FantasyDraft NBA: Monday Values

FantasyDraft NBA: Monday Values

This article is part of our FantasyDraft NBA series.

It's another strong Monday slate this week, as eight games populate the docket. The Bucks-Cavaliers, Nuggets-Heat and Warriors-Spurs tilts set up as especially intriguing battles between playoff contenders, while the Lakers-Pacers and Knicks-Bulls contests have some high-scoring potential as well. With more than enough games to afford us a plethora of choices at each price level, let's look at where the cream rises to the top at each tier.

GUARD

Khris Middleton, MIL at CLE ($15,500): Middleton has averaged a solid 15.3 points, 8.7 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 1.3 steals across 38.7 minutes in three games against the Cavs this season, and the Cavs' depth is about as depleted as it has been at any point this season. That puts the Bucks' wing in a premium spot Monday, particularly considering Cleveland comes in allowing the third-highest offensive efficiency rating (22.4) to small forwards on the season, as well as a robust 40.2 fantasy points per game to the position over the last five. Middleton has been red hot during that same span, racking up 33.75 to 48.00 fantasy points while draining 54.8 percent of his 14.6 shot attempts, including 54.2 percent of his tries from distance. The latter figure makes the fact that the Cavs have allowed the third-highest percentage of scoring from three-pointers (32.2) -- including the second highest (33.9 percent) at home -- especially relevant.

Goran Dragic, MIA vs. DEN ($12,200): Hassan Whiteside has already been ruled out for Monday's contest with his hip injury, and Dragic is sporting a 27.4 percent usage rate with his teammate off the floor this season. That's just one of several appealing aspects of the veteran point guard's Monday outlook, with the Nuggets' 52.7 fantasy points per game allowed to ones over the last five games (as compared to a 40.2 season figure) certainly another. Denver should also elicit a slightly faster tempo from the Heat, which would bode well for Dragic, considering he's already averaging an elevated 18.7 shot attempts over the last three. He's drained an impressive 55.4 percent of them -- leading to fantasy-point tallies of 29.50 to 40.00 during that stretch – a level of production that exceeds his very reasonable cost.

Jeremy Lamb, CHA at PHI ($8,200): Naturally, both Quinn Cook ($8,600) and Nick Young ($9,700) deserve consideration here as well, considering their recent performances and current starting roles. Meanwhile, Nicolas Batum is out indefinitely following a diagnosis of Achilles tendinitis, thrusting Lamb into a first-unit spot that he's filled with success in the past. The veteran has already flashed a ceiling of 30 fantasy points or higher in a second-unit role on multiple occasions, so what projects to be at least a 30-minute workload Monday in a pivotal game for the Hornets leaves him poised to pay off his exceedingly reasonable price. The Sixers have notably been vulnerable to shooting guards recently as well, with the 49.8 fantasy points per game they've allowed to the position over the last 10 a notable increase over their 39.3 season figure. Additionally, Philadelphia comes in playing at the fourth-fastest pace at home (103.1 possessions per game), and Lamb has been outproducing his seasonal shooting metrics over the last six contests, posting success rates of 46.0 percent from the floor, including 41.2 percent from distance.

FORWARD/CENTER

Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL at CLE ($19,600): Antetokounmpo comes into play as a premium big man due to the aforementioned overall struggles of the Cavaliers defense, as well as the two-inch height advantage he should be able to frequently exploit versus Jeff Green on Monday. Even if Cleveland slides LeBron James over to defend the Greek Freak one-on-one on occasion, Antetokounmpo's averages of 33.7 points (on 68.4 percent shooting), 10.0 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.3 blocks across 39.7 minutes in three games versus the Cavs this season imply he won't be slowed down much. Cleveland's NBA-worst ranking in terms of fantasy points per game allowed to power forwards on the season (41.3) -- as well as the 60.2 they've yielded to the position over the last five – lend further credence to the possibility of another massive return similar to the tallies of 68.00 and 72.00 fantasy points that he's put up against the Magic and Hawks over the last two contests. The fact that the Cavs allow the seventh-most points in the paint (46.8) and Antetokoumpo is averaging 16.0 points per game in that area of the floor is just icing on the cake.

