The NBA Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each day’s slate using the FantasyLabs Tools and metrics to highlight notable players.
The NBA has decided to honor the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a full day of NBA basketball. There are nine games currently scheduled for Monday – starting with the Knicks vs. the Magic at 12 p.m. ET – but this piece will focus on the four-game DFS main slate starting at 7:30 p.m. ET.
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Luka Doncic is a man on a mission at the moment. He’s posted a positive Plus/Minus in seven straight games on DraftKings, and he’s coming off a massive performance in his last contest. He finished with 36 points, 16 rebounds, and 15 assists, resulting in 87.5 DraftKings points. He officially passed Michael Jordan in terms of career triple-doubles with that effort, and he’s still just 22 years old.
Doncic will once again be asked to carry a massive workload tonight vs. the Raptors. Josh Richardson, Dorian Finney-Smith, and Dwight Powell all remain out of the lineup, while Tim Hardaway Jr. is questionable. Kristaps Porzingis has also been limited in his first two games this season, so Doncic will have to do most of the heavy lifting. The Raptors have struggled on defense, ranking just 20th in defensive efficiency.
Eric Gordon has PG/SG eligibility on DraftKings and SF eligibility on FanDuel, and he’s a solid option across the industry. The Rockets have already ruled out John Wall for tonight’s matchup vs. the Bulls, and James Harden is obviously no longer with the team. Gordon has increased his usage rate by +12.5% with both players off the court this season, resulting in an average of 1.55 DraftKings points per minute. Victor Oladipo will make his debut – which should reduce Gordon’s workload a bit – but he’s still a good bet to return value at his current price tag.
Kyle Lowry has not had the best start to his season, which has caused his salary to drop to $7,400 on FanDuel. That makes him an interesting buy-low target vs. the Mavs. Lowry has historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +3.17 with a comparable price tag (per the Trends tool). His nine Pro Trends are also tied for the top mark at the position.
Trey Burke stands out as the best pure value at the position on FanDuel given his Bargain Rating of 74%, and he should be asked to carry another large workload for the shorthanded Mavs. He hasn’t thrived in that role recently, posting a negative Plus/Minus in three straight games, but he’s shot just 29.0% from the field over that time frame. He has nice upside at his current salary if his shot starts falling.
Harden had no problem making an impact in his Nets’ debut. He racked up 73.4 FanDuel points thanks to 32 points, 12 rebounds, and 14 assists, and his only real blemish was his nine turnovers.
That said, that game came with Kyrie Irving out of the lineup. That meant that there was plenty of usage up for grabs, so it wasn’t particularly difficult for Harden to fit in. Irving is questionable for today’s contest, and it will be interesting to see how all three players mesh together for fantasy purposes. It’s simply not possible for all three players to post a usage rate of greater than 30%, so someone is going to have to sacrifice to make it work.
Harden still has excellent fantasy upside with the Nets, but he also has some downside at his current salary.
Donte DiVincenzo has been a nice source of value recently, posting an average Plus/Minus of +3.92 over his past 10 games on FanDuel. DiVincenzo has seen a slight bump in playing time this season – he’s averaging 25.1 minutes per game – and he’s averaged a strong 0.90 FanDuel points per minute. That makes him an excellent option at just $4,400.
Andrew Wiggins is still the same player with the Warriors that he was with the Timberwolves, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be useful in fantasy. He’s averaged 0.97 DraftKings points per minute this season, and he’s been a relatively consistent producer. He has a tough matchup tonight vs. the Lakers, resulting in an Opponent Plus/Minus of -0.96, but he ones one of the top points per dollar projections at the position in our NBA Models.
Zach LaVine has blossomed into one of the best scorers in the NBA. He’s averaged 26.9 points per game this season, and he’s posted an average Plus/Minus of +9.34 over his past 10 games on FanDuel. He’s currently projected for a position-high 37.5 minutes, and he’s averaged 1.23 FanDuel points per minute this season.
Kevin Durant is an interesting option today. He’s been fantastic recently, posting a positive Plus/Minus in six of his past seven games on FanDuel, and he’s coming off 60.3 FanDuel points in his first game with Harden. The game between the Nets and Bucks is also expected to be the best of the day from a fantasy perspective. The total on that game is currently set at 239 points, and no other game has a total above 226.5. The spread is also just 2.0 points, which suggests it should be a competitive affair.
