The NBA Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each day’s slate, using the FantasyLabs Tools and metrics to highlight notable players.
Monday features an 11-game main slate starting at 7:00 pm ET. There are many ‘studs’ out, like Nikola Jokic, Anthony Davis, Kristaps Porzingis, Matthew Dellavedova, and John Wall, which means there should be value galore. Let’s dive in.
The ‘stud’ tier of the point guard position isn’t great Monday: Stephen Curry leads all options by $1,400 on FanDuel, and he’s been disappointing as a DFS asset of late, averaging a 40 percent Consistency Rating over his past 10 games. Still, there’s reason for optimism tonight: He’s been struggling with a right hand contusion, although he shot the ball better in his last game against the Miami Heat.
There’s risk, but he does own the slate’s highest projected ceiling.
Dipping down a little, we get to Kemba Walker, who is on track to play today after missing the past two games with a left shoulder AC contusion. He hasn’t been much better than Steph lately, hitting value in only five of his past 10 games, but he does have a brilliant matchup against the Orlando Magic, who have easily been the worst team in the league against opposing PGs this season, evidenced by Kemba’s sky-high +7.11 FanDuel Opponent Plus/Minus mark. He has historically smashed with a similar mark.
On the other side of that game sits Elfrid Payton, who played a season-high 34.3 minutes in his last game, going for 34.0 DraftKings points against the Knicks. Our NBA News feed had a wonderful blurb on the Magic this morning, so I’ll just kick to them:
The Magic are currently 7.5-point road underdogs on the second leg of a back-to-back set, a situation that has favored Payton. Under such circumstances, he’s averaged a +3.97 DraftKings Plus/Minus with 65.3 percent Consistency during his career. He’s also exceeded salary-based expectations in five of his last seven games, overlapping the point when Jonathon Simmons replaced Terrence Ross in the starting lineup.
Payton is quite cheap on DraftKings, where his $6,000 salary comes with a 99 percent Bargain Rating.
Spencer Dinwiddie is coming off a 42-point DraftKings outing, and he’s had low ownership ever since his salary has hit the $7,000 range. He’s right there today, and he has a nice matchup against a Hawks squad that ranks 23rd in defensive efficiency on the year, allowing 108.2 points per 100 possessions. He has a large +5.35 Opponent Plus/Minus.
Jamal Murray crushed in his last game, putting up 44.5 DraftKings points in 33.1 minutes of action. In that first game sans Jokic, he led the team with a massive 34.3 percent usage rate. At only $5,100, that’ll play.
It kills me to admit, but Victor Oladipo deserves his position-high $9,200 price tag on FanDuel. He put up 68.4 fantasy points in his last outing, and he’s been incredibly valuable as a DFS asset of late:
He probably won’t be incredibly popular given the other high-priced options, but he could certainly put up a huge game again versus the Knicks, who rank 16th in defensive efficiency on the year and will be without Porzingis. The biggest concern here is the blowout factor: The Pacers are currently 10-point home favorites, and the Knicks could struggle to score without Porzingis and Tim Hardaway Jr.
Last game, without Brow, E’Twaun Moore scored 19 real life points against a Trail Blazers defense that ranks fourth in the league. Unfortunately, that amounted to a low 13.9 percent usage rate, and he finished with 19.7 FanDuel points thanks to his lack of peripheral stats. He has played 34.3 and 36.1 minutes in his last two games and should be there again tonight against the Golden State Warriors. Given his fantasy profile, he’s a classic cash-but-not-tournament type of player tonight. His price tag of $4,000 is just too cheap, evidenced by his position-high +3.39 Projected Plus/Minus.
Gary Harris played 34.2 minutes and saw a 4.6 percentage point usage bump in the first game without Jokic. He’s in a pace-down spot against the slow-paced Mavericks, but he’s affordable at $5,800 on DraftKings, where he comes with a 93 percent Bargain Rating.
One of the biggest pricing discrepancies today is with Jimmy Butler, who is expensive on FanDuel at $8,400 but very cheap on DraftKings at $6,900. No surprise: He owns a 99 percent Bargain Rating on the latter site, along with a position-high 13 Pro Trends. He went for 53.5 DraftKings points in his last outing and has played at least 39 minutes in his last two. He’s way too cheap on DraftKings.
Three SF options are above $10,000 on FanDuel in Giannis Antetokounmpo, LeBron James, and Kevin Durant. Giannis is the most expensive of the three, and he also owns the worst matchup against the Boston Celtics, who still rank first in defensive efficiency on the year, allowing just 98.9 points per 100 possessions. There are few teams in the NBA with the wing length and size to defend Giannis, but Boston is one of them with Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. Durant has a solid matchup against a Brow-less Pels squad, but he’s been poor of late, averaging a -3.33 FanDuel Plus/Minus and 40 percent Consistency over his last 10. LeBron thus might be the smartest cash-game option if you’re paying up at the position, as he’s posted a superior 60 percent Bargain Rating and has a nice matchup against the Bulls. The Cavaliers are actually smaller favorites over the Bulls (-8.5) than the Warriors are over the Pelicans (-9.5), so LeBron and Durant have similar blowout concerns.
