This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
Here we go with a captivating, six-game NBA slate on Monday, January 14.
Should you spend on James Harden at $12,400? What about Anthony Davis at $11,600? While both of those superstars find themselves in appealing matchups, I don't believe either is in "must play" territory tonight. That's not an indictment of their ability to post gaudy stat-lines. However, the opportunity cost on this slate comes into play with cheaper fantasy stalwarts like Damian Lillard, Donovan Mitchell, Jusuf Nurkic and Julius Randle demanding your attention as well.
My general strategy revolves around stacking three or more of these guys in your DraftKings' lineup instead of rolling with Harden or Davis – leaving you settle for subpar value in your other seven roster spots. We'll break down that strategy point along with much more in the following write-ups.
Per usual, we have several injuries to monitor with potential for more while moving closer to tip-off. You'll want to stay in the loop with RotoWire's NBA News Feed before setting your final lineups. As of Monday morning, these are the situations we are looking at:
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is questionable. If he's active, DeMarre Carroll and Rodions Kurucs could see less playing time.
Kyle Anderson is out. We aren't sure who will see the most minutes between Justin Holiday, Garrett Temple and Omri Casspi. Holiday would make for the best guess, but this seems like a wait-and-see situation.
With that, I'll be breaking down the best fantasy choices on DraftKings for Monday. The following write-ups contain a blend of cash game staples, bargain fillers, and tournament pivots.
Donovan Mitchell, UTA vs. DET ($9,200): As the introduction stated, I'm in favor of taking guys like Mitchell and Lillard instead of Harden or Davis, then reinvesting the savings. Mitchell will continue to see more usage and ball-handling responsibilities with Utah decimated by backcourt injuries. He has posted 58 and 56 fantasy points, respectively, in that role, and is facing a Detroit team that ranks 24th in defensive efficiency against opposing backcourts sets up for more of the same.
Damian Lillard, POR at SAC ($8,800): Lillard has been heating up with 42+ fantasy points in each of his last two games, and tonight's matchup couldn't get much better. He'll face a Sacramento squad that ranks second in pace, 20th in defensive efficiency against point guards and 26th in defensive rating. This is expected to be a high-scoring game (227 over/under) with a tight spread (SAC favored by 2.5), and Lillard should find his upside within that.
Bogdan Bogdanovic, SAC vs. POR ($5,600): Sticking with the same game, Bogdanovic finds himself with a cheaper-than-deserved salary due to some inconsistencies last week. Bogdan had tough shooting nights while going a combined 6-20 from the field against Phoenix and Detroit. It's comforting to see that he bounced-back for 33 fantasy points Saturday vs. Charlotte. He's now a buy-low candidate in a fantasy-friendly environment while taking on the Blazers.
Royce O'Neale, UTA vs. DET ($4,700): Remember earlier when I mentioned that Utah's backcourt remains scathed with injuries? O'Neale has been a notable fantasy beneficiary in the subsequently tighter rotation. Over the past two games, he has posted 33+ fantasy points while seeing 40 and 37 minutes respectively. He's a strong DFS streamer while seeing that much playing time. Go ahead and target him through all formats.
Davis Bertans, SA vs. CHA ($3,900): Rudy Gay will continue to miss time, and Davis Bertans will continue to see an extended look in his absence. He has notched 24 fantasy points in each of his last two games while averaging 28 minutes through that span. Bertans is still dirt-cheap on DraftKings while facing a Charlotte team that ranks 26th in defensive efficiency vs. opposing frontcourts. He's a serviceable value filler to help you reach for the stars of this slate.
Danilo Gallinari, LAC vs. NO ($7,200): Gallinari is more of a tournament pivot, as I'm anticipating a lower-than-deserved ownership rate due to the overall makeup of this slate. That will come despite a beautiful matchup against a New Orleans team that ranks eighth in pace, 28th vs. small forwards, and 21st in rebound rate. Gallo has been doing plenty of fantasy damage from behind the arc lately, and the Pelicans also rank bottom ten for opponent three point percentage at 36.2%.
Jusuf Nurkic, POR at SAC ($8,600): I'll reference the introduction one more time, as the combination of Mitchell, Nurkic and Lillard is leaving me to take a chance in fading Harden/Davis. Nurkic has the ability to post much better "per-dollar" upside than Davis, as he displayed with five 47+ FP efforts over his last ten games. That includes a remarkable 82.75 fantasy point performance (24 points, 23 boards, 7 assists, 5 blocks, 5 steals) against the same Sacramento team he'll see tonight. You know, the one that ranks second in pace, 27th in defensive efficiency vs. centers, and 27th in rebound rate. This is a dream matchup for Nurkic, and you'd be wise to consider him through all formats.
Julius Randle, NO at LAC ($7,400): Nikola Mirotic is back in the rotation for New Orleans after missing about a month of action. However, that hasn't impacted Randle's playing time as much as previously assumed. Randle was able to post 41 fantasy points with another solid, 22-point, 11-rebound outing in 34 minutes at Minnesota on Saturday. He's demanding starter's minutes on a nightly basis, and there's no reason to take playing time away from him even with Mirotic back in the fold. Randle could keep rolling in a high-scoring matchup against a Clippers team that ranks 28th in defensive efficiency vs. opposing centers.