This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
It's a tiny slate Monday, which means it's a day for cash lineups. Tie scores in tournaments will water down their value, so doubling up your investment should be your goal tonight. The article will be a quicker read as a result, but that's what happens when you're only covering six teams. I think all the ingredients are here for a sound cash build.
ATL (-4) vs. CHA O/U: 223
DEN (5.5) vs. MIL O/U: 223.5
UTA (-4.5) vs. TOR O/U: 224
INJURY SITUATIONS TO MONITOR
Giannis Antetokounmpo (knee) OUT
Due to the lack of elites, there is no need to get cute with a low-priced pivot here. Go with Khris Middleton ($7,600) and Eric Bledsoe ($5,700). Brook Lopez ($5,100) would be as low as I would go. Just go ahead and lock at least two of these guys in now.
Fred VanVleet (shoulder) QUESTIONABLE
The Raptors will get four days off after this game, so I think a scratch is a reasonable guess here. I'm not especially high on the Raptors in this back-to-back, but Norman Powell ($6,800) will once again start in VanVleet's place and is still a worthwhile pivot.
Trae Young, ATL ($10,300) vs. CHA
Young is the only 10k-plus player you can take tonight in a game where Atlanta is actually favored (a rarity). My exposure to Young isn't sky high as I found it easier to achieve balance without him, but I think he would still be a good boom-or-bust candidate in a tournament or two. He's coming off two sub-par games by his standards, but I think he'll get his totals up to around 50 DKFP tonight, which should put him just below 5x value. He scored 52 DKFP against the Hornets in their last meeting.
Pascal Siakam, TOR ($8,700) @ UTA
Siakam saved my cash lineups last night, as things weren't looking too good before his game started. The back-to-back is cause for concern, but I think there is a clear path to Siakam if you don't go too expensive at center, which is how most of my lineups are going to roll. His 53 DKFP against the Jazz earlier this season is an encouraging indicator, and I also think Toronto will bring Marc Gasol around slowly, so there won't be much of a negative impact from his arrival.
EXPECTED CHALK AND OTHER TARGETS
I see the logic in heading for Donovan Mitchell ($7,500), but he's failed to meet value in four straight games, and I think you can only play him in GPPs and hope for a game with upside. At SG I found I was able to pivot lower and had more room to spend elsewhere. My exposure was so high to Bledsoe, there was no way to slot Mitchell in at PG, either.
Devonte' Graham, CHA ($6,400) @ ATL
It looks like Graham is heating back up a bit after a less-than-stellar run of games. With an extra day of rest for his ankle, I think he's a sound play at this price. 40 DKFP isn't out of the realm of possibility, as he came close to that in his last meeting against the Hawks. If he can get his three-point shot in gear, beating value shouldn't be too difficult.
Will Barton, DEN ($6,000) vs. MIL
Khris Middleton will have his hands full trying to absorb Giannis' production, and there will definitely be soft spots for Barton to exploit in this matchup. Aside from Middleton himself, I think my exposure to Barton is the highest on the slate, and I made some concessions at center and utility to get him into as many lineups as I could. The added positional eligibility helps here. Barton's single-game number of 48.3 DKFP against the Bucks was also a big factor in this endorsement.
Mike Conley, UTA ($5,300) vs. TOR
Gone are the days when you avoided Conley like the plague, as somehow he's managed to turn things around despite an abysmal beginning to his tenure with the Jazz. His numbers bounce around a bit, but I'm usually a fan of a player whose regular averages run above 5x value. It's a quality that's rarer than you might think. With upside as high as 42 DKFP over the past 10 games, the value should be there for Conley, especially if he can get his three-point shot going against a potentially gassed Toronto defense.
While it could be a messy game under center, I find good reason to mention both of these guys. For one, Washington went for 41 DKFP in his last meeting against Atlanta, and Dedmon is also rounding back into form after an elbow injury. John Collins should be back tonight after suffering a bruised thigh Saturday, but it's a bit too early to trust his production at such a high price. If you're forced to go low at center and want to look past Brook Lopez, I have no problem with either of these selections.
As I said at the top, there's very little reason to go too low today. Slim slates are ideal spots to load up on cash games, and I was able to find balance even with picks like Young and Siakam.