This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
Here we go with a very nice eight-game NBA slate on Monday, January 7.
Looking within that, one of the best fantasy environments comes from a matchup between Orlando and Sacramento. It represents the highest over/under at 223 total points, and we are expecting a competitive game with the Kings favored by five.
Sacramento plays at one of the fastest paces in the NBA while ranking 28th in team defensive efficiency. That puts guys like Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon, and (maybe) D.J. Augustin on the fantasy radar. The usual suspects from Sacramento are in play as well, especially Bogdan Bogdanovic at only $5,300 on DraftKings. We'll cover those players in more detail with the following write-ups.
Per usual, we have several injuries to monitor with potential for more while moving closer to tip-off. You'll want to stay in the loop with RotoWire's NBA News Feed before setting your final lineups. As of Monday morning, these are the situations we are looking at:
- Kyle Kuzma is questionable. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Lance Stephenson have been stepping up in his absence over the last two games, and they would be firmly in play if that was the case tonight.
- E'Twaun Moore is questionable. Darius Miller could see more minutes as a DFS filler in his absence.
- Notable players who will continue to miss time: LeBron James, Chris Paul, Eric Gordon, Aron Baynes, Rajon Rondo, Nikola Mirotic, Marvin Bagley, Allen Crabbe, Caris LeVert, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
With that, I'll be breaking down the best fantasy choices on DraftKings for Monday. The following write-ups contain a blend of cash game staples, bargain fillers, and tournament pivots.
James Harden, HOU vs. DEN ($12,000): Who else? Harden has been a fantasy beast while averaging 72 fantasy points over his past five games. He's seemingly matchup-proof at the moment while absorbing an insane usage rate with Chris Paul and Eric Gordon sidelined. Harden's salary continues to ascend, but so does the fantasy output. He's firmly within DFS consideration in a competitive home matchup against Denver. There's enough value to make Harden work on DraftKings, and he's a preferred expenditure in this slate.
Austin Rivers, HOU vs. DEN ($4,700): Rivers isn't a fun fantasy play, but he's cheap while seeing a ton of minutes for the injury-plagued Houston backcourt. He's averaging 26 fantasy points over his past four games while seeing 41 minutes per contest through that span. The efficiency leaves plenty of room to be desired, but Rivers continues to post solid value on his bargain salary. Don't expect a ton of upside, but Rivers is playable through all formats in an effort to make room for top-dollar acquisitions – like his aforementioned teammate.
Bogdan Bogdanovic, SAC vs. ORL ($5,300): Bogdanovic seems way too cheap on DraftKings, doesn't he? He has posted 37+ fantasy points in three of his past four games, and now he's facing a mediocre Orlando backcourt in the highest over/under of the night. Bogdan has had some poor shooting nights recently while still contributing respectable fantasy outputs. For example, he went 5-17 from the floor on Saturday vs. Golden State but still managed 42 fantasy points due to seven assists, six boards, and three steals. Something similar happened three games ago vs. Portland on January 1, where Bogdan wen 3-11 on three pointers but still racked up 38.25 FP. That's good news moving forward, as Bogdanovic is becoming a well-rounded fantasy asset with a stronger-than-perceived floor. The upside will always be there if his shot is falling. Did I mention he's way too cheap as well?
Blake Griffin, DET vs. SA ($8,500): This is a fantastic spot for Blake Griffin. He's currently playing some of his best basketball of the season, translating to 49+ fantasy points in three straight games. That includes 59.5 FP despite a tough matchup vs. Utah on Saturday. The draw tonight is much easier while facing a San Antonio team that ranks 27th in defensive efficiency against opposing power forwards. I'm fully expecting that momentum to carry into this promising home tilt, and Griffin is firmly on my DFS radar through all formats.
Aaron Gordon, ORL at SAC ($6,700): Gordon checks in with an economical salary that has fallen due to poor performances in recent blowouts. Five of Orlando's most recent seven games have been decided by 17 or more points, and Gordon's production has taken a hit in those situations. However, he is producing whenever the Magic find themselves in a competitive tilt or on the right side of a blowout – hitting 42+ fantasy points in recent games against Detroit and Chicago. Gordon is looking at a competitive matchup while playing up in pace at Sacramento – a team that ranks second in pace, 23rd in defensive efficiency against power forwards, and 27th in rebound rate. This is a nice buy-low opportunity to take "AG".
Kyle Anderson, MEM at NO ($5,200): Anderson doesn't get a ton of love from the DFS community because he's not a flashy scorer featured in highlight reels. However, the Grizzlies really need him to step up right now with heavy minutes and reasonable production. Taking away Saturday's blowout at San Antonio, Anderson hit 39+ fantasy points in two of his past three games. That includes a sweet triple-double vs. Brooklyn last Friday. Seeing 35-39 minutes gives him plenty of opportunities to rack up peripheral status as well as enough points to boost the fantasy output. Playing up in pace against a New Orleans team that ranks 29th in defensive efficiency vs. opposing small forwards should be enough to get back on track.
Nikola Vucevic, ORL at SAC ($9,500): It's plausible to roll with Gordon and Vucevic in the same lineup. The matchup is that good at Sacramento, making plenty of room for both Orlando frontcourt stars to thrive. We all know that Vucevic carries extreme fantasy upside in certain situations, and this promising draw certainly seems like the right time. The Kings rank second in pace, 28th against centers, and 27th in rebound rate. Taking that into consideration, I wouldn't be surprised if we saw a 55+ FP performance from Vucevic this evening.
Jusuf Nurkic, POR vs. NYK ($8,000): If you don't have enough salary to make Vucevic work, then don't worry; we have another 7-foot European center in a great matchup. I'm talking about Portland big man Jusuf Nurkic, who has been on fire with 47+ fantasy points in four of his last six. "Nurk" will take on a Knicks team that ranks 24th in defensive efficiency against opposing centers, leaving the door open for more fantasy upside. Go ahead and target him with confidence through all formats.