The NBA tips off the short workweek before Thanksgiving with a solid eight-game fantasy basketball slate on Monday night. Five of the 16 teams in action are playing for the second day in a row, so make sure to pay close attention to injury reports from the Boston Celtics, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets, and Sacramento Kings as they come out throughout the day. None of the 16 teams playing Monday turn around and play on Tuesday. The Pistons and the New York Knicks get an extended break and don’t play again until Friday.
With 16 teams taking the floor in some very interesting matchups, there are definitely some places to attack and others to avoid. 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 Rockets have been much more competitive this season under new coach Ime Udoka, and Fred VanVleet has been a key offseason addition. FVV stands out on this slate with the highest Projected Plus/Minus and Pts/Sal of all point guards on DraftKings and the third-highest at the position on FanDuel. VanVleet has a 70% Bargain Rating on DraftKings, where he matches 10 Pro Trends, the second most of any point guard on the slate.
On DraftKings, VanVleet has the fifth-highest median and floor projection at point guard, even though he only has the eighth-highest salary. On FanDuel, he has the fourth-highest median and floor projection and the sixth-highest salary.
So far this season, VanVleet has produced 1.04 DraftKings points and 0.98 FanDuel points per minute while playing 36.4 minutes per game. His workload has been trending up lately, though, and in his last four games, he has averaged 40.5 minutes per game. He has exceeded salary-based expectations in three of those four games with a pair of double-doubles in his last two games. He had a season-high 16 assists in Sunday night’s loss to the Lakers as he continues to settle into his new surroundings as the primary playmaker.
On Monday, FVV gets a favorable matchup against the Warriors and has an Opponents’ Plus/Minus of +1.22. He’s a great way to get stud production at a little bit of a discount, especially on DraftKings. As long as he plays his normal workload as projected, he should continue to lead the revitalized Rockets into this matchup by the Bay.
The Nuggets’ Sunday plans were spoiled in Cleveland, as they were blown out by the Cavs even though Donovan Mitchell was sidelined. As a result, Reggie Jackson only had to play 21 minutes after playing at least 24 minutes in each of his previous six games. Due to the limited workload, he only had seven points, snapping a streak of four straight games with at least 14 points.
Our projections think Jackson will bounce back on Monday against his former team in Detroit. He ranks in the top five of Projected Plus/Minus at point guard on both DraftKings and FanDuel. The Pistons have been an excellent matchup for opposing point guards, and Jackson has the fourth-highest Opponents Plus/Minus of all point guards.
Jackson has started the last six games while Jamal Murray (hamstring) has been sidelined. Over that span, he has averaged 0.77 DraftKings points and 0.74 FanDuel points per minute while playing 28.1 minutes per game. He showed he has a nice ceiling with a 20-point, six-assist performance during that span against the Warriors, and he could be in for a similar performance since this is such a good matchup for him on Monday, whether you buy into the revenge narrative or just like the Pistons’ lack of defense.
The top ceiling projection on both DraftKings and FanDuel at point guard comes from Damian Lillard since the Bucks have the highest implied team total on the slate in their visit to Washington. Lillard has exceeded salary-based expectations on FanDuel in six of his last seven games and has two big double-doubles in his three most recent contests.
LaMelo Ball has the highest median projection on DraftKings as he and the Hornets host the Celtics, and De’Aaron Fox has the highest floor projection on both DraftKings and FanDuel as the Kings visit the Pelicans. Fox has been on fire and has exceeded salary-based expectations on FanDuel in six straight games with an average Plus/Minus of +13.3 FanDuel points. He carried the Kings to a big win in Dallas on Sunday, and he is a great stud option to build around if you can fit his hefty salary under your cap.
Stephen Curry returned from injury on Saturday night and played 40 minutes in an overtime loss to the Thunder. He gets a good matchup at home against the Rockets as the Warriors try to snap their six-game losing streak.
All those elite options have higher ceilings than FVV, but VanVleet comes at a much more affordable price and still brings tons of upside. Around the same price as VanVleet, Jrue Holiday and Jalen Brunson also bring plenty of upside in their road matchups against the Hornets and the Timberwolves, respectively. Holiday brings the second-highest Projected Plus/Minus of all point guards on FanDuel, where he has a 90% Bargain Rating.
In the midrange, Mike Conley and Derrick White project to be solid options, while Jordan Poole has the third-highest Projected Plus/Minus at point guard on DraftKings.
