This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
Monday's eight-game slate should be a fun one to tackle, as the docket is chock-full of elite and value oppirtunties. Let's dive right in.
MIL (-12.5) @ WAS O/U: 240
PHI (-8.5) vs. ATL O/U: 228,5
MIA (-6.5) @ CLE O/U: 222.5
BKN (-3) vs. ORL O/U: 212.5
HOU (-14) vs. NY O/U: 229.5
DAL (-12.5) vs. MIN O/U: 238.5
UTA (-8) vs. PHO O/U: 223.5
LAC (-9) vs. MEM O/U: 233.5
Even though the MIN/DAL game sports the second-highest Over/Under on the slate, I largely avoided both teams. There's simply too much variance for Minnesota without Karl-Anthony Towns, although the potential return of D'Angelo Russell should stabilize things somewhat. Their back-to-back status was also a concern. I didn't give Minnesota a single mention below, but I'm not ruling out some of the value options available there. There should be a mountain of value for Philly with multiple injury situations, and I also like taking a couple of different angles with Houston.
Back-to-back teams: Washington, Minnesota
INJURY SITUATIONS TO MONITOR
Ben Simmons (back) OUT
Tobias Harris (knee) QUESTIONABLE
It's unclear how long Simmons will be out. Josh Richardson ($4,800) will figure to be the starter with the biggest bump, and Shake Milton ($3,600) is likely to garner the start in Simmons' place. I wouldn't rule out Raul Neto ($3,800) either, but at $200 less, Milton has a more solid baseline. In Harris' case, it's Furkan Korkmaz ($4,000) who usually sees the biggest usage increase, but new acquisition Glenn Robinson ($3,200) could also see more time on the floor.
Jimmy Butler (personal) OUT
Tyler Herro (foot) OUT
Goran Dragic ($6,000), Kendrick Nunn ($5,600) and Duncan Robinson ($5,000) should all see bumps in this scenario, but it's Dragic who sees the biggest usage bump when Herro and Butler are out. Although he was the lowest of the three producers in the last game without this duo, the usage metric is worth considering. Derrick Jones ($4,100) also had a solid performance with this game script, and he could provide some value relief at the forward position.
Paul George (hamstring) QUESTIONABLE
Hamstring injuries are always tricky, but I think it's likely that George will shed this tag at some point during the day. If he ends up sitting, newly acquired Marcus Morris ($4,900) would be my budget pivot, and the remaining starters would also get a raised endorsement.
Elfrid Payton (ankle) OUT
Frank Ntilikina (groin) QUESTIONABLE
Jaren Jackson (knee) OUT
This looks to be an extended absence for Jackson, and a blow to the Grizzlies as they try to make the playoffs. Brandon Clarke ($5,500) should fill in for Jackson, and Josh Jackson ($3,300) will slide up the depth chart.
Brook Lopez (back) OUT
I think Robin Lopez ($3,000) gives you the best value in this situation, but Ersan Ilyasova ($3,500) and Marvin Williams ($3,100) might also figure in. This spot is something to consider in GPPs, but not a place I'd go in a cash lineup.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL ($11,400) @ WAS
Giannis tends to disappear a bit in blowout games, but the absence of Brook Lopez tonight should compel the All-Star to spend a bit more time inside to bolster the Bucks' interior. I wouldn't usually play him when the Bucks are a huge favorite, but I'm going to make the exception tonight based on the Lopez injury.
James Harden, HOU ($11,000) vs. NY
We have a good deal of value in the bargain bin, so I think it's safe to stock up on 2-3 elites. Houston is a huge favorite in this game but the Knicks' defense is surprisingly strong, especially in recent weeks. They rank next-to-last in defending the three, however. Harden went 6-for-11 from long range against Utah two days ago, and if he can keep that shot humming, he should be in for a big total. Russell Westbrook's post-All-Star numbers have fallen well short of value, so I'm going to keep away from him at $10,200.
Kawhi Leonard, LAC ($9,700) vs. MEM
If Paul George is out I'm definitely locking Leonard in with a high exposure rate, but even if he plays I think it's a strong night for Kawhi against a Grizzlies team that will be subject to some lineup shuffling tonight without Jaren Jackson. If George takes the floor he would likely be limited due to the hamstring issue, so I can start Leonard with some confidence regardless of that outcome.
EXPECTED CHALK AND OTHER TARGETS
Khris Middleton, MIL ($8,300) @ WAS
I like Middleton as well with Brook Lopez out, although I think stacking Giannis and Middleton together isn't the best idea. I'll be building a lot of my lineups from the bottom up tonight and if it turns out that Giannis' salary doesn't fit, then I'm fine with slotting Middleton in to get a piece of the Bucks in this lopsided affair. Although his price is higher than I'd like, he thrived with a 74 DKFP score in his lone game against the Wizards (a game that Giannis missed).
Rudy Gobert, UTA ($7,900) vs. PHO
Deandre Ayton will play tonight, but he's a bit banged up. That's good news for Gobert, who already has a great track record against the Suns. He racked up 18 rebounds to go along with 16 points in his last game against Phoenix. Granted, Ayton was not part of that matchup, but his ankle issue will limit him somewhat, giving Gobert the advantage.
Caris LeVert, BKN ($7,300) vs. ORL
The O/U for this game is awful, but if you read my column with any regularity, you know that I'm a big fan of LeVert with Irving out for the remainder of the season. I also believe he's one of the key components to a playoff run for the Nets, and the team is now in a situation where every game counts. LeVert's numbers run well north of his current salary in terms of value, so despite the low total prediction I'm going to grab some exposure here.
Robert Covington, HOU ($6,000) vs. NY
Eric Gordon, HOU ($3,700) vs. NY
I am grouping these two players together because I think there are two ways to approach this matchup. If you're of the mind that the Rockets will bust this game wide open, both Covington and Gordon's numbers should take a big step forward as they lead the second unit. Yes, Covington is in the starting five currently, but in an effort to keep Harden and Westbrook fresh, they are likely to keep Covington on the floor due to his superior defensive play. Gordon is an obvious pivot for both of the All-Star guards, and I expect him to fill in frequently if this game gets out of hand.
Also consider: Ricky Rubio, PHO ($6,400) @ UTA
The lion's share of our value targets exists back in the injury section. Of that group, I like Clarke, Richardson and Jones the best, but there are still a few more favorably priced guys worth mentioning.
Montrezl Harrell, LAC ($5,400) vs. MEM
Harrell has a value-beating 41 DKFP average over two games against the Grizzlies, who are now without Jaren Jackson for the foreseeable future. With Paul George dealing with a hamstring injury, Harrell should be the anchor of the frontcourt tonight, and I think there's definite double-double potential here.
Al Horford, PHI ($4,500) vs. ATL
How did Horford's salary end up this low? Two mediocre totals after the All-Star break have caused it to drop $700 lower than his pre-break numbers. This matchup could result in a big night for Horford, though. With Tobias Harris and Ben Simmons sidelined, there should be plenty of opportunity for the veteran center to get involved alongside Joel Embiid ($9,500), who didn't get an elite mention from me due to his hefty price but is still a decent tournament selection. Horford should come through as the better value at this salary point.
Gorgui Dieng, MEM ($3,400) @ LAC
Are you noticing a trend? There's considerable value at center tonight. Dieng carries the most variance of the lot, but the newly minted Grizzly should prove to be valuable for Memphis down the stretch as he spells Jonas Valanciunas. We might even see setups with both centers on the floor due to the Jaren Jackson injury, especially when there's a size mismatch in the frontcourt.