We have eight more NBA games on Monday night and not only do we still have plenty of injuries but a handful of teams are on the second end of a back-to-back. Keep an eye on the news over the course of the day as things can (and will) change.
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Pacers @ Wizards preview
WAS -4, total: 245
Despite being short-handed, the Pacers beat the Thunder by nearly 60 points on Saturday. Domantas Sabonis returned from his six-game absence with a back injury and posted a triple-double in the first half, ultimately finishing with 26 points, 19 rebounds and 14 assists in just 30 minutes. He touched the ball 83 times, a number that would have been right around his season average of 96.0 (2nd-most) if the game stayed close. But with Malcolm Brogdon and Myles Turner once again questionable, Sabonis could be in line for a ton of usage again here, as he is sporting a 25.3% usage rate with both players off the floor this season. Meanwhile, Brogdon is top-10 in the league in touches per game, too, so his absence would lead to more touches from Sabonis, who is also posting a healthy 30% rebounding rate in the split. And in a game against a Wizards team that leads the league in pace, more rebounding opportunities will be available for Sabonis, who saw an insane 25 rebounding chances in 30 minutes last game. If Brogdon remains out, Caris LeVert would benefit, as he’d likely attempt 17-20 shots, at the minimum. The Pacers continued to start Oshae Brissett last game, even with Sabonis back. He went for 47 fantasy points, though in a game that was over by halftime, it was interesting to see Nate McMillan give Brissett 40 minutes. $6,700 on DraftKings with Sabonis back is a bit steep and if Turner returns, it is a complete fade.
The bad news? Russell Westbrook didn’t record a triple-double last game. The good news? He finished with a stat line of 42 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. He is on an absurd tear lately and is truly in play every single slate, though I also really am intrigued by Bradley Beal’s $9,500 price tag on DK. Beal has attempted at least 20 shots in nine of his last 10 games while averaging 24.5 shots per game over his last six outings. Again, though, outside of the two superstars, Washington isn’t all that enticing. Perhaps someone like Davis Bertans would make some sense as a value option, as the Pacers are coughing up the fifth-most points per game to spot-up shooters on the year (29.1), while Bertans is averaging 8.1 points per game off catch-and-shoot opportunities this season, good for the third-most in basketball. Of course, you’d like to see him see minutes in the 30s a lot more consistently.
Magic @ Pistons preview
DET -2, total: 210
Detroit is once again sitting players in attempts to lose as many games as possible. Cory Joseph, Jerami Grant and Mason Plumlee have all been ruled out for Monday’s game while Hamidou Diallo is listed as questionable. The Pistons have been starting Killian Hayes, Josh Jackson, Sekou Doumbouya, Saddiq Bey and Isaiah Stewart over their last few games and if Diallo remains sidelined, all five starters are honestly still in play. However, it is tough to choose Hayes at $5,200 over Frank Jackson at $4,700, who is coming off a great game and has logged 25, 27 and 34 minutes over the last three games. Stewart, meanwhile, was disappointing last game but is still averaging a strong 13.3 points, 10.4 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game in nine starts this season. Meanwhile, his rebounding rate jumps up to 32% with Grant and Plumlee off the floor this season.
With Chuma Okeke sidelined, Mo Wagner continues to start at power forward. Over his last two starts, Wagner has recorded 19.2 and 36.2 fantasy points while logging 28 and 34 minutes during that span. He attempted 15 shots last game and with Okeke, Terrence Ross and James Ennis all still out, Wagner remains very much in play tonight. Meanwhile, Cole Anthony is coming off the best game of his young career, scoring 26 points to go along with eight rebounds and six assists, while hitting the game-winning shot. He is almost $7,000 on DK tonight, but the usage is there, as Anthony is sporting a 25% usage rate and 18% assist rate over the last two weeks, while his 5.99 average seconds per touch are the fourth-most in all of basketball.
