The NBA completes its first full week on Monday, with a slate of eight entertaining games. Giannis Antetokounmpo has become must-watch TV, and close to must-own in DFS though FanDuel is pricing him high enough to make one think. The Warriors are under .500 for the first time in a long time, which could bode ill for their competition the Mavericks on Monday.
The Kings and Suns lock horns in a battle of young teams that aren’t very good, but that could very reasonably produce the best fantasy scores of the night. Let’s sweep the league, and see what kind of value we can find for Monday night.
John Wall, WAS at DEN ($10,300): Wall narrowly beats out James Harden for this spot on the basis of competition. While Harden faces one of the best defenses in the league in the Grizzlies, Wall faces a Nuggets team that spent last season battling only the Nets for worst point guard defense in the league. Wall is off to his characteristic strong start, averaging 27 points with nine assists, four boards and 2.5 combined steals/blocks through two games.
Bradley Beal, WAS at DEN ($8,000): Beal beat out Devin Booker for this spot on the strength of early consistency, as Beal has had two monster games thus far while Booker has only beasted once in his three games. Beal has thus far shown that he and John Wall can both maximize their output in the same game, as Beal is averaging 25 points, five boards, four assists and 3.5 combined steals/blocks through the first two games of the season.
De’Aaron Fox, SAC at PHO ($5,200): Fox has been productive and played in the mid-to-upper-20s of minutes in all three games thus far. On Monday, he’ll be facing a reeling Suns defense that was recently torched by fellow rookie Lonzo Ball and will be without Eric Bledsoe (coach’s decision).
Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL vs CHA ($12,200): This pick comes with all due respect to LaMarcus Aldridge ($8,800) and Kevin Durant ($10,200), both of whom are playing excellently and are worthy premium options. But Antetokounmpo is playing like an alien, averaging 38.3 points with 9.7 boards, five assists and 3.4 combined steals/blocks with more than 61 fantasy points scored in all three games. Much like Russell Westbrook at his best last season, it is hard to price Antetokounmpo high enough that it isn’t worth it to have him on your team.
Ben Simmons, PHI at DET ($8,000): Simmons very narrowly edges out Otto Porter ($6,900) for this slot. Porter’s average through two games is actually higher than Simmons, but: a) we’ve already got two Wizards on this list; and, b) Simmons’ game is structured similar to Antetokounmpo’s, which means that his upside on any given night is spectacular.
T.J. Warren, PHO vs SAC ($5,600): This is a boom-or-bust pick, with huge upside but also a low floor. Through three games, Warren has either produced fewer than 15 fantasy points or more than 42 fantasy points in all three outings. The trend so far seems to be that he struggles against playoff level opponents, but shines against lottery ones. His Monday opponent, the Kings, will be in the lottery just like the Suns, which means that this could end up being the type of high-pace, high-scoring affair that produces great DFS outcomes.
Marc Gasol, MEM at HOU ($8,700): Gasol has come out of the gate with back-to-back double-doubles against the Pelicans and the Warriors, and currently averages 24 points with 12.5 boards, three assists and 3.0 combined steals/blocks. His ability to operate from the high post and knock down jumpers out beyond the 3-point line makes it difficult for traditional centers to slow him down, but his massive size makes it impossible for anyone else to handle him down low.
Dwight Howard, CHA at MIL ($7,400): Howard has quietly settled in very well with his new team, starting off with consecutive double-doubles that have led to averages of 15 points, 15 boards and 2.0 combined blocks/steals through his first two games. He should be able to continue this against the Bucks centers, who are long but not necessarily powerful enough to keep Howard from getting where he wants.
Willie Cauley-Stein, SAC at PHO ($5,800): Cauley-Stein gets the call here, but there were other intriguing options. Jonas Valanciunas is hurt in Toronto, which could open things up for either Jakob Poeltl or Lucas Nogueira to produce. And both Alex Len and Nerlens Noel have showed flashes of brilliance in limited minutes. Cauley-Stein gets the nod because he is already a big part of his team’s rotations, and again that Kings/Suns game could be up-and-down and produce some nice lines.