This article is part of our FantasyDraft NBA series.
A nine-game Monday slate is somewhat light on elite guards but offers plenty of opportunities to pay up at forward/center. With a plethora of choices to be made, let's break down how best to budget your dollars.
Damian Lillard, POR vs. DEN ($16,400): Lillard should be in a slightly more competitive game than fellow elite option John Wall ($16,700) and draws a matchup against a Nuggets team that's allowed 47.4 fantasy points per game to point guards, along with the sixth most assists (9.2) and third most steals (2.5). Lillard is dealing with a relatively minor finger injury but still brings plenty of upside at his price, as evidenced by a recent five-game stretch in which he's scored between 46.00 and 64.75 fantasy points. Lillard still sported a 27.4 percent usage rate even with a somewhat cold shot (11-for-32) over the last two contests, so there's no question he'll remain aggressive.
Ricky Rubio, UTA vs. MIN ($13,400): Lonzo Ball ($12,700) is an appealing pivot for those who need to save a few bucks, but he could well be more highly owned in tournaments than Rubio, who already lit up his old squad for 44.25 fantasy points on Oct. 20. He's scored over 30 fantasy points on four occasions and over 40 in another four contests as well, as he's become much more of an offensive presence in his new Utah digs. Moreover, the T-Wolves are allowing the third most fantasy points (53.4) to point guards on the season, along with the fourth most points (25.3), third most assists (10.6) and highest shooting percentage (50.0). Rubio could also see an uptick in offensive responsibility with Rudy Gobert (knee) also out again Monday.
Austin Rivers, LAC vs. PHI ($11,400): Rivers has quietly taken firm control of the starting shooting guard job, scoring between 21.00 and 35.50 fantasy points in five of his last six games. Rivers is sporting a 23.0 percent usage rate over that span and is sporting career highs in points (13.5) and shot attempts (11.9) on the season, along with a blistering 46.8 percent success rate from three-point range. The Sixers check in allowing the fourth most fantasy points (60.1) per game to shooting guards over the last five, along with the most points (34.2) and 4.4 made three-pointers per contest on the season.
DeMarcus Cousins, NO vs. ATL ($19,600): Cousins makes for a top play versus a Hawks defense that's proven vulnerable to centers all season, as evidenced by the fact they've allowed the fifth most fantasy points (42.2) per contest to fives. Cousins has been a runaway freight train all season, scoring no less than 45.00 fantasy points in any contest and as many as 83.75. Additionally, he's ripped off five straight double-doubles while boasting a team-high 31.7 percent usage rate and averaging a team-high 1.40 fantasy points per minute over that span, furthering his already strong case.
Kristaps Porzingis, NY vs. CLE ($16,500): Porzingis has quickly made the Knicks offense his own with Carmelo Anthony now in OKC, boasting a robust 36.5 percent usage rate, averaging 1.43 fantasy points per minute and boosting his scoring average from 18.1 points to 30.4. He's scored between 41.25 and 64.00 fantasy points in seven of his last eight games, often using his considerable height advantage to dominate whomever is put in front of him. That could well be the case again Monday against a porous Cavaliers defense that's allowed the ninth most fantasy points (45.2) to power forwards on the season.
Derrick Favors, UTA vs. MIN ($9,000): Favors exploded for a season-high 46.00 fantasy points Saturday against the Nets with Rudy Gobert (knee) out of the lineup, and he'll be in the same scenario Monday with the Stifle Tower set to miss another game. The T-Wolves check in allowing the sixth most fantasy points (47.6) per game to power forwards on the season, along with the second most (62.9) over the last five. They also could be without Gorgui Dieng (finger) Monday, which would give them one less big man off the bench to help slow Favors down.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL vs. MEM ($19,200): After a trio of "down" games in which he scored under 50 fantasy points, Antetokunumpo has boosted his production back up, scoring between 59.75 and 61.50 fantasy points in the last three contests. He's a perpetual threat for a double-double and could be poised for one of his trademark explosions Monday, considering the Grizzlies have allowed the most fantasy points (50.2), most rebounds (15.3), sixth most assists (2.9), second most steals (1.9) and third most three-pointers (1.9) per contest to power forwards.
Dario Saric, PHI at LAC ($7,600): Saric's price remains very reasonable for a player that's scored between 25.00 and 42.50 fantasy points over the last four games, and at least 21.25 fantasy points in six of his last seven overall. He's slated to draw another start at power forward again Monday while Ben Simmons fills in for Jerryd Bayless (wrist) at the point, setting him up with a matchup against a Clippers squad that's allowed the fourth most fantasy points per game (48.3) to power forwards on the season, along with the fourth most rebounds (12.4), third most assists (3.5), second most steals (1.9), fourth most blocks (1.7) and 1.8 made three-pointers per contest.