If you need to go cheaper than even Jackson at point guard, the options are fairly limited unless a big-name option gets ruled out. Payton Pritchard has the potential to be a good option if the Celtics blow the Hornets out and rest their stars. While he’s only a shooting guard on FanDuel, on DraftKings, Brandin Podziemski can slide to point guard, where he brings the second-highest Projected Plus/Minus on the slate. He has been making the most of his expanded opportunity with the Warriors and has played at least 25 minutes in each of their last three games.
Alex Caruso and Josh Richardson are other affordable options that make sense on DraftKings
In yesterday’s blowout in Cleveland, Jalen Pickett got extra run and played well. He’s available for the minimum salary on DraftKings and FanDuel (where he is shooting guard eligible). Whether or not he earned more work with his solid showing remains to be seen, but he’s worth considering if you decide to pay all the way down at point guard to stack your roster in other spots.
NBA DFS Shooting Guard Picks
While there are several strong elite plays at point guard, one shooting guard clearly stands out above the rest in the projections for Monday night, and that’s the Clippers Paul George. George has the top ceiling, median, and floor projection of all shooting guards on both DraftKings and FanDuel. The projections also tag him as a great value, giving him the second-highest Projected Plus/Minus at the position on FanDuel and the third-highest on DraftKings.
Part of the reason for George’s outstanding outlook is that he’s in a smash spot against the Spurs. San Antonio plays at the fourth-fastest Pace in the NBA and has the second-worst Defensive Rating. As a result, George matches 12 Pro Trends on DraftKings, the second-most on the slate, and he also matches 12 Pro Trends on FanDuel, which is the second-most at shooting guard.
So far this season, George has posted 1.22 DraftKings points and 1.20 FanDuel points per minute. He seems to be adjusting well to the arrival of James Harden and has outperformed salary-based expectations in three straight games on both DraftKings and FanDuel. On FanDuel, he has outperformed salary-based expectations in eight of his last 10 games with an average Plus/Minus of 3.75 FanDuel points per game.
George has scored at least 35 points in three games already this season and is also turning in his usually solid non-scoring contributions across the boxscore.
PG’s teammate Norman Powell has the highest Projected Plus/Minus at shooting guard on DraftKings, and he matches George for the best Pts/Sal at the position. On FanDuel, Powell has the fourth-highest Projected Plus/Minus at shooting guard and the highest of any option at the position with a salary under $6K.
Powell has been very productive off the bench for the Clippers, averaging 0.8 DraftKings points and 0.78 FanDuel points per minute. He has scored double-digit points in nine of his past 10 games, highlighted by two games with 20 points against the Grizzlies and the Jazz.
Especially if this game gets lopsided, Powell should get plenty of run. The Clippers are not one of the teams on a back-to-back, so they’ll probably have all their players available, but even in that situation, Powell has been able to return excellent value.
The Clippers have the third-highest implied team total on the board in this matchup with the Spurs, so they should support several good options, including George and Powell at shooting guard.
Another Clippers option, James Harden, shows up very strongly in our FanDuel projections. He has a 93% Bargain Rating on that site and brings the highest Projected Plus/Minus at the position and the third-highest on the whole slate. On DraftKings, he’s priced up more but still has a positive Projected Plus/Minus and a high ceiling in this matchup in San Antonio.
Brandon Ingram is another high-end play with plenty of upside. He will be looking to score 20+ points for the eighth straight game as he and the Pelicans host the Kings. Ingram is a shooting guard on DraftKings and a small forward on FanDuel.
Jalen Green has the third-highest Projected Plus/Minus on FanDuel and a positive Projected Plus/Minus on DraftKings despite a disappointing nine-point showing against the Lakers on Sunday night. He had exceeded salary-based expectations in each of his previous five games and should be in a good bounce-back spot against the Warriors.
For the Celtics, Jaylen Brown also had an off night scoring on Sunday while playing through an adductor injury, but he was able to exceed salary-based expectations on FanDuel for the eighth time in his last nine games. Since the Celtics have the highest implied team total on the board in their juicy matchup vs. the Hornets, Brown deserves a look as long as he can give it a go through his injury again.
Zach LaVine continues to be the focus of all kinds of trade rumors, but he also continues to bring a high ceiling to every matchup. LaVine has exceeded salary-based expectations in four of his last six games, and when he does, he typically puts up big numbers.
In the midrange of the salary structure, Immanuel Quickley and Derrick White stand out as strong options, and White could get a boost if any of the Celtics’ starters sit. Duncan Robinson has been stepping up for the Heat with Tyler Herro (ankle) out and has exceeded salary-based expectations in four straight games on DraftKings and five straight games on FanDuel. He brings a high ceiling due to his scoring potential and is getting plenty of usage without Herro.