However, Durant has been priced up pretty aggressively across the industry. He’s up to $10,500 on FanDuel, which could make him too expensive when Irving does return to the lineup.
The Kyrie situation will be important to monitor heading into lineup lock, so make sure to follow along using the Labs Insiders tool.
Otto Porter has lost some minutes recently with Lauri Markkanen back in the rotation, but he still stands out as an excellent value at $5,000 on FanDuel. It results in a Bargain Rating of 70%, and Porter has averaged a stout 1.05 FanDuel points per minute this season. He’s still expected to see around 25 minutes vs. the Rockets, which should be enough for him to return value.
LeBron James is listed as questionable for tonight’s matchup vs. the Warriors, just as he has been for virtually every game this season. That hasn’t stopped him from suiting up, so expect him to be in the lineup. The Lakers have definitely prioritized load management for LeBron this season – which has kept his fantasy value in check – but he’s still averaged 1.41 FanDuel points per minute. He’s been priced down to just $9,500, so he’s an interesting buy-low option.
Khris Middleton probably doesn’t get enough respect for being an absolute baller. He’s crushed from a fantasy perspective to start the year, averaging 1.24 DraftKings points per minute, but the fact that the Bucks are so good means he hasn’t been asked to play a ton of minutes. That might change tonight vs. the Nets, and Middleton leads the position with nine Pro Trends on DraftKings.
Giannis Antetokounmpo remains the most dominant player in the league on a per-minute basis. He’s averaged 1.62 FanDuel points per minute this season, despite the fact that his usage rate, assist rate, and rebound rate are all down compared to his marks from last year. At this point, the only person who can stop Giannis is Mike Budenholzer.
He will likely be a popular target given the projected game environment vs. the Nets, and he obviously has huge upside if coach Bud actually lets him loose. It remains to be seen if that will happen, but it’s worth rolling the dice with Giannis on DraftKings given his Bargain Rating of 98%.
James Johnson has been carrying a large workload for the Mavs recently, and he could be thrust into an even larger role tonight. Powell and Maxi Kleber remain out, and Porzingis is a rest candidate on the second leg of a back-to-back. Even if Porzingis plays, that would still leave a solid role for Johnson, who has a very fantasy-friendly skill set. He’s averaged 0.96 FanDuel points per minute this season, and he’s currently projected for 25.7 minutes in our NBA Models.
Chris Boucher is finally starting to play big minutes for the Raptors, and it’s about damn time. He has been priced up a bit across the industry, but he’s still too cheap given his level of play this season. He’s averaged 1.37 DraftKings points per minute this season, and he’s scored at least 37.5 DraftKings points in each of his past five games.
P.J. Tucker is about as boring as it gets from a fantasy perspective, but he’s tough to ignore at just $4,100 on FanDuel. He’s currently projected for 31.8 minutes in our NBA Models, and players with comparable salaries and minute projections have historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +4.23.
It’s a tough day to pay up at center. You have some options on DraftKings given the positional flexibility – Giannis, Durant, and Anthony Davis can all be rostered at center – but no one at the position is priced above $5,900 on FanDuel.
Brook Lopez is one of the priciest options at $5,300, but he’s still underpriced given his recent production. He’s posted an average Plus/Minus of +5.88 over his past 10 games, and he leads the position with a projected Plus/Minus of +5.93 on today’s slate. The Nets are one of the best matchups in fantasy for centers, giving Lopez an Opponent Plus/Minus of +4.00.
DeMarcus Cousins is listed as probable vs. the Bulls, and he’s another player who should benefit from the Harden trade. He likely won’t see a huge boost in minutes, but he has the potential to serve as one of the Rockets’ offensive focal points when on the court. He’s priced at just $4,500 on FanDuel, and he has the potential to smash that price tag.
If you want to go more expensive with the Rockets, Christian Wood is listed as a center on DraftKings, where his $8,900 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 98%. He leads the position with 10 Pro Trends, and he’s scored at least 54.75 DraftKings points in each of his past two games. The Bulls are also a solid matchup, giving him an Opponent Plus/Minus of +1.47.
James Wiseman had a stretch where his playing time was on the decline, but it appears that stretch is over. He’s logged at least 26 minutes in back-to-back games, and he’s unsurprisingly posted a positive Plus/Minus in both contests. He’s a solid value option at his current price across the industry.