Monday night's six-game slate brings an interesting selection of what could be low-scoring games given the defenses involved. However, there’s also one marquee matchup in the Cavs-Spurs that could be a source of superb fantasy production. FantasyDraft’s unique roster construction offers the flexibility to maximize exposure, so let’s dive in to where you might best allocate your resources:
DeMar DeRozan, TOR vs. ORL ($16,000): Russell Westbrook ($22,400) is the elephant in the room and is certainly an option any time he’s on the slate, though it bears noting that while he’s had no trouble scoring on the Mavs (37.0 points per game in two starts this season), he sports rather ordinary rebounding (7.0) and assist (4.0) averages against them. Meanwhile, DeRozan has averaged 26.5 points, 6.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game in two starts against the Magic this season, and Orlando surrendered the fifth-most fantasy points (49.2) to two-guards over the last five games. He’s also sporting a massive 38.2 percent usage rate without Kyle Lowry on the floor this season and brings massive upside, as evidenced by his back-to-back with at least 60 fantasy points last week against the Bulls and Heat, respectively.
Derrick Rose, NY vs. DET ($11,600): Victor Oladipo ($11,900), George Hill ($11,600) and Buddy Hield ($11,200) are also viable options at this level, but Rose could be in for another night of extended usage if Carmelo Anthony (knee) is sidelined again. Rose had 24 points, five rebounds and five assists in 36 minutes against the Spurs on Saturday and sports a 34 percent usage rate without Anthony on the floor this season. He’s also been solid in three prior games versus the Pistons, averaging 15.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 31 minutes per outing. Meanwhile, Detroit has allowed the 10th-most fantasy points (52.0), 10th-most points (22.9), third-most rebounds (6.2) and eighth-highest field-goal percentage (44.2) to the position this season.
Terrence Ross, ORL at TOR ($9,800): For those in need of some savings, options such as J.J. Barea ($7,800), Tony Parker ($7,800), Patty Mills ($7,800), Andre Roberson ($7,800), Yogi Ferrell ($7,700) and Vince Carter ($7,700) all carry some risk but make for viable GPP plays. However, Ross is in one of the more interesting spots of the night as he makes his return to Toronto for the first time since being dealt to the Magic at the trade deadline. He comes into the game on a nice four-game run of double-digit scoring and a 21.8 percent usage rate, and he’s shot 50 percent or better in four of the last five. That’s helped lead to three straight games with at least 27.25 fantasy points, which represents excellent returns on his discounted price.
Kawhi Leonard, SA vs. CLE ($17,600): LeBron James ($18,300) and Anthony Davis ($18,300) sit atop the forward/center pool, but both have considerably difficult matchups. While they’re essentially guaranteed to generate very good numbers (particularly if DeMarcus Cousins sits out again for the Pelicans), they both could have a bit of trouble providing full value on their price. Leonard is several hundred dollars cheaper, and given what should be a wire-to-wire battle with the Cavs, he could be the better fantasy-point-per-dollar value. The All-Star forward exploded for 41 points, six rebounds, five assists, one block and one steal in his one previous meeting versus the Cavs this season, and he has a rather extensive history of producing against LeBron James. Leonard has also scored over 40 fantasy points twice and over 60 once in three of the last six, and well over 30 in two other contests during that span. Although they’ve been better lately, the Cavs have struggled against small forwards, giving up the sixth-most fantasy points (45.5) per game to the position this season, along with the third-most rebounds (8.3) and most assists (3.8).
Rudy Gobert, UTA vs. NO ($14,700): Gobert takes on a Pelicans defense that’s surrendered the eighth-most fantasy points per game (51.6) to centers this season, including the ninth-most (54.7) over the last five. They also continue to give up the most rebounds (16.6) per game to the position by far, while Gobert has averaged 16 boards over two prior games against them this season. The Stifle Tower has also been on an incredible run of fantasy production recently, with five straight double-doubles and at least 53.75 fantasy points in four of those contests.
Georgios Papagiannis, SAC vs. MEM ($7,300): For those with cash to spend up, Guillermo Hernangomez ($10,200) continues to be priced very reasonably relative to potential upside and is certainly an option as well. Meanwhile, Papagiannis has seen a nice boost in playing time and has been producing, as he’s now averaging a solid 8.6 points, 7.2 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.4 blocks per game over the last five. He’s still flying under the radar for many, however, making him a nice tournament dart throw. He’s posted two games with double-digit rebounds along with two games over 20 fantasy points and one over 30 during that span, and his seven-foot frame makes him a formidable presence down low against a Grizzlies squad that could be missing Marc Gasol (foot) again.
Kyrie Irving, CLE at SA ($14,700): Irving had 29 points, nine assists, three rebounds and two steals in his one previous meeting against the Spurs this season, and despite some excellent performances recently, his price has remained fairly stagnant. That makes him a very appealing play in a game that should be competitive throughout. Irving has scored over 40 fantasy points in two of his last three games and, despite the tough assignment on paper, should be able to provide a solid return in a matchup he’s thrived in before.
Andre Drummond, DET at NY ($13,900): Drummond faces off against a Knicks squad that continues to be a veritable sieve for opposing centers, as they’ve surrendered the third-most fantasy points per game (53.6) this season to centers, including the fourth-most (64.0) in the last five. They also yield the second-most points (23.2) and Drummond has averaged a solid 16.0 points, 12.3 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.0 blocks per game in three prior starts against New York this season.