Monday’s NBA slate is on the quiet side. There are four games to choose from, and the main slate on DraftKings kicks off at 7 p.m. ET.
Let’s dive into some of my favorite plays at each position.
LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets vs. Detroit Pistons ($10,300) – If the Hornets aren’t careful, Ball is going to play them out of the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes. They’ve won four straight games, which has put them significantly behind the Rockets, Spurs, and Pistons for one of the three worst records in the league. That would drop their shot at the No. 1 pick by -1.5%, and while that’s not a huge number, every little bit matters when chasing a potential franchise-altering player like Wembanyama.
Ball has been the biggest reason for the team’s recent success. He’s scored at least 62.5 DKFP in three of their past four wins, and he’s returned positive fantasy value in five of their past six games. Overall, he’s increased his production to 1.43 DKFP per minute over the past month, and he’s playing around 38 minutes on most nights.
Ball stands out as one of the best plays of the day in an outstanding matchup vs. Detroit. They rank 28th in defensive efficiency, and the Hornets’ implied team total of 121.0 is the top mark on the slate by more than five points.
Derrick White, Boston Celtics at New York Knicks ($5,500) – White isn’t exactly priced like a stud vs. the Knicks, but he has the potential for stud-like production. The Celtics are going to be without Jaylen Brown for personal reasons, and White should enter the starting lineup in his absence. White has also been one of the biggest beneficiaries in games without Brown this season, increasing his usage rate by a team-high +6.8%. He’s averaged 35.27 DKFP in those contests, representing tremendous value upside at just $5,500. The Knicks aren’t an ideal matchup, but this is simply too cheap of a price tag to ignore.
Other Options – CJ McCollum ($7,400), Terry Rozier ($6,800)
Killian Hayes, Detroit Pistons at Charlotte Hornets ($4,600) – Hayes was demoted to the bench at the beginning of the month, but he has moved back into the Pistons’ starting lineup of late. He’s started each of the team’s past six contests, and he’s averaged just over 30 minutes per game in those contests. Hayes doesn’t bring much to the table as a scorer, but he’s capable of stuffing the stat sheet in the peripheral categories. He’s averaged 0.92 DKFP per minute this season, so 30 minutes should be enough for him to pay off his current salary.
Additionally, the Pistons have the potential to be pretty shorthanded vs. the Hornets. Jaden Ivey has already been ruled out for personal reasons, while Bogdan Bogdanovic was ruled out with an achilles injury. Hayes has increased his usage rate by +1.9% and his assist rate by +4.7% with Ivey and Cade Cunningham off the floor this season, so he could be asked to carry a more prominent role in the offense.
Other Options – Josh Richardson ($5,400), Alec Burks ($3,500)
Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics at New York Knicks ($10,200) – Tatum has had a phenomenal season. His MVP candidacy has taken a hit through no fault of his own – Nikola Jokic has simply been that good – but he continues to put together excellent fantasy performances. He’s scored at least 60.75 DKFP in two of his past three games, with Saturday’s matchup vs. the 76ers serving as the lone exception. Philly ranks fifth in defensive efficiency and 26th in pace, so it’s not surprising that he struggled a bit in that contest.
The Knicks are another subpar matchup, but the absence of Brown should make up for it. Tatum has increased his usage rate by +2.6% in 10 games without Brown this season, resulting in an average of 54.85 DKFP per game.
Finally, Tatum’s price tag is down to just $10,200, which represents a significant discount. He was priced as high as $11,300 before the All-Star break, so this is a phenomenal opportunity to buy low on one of the best players in the league.
Gordon Hayward, Charlotte Hornets vs. Detroit Pistons ($6,000) – Hayward is another potential option for the Hornets in this juicy matchup vs. the Pistons. Hayward has provided positive value in six of his past seven games, and he’s displayed an elite ceiling over that stretch. He has two performances with at least 49.75 DKFP, including 58.25 DKFP on Friday vs. the Timberwolves.
Hayward will likely be asked to do a bit more than usual if P.J. Washington is unable to suit up. He’s currently considered doubtful after missing the last game, and J.T. Thor started in his absence on Saturday. Thor posted a usage rate of just 6.5% across 25.5 minutes, so there is more work available for all the starters if he replaces Washington once again. Hayward has increased his usage rate by +3.4% with Washington off the floor this season, resulting in an average of 1.02 DKFP per minute.
Hayward’s appeal would be slightly diminished if Kelly Oubre starts instead of Thor on Monday, but he would still be an excellent midrange option.
Other Options – Brandon Ingram ($8,000), Bojan Bogdanovic ($6,200; questionable)
James Wiseman, Detroit Pistons at Charlotte Hornets ($3,700) – The Warriors decision to draft Wiseman with the No. 2 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft has the potential to be a franchise-altering decision. The Warriors are obviously still very good when healthy, but health is becoming increasingly problematic for their aging core. Wiseman was supposed to be the guy to bridge the gap from Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green to the next era, but he was a massive disappointment. The fact that guys like LaMelo Ball and Tyrese Haliburton are All-Star-caliber players drafted after Wiseman only makes things worse.
However, Wiseman has a chance to revitalize his career in Detroit. Scoring the ball has never been an issue, and he’s unsurprisingly averaged 1.00 DKFP per minute this season. His playing time has been limited, but he has the potential for a monster workload on Tuesday. In addition to Ivey and Bogdanovic, Jalen Duren has also been ruled out, while Isaiah Stewart is listed as questionable. If Stewart is unable to go, Wiseman and Marvin Bagley should see all the minutes they can handle in the Pistons’ frontcourt.
Other Options – Hamidou Diallo ($3,600), Grant Williams ($3,400)
Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers vs. Miami Heat ($11,000) – Embiid is a lower-priority stud on this slate. He has been absolutely fantastic this season, and he’s averaged 1.66 DKFP per minute over the past month. He’s gone off for at least 60.5 DKFP in three straight games, and that doesn’t even include the crazy 3-pointer that didn’t count against the Celtics on Saturday.
However, center has plenty of strong value options, and Embiid draws a difficult matchup against the Heat. They’ve played at the third-slowest pace this season, and they rank fourth in defensive efficiency. This will be Embiid’s first matchup against the Heat this season, but they have historically done as good a job against him as anyone. They’ve limited him to just 41.13 DKFP over their past 10 meetings, which is well-below salary-based expectations.
Ultimately, Embiid provides a similar ceiling to guys like Ball and Tatum, but they check in at reduced price tags. Embiid is more of a tournament pivot than a cash option on this slate.
Other Options – Jonas Valanciunas ($6,400)
Mark Williams, Charlotte Hornets vs. Detroit Pistons ($5,900) – Williams has been a per-minute monster in limited playing time this season. He’s averaged 1.21 DKFP per minute, and with Mason Plumlee now in Los Angeles, the coast is clear for Williams to assume a much larger workload. He’s played at least 29 minutes in four of his past six contests, and he’s racked up at least 33.5 DKFP in three of them. That includes 48.0 DKFP in his last outing, which was against the Heat.
Monday’s contest vs. the Pistons should be significantly friendlier. They allow the fifth-most DKFP per game to opposing centers, and they are going to be significantly undermanned vs. the Hornets. It’s another phenomenal spot for Williams to rack up points and rebounds.
Other Options – Marvin Bagley III ($4,500), Willy Hernangomez ($3,600)
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is mlamarca) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.