Welcome back to the Monday edition of NBA Top Plays! The League has graced us with a huge 12-gamer to kick off the week, and with only three games on tap for tomorrow, you’ll want to get in on the action tonight. We’ve already had a few big pieces of news break this morning, but keep up with the RotoGrinders DFS Alerts App to stay up to date through roster lock.
Point Guard – Chris Paul ($9,100)
At a $1,400 discount to Stephen Curry on FanDuel, it’s hard not to give CP3 the nod in what should be one of the more exciting games on the slate. The BOS/LAC tilt opened with the Clippers as five-point favorites, but it’s jumped to about seven on most books which leaves the Clippers with one of the highest team totals on the NBA odds board. Avery Bradley sat out of the Celtics game yesterday – likely so that he’d be fresh for tonight’s matchup – but he’s expected to play tonight and will likely be tasked with following Paul around while he’s on the floor. Still, Bradley isn’t playing a normal allotment of minutes at this point, and its likely Paul will find himself matched up with Isaiah Thomas at times, who happens to own the worst DRPM of any player in the league. Paul averaged a 24.0/13.5/4.5 line while averaging three steals in two meetings with the Celtics last season, and a similar looking stat line is certainly a possibility here.
Point guard is a pretty deep spot this evening. Curry himself, despite being priced above $10K, is squarely in play against Atlanta in all formats. Kyrie Irving, who like Curry is benefiting from injuries to other studs on his squad, is also playable in all formats. While the blowout concerns are high in Memphis, Mike Conley still profiles as an elite GPP target at $7,800 against the league’s worst defense. As we get move down the salary chart, Ricky Rubio is sitting below $7K at home in what should be one of the most competitive games on the slate. Malcolm Brogdon and Ty Lawson are both suitable targets at or below $5K.
Shooting Guard – Klay Thompson ($7,000)
You’re going to want a decent amount of exposure to the Warriors in Atlanta. Kevin Durant’s absence bodes well – from a fantasy perspective at least – for the likes of Thompson, Curry and Green, and all three are well worth targeting on Monday. Thompson gets the biggest bump in terms of usage rate, as his USG% climbs 6.4% with Durant off the floor, which has equated to an increase of 0.15 FPs per minute. Considering that his price hasn’t jumped much from where it was while Durant was healthy, we should be hopping on board in this spot. The Hawks are slightly below average at defending the SG position and they’ll be forced to deal with one of the league’s best shooters tonight.
On the high end, Giannis Antetokounmpo provides a hefty ceiling in a matchup with a worn down Sixers team that isn’t going to provide much in the way of rim protection. If I’m paying upwards of $10K at SG, he’s the guy I’ll be looking towards. C.J. McCollum and Nicolas Batum are both fine mid-range targets, with Gary Harris, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Evan Fournier setting up as suitable punt plays.
Small Forward – Jimmy Butler ($9,100)
Butler and Kawhi Leonard would be neck-and-neck for this spot if it wasn’t for Dwyane Wade’s absence. With Wade off the floor this season, Butler sees a 5.5% increase to his usage rate, and it’s possible that Wade isn’t the only playmaker on the Chicago side to sit out tonight – Rajon Rondo is a game-time decision. Rondo’s absence would only lead to more of the offensive responsibility falling in Butler’s lap, although the Bulls being this shorthanded also does increase the likelihood that they come out flat against Detroit. Even with that said, as long as Butler is able to see close to his normal allotment of playing time, he’s going to post a healthy stat line as the clear alpha in that offense. It’s worth noting that Butler is the only Bull to benefit much from Wade’s absence – Jerian Grant, Bobby Portis and Paul Zipser are the only other Bulls to pick up usage without Wade on the floor, but none of them pick up more than a 2.9% bump. If you’re nervous about the Bulls getting run out of the gym, Kawhi Leonard is a fine pivot, although he’s not free of concern either given that he’s played 84 minutes over his last two games (Friday and Saturday), and this will be the Spurs third game in the last four nights.
LeBron is likely going to be overlooked with most people gravitating towards Butler or Leonard on the high end, which does make him a very intriguing tournament target. Andrew Wiggins has scored at least 20 actual points in 19 of his last 21 games, with his only two sub-20 point games coming against the Spurs. He’s in a nice spot tonight against a Portland team that ranks 27th in defensive efficiency. While he’s still fairly volatile, Robert Covington has shown a relatively high floor lately and it’s almost hard to believe that he’s playable at a $7,200 price tag, but that’s what Joel Embiid’s absence has led to. On the other side of that matchup, Khris Middleton has looked great since his return and he figures to play around 30 minutes against Philly, which makes him extremely intriguing at $5,600. Middleton is my most likely pairing with Butler in cash games. Terrence Ross, who is still sitting below $5K, is also well worth considering as an upside play against the Knicks.
Power Forward – Dario Saric ($7,400)
As a Sixers fan, this guy is probably the only thing making Philly a watchable team at this point in the year. He showed some flashes earlier in the year as a bench option behind Embiid, but I don’t think many people expected Saric to be as consistent as he’s been while running the show with the first unit. Not only has he been a nightly double-double threat, but he’s putting his passing ability on full display, averaging 5.0 assists per game since the All-Star break. That kind of all-around contribution makes him playable in any format at $7,400, especially against a Bucks team that has been playing small of late. Even if he does draw the defense of Giannis Antetokounmpo, that wouldn’t be enough for me to get off him in a game where the Sixers should be able to stay competitive. Despite not playing more than 30 minutes in any of the Sixers previous three games (a combination of blowouts and foul trouble), Saric posted at least 37 FPs in two of those contests and has exceeded that total in five of his last six games.
Especially if you are stacking up the GS/ATL game, Paul Millsap and Draymond Green are both elite targets at the PF spot. I’d give the slight nod to Saric considering he’s a little cheaper, but if I have other pieces of the Warriors or Hawks in a GPP lineup, I’d go with one of the PFs in that game. Nikola Jokic is questionable for tonight due to an illness, and that Q tag next to his name will surely keep his GPP ownership down, making him one of the best upside plays at the position. Blake Griffin is also a strong option against the Celtics front-court, and like Jokic he may end up going overlooked considering his price tag and the other suitable options priced below him. If you’re punting the PF spot, Willie Cauley-Stein is your best bet. He started and played 39 minutes in the Kings last game, and managed to throw up 40 FPs the last time the Kings and Nuggets squared off.
Center – Bismack Biyombo ($3,500)
Here’s your punt play of the day. Assuming Nikola Vucevic is forced to miss another game, Biyombo is the top value play on the slate. He’s still priced at the minimum and played 34 minutes sans Vucevic last night, and it’s likely that he sees a similar allotment of court time against the Knicks. He’d be a great candidate for a double-double with upwards of 30 minutes, and he doesn’t even need to be efficient in order to pay off his salary. He’s one of the best 10x candidates on the board.
In the event that Vucevic does play, we’ll need to look in another direction. Marc Gasol has the best draw on the board with a porous Nets defense, and if that game is able to stay remotely competitive through three quarters, Gasol should be an excellent option at $8,100. Karl-Anthony Towns is the top overall play at the center spot against the Blazers, who struggle to rebound and have had major issues defensively at times. Towns figures to dominate the matchup with The Bosnian Beast (Jusuf Nurkic), who has come out of the gate firing with his new squad. Nurkic himself is a fine DFS target at $5,900, as his playing time has been consistent and it’s not like Towns is a defensive stalwart.