Warriors @ Pelicans preview
NOP -2, total: 237
After a few solid-to-underwhelming games, Zion Williamson went off for 37 points, nine rebounds and eight assists the other night and you have to like him again here. Golden State plays at the second-fastest pace in the league, which is an environment you want for a player like Zion, who is averaging nearly 5.0 transition points per contest. The Warriors are also surrendering the second-most points per game off putbacks on the year (7.4) while Williamson is averaging 3.0 putback points per game, good for the sixth-most in the NBA. Meanwhile, Lonzo Ball is coming off a huge game, scoring 33 points to go along with 11 rebounds and eight assists. That’s now three-straight games with double-digit boards for Ball, who is perhaps benefiting from the absence of Steven Adams, who is questionable again on Monday. He also has 14 steals over his last five games, meaning Ball is legitimately contributing everywhere for fantasy, including from beyond the arc. Ball attempted 17 triples last game and for the season, is averaging 6.3 spot-up points per game, the third-most in basketball. Finally, Willy Hernangomez has started each of the last two games in place of Adams, recording two double-doubles during that span. With Adams off the floor this season, Hernangomez is sporting a 39% rebounding rate, while averaging 1.07 fantasy points per minute.
For Golden State, this is yet another strong spot for Stephen Curry, who has scored 30-plus points in eight of his last 10 games. The Pelicans rank 24th against dimers, 23rd against scorers and 23rd against superstars this season, according to our Advanced DVP tool. Meanwhile, Kelly Oubre will remain out, opening up more minutes for Kent Bazemore, Jordan Poole and Juan Toscano-Anderson. All three players were solid last game and while Bazemore continues to start, I prefer saving the money and going to Toscano-Anderson. Finally, I have no issues going to Draymond Green at a fair $7,000 price tag.
Trail Blazers @ Hawks preview
ATL -2, total: 235
Trae Young is healthy and back to being awesome for fantasy. In two games since returning from his ankle injury, Young has scored 32 and 33 real points while attempting 22 free throws during that span. And in that same stretch, Young is sporting a usage rate of nearly 36% while averaging 8.5 minutes of possession per game. This is a very strong matchup, meanwhile, as Portland ranks 29th against dimers, 29th against primary ball handlers, 27th against scorers and 27th against crafty finishers on the season. Bogdan Bogdanovic returned to the lineup after a two-game absence, logging 35 minutes. Still, $7,500 is too much to pay with Young back in the lineup despite Atlanta still missing so many wings. Finally, Clint Capela, per usual, will present a very strong floor due to his elite rebounding, as no player in basketball is averaging more rebounding chances per game (23.3). This is a solid spot, as Portland is coughing up the third-most points per possession to opposing roll men out of the pick and roll (1.20), while Capela is averaging 3.9 points per game off the play type, while shooting 61% from the field.
After a handful of floor games, Damian Lillard has now put together consecutive ceiling games. And at $9,200 on DK, there are many reasons to like him despite Portland coming off the front end of a back-to-back. Atlanta is allowing the third-most points per possession to opposing ball handlers out of the pick and roll this season (0.93), as well as the fifth-worst field goal percentage off the play type (44.4%). Lillard, meanwhile, is averaging 12.8 points per game out of the pick and roll, good for the third-most in basketball. The Hawks are also allowing the fifth-most points per possession off isolation (0.98), while Lillard’s 5.1 isolation points per game are the second-most in the NBA. Meanwhile, CJ McCollum isn’t too far behind him, averaging 3.5 such points per contest. I really like the price tags for both players ahead of this matchup.
Knicks @ Grizzlies preview
MEM -2.5, total: 218.5
This isn’t the most appealing game of the slate. For Memphis, Ja Morant is a very good player, but I usually don’t look his way when he is priced in the mid $8,000 range because his ceiling for fantasy has been very inconsistent this season. Meanwhile, New York is both bottom-five in pace and top-five in defensive rating this season, making this a poor matchup. Then there is Jaren Jackson Jr., who is sporting a 27.2% usage rate and is averaging 1.23 fantasy points per minute in five games this season, but his ceiling for minutes right now seems to be around 23, making him a tough player to rely on. Jonas Valanciunas continues to play very well but at nearly $8,000 on DK with Jackson active, he certainly isn’t a priority on this slate.
