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 three-game slate starting at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Trae Young has been a massive disappointment in his past two games, scoring 29.0 FanDuel points or less in both contests. That said, there doesn’t seem to be too much cause for concern.
His poor production has been due to a combination of poor shooting — he’s shot just 27.3% from the field and 7.1% from 3-point range — and playing reduced minutes in blowouts. He continues to command one of the largest usage rates in basketball, so his fantasy scoring should bounce back once he starts making his jumper again.
Unfortunately, he’s not in an ideal spot vs. the Hornets. They’ve played at the slowest pace in the league this season, making this a massive pace down situation for the Hawks. He’s still worth some consideration on FanDuel give his Bargain Rating of 96%, but he offers less upside than usual.
The Bucks will be without Giannis Antetokounmpo for at least one more game, which makes Eric Bledsoe one of the easiest plays of the day. He’s increased his usage rate by +5.8% in five games without Giannis this season, resulting in an average of 44.15 DraftKings points per game. That’s good for an average Plus/Minus of +13.5 despite an average salary of $6,500. He’s priced at just $5,700 for today’s matchup vs. the Nuggets, so don’t overthink this one.
Jamal Murray has one of the best matchups at the position. The Bucks have played at the fastest pace in basketball this season, and they obviously aren’t as good defensively with Giannis off the court. The Suns dropped 140 points on the Giannis-less Bucks yesterday, and they’re not exactly an offensive juggernaut. Overall, Murray’s Opponent Plus/Minus of +2.79 on FanDuel ranks second at the position.
Kyle Lowry leads the position with 12 Pro Trends on FanDuel, where his $7,300 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 98%. He would be a particularly appealing option if Fred VanVleet is ultimately ruled out. He currently has just a 25% chance of playing according to the Labs’ Insiders tool, and Lowry has seen the largest usage bump on the team with VanVleet off the court this season.
Khris Middleton is to the SG position what Bledsoe is to PG. Quite simply, it’s hard to make a case that he shouldn’t be in all of your lineups tonight. He’s increased his usage rate by a team-high +6.9% with Giannis out of the lineup this season, resulting in an average of 46.32 DraftKings points per game. He posted a usage rate of over 40% yesterday vs. the Suns, so he has monster upside at his current price tag.
Playing Bledsoe and Middleton together shouldn’t be a problem either: They have a correlation of +0.26 on FanDuel, which is the top mark for both players.
Kevin Huerter has been an awesome value recently, posting an average Plus/Minus of +8.26 over his past 10 games on FanDuel. His price has remained pretty stagnant at just $5,000, which makes him an excellent target vs. the Hornets. He’s currently projected for 37.0 minutes in our NBA Models, and players with comparable salaries and minute projections have historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +4.19 (per the Trends tool).
Norman Powell has wasted no time reintegrating himself into the Raptors’ rotation. He’s played just five games since returning from injury, but he’s logged at least 38 minutes in each of the past four. He should carry another large workload today if VanVleet is inactive, and Powell has averaged 0.96 FanDuel points per minute this season.
The SG position is much weaker today on DraftKings, where Middleton only has SF eligibility. With that in mind, grabbing someone like Cody Martin makes a lot of sense. He’s played a bunch of minutes recently for the Hornets — he’s currently projected for 29.5 — and the Hornets are in one of the best spots of the day vs. the Hawks. They currently rank fifth in pace and 28th in defensive efficiency, and the Hornets’ implied team total of 109.75 represents a massive increase compared to their season average of 102.2.
Pascal Siakam stands out in his own tier at SF on FanDuel. He’s more than $2,000 more expensive than the second-priciest option (Bojan Bogdanovic), and he leads all players at the position in projected minutes and fantasy points per minute in our NBA Models. His 13 Pro Trends also ranks first at the position on FanDuel, where his $7,900 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 97%.
De’Andre Hunter is coming off just 9.5 FanDuel points in his last game, but he’s still been an excellent value recently. He’s averaged a Plus/Minus of +6.10 over his past 10 contests, and he’s been playing a ton of minutes in games that have stayed competitive. He’s currently projected for 35.7 minutes in our NBA Models, which makes him a very reasonable option at $4,600.