LaMarcus Aldridge, SA vs. GS ($15,400): Aldridge just lit up the Warriors for a whopping 57.75 fantasy points March 8, a tally he then exceeded in his most recent contest when he racked up 59.50 against the Timberwolves on Saturday night. Both contests offer a glimpse of Aldridge's considerable ceiling, one that could surface once again in what should be a faster pace than usual for the Spurs. Granted, Golden State's uptempo style has been partly compromised by the current absences of their Big Three, but they showed they can still kick it into high gear with the likes of Cook and Young manning the backcourt in their Saturday night battle against the Suns. The Warriors have laid out the welcome mat to fours lately as well, as they're allowing 50.5 fantasy points per game to the position over the last 10, including 59.5 over the last five. Both numbers blow their season figure of 36.9 out of the water, and along with the 46.9 points in the paint they allow on the season, set Aldridge up for what could be yet another explosive outing at their expense.

Dillon Brooks, MEM at BKN ($9,600): With the large slate, there's no shortage of appealing affordable options at forward/center, including Brooks' own teammates JaMychal Green ($10,900) and Jarell Martin ($10,300). However, the rookie provides the most savings of the three, and his recent performances are certainly comparable. The second-round pick has scored 26.00 to 39.75 fantasy points in five of his last seven contests, and he's posted respectable tallies of 20.50 and 22.25 in the other two contests during that span. Given his Monday matchup, he could well be in for a return towards the higher end of that range, as the Nets come in allowing 53.2 fantasy points per game to shooting guards over the last 10 and 42.9 to small forwards over the same span, the two positions Brooks would potentially be deployed in. He's sporting a 26.2 percent usage rate and averaging 1.19 points per possession over the aforementioned seven-game sample, a stretch during which he's also draining 47.2 percent of his 15.4 shot attempts per contest. Finally, the Nets' sixth-highest pace of play (102.6 possessions per game) is worth noting, as it represents a notable boost for the Grizzlies, which play at the slowest rate in the league (97.8 possessions per contest).

UTILITY

Andre Drummond, DET at SAC ($16,200): Drummond's frontcourt mate Blake Griffin ($16,100) is also in a highly advantageous position, but the former is better poised to exploit a Kings squad ranked next-to-last in offensive efficiency rating allowed to centers (33.5). Drummond has also been racking up double-double bonuses all season and is coming off a pair of 50-plus fantasy-point tallies versus the Nuggets and Trail Blazers. He also lit up the Kings for a 16-point, 19-rebound double-double across 36 minutes in one prior game this season, and given that Sacramento comes in with the fourth-lowest team shooting percentage (44.2) in March while Detroit sports the worst (43.1) over the same span, there should be ample rebounding opportunities for the big man.

Tim Hardaway, NY vs. CHI ($11,800): Hardaway's price is particularly reasonable for a player that's exceeded 30 fantasy points twice and eclipsed 40 on another occasion over the last five contests, a span during which he's taking an elevated total of 16.4 shot attempts per game, including 7.6 from distance. He'll be in a premium spot to outpace his modest price Monday against a Bulls squad that's allowing 109.5 points per game and a 47.0 percent success rate from the floor to opposing teams. They're also yielding the fifth-highest percentage of scoring from three-pointers (31.9), including the highest (33.8 percent) on the road. Moreover, Chicago has been hard-pressed to slow down small forwards all season and have been even worse lately, allowing 48.4 fantasy points to the position over the last five (compared to 36.7 for the season).

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Juan Carlos Blanco plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: jcblanco22, FanDuel: jc_blanco22, DraftPot: jc_blanco22, FantasyDraft: jc_blanco22, OwnThePlay: jcblanco22.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Juan Carlos Blanco
Winner of the FSWA 2016 Newcomer of the Year Award, Juan Carlos Blanco has been playing fantasy sports for over 20 years and covers NBA, MLB, NFL, CFL and Arena Football for Rotowire.com, including serving as the beat writer for teams in multiple sports. He has previously written for KFFL.com and remains an avid season-long and daily fantasy player in multiple sports as well.
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