This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
Here we go with a special split-slate for MLK Day on Monday, January 21.
We have five early games starting at 1:00 ET and four later matchups beginning at 6:00 ET. There will be a blend of players from both timeframes in the following write-ups. Each recommendation will have a note as to which slate the player belongs.
Looking across both contest windows, it appears that Sacramento at Brooklyn (230 over/under) is the best fantasy environment of the early slate. Meanwhile, Houston at Philadelphia (234 over/under) paces the evening contests in that regard. Definitely keep those matchups in mind while mining for potential fantasy value. We'll definitely be featuring multiple DFS recommendations from both of those games in the write-ups below.
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:
Andre Drummond is OUT. He missed Saturday's game with a concussion. Zaza Pachulia should become a strong value option, and Blake Griffin should see an uptick.
These notable players will continue to miss time: LeBron James, Rajon Rondo, Tristan Thompson, Larry Nance Jr., John Wall, Clint Capela, Chris Paul, Markieff Morris, Dennis Smith Jr., J.J. Barea, Wendell Carter Jr., Kent Bazemore, Ricky Rubio
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.
D'Angelo Russell – Early - BKN vs. SAC ($8,700): I mentioned this Brooklyn-Sacramento game in the introduction, so it's only fitting we start by listing the Nets' top scoring option. Russell has notched 47+ fantasy points in three of his past four games, and he has an excellent opportunity to find that range this afternoon. His opponent, the Kings, rank fourth in pace, 22nd in defensive efficiency vs. opposing backcourts, and 24th in overall team d-eff. That is a fantastic matchup to draw from, and Russell should be able to take full advantage.
Luke Kennard – Early – DET at WAS ($3,900): Kennard isn't a flashy DFS commodity, but he gets the job done. His salary is still below $4,000 despite hitting 29+ fantasy points in each of his past two games. The Wizards are a bottom five defensive team that also ranks 25th in defensive efficiency against opposing backcourts, so the matchup is a good one for Kennard to keep thriving. It's comforting to see Kennard taking 29 shots over his past two games, so we are hoping he can keep knocking them down at a healthy percentage.
Ben Simmons – Late – PHI vs. HOU ($8,600): Simmons is an excellent pick in tonight's evening slate. This Houston-Philadelphia draw looks great for fantasy purposes, and I'm not sure how the Rockets will guard Simmons' versatility. On top of that, Joel Embiid and Jimmy Butler are questionable tonight. If either of them (or both) are sidelined or limited, Simmons will have an opportunity to pick up more production. He's a solid all-around pick either way, but we certainly wouldn't scoff at the prospect of more usage.
Josh Hart – Late – LAL vs. GS ($5,200): Lonzo Ball will join LeBron James and Rajon Rondo on the sidelines tonight, which means Josh Hart, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Lance Stephenson will be asked to carry a larger workload. While Hart has been hit-or-miss lately, I believe he's an interesting DFS value tonight. He certainly has the ability to notch a well-rounded fantasy score, as displayed with 42 FP in 33 minutes at OKC on Thursday. However, his shot has been cold lately, so you are mostly depending on his ability to rack up peripheral numbers.
Other guards to consider: Bradley Beal – Early – WAS vs. DET ($9,400), Alec Burks – Early – CLE vs. CHI ($4,400), James Harden – Late – HOU at PHI ($13,200), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope – Late – LAL vs. GS ($4,600)
Blake Griffin – Early – DET at WAS ($9,600): With Drummond out, Griffin will find himself with an expanded workload in a dream matchup against Washington – who ranks 25th in defensive efficiency vs. opposing power forwards. Blake has notched 54+ fantasy points in each of his past two games, and he's a strong all-around play regardless of Drummond's status. Obviously he would become an even more enticing option if the Detroit big man sits.
Otto Porter Jr. – Early – WAS vs. DET ($6,200): Simply put: Porter is back to see a full workload, and his salary has yet to reflect that uptick. As a result, the Washington forward has hit 36+ fantasy points in three of his past four games. I'm fully expecting him to contribute within that range against a subpar Detroit defense. While Brooklyn-Sacramento was named the best fantasy environment of the early slate, this Washington-Detroit draw isn't far behind. Porter should be a solid play within that.
Brandon Ingram – Late – LAL vs. GS ($6,900): As mentioned earlier, Lonzo Ball will join Rajon Rondo and LeBron James on the sidelines tonight. That means Brandon Ingram will step up as the Lakers' de-facto ball-handler. He could see a reasonable usage boost within that role, and I'm expecting a full 38-40 minute workload. The matchup isn't great against the Warriors, but Ingram is a volume-based play who can be considered through all formats on the four-game evening slate.
Lance Stephenson – Late – LAL vs. GS ($4,000): Stephenson is probably the best value commodity on the later slate starting at 6:00 ET. He's an easy cash game pick at $4,000 while stepping into a much larger role for the injury-plagued Lakers. Don't overthink this one: go ahead and lock-in Stephenson as a bargain commodity through all formats.
Other forwards to consider: Giannis Antetokounmpo – Early - MIL vs. DAL ($10,800), Trevor Ariza – Early – WAS vs. DET ($5,900), Wilson Chandler – Late – PHI vs. HOU ($3,700), Kenneth Faried – Late – HOU at PHI
Jarrett Allen – Early – BKN vs. SAC ($6,200): I still can't believe Allen is this cheap on DraftKings. He posted 47+ fantasy points in two of his past three games, but the salary seems to be lagging on DK for some reason. Allen will have an excellent opportunity to keep his heater against a Sacramento team that ranks fourth in pace, 27th vs. centers and 27th in rebound rate.
Ante Zizic – Early – CLE vs. CHI ($5,700): I believe you can target Allen and Zizic in the same lineup for today's early slate. The salary has increased for Cleveland's center, but he should be well-worth the cost this afternoon. Tristan Thompson and Larry Nance Jr. will remain sidelined, and Zizic has produced 31+ fantasy points in three straight games with that being the case. Those came despite some tough draw at Portland, Utah and Denver. Today's matchup against the Bulls (28th in d-eff vs. centers) is a much better landing spot for him to thrive.
Draymond Green – Late – GS at LAL ($6,500): There's certainly blowout risk with Golden State facing the depleted Lakers, but I really like Green through all formats regardless. The salary falls into a nice mid-range level that offers nice relief from the high-end options at center on the evening slate. We aren't sure how the emergence of DeMarcus Cousins will effect Draymond moving forward, but I believe he's a plausible DFS play with "Boogie" still on a minutes-limit. A fine matchup playing up in pace at LAL doesn't hurt either.