Bogdanovic is definitely in play for the Jazz, who actually own the top implied team total of the day at 114.25 points. He’s averaged 0.95 DraftKings points per minute this season and has scored at least 41.25 DraftKings points in two of his past four games, so he has a nice ceiling at $6,100.
Will Barton is coming off a huge performance in his last game, but his salary remains very reasonable at just $5,300 on FanDuel. It results in a Bargain Rating of 96%, and Barton has averaged a Plus/Minus of +5.78 with a comparable salary this season.
John Collins stands out as the top option of the day at the PF position. He’s been awesome over his past 10 games, posting an average Plus/Minus of +6.35 on FanDuel, and he’s in a wonderful spot today vs. the Hornets. They rank just 25th in team rebound rate, giving Collins an Opponent Plus/Minus of +1.90 on FanDuel. He leads the position with 11 Pro Trends, and his $8,600 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 89%.
On the other side of that matchup, P.J. Washington is a strong option for the Hornets. He’s posted a positive Plus/Minus in six straight games on FanDuel, and he’s played at least 31.4 minutes in each of them. He’s averaged 0.89 FanDuel points per minute this season, so he can do some damage at just $5,200 on FanDuel.
Sticking with the Hornets, Miles Bridges has some appeal on DraftKings given his dual SF/PF eligibility. He’s facing more competition for minutes now than he was early in the season, but he’s also increased his fantasy production to 0.91 DraftKings points per minute over the past month. He also benefits from the same elite matchup as the rest of his teammates, resulting in an Opponent Plus/Minus of +1.96.
Marc Gasol returned to the Raptors lineup yesterday, but he was limited to just 16 minutes. He probably won’t see a huge bump in playing time on the second leg of a back-to-back set, so Serge Ibaka should continue to see an increased workload. He logged 35.8 minutes yesterday, and he’s averaged 1.13 FanDuel points per minute this season. He’s in a tough spot vs. the Jazz, but he’s underpriced if he’s going to continue to see that much playing time.
Nikola Jokic is coming off a poor game in his last outing, scoring just 30.0 DraftKings points in a potential smash spot vs. the Cavs. That said, we know Jokic is prone to a poor game from time-to-time, and it doesn’t change the fact that he owns one of the highest ceilings in the league.
He’s going to be a key player on today’s slate. It is very limited in terms of star power, so Jokic should command a good bit of ownership. If he goes off, there’s a very good chance that he’s going to be in the winning lineup. If he busts, the people who faded him are going to be in an excellent position to climb the leaderboard.
So will he boom or bust today vs. the Bucks? No one can answer that question with any degree of certainty, but he is in a good spot. He owns an Opponent Plus/Minus of +3.86 on DraftKings, and he leads all centers with 10 Pro Trends. The Nuggets are also in the largest pace-up spot of the day, giving Jokic and his teammates a pace differential of +7.6. That should theoretically result in a few additional opportunities for Jokic to rack up fantasy points.
If you don’t want to pay up for Jokic — which is definitely reasonable — there are some strong value options to consider. Dewayne Dedmon stands out as one of the best values at the position on DraftKings, where his $4,100 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 87%. He’s not playing a ton of minutes at the moment, but he’s increased his fantasy production to 1.07 DraftKings points per minute over the past month. His matchup vs. the Hornets is also a good one, resulting in an Opponent Plus/Minus of +3.46.
Brook Lopez is also an option if you don’t want to pay up for Jokic. He leads the position with an Opponent Plus/Minus of +4.44 on FanDuel, and he should be another member of the Bucks’ who benefits from the absence of Giannis. He’s increased his usage rate by +5.3% in games without Giannis this season, resulting in an average of 26.39 FanDuel points per game.
Pictured: Nuggets C Nikola Jokic (15)
Photo Credit: Garrett Ellwood-NBAE via Getty Images