The Grizzlies are currently very thin, as Brandan Wright, Chandler Parsons, Mike Conley, and Wayne Selden all remain out with various injuries. JaMychal Green is back after missing the first month of the season himself, and he got 31.5 minutes in his previous game against the Cavaliers. He’s been over a 20 percent usage rate in each of the last two contests, and he should have to play heavy minutes again today against the Minnesota Timberwolves, who still own a bottom-10 defense. The Wolves play a lot of two-big sets, which should keep Green on the court. I’m not sure why Green is listed as a SF on DraftKings and Butler isn’t, but here we are. Green owns a solid +4.04 Projected Plus/Minus.
David Nwaba is a SF on FanDuel and a PG/SG on DraftKings. Either way, he’s too cheap, especially given his massive Opponent Plus/Minus marks of +5.54 and +7.23, respectively, against the Cavs. He’s gone for 25-plus DraftKings points in three of his last four games.
Darius Miller is similar to his teammate Moore as a low-ceiling play. He hasn’t hit 27 FanDuel points in any of his last 10 games, although he has been consistent, averaging a +3.76 Plus/Minus and 70 percent Consistency Rating during that time. He played 34 minutes in the last game without Brow and should be a solid bet for 30-plus again tonight.
Ben Simmons is a PF on FanDuel, where he owns a high +7.57 Opponent Plus/Minus against the Phoenix Suns. Phoenix is a DFS dream, as they rank first in pace, averaging 105.3 possessions per 48 minutes, and dead last in defensive efficiency, allowing 109.6 points per 100 possessions. Simmons will look to rebound from perhaps his worst game as a pro, scoring just five real points and posting only 28.0 fantasy points in 39.1 minutes. He should continue to handle the ball all the time for the 76ers, especially tonight with T.J. McConnell questionable with a sprained shoulder. Given the pace of play, his minutes and usage load, and the amount of value in this slate, Simmons is a hard player to fade.
In the first game for the Knicks sans Porzingis and Hardaway, Michael Beasley led the team with a 36.9 percent usage rate:
He posted very low assist and rebound marks, but he jacked up the ball, shooting 19 times in 27.4 minutes, and the Knicks played very fast with him on the court, averaging 101.6 possessions/48. He’s nearly impossible to avoid on DraftKings, where his near-min $3,500 salary comes with a 99 percent Bargain Rating. No. 1 offensive option Beasley is what DFS players live for, and the day has arrived.
Taj Gibson is actually the highest-rated PF in the Phan Model for FanDuel, where his $5,200 salary comes with a 98 percent Bargain Rating; Beasley has a zero percent Bargain Rating there. Taj has averaged a +4.45 Plus/Minus with a 70 percent Consistency Rating over his past 10 games and is playing massive minutes. He went for nearly 40 last game and should play a ton today again with Nemanja Bjelica ruled out again.
Aaron Gordon has a +2.69 Opponent Plus/Minus on FanDuel and should be low-owned coming off a miserable performance last game in which he scored only 38.4 fantasy points in 38.4 minutes. Given his minute load and talent — the dude had 78 FanDuel points just three games ago — plus his low 5-8 percent projected ownership, he’s a nice play in guaranteed prize pools.
It’s going to be tough choosing a center on FanDuel today since you can roster only one. Many people will likely want to roster DeMarcus Cousins, who scored 48.6 FanDuel points and posted a 46.4 percent usage rate in the last game without Brow. He hit value and didn’t even play very well. He’s in an interesting spot against the Warriors, and, while nearly 50 percent usage is almost impossible to dismiss, he does cost a whopping $11,000.
A lot of people will want the near-min price tag of Beasley on DraftKings, but the real beneficiary of Porzingis and Hardaway being out is Enes Kanter, who has gone for over 40 FanDuel points in each of his past two games thanks to solid lines of 18-16 and 22-14. He has a beautiful matchup today against the Pacers, who are bottom-10 in rebound rate and defensive efficiency. Kanter has a +6.85 Opponent Plus/Minus. He’s pretty much the sole reason Boogie isn’t projected for sky-high ownership on FanDuel.
We haven’t even mentioned Marc Gasol yet, who crushed last game at nonexistent ownership:
Despite being a game-time decision in his last game, he ended up playing over 40 minutes thanks to the lack of healthy players for the Grizzlies. He’s in a smash spot against the Wolves, who rank 23rd in defensive efficiency and have especially struggled against big men, evidenced by Gasol’s +4.66 Opponent Plus/Minus.
After this piece is published, FantasyLabs is likely to provide news updates on a number of players. Be sure to stay ahead of your competition with our NBA news feed: