The NBA has the cure for the Monday blues with an entertaining 10-game slate that has plenty of elite-level players in action. There’s no shortage of stars to pay up for with the likes of Russell Westbrook, Anthony Davis, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant on the docket, and there’s plenty of value in the mid-tier level across the board as well. There’s also a number of teams playing on back-to-backs or a third game in four nights, adding another layer to what must be considered. With plenty to analyze, let’s dive into what shapes up as a strong ledger for both cash game and tournament players.
Russell Westbrook, OKC vs. ORL ($21,400): Westbrook should be especially primed Monday for what is already a premium matchup, considering the Thunder’s embarrassing Saturday night loss to the Warriors. He already touched up the Magic for 37 points, 11 rebounds, five assists and five steals over 38 minutes in his one previous meeting with them this season, and Orlando comes in allowing the eighth-most fantasy points per game to point guards on the season (41.0), including 55.8 over the last five games following the trade of Elfrid Payton. They’re also allowing the third-highest shooting percentage (51.0) to the position over the latter span, and the most points in the paint (49.2) overall on the season. The latter figure that could especially spell trouble against a player like Westbrook, who has elite ability to drive to the basket and has scored 43.2 percent of his points in that area of the floor this season.
Donovan Mitchell, UTA vs. HOU ($15,000): Devin Booker ($15,700) and Jrue Holiday ($15,200) are also certainly worthy of consideration at this level, but Mitchell comes in cheaper than both and has been impressively consistent as a rookie, coming into Monday having scored 39.00 to 48.25 fantasy points in five of the last six contests. He’s sporting a 31.2 percent usage rate and averaging 1.08 fantasy points per minute over that stretch, and a matchup against a Rockets squad that’s playing their third game in four nights and that’s been susceptible to the shooting guard position seems like a recipe for more of the same. Houston has allowed 40.8 fantasy points per contest to twos on the season -- including 44.7 over the last five – and the fifth-most made three-pointers (3.2) to the position on the campaign as well.
Trey Burke, NY vs. GS ($8,800): The Knicks have apparