After a busy weekend in the NBA, there are four games on tap for Monday to get the work week off to a strong start. The Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, and Washington Wizards are playing for the second day in a row, but none of the eight teams in action have to play again on Tuesday’s upcoming 10-game bonanza.
Even with a lighter slate, there are some great matchups to check out, and some good fantasy plays to take advantage of. Let’s dive into some of the top plays on the slate using the FantasyLabs tools and projections.
Note: Projections and Leverages Scores/Ratings may change throughout the day after this article is posted. The NBA DFS landscape changes quickly.
Consult the NBA Player Models directly for any updates as we get closer to lock.
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NBA DFS Point Guard Picks
The return of Darius Garland helped the Cavs pick up a pair of wins over the Warriors in their last three games, and the All-Star point guard is still relatively affordable in comparison to his ceiling. He’s significantly cheaper than his teammate Donovan Mitchell, who is also a strong play. Garland projects to be a better option in terms of production for his salary.
In his most recent matchup, Garland had his best showing of the season, producing 42 DraftKings points and 43.2 FanDuel points in 34 minutes on Saturday night against the Warriors. He had a well-balanced line of 19 points, six assists, five steals, and four rebounds after falling just one assist short of a double-double on Wednesday in his previous contest.
After missing two weeks with a hamstring injury, it looks like he’s back to full strength and ready to carry most of the play-making responsibilities in the Cavs’ backcourt. He and Mitchell make a great tandem and have a good matchup against the Kings in the late game. Both are strong options to consider, but Garland offers an elite ceiling from his salary barely over $7K on DraftKings.
Even though De’Aaron Fox (ankle) appears to be nearing a return, he is listed as doubtful for Monday’s matchup with the Cavs. If he misses another game, it should give his teammates continued opportunities to provide great value while filling in for him. Malik Monk brings the most Pts/Sal and the highest Projected Plus/Minus on the slate at point guard on both DraftKings and FanDuel.
Editor’s note: De’Aaron Fox reportedly could still play Monday night. Check NBA Models for updates.
Monk has had a few duds while Fox has been sidelined, but overall, he has stepped up, especially lately. On the season, he is averaging 1.19 DraftKings points and 1.14 FanDuel points per minute. Without Fox on the floor, his usage increases by almost two full percentage points to 29.2%. Since Fox was injured six games ago, Monk’s per-minute averages have increased to 1.23 DraftKings points and 1.17 FanDeul points per minute, and he has been playing an average of 23 minutes per game.
Monk projects to be one of the best values on the board again on Monday, and in addition, Keon Ellis is worth a look as one of the best bargain plays in the backcourt. Ellis is only a point guard on DraftKings and only a shooting guard on FanDuel, but he projects well on both sites. He has the second-highest Projected Plus/Minus of all point guards on DraftKings behind only Monk and the highest Projected Plus/Minus at shooting guard on FanDuel.
Ellis has exceeded salary-based expectations in three straight games and started each of the past two contests, allowing Davion Mitchell to return to his role in the second unit. The rookie from Alabama hasn’t gone off for huge games but has definitely done enough to be worth a look under $4K if he’s in the lineup again. Ellis brings the highest Projected Plus/Minus on the entire slate on FanDuel.
Damian Lillard is expected to return for the Bucks, and he carried the team to a big victory in his most recent appearance last Wednesday before sitting out two games with a calf injury. He has an extremely high ceiling but is high-risk since the team may ease him back into his full workload. If he’s limited or out, Cameron Payne would be his replacement. Payne did fine while Lillard was out but will be very over-priced if Lillard returns as expected.
Two of the best midrange point guards on any teams this season have been Jrue Holiday and Dennis Schroder. Schroder is a little cheaper and, therefore brings better Pts/Sal and Projected Plus/Minus on this slate, although both have been strong so far this season. Schroder is averaging 1.1 DraftKings points and 1.05 FanDuel points per minute with his new team and has exceeded salary-based expectations in six of his nine games with double-digit scoring in every contest and four double-doubles. In an outstanding matchup with the Wizards, Schroder is a strong option to consider and is second only to Monk in terms of Projected Plus/Minus on FanDuel.
Coby White has been on a nice roll for the Bulls and has exceeded salary-based expectations in five straight games. During that span, he has an Average Plus/Minus of 6.47 DraftKings points and 11.1 FanDuel points. He has at least five assists in four straight games and continues to offer good outside shooting to go with his playmaking production. He’ll get even more work if Alex Caruso (toe) misses a second straight game. Coby White has a slightly higher ceiling projection than Derrick White (not related) of the Celtics, who has also started the season strong but has more options to defer to in Boston.
If you have to go cheap at point guard, Ellis is the best option on DraftKings by a wide margin, but Payton Pritchard and Landry Shamet are also worth a look under $4K. On FanDuel, Colby White is a great option in the mid-$5K range but things get very questionable in a hurry after that. Jevon Carter is under $4K and has been getting some worth with the Bulls, and Pritchard can still work, although he’s priced up to $4,500 on that site.
NBA DFS Shooting Guard Picks
The highest over/under on this four-game slate comes from the Bucks and Bulls matchup, according to our Vegas Dashboard. As a result, Zach LaVine has the second-highest ceiling and median projections from this position and the third-highest floor projection. He has flashed a very high ceiling this season with his 51-point performance against the Pistons, and he has also been relatively consistent, producing 0.97 DraftKings points and 0.93 FanDuel points per minute on the season.
LaVine has a 28.2% usage rate to lead the Bulls and has played an average of 34.6 minutes per game this year. He matches nine Pro Trends on FanDuel, more than any other shooting guard, and six Pro Trends on DraftKings. The Bulls are on the second game of a back-to-back, so be sure that you check for any news that could impact LaVine’s usage. He’s a strong option if everyone plays, but could be even better if DeMar DeRozan or Nikola Vucevic are rested.
For value at shooting guard, we go back to the Kings. In addition to Monk and Ellis, Kevin Huerter projects to be a great play. He has the highest Projected Plus/Minus at any position on DraftKings and the second-highest at shooting guard on FanDuel, behind only Ellis. While he’s only a shooting guard on DraftKings, he also brings small forward eligibility on FanDuel along with an 83% Bargain Rating.
Red Velvet has exceeded salary-based expectations in four of his last six games, including each of his last two. He’s coming off a season-high 51.25 DraftKings points and 51.8 FanDuel points in Friday’s win over the Thunder. He had 28 points, nine rebounds, three steals, and two assists in that contest and raised his average to 1.04 DraftKings points and 1.01 FanDuel points per minute when he is on the floor without Fox.
Huerter actually has the third-highest ceiling projection of all shooting guards on DraftKings, even though he only has the 11th-highest salary. With Fox’s return coming soon, this should be the last time Huerter and Monk have to carry the load, so expect a solid game from them, even though it’s a pace-down matchup against Cleveland.
Mitchell brings the highest ceiling projection at the position and is definitely worth a look if you have the salary to spend. Jaylen Brown usually plays well against the Knicks, and also makes sense after scoring 28 and 29 points in his past two games. He does have plenty of strong teammates as well, though, so his role fluctuates from game to game.
In the midrange, OG Anunoby (questionable, finger) is worth a look if he’s available as he tries to bounce back from a rough game on Saturday against Brown and the Celtics. Before scoring just eight points in that contest, Anunoby dropped 24 and 26 points while also contributing good non-scoring numbers and exceeding salary-based expectations.
Another great play in the midrange is Caris LeVert, who has stayed very productive even after Garland’s return. He has over 20 points and over 40 fantasy points in each of his last two games and has exceeded salary-based expectations in both of those contests.
Immanuel Quickley has also been on a nice run for the Knicks with at least 14 points in five of his last six games. He has been a great spark off the bench and had a strong game with 41 DraftKings points in the season-opener against the Celtics.
On the cheap side, Marjon Beauchamp is definitely worth a look on DraftKings, where he is only $3.3K. He has contributed solid stats off the bench for a play so cheap and is projected to get 24 minutes of action in this matchup. He has the third-highest Projected Plus/Minus of all shooting guards on DraftKings. Landry Shamet is just behind him and also comes at a bargain salary of just $3,500 on DraftKings.
On FanDuel, the best cheap option is definitely Gary Trent Jr. (foot, questionable) if he plays. Shamet is also a strong option at shooting guard if you have to go cheap, or you could turn to Pat Connaughton of the Bucks.
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NBA DFS Small Forward Picks
Before Saturday’s disappointing game in Boston, Scottie Barnes exceeded salary-based expectations in eight straight games to start the season. At small forward, he has the highest median, ceiling, and floor projection on FanDuel and the second-highest ceiling and floor projection on DraftKings. He’s very close in each of those categories on both sites with Jayson Tatum, who costs significantly more than Barnes. Barnes also brings point guard eligibility on DraftKings, giving him even more flexibility in that format.
Barnes has the third-highest Projected Plus/Minus of all small forwards on DraftKings and is tied for the most Pts/Sal. He is a little pricer on FanDuel but still brings this sixth-highest Projected Plus/Minus at the position.
