This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
Defense to Avoid: Dallas Mavericks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
If you're feeling a little frisky, the Mavericks facing the Cavaliers at home with Cleveland on the second of a back-to-back could mean a low-scoring game. Dallas is allowing the fourth fewest points per game (100.1) at home this season, and have allowed an average of 84 points in its past two games at American Airlines Center. The Mavericks are tied with the Jazz for slowest pace in the NBA (93.4), which will force the Cavaliers to play more half court sets. Outside of Cleveland's big three, there aren't many value picks to choose from, so it may be best to look at games with a higher over/under.
Offense to Use: Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Orlando Magic
The T-Wolves will play the Magic, who are on the second of a back-to-back and in Minneapolis, where the home team has averaged 105.6 points per game. Entering Monday, the T-Wolves have won four of their past five, including a 129-109 rout of the Nets on Saturday. Minnesota has great value options throughout each price tier, with Karl-Anthony Towns ($10,800) leading the way, and Shabazz Muhammad ($3,800) bringing up the rear. The Magic have played the Wolves tough this season, but Minnesota's improved play during its hot streak should overwhelm Orlando.
Teams on Back-to-Backs:
First game: Kings
Second game: 76ers, Magic, Cavaliers, Mavericks
DAILY PLAYER RECOMMENDATIONS
Note: These picks are for five-game contests, excluding the 6 p.m. ET game between the Kings and 76ers.
Goran Dragic, PG, MIA vs. BKN ($7,600): Dragic came an assist and a rebound away from a triple-double in his previous game against the Nets on Jan. 25, scoring 17 points with nine boards and nine dimes for 44.75 DraftKings points. There are limited elite options at point guard, which may force some of the higher-priced players into high ownership percentages. This could leave Dragic in a nice spot as an affordable point guard with a higher ceiling than usual against Brooklyn.
Elfrid Payton, PG, ORL at MIN ($6,700): The Magic backcourt is pretty decimated by injuries. Both Evan Fournier and Jodie Meeks are sidelined, which has forced Orlando to ride Payton for long stretches during games. Payton's scoring may not be consistent, but he provides great secondary stat coverage with at least four rebounds in eight of his last 10, and at least five assists in seven of 10. If the T-Wolves' offense rolls early on, Payton may be forced into more field goal attempts, which he normally translates into a larger amount of fantasy points.
Shabazz Muhammad, SG/SF, MIN vs. ORL ($3,800): Muhammad was mentioned above as a potential steal for the T-Wolves on Monday. He's hit 5x hit salary in terms of fantasy points in four of the past six games, peaking at 31.25 (18 points, seven rebounds) against the Nets on Saturday. Muhammad should be able to exploit Orlando's short bench en route to another solid point output. He's Minnesota's most reliable bench scorer and is an appealing stack option with Towns, and Andrew Wiggins ($7,200) or Zach LaVine ($6,700).
LeBron James, SF, CLE at DAL ($10,000): With Kevin Love already ruled out, James should see more minutes at power forward against the Mavericks, who did a decent job containing him last time around. LeBron had only 19 points, but finished with 11 assists and five rebounds against Dallas earlier in the season. Regardless, James has been putting up huge fantasy numbers lately, averaging 57.7 points per game during the past six (close to a triple-double per contest). There aren't many elite options, particularly at guard, so James may be your best bet for gaudy fantasy output.
Zach Randolph, PF/C, MEM at PHO ($5,800): We saw vintage Z-Bo in his last game, with 28 points on 12-of-20 shooting and nine rebounds for 42.25 DraftKings points against the Jazz on Saturday. If that doesn't impress you enough, Randolph's numbers are more like his career stats over the past six games, 18.4 PPG and 9.6 RPG while shooting 57.6 percent from the field. Z-Bo is an excellent play in almost all formats given his higher-than-usual ceiling lately and a decent floor against a vulnerable Phoenix defense.
Jon Leuer, PF, DET at BOS ($4,400): In three games since returning from injury, Leuer has been less than inspiring, averaging 21.3 DraftKings points per contest, slightly below his season average. That shouldn't discourage you from selecting him, though, since he's playing around 25 minutes per game and has even landed in the starting rotation. Leuer is a perfect cheap lineup filler for tournaments with the ability to post 5x his salary — something he's done in two of the past three games.
Hassan Whiteside, MIA vs. BKN ($7,500): The towering center has failed to reach 40 DraftKings points in seven straight contests, coming close at 39.75 in a win against the Bucks on Jan. 21. His ankle clearly hampered him the last time the Heat played the Nets, limiting him to seven points and only a rebound in 21 minutes of action. Should Whitside return to playing around 30 minutes, there's no reason he can't put up big numbers against the Nets, who are allowing lopsided numbers to centers this season.
Nikola Vucevic, ORL at MIN ($6,400): Vucevic turned in his first double-double since Jan. 13, scoring 25 points with 10 rebounds, five assists and four blocks for 57.0 DraftKings points in a narrow victory against the Raptors on Sunday. He looked a lot like the beast that started the season with a double-double in nine of his first 18 games. There shouldn't be any concern with Vucevic's minutes in this game considering his success against Minnesota earlier in the year (24 points, 14 rebounds and six assists for 54.5 DraftKings points).
Justin Hamilton, PF/C, BKN at MIA ($3,300): Hamilton has seen his role increased the past two games, averaging 21.5 minutes with at least 19.75 DraftKings points in each. He's combined for 21 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks during that stretch and the Heat are allowing the 26th most fantasy points to power forwards (Hamilton also has center eligibility) this season. Even if this game is one-sided and the Heat run away in the first half, that shouldn't cut into Hamilton's playing time, and it even might help his prospects of reaching value for tournaments.