Meanwhile, the Knicks will likely be without Nerlens Noel, who sprained his ankle on Sunday. Already without Mitchell Robinson, Taj Gibson stepped in and logged 32 minutes and if Noel is ruled out, Gibson could become a viable value play. With both Robinson and Noel off the floor this season, Gibson is sporting a solid 27% rebounding rate on the year. Julius Randle will continue to provide a very high floor and ceiling combination and faces a Grizzlies team that is allowing a league-leading 1.09 points per possession to the post this season. That bodes well for Randle, who is averaging 3.9 post-up points per game on the year, good for the eighth-most in the NBA.
76ers @ Bulls preview
PHI -6, total: 212.5
The 76ers are coming off the front end of a back-to-back, so we’ll need to see if anyone rests. If they don’t, feel free to play Joel Embiid, especially against a Bulls team that ranks 28th against rim protectors, 29th against skilled centers, 27th against rebounders and dead last against superstars this season. Meanwhile, I don’t hate both Ben Simmons or Tobias Harris at their price tags despite how underwhelming they have been as of late.
For Chicago, Zach LaVine will miss his 11th consecutive game on Monday. During that span, Nikola Vucevic is averaging 84.1 touches per game, good for the ninth-most in the league. Of course, he is questionable to play here after being a late scratch over the weekend. In his absence on Saturday, Daniel Theis got the start at center and logged a solid 29 minutes. But facing Embiid, who is drawing a foul on around 22% of his shot attempts this season, is definitely a bit scary. Meanwhile, in that same 10-game stretch where LaVine has been sidelined, Coby White is averaging nearly 80 touches per game and nearly seven minutes of possession per game. However, if Vucevic sits, my favorite play is probably Thaddeus Young, who scored 45.2 fantasy points in 33 minutes on Saturday.
Nuggets @ Lakers preview
DEN -4, total: 215
LeBron James has been back for two games now, but he could be back on the sidelines on Monday. He exited Sunday’s game with soreness in his ankle and with this being a back-to-back, it is very possible he sits out. And with Dennis Schroder also likely out again, plenty of ball-handling duties could be available for the Lakers this evening. At minimum salary, it is entirely possible that Alex Caruso becomes a thing on this slate, though Kyle Kuzma makes more sense. He isn’t my favorite player in fantasy but at $5,200 with potentially no LeBron or Schroder, that is very enticing, as he’s sporting a 21.4% usage rate and 21% rebounding rate with both players off the floor this season. Meanwhile, Anthony Davis has now logged 30-plus minutes in each of his last four games, scoring 34.5, 44.7, 51.2 and 41.2 fantasy points during that stretch. He is sporting an insane 37.8% usage rate with James and Schroder off the floor this season while averaging 1.37 fantasy points per minute in the split. This is a solid matchup, as Denver continues to allow the highest field goal percentage at the rim this season.
For Denver, it continues to really be just Nikola Jokic and Michael Porter Jr. Jokic has scored 62 fantasy points in two of his last three games and continues to lead the NBA in touches per game while Porter has taken a huge step forward since Jamal Murray suffered his season-ending injury. Over the last two weeks, Porter is sporting a solid 25% usage rate, while averaging 19 shot attempts per game over his last six contests.
Spurs @ Jazz preview
UTA -7, total: 221.5
Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley will both remain out for Utah, keeping both Jordan Clarkson and Joe Ingles in consideration tonight. I especially like Ingles at $6,600 on DK, who we know sees a huge bump in assist opportunities with these guards off the floor. But again with how the price tags are for the Jazz, no one is really an elite option despite the absences of Conley and Clarkson. Royce O'Neale, meanwhile, definitely isn’t the most exciting play, but he should play 32-35 minutes and is an above-average rebounder. Any uptick in usage on his part would be great for him for fantasy.
For the Spurs, Dejounte Murray remains questionable (knee) while Derrick White is likely done for the year. DeMar DeRozan rested on Sunday and if Murray remains sidelined, DeRozan should see a ton of usage in this game. His usage rate with both White and Murray off the floor this season is flirting with 30% while the assist rate is also at 26% in the split. Meanwhile, Lonnie Walker has attempted 31 shots over his last two games, logging 34 and 31 minutes during that span. If Murray is ruled out again, Walker makes sense as a viable value option.