On Saturday, Barnes’s down game was due to limited minutes in Toronto’s blowout loss. He still has an Average Plus/Minus of +8.47 DraftKings points and +8.79 FanDuel points per game on the season. He is also still averaging 1.36 DraftKings and 1.34 FanDuel points per minute. For comparison, that’s more DraftKings points per minute than Domantas Sabonis or Jason Tatum, who both cost over $10K.
Barnes gets a great bounce-back matchup against the Wizards, who lead the NBA in Pace and rank fourth-worst in Defensive Rating.
On the other side of that matchup, Deni Avdija brings the highest Projected Plus/Minus from all small forwards on both DraftKings and FanDuel. In fact, on FanDuel, he has the highest Projected Plus/Minus on the whole slate. Avdija has lived up to his big offseason contract so far for the Wizards, averaging 1.06 DraftKings points and 1.05 FanDuel points per minute.
Avdija has exceeded salary-based expectations in five of his last seven games and fell just one rebound short of his first double-double of the season on Sunday. His efficiency still comes and goes at times, but he’s getting enough volume to overcome that and still be a very solid option at just over $6K on DraftKings and just under $6K on FanDuel, where he has a 90% Bargain Rating.
Another big name that projects for a big game on Monday is DeMar DeRozan of the Bulls, who is in the top five of Projected Plus/Minus on both DraftKings and FanDuel. He has exceeded salary-based expectations in three straight games and continues to reliably put up good numbers on a daily basis. If LaVine or another significant contributor is sidelined and DeRozan plays, his ceiling could be even higher, but even if everyone is on the floor, he brings relatively low risk and high upside to this showdown with the Bucks.
Jayson Tatum always brings a high ceiling but is actually projected to finish with a negative Projected Plus/Minus in this matchup with the Knicks. He is very pricey compared to other options at small forward and is a reach unless you expect him to really go off against New York.
Max Strus and Khris Middleton are two plays that look solid in the $5,000 range, although Strus has been more consistent and brings a little more upside since Middleton is still just working his way back to full strength.
Bilal Coulibaly is eligible at small forward on both DraftKings and FanDuel even though he doesn’t fit in the typical box for the position. The No. 7 pick in June’s NBA draft brings a gigantic wingspan and plenty of raw athleticism. He dropped 20 points while adding four steals in 34 minutes on Sunday and could be playing his way into a much larger role. He’s still a bit of a wild card since his role is uncertain, but his pure upside is hard to pass up at a bargain salary.
With Delon Wright (knee) out for several weeks, Corey Kispert joins Coulibaly and Shamet as cheap plays for Washington, who should have a chance to step into larger roles. He represents a good cheap play along with Torrey Craig of the Bulls, Sam Hauser of the Celtics, and Marjon Beauchamp of the Bucks, who only fits at small forward on FanDuel.
NBA DFS Power Forward Picks
As he typically does, Giannis Antetokounmpo unsurprisingly brings the highest median, ceiling, and floor projection on the entire slate on both DraftKings and FanDuel. Also, as usual, he is the most expensive player on both sites by a significant margin.
With Dame’s expected return, he doesn’t have quite the same value projections, but he still has so much potential and such a high ceiling. Last Thursday with Lillard, Giannis posted a massive 47.9% usage rate and poured in 54 points on his way to 71 DraftKings points and 64.9 FanDuel points. He followed that up on Saturday with 35 points, 68.5 DraftKings points, and 69.5 FanDuel points against the Magic. In his last three games, he has put up an unreal 1.88 DraftKings points and 1.85 FanDuel points per minute.
Even though he’ll have more help, don’t look for Antetokounmpo to let up since the Bucks have lost each of the last two games. He should remain in “Beast Mode” for this matchup with the Bulls, and he should be able to have another big game since the Bucks have the highest implied team total on the board, and he’s still projected for 34% usage.
Continuing our Sacramento value focus, Keegan Murray has the second-highest Projected Plus/Minus of all power forwards on DraftKings and the third-highest of all power forwards on FanDuel.
The second-year forward is coming off a 24-point, 11-rebound double-double in Friday’s win over the Thunder and has exceeded salary-based expectations in each of his last two contests. In that double-double, Murray logged a season-high 40 minutes, and he should thrive against the Cavs if he’s in a similar role on Monday.
Murray has a very high ceiling for a player with a salary just above $6K. No player at any position who is cheaper than him on either DraftKings or FanDuel can match Murray’s ceiling projection.
Torrey Craig brings the highest Projected Plus/Minus on DraftKings at power forward since he still costs just $4K.
Pascal Siakam started the season slowly before posting a monster game in Dallas last Wednesday. He couldn’t keep it rolling in Boston on Saturday, but his great matchup with the Wizards may be just what he needs to get back on track.
On the other side of that matchup, Kyle Kuzma also has a high ceiling at power forward, although his production has been hit-or-miss this season.
Evan Mobley started the season strong while filling in for Jarrett Allen but has cooled off in the past few games since Allen’s return. Julius Randle has been trending the other way and has exceeded salary-based expectations with three straight double-doubles in three straight games with DFS contests. He also exceeded salary-based expectations in his first matchup against the Celtics this season.
In the midrange, Deni Avdija is a solid option once again, while Bobby Portis and Kristaps Porzingis have shown flashes of big potential when it’s their turn to step up for their teams. Each project to be a high-risk option at their salaries on this slate, though.
There aren’t many punt plays at this spot aside from Craig on DraftKings and maybe Patrick Williams (finger, probable), who comes with a very limited ceiling. On FanDuel, Precious Achiuwa and Harrison Barnes also have decent Projected Plus/Minus from the shallow end of the player pool.
NBA DFS Center Picks
Editor’s note: De’Aaron Fox reportedly could still play Monday night. Check NBA Models for updates.
Domantas Sabonis brings the second-highest median, ceiling, and floor projection on both DraftKings and FanDuel on the entire slate. On DraftKings, Giannis is eligible at power forward and center while Sabonis is only a center, and on FanDuel, Sabonis is eligible at power forward and center while Giannis is only a power forward. On both sites, Sabonis is significantly cheaper than Giannis and has better projections on a per-dollar basis. In fact, on DraftKings, Sabonis is in the top eight in Pts/Sal on the whole slate, and on FanDuel, he’s in the top 10 in Projected Plus/Minus.
Sabonis had a pair of down games against the Rockets while the Kings lost back-to-back games in Houston last week, but he has bounced back with a pair of excellent games at home against the Trail Blazers and Thunder that each resulted in over 50 fantasy points. On Wednesday, he had 27 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists, falling just short of a triple-double, and then he finished the deed on Friday with 17 points, 13 assists, and 13 boards against OKC.
In his eight games this season, Sabonis has produced 1.37 DraftKings points and 1.30 FanDuel points per minute. On the entire slate, only Giannis and Donovan Mitchell have outdone those numbers on a per-minute basis.
Even though he’s in a pace-down matchup against the Cavs’ rugged defensive interior with Mobley and Allen, he still brings a very high ceiling and can be one of the best pay-up options on the board. Sabonis has carried the Kings in the last two games at home without Fox, and he’ll be looking to do so one more time before hopefully getting his running mate back on Wednesday.
After getting a late start to the season, Jarrett Allen is still ramping back up to full speed, but he’s starting to get back to his normal workload. He’s projected for 27.9 minutes on Monday night against Sabonis and the Kings, and he should be able to return the best value for any center under $6K if he’s on the floor that long.
He has the third-highest Projected Plus/Minus at center on DraftKings and the sixth-highest at the position on FanDuel. Allen has scored double-digit points in each of his four games since returning and played a season-high 28 minutes on Saturday against the Warriors. He’s the kind of versatile big man who can produce in multiple categories and brings plenty of upside. He’s a great value play, especially on DraftKings, where he matches five Pro Trends and brings a 76% Bargain Rating.
If you have to go cheap at center, Precious Achiuwa is a nice fit in a favorable matchup against Washington. He will likely produce if he’s on the floor, but his minutes have been inconsistent in the early part of the season. Andre Drummond is another name to consider since he has exceeded salary-based expectations in three of his past four games and is coming off a big double-double on Sunday against the Pistons. Chris Boucher is also a flier that makes sense if you’re desperate on FanDuel since he does have a 90% Bargain Rating and comes at a salary under $4K.
If you have some salary to spend but can’t get all the way up to Sabonis or Giannis, Nikola Vucevic is a strong play to consider from the upper-midrange tier. Vucevic has posted back-to-back strong games with over 20 points against the Suns and Pistons and will look to help the Bulls stay in their battle with the Bucks in what should be a fantasy-friendly environment Monday night.
Mitchell Robinson and Al Horford chip in some strong non-scoring stats in some games, but they have failed to live up to salary-based expectations for the most part this season. It’s better to take a shot on Allen or even Daniel Gafford in the midrange since they’re projected to be in more significant roles on Monday.