 76ers. He’s currently projected for 35.3 minutes in our NBA Models, which is the fourth-highest mark at the position.
The three players who are ahead of him are significantly more expensive, which makes him a solid option.
Rudy Gobert is going to have his hands full tonight against Joel Embiid, but he remains a screaming value on DraftKings.
He’s priced at just $7,200, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 99%, and he’s posted a positive Plus/Minus in each of his past five games. He’s increased his production to 1.35 DraftKings points per minute over the past month, which gives him significant upside every time he takes the floor. Foul trouble is always a concern against Embiid, but he should be able to return value once again if he sees his usual workload.
Moe Wagner drew the start at center for the Wizards yesterday, while Alex Len picked up a DNP. That could signify a changing of the guard at the position. If Wagner draws another start against the Rockets, he’s going to be one of the better value plays on the slate. He has a fantasy-friendly skill set, and he’s averaged 0.96 DraftKings points per minute this season. He’s currently priced near the minimum on both DraftKings and FanDuel, and he has the potential to crush those price tags.
DeMarcus Cousins should continue to draw attention as long as Wood is out of the lineup. He hasn’t been as dominant recently as he was during his first stretch without Wood, but he’s still averaged 1.35 DraftKings points per minute this season. He should also see a few additional shot attempts tonight with Oladipo out of the lineup as well.
Photo Credit: Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images.
Pictured: Kyrie Irving (left) and James Harden (right).