If you need to go cheaper at shooting guard, Powell is joined in the top value plays by Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Dillon Brooks, and Alec Burks. At the extremely cheap end of the player pool, Josh Richardson and Pat Connaughton also bring upside.
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NBA DFS Small Forward Picks
In the three games on the Celtics’ current road trip, Jayson Tatum hasn’t gone off for any huge performances, but Boston is 3-0, and he continues to post solid but not spectacular numbers. If there was a perfect spot for him to post a huge number, though, this matchup with the Hornets would be it. Last year, his two games in Charlotte resulted in 33 and 51 points and two of his best statistical games of the season. Maybe it’s the Duke connection, or maybe it’s because the Hornets don’t play a lot of defense, but either way, the ceiling is definitely there for the former Blue Devil in this matchup.
Tatum has been excellent overall this season, averaging 1.3 DraftKings points and 1.21 FanDuel points per minute. Those numbers are the best of all the small forwards on Monday’s slate by a wide margin. Tatum is easier to fit into your lineups on FanDuel, where he has a 79% Bargain Rating, but he actually stands out a little more on DraftKings since so much of his production comes from three-pointers, which are worth slightly more in the DraftKings scoring format.
If you are looking for a cheap value play on Monday’s slate, Corey Kispert is definitely worth a look. The Wizards have staggered to a 2-10 start and have lost five straight games. However, Kispert has been productive off the bench, especially since the injury to Delon Wright (knee). In the four games since Wright has been out, Kispert has averaged 25.7 minutes per game, producing 0.75 DraftKings points and 0.74 FanDuel points per minute with a 15.5% usage rate.
Kispert has exceeded salary-based expectations in all but one of those games and projects to do the same on Monday against the Bucks. On DraftKings, he has the fourth-highest Projected Plus/Minus of all shooting guards and the fifth-highest of all small forwards. On FanDuel, he’s only eligible at small forward, where he has the third-highest Projected Plus/Minus of the small forward options priced under $5K.
The Wizards should continue to give their first-round pick from two years ago plenty of playing time to see if he can be part of their future. For as long as he’s getting this much worth off the bench, he’ll be a great value option in the Wizards typically high-scoring contests.
Paul George (discussed above) is a great option at small forward too along with Kawhi Leonard, who gets the added juice of returning to San Antonio.
Michael Porter Jr. has the third-highest Projected Plus/Minus at the position on both FanDuel and DraftKings in what should be a great spot against the Pistons. Porter has picked up a lot of the scoring load while Murray has been out and has been a good fantasy option as a result.
On the other side of that matchup, Ausar Thompson continues to impress in his rookie year for the Pistons. He has produced 1.11 DraftKings points and 1.13 FanDuel points per minute. His salary has climbed to the point where he’s no longer a value play, but he still brings an outstanding ceiling. DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Kuzma are priced right around the same level as the rookie and offer more scoring potential, although they haven’t been as consistent as Thompson this season.
If he’s able to return after missing Sunday’s win, Kevin Huerter is one of the top midrange options in our projections, along with his teammate Keegan Murray. If Red Velvet is out again, Murray, Harrison Barnes, Malik Monk, and Chris Duarte will all get extra usage.
Especially on DraftKings, Miles Bridges appears to be underpriced. He has an 80% Bargain Rating and matches 13 Pro Trends on DraftKings. He has looked very strong in his two games since returning from his suspension. For as long as Terry Rozier (groin) stays sidelined, there should be plenty of usage for Bridges, and he brings a high ceiling as a result.
Norman Powell is a great value play at this spot, along with Kispert. Dillon Brooks and Pat Connaughton can also slide to small forward on FanDuel, while Jaden McDaniels also stands out as a value play in DraftKings, where he has a 76% Bargain Rating.
NBA DFS Power Forward Picks
Whenever he is on the slate, Giannis Antetokounmpo deserves consideration. He has the second-highest ceiling and median projection on the entire slate and is in a great matchup against the Wizards, who are second in the NBA in Pace and have the sixth-worst defensive efficiency. Giannis has a +6.01 Opponents Plus/Minus on FanDuel, which is higher than any other player’s on the slate. He ranks third in that category on DraftKings but still leads that category at both power forward and center.
So far this season, the megastar has produced 1.59 DraftKings points and 1.54 Fanduel points per minute. He had 40 points, 15 boards, and seven assists in 38 minutes on Saturday as he led the Bucks to a big win over the visiting Mavericks. Even with Lillard in town, Giannis is posting huge usage numbers. He has a 37.8% usage rate on the season and has the highest usage projection on the slate at 33.4% on Monday.
If he gets his usual workload against the woeful Wizards in D.C., Giannis should be in a smash spot Monday night.
