- Anthony Davis has been a force without DeMarcus Cousins, and cannot be ignored in Monday's DFS contests.
Coming out of the weekend, the NBA offers up a solid 10-game slate on Monday. There’s a healthy mix of teams actually trying, teams sort of trying that can't get out of their own way, and teams in full tank mode. Through it all, we can find the DFS value. Use these plays and Lineup Lab's PlayerLab to get you rolling with lineups on DraftKings and FanDuel.
Game Stack Alert
New Orleans Pelicans vs. Phoenix Suns
Anthony Davis (FD: $12,500, DK: $11,700)
Projected Points: FD: 64.19, DK: 64.22
Jrue Holiday (FD: $8,500, DK: $8,100)
Projected Points: FD: 43.96, DK: 44.14
Rajon Rondo (FD: $6,000, DK: $5,800)
Projected Points: FD: 31.64, DK: 32.14
It’s a day ending with “y,” so here we are recommending DFS plays against the Suns. It may end up sounding repetitive, but no other opponent offers the perfect combination of blistering pace and matador defense quite like the guys in Phoenix. That leads us to the Pelicans, even on the second half of a back-to-back and coming off the heels of an overtime game.
Since Demarcus Cousins went down on January 26th, Anthony Davis has been on a mission. The Pelicans are on a six-game win streak, and in the last month Davis has worked at a 34% usage rate with an average of 35 points and 12 rebounds. He’s the clear big-money play for Monday, even at his exorbitant prices.
Holiday is coming off a monster game on Sunday against the Bucks, in which he scored 36 points on 16-for-31 shooting. He got in the lane over and over and has been effective in the long haul without Cousins on the court. He’s getting expensive, but this matchup makes up the difference.
Rondo has one of the highest standard deviations in the league for players in and around his average production. He will fall to the rotational whims of Alvin Gentry from time to time, which makes him a volatile play even in solid matchups like this one. Considering his game on Sunday (43.6 FanDuel points), he’s likely to draw higher ownership on Monday. He’s not a lock because of the sometimes crazy minutes, but makes for a strong play nonetheless.
Devin Booker (FD: $8,400, DK: $8,300)
Projected Points: FD: 40.77, DK: 42.69
T.J. Warren (FD: $6,500, DK: $6,200)
Projected Points: FD: 36.61, DK: 35.7
Elfrid Payton (FD: $7,500, DK: $7,700)
Projected Points: FD: 39.47, DK: 39.41
Alex Len (FD: $5,200, DK: $5,600)
Projected Points: FD: 30.77, DK: 31.67
As I wrote last week, though the Suns are vying for the number one pick in the draft, a mode that sends most teams into death spirals, they’ve committed to playing starters a majority of the minutes. That’s fantastic news from a projection standpoint, and we can comfortably roster their core four (I’m ignoring Dragan Bender) in cash games. Booker played 39 minutes on Saturday against the Blazers and jacked up 28 shots in the loss. He finished with 30 points and nine rebounds and draws a Pelicans’ defense ranked in the bottom half of the league. At the same price point and position, I prefer Holiday, but Booker is in the conversation.
Warren has seen surprisingly low ownership over the last couple games, helping to keep his price in check. Sharing the court with Booker will ding his usage, but his minutes remain on the high side. He’s a fantastic DraftKings play and will likely draw an E’Twaun Moore/Darius Miller combination on defense.
Finally, Len and Payton both have high floors at their respective price points. Payton is more of a tournament play, though, as I’ve said, his statistical profile lends itself to cash games because he contributes in nearly every category. Len should draw the start again for Tyson Chandler (currently listed as doubtful), and the former is coming off back-to-back double-double games.
Russell Westbrook, vs. Magic (FD: $12,000, DK: $11,800)
Projected Points: FD: 60.26, DK: 63.65
The only possible reason to get away from Anthony Davis in the upper salary tier is that Westbrook comes in with an excellent matchup at just a bit cheaper. The matchup isn’t as choice, but the Magic are no great shakes with the D.J. Augustin/Shelvin Mack combo offering little in the way of defensive resistance. From a safety standpoint, Westbrook carries a much lower coefficient of variation than Davis (thanks to the latter’s frequent injuries) and could make for the better cash game play if you need the savings on FanDuel.
D'Angelo Russell, vs. Bulls (FD: $7,200, DK: $6,300)
Projected Points: FD: 39.56, DK: 41.04
Russell will likely be a monster chalk play on DraftKings. On Friday, after moving into the starting shooting guard role, he saw 80%-plus ownership, and his price has ticket up only marginally. All we were waiting on with Russell was for the Nets to take the leash off from a minutes standpoint, and that has happened. He played 32 minutes against Charlotte, finishing with 19 points, five assists, and four rebounds. The scoring was likely even a little low considering he ran bad (2-for-7) from beyond the arc.
John Collins, vs. Lakers (FD: $5,800, DK: $5,800)
Projected Points: FD: 31.66, DK: 31.02
The Hawks bought out Ersan Ilyasova last Friday, paving the way for Collins to enter the starting unit, likely for the rest of the season. He played 30 minutes against the Pacers and finished with nine points and nine rebounds. With this kind of opportunity, that line should represent his floor. He’s strong on the glass and will take the occasional three. The Lakers allow about 4% more scoring and 8% more rebounding than league average to opposing power forwards, putting Collins in an excellent spot.
David Nwaba, vs. Nets (FD: $5,000, DK: $4,900)
Projected Points: FD: 24.88, DK: 23.99
Lauri Markkanen, vs. Nets (FD: $6100, DK: $5500)
Projected Points: FD: 30.73, DK: 31.17
Since the Bulls went into unapologetic tank mode last week and decided to just sit guys like Robin Lopez and Justin Holiday, Nwaba got a chance to enter the starting lineup. In the last two games, he’s averaging 17 points and nine rebounds on 34 minutes. That should continue tonight in a fantastic matchup against the Nets, who run the sixth-fastest pace with the 22nd-ranked defensive efficiency. He’s still a value play considering the new opportunity, and it’s encouraging he’s been able to find a scoring touch even with the first unit.
Meanwhile, it can be tough looking at Markkanen’s recent game log and considering rostering the guy. But I think we are buying on the low end seeing as how his troubles stem almost entirely from his shooting struggles. He’s 2-for-16, including 0-for-7 from three, over his last two games. That isn’t sustainable, and the shooting woes haven’t cut into his minutes. It’s a solid time to buy low on a guy who could get you big tournament separation if the shot starts falling again.