Monday provides a six-game slate chock-full of value. Itís so full of bargain plays that later in the article, Iím going to mix up the method of picking players. Exciting, no?
Teams on tail end of back-to-backs: Knicks, Pistons, Jazz
All three of those teams will also be playing for the third time in four days, as will the Sixers, Clippers, Bulls and Pelicans. I think this information is especially helpful as it relates to games you might usually consider stacking. The Sixers/Knicks and Pelicans/Pistons matchups look like decent games to target, but if you consider the fatigue element on both sides, you might do better spending your money elsewhere. Specifically, there is some value to be had in the Warriors/Suns matchup, and some sneaky value available in a slow-paced game you might otherwise ignore (SA/UTA).
As we glance at our $50-plus players, the intricacies of this slate have me tempted to list all the value picks instead, as they are plentiful. However, we target cheap players in order to have money to spend on high-end chalk plays, so letís give them a look first. While Anthony Davis ($58) and Andre Drummond ($50) are the only players above $50, we should also add in Kevin Durant ($49), Stephen Curry ($47), Joel Embiid ($47) and Blake Griffin ($44) into the equation. Right off the bat, I am crossing Embiid off my list. This is the perfect situation for a rest day, and Embiid has been a late inclusion all week. I think the hassle of scrambling your lineup around five minutes before tip-off outweighs any value you might find with him. Additionally, fatigue plays a part in excluding Drummond, Davis and Griffin in my lineups. To be clear, I am not promoting these players as fades, but Yahooís format requires us to be more judicious with our spend-up picks, and we have to use some sort of justification for looking past some of them. Two players I canít look past are both Durant and Curry, who will be taking on the Suns in what should be the highest-paced game on the slate. I like these two even better if Draymond Green (finger) sits as expected, as both Curry and Durant enjoy slight upticks in production whenever Green is absent.
Now that I look at the bear market in the center category, I am cautiously a bit more bullish on considering Davis and Drummond. Both are playing with fatigue, but this definitely hurts Drummond more as the numbers show his decline in production when he doesnít rest. While the reasons for avoiding them are sound, you may be missing out on the top producer of the slate if you donít go here, and with all the value elsewhere Monday, you can probably afford one of them if you opt to take the risk.
I am going to do something a little different for Mondayís slate. ALL OF MY HIGHLIGHTED PICKS WILL BE VALUE PLAYS ONLY. I will include higher-priced players in the additional list at each position, but there are so many ways to spend down, it seems like the prudent thing to do. Of course, the primary objective for doing this is so you can afford to pay up for Durant and Curry, so donít fill your lineup with these plays. Monday is just one of those days where injuries and other factors give you a lot of cheap options. Iíll also be targeting one fade per position, as per usual.
Shelvin Mack, ORL at CHI ($12): Mack has outplayed D.J. Augustin at the point both before and after Elfrid Paytonís trade to the Suns, and Mackís 44 YFP performance against the Bucks on Saturday is a portent of things to come. The Bulls rank in the bottom third against opposing backcourts, which sets Mack up for a big night.
Emmanuel Mudiay, NY at PHI ($10): Mudiay and Frank Ntilikina shared duties at the point Sunday and essentially booted Jarrett Jack out of the job. Jack only saw eight minutes, while Mudiay threw up a double-double in 29 minutes. I believe this is a sign of things to come for the Knicks, as they switch to this youthful duo as the season gets more and more out of hand. Right now, I think Mudiay is obviously the better pick, as theyíve given Ntilikina a try already this season, and the 21-year-old Mudlay has loads of potential.
Other guards to consider: Lou Williams, LAC at BKN ($37); Donovan Mitchell, SA at UTA ($29); Elfrid Payton (if Devin Booker sits), PHO at GS ($28); D'Angelo Russell, BKN vs. LAC ($18)
GUARD TO AVOID
Jerian Grant, CHI vs. ORL ($20): Grantís tenure as floor general to the Bulls is swiftly coming to a close. Kris Dunnís injury was a doozy but he will likely return to the floor in a limited capacity Monday, and while his $31 salary is absolutely ridiculous at this juncture, he will begin to devour Grantís production almost immediately. If youíve been riding Grant, itís time to get off the horse.
Joe Ingles, UTA vs. SA ($15): Ingles set consecutive career highs over the weekend, and it appears that heís ready to play a larger role with Rodney Hood and Joe Johnson both shipped out of town. Ricky Rubioís (hip) absence has been in his favor production-wise, and Ingles becomes an even better play Monday if Rubio stays out.
Davis Bertans, SA at UTA ($10): This was that great value play I was talking about in this matchup. LaMarcus Aldridge (knee) is almost a lock to miss this game, which will give Bertans yet another start. The pace of this game leaves something to be desired, but at this price, Bertansí potential to absorb much of Aldridgeís production is too good to pass up.
Other forwards to consider: T.J. Warren, PHO vs. GS ($30); Danilo Gallinari, LAC at BKN ($24); Michael Beasley, NY at PHI ($22)
FORWARD TO AVOID
Any Warriors Power Forward: While you could possibly justify a tournament flier, itís really anyoneís guess as to who will be the prime beneficiary of Draymondís absence Monday. While David West ($10) could be the best bet, any of Andre Iguodala ($10), Omri Casspi ($10) or Kevon Looney ($10) could draw the start as well, and in the end, I feel like they will all cancel each other out. If you have to go here, Iíd take West in a GPP setting, but thatís about it.
Enes Kanter, NY at PHI ($25): I like Kanterís chances in this one if Embiid is out. The stitching in his mouth appeared to be holding Sunday, so unless he becomes a late scratch heíll outplay Kyle O'Quinn and Luke Kornet in this spot.
Pau Gasol, SA at UTA ($20): I know, back to the slow-paced game. I wouldnít play Bertans and Gasol together, but both of them look to absorb almost all of Aldridgeís production. The veteran didnít exactly light the world on fire when he last faced the Jazz, as Rudy Gobert outplayed him, but I think Gasol will get more opportunities Monday.
Other centers to consider: Rudy Gobert, UTA vs. SA ($30); DeAndre Jordan, LA at BKN ($28); Bismack Biyombo, ORL at CHI ($17)
CENTER TO AVOID
Jarrett Allen, BKN vs. LAC ($15): Allen will have his hands full at both ends of the court with Jordan, who's been a veritable rebounding machine, averaging 17.5 boards over the last six games. The Nets rookie did have a streak of nine straight games scoring in double digits snapped Saturday against Davis and the Pelicans, but this matchup isn't any easier for him.