Aaron Gordon owns the highest Projected Plus/Minus on the whole slate on FanDuel and the second-highest on DraftKings. Gordon has scored double-digit points in eight straight games, producing 1.03 DraftKings and 1.03 FanDuel points per minute. He has a 19.3% Usage rate over that eight-game span and is projected for a similar 18.8% usage rate on Monday.
Gordon’s matchup with the Pistons sets him up to return great value, according to our projections. He is in the top 13 in ceiling, median, and floor projections at the position on both DraftKings and FanDuel, and he brings the top Pts/Sal at the position on both sites.
Victor Wembanyama continues to be a ton of fun to watch and a good play in fantasy lineups, even though the Spurs keep sinking. Wemby has exceeded salary-based expectations on FanDuel in four of his last five games and just posted over 60 FanDuel points in his eight-block performance on Saturday. He projects for the sixth-highest Projected Plus/Minus at power forward on DraftKings and the fourth-highest at center. On FanDuel, he also has a positive Projected Plus/Minus with the fifth-highest at power forward and the third-highest at center. He isn’t quite as consistent and reliable yet as Giannis and Nikola Jokic (discussed below), but it’s amazing how quickly he’s getting close to that level and regularly returning good production at his salary.
Zion Williamson is expected to return for the Pelicans after sitting on Saturday. He has exceeded salary-based expectations on FanDuel in five of his past seven games he has played. He has a 92% Bargain Rating on FanDuel for tonight’s slate as well.
For mid-range options, Jabari Smith Jr. joins Keegan Murray as a second-year player who is projected to produce positive Plus/Minus. Deni Avdija is also a strong play in the $6K range and has exceeded salary-based expectations on FanDuel in seven of his past 10 games with an average Plus/Minus of 4.86 FanDuel points.
Andrew Wiggins finally broke out of his shooting slump and dropped 31 points on Saturday. The Rockets should be a good matchup for him to build on that momentum, and the opportunities should still be there while Draymond Green (suspension) is out and Klay Thompson is struggling.
If you have to go even cheaper at power forward, Danilo Gallinari, Naz Reid, and Terance Mann project to be the best bargain options.
NBA DFS Center Picks
He’s the most expensive player on the slate, but Nikola Jokic has the highest ceiling, median and floor projections by wide margins. Despite his hefty price tag, Jokic has the fourth-highest Projected Plus/Minus on the entire slate on DraftKings and the second-highest on FanDuel.
On Sunday, the Joker only played 28 minutes since the Cavs blew out the Nuggets. It was his first game falling below salary-based expectations in eight games. He has been showing how elite his ceiling is with over 67 DraftKings points in seven straight games, including at least 79 DraftKings points in three of those games. He has posted an outstanding 1.89 DraftKings points and 1.79 FanDuel points per minute this season
The Pistons provide a soft bounce-back spot for Jokic and the Nuggets to quickly purge Sunday’s loss from their memory. He should be set up for success in this tasty matchup, especially with the Pistons short-handed without Jalen Duren (ankle).
Hornets big-man Mark Williams has the highest Projected Plus/Minus on DraftKings at the position and the second-highest on FanDuel, just behind Jokic.
In his 12 starts this season, Williams has shot an impressive 72.2% from the field while averaging 13.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. He scored double-digit points in seven straight games before managing just seven points on Saturday against the Knicks. He has produced 1.24 DraftKings points and 1.18 FanDuel points per minute, so he should be able to bounce back with a good showing against Boston in the matchup with the third-highest over/under on the slate.
Domantas Sabonis had another big game on Sunday and has exceeded salary-based expectations in six straight games. Now that Fox is back running the show, Sabonis is a nightly threat for a triple-double and brings a ceiling almost as high as Jokic’s. If you can’t quite afford to pay up for Jokic, Sabonis is a solid alternative in his matchup with the Pels.
Even with Jimmy Butler back for the Heat, Bam Adebayo continues to get enough usage to deliver. He had 24 points and 10 boards against the Bulls on Friday, and he’ll look for similar production in the rematch on Monday.
In the midrange, Brook Lopez and Zach Collins also show well in our projections, although their production can be a little inconsistent depending on how their usage shakes out in a given matchup.
After coming off the bench for the two games Steph Curry missed, Kevon Looney was back in the starting five on Saturday and had a season-high 16 rebounds. Looney looked good in each of the last two matchups for the Warriors and should be a strong value option with Green still out.
If you need a bargain play at center, Naz Reid, Kevin Love, and JaVale McGee stand out as the best options at this point, but other values may emerge as injury reports come out throughout the day. Always be sure to check the Models for updates as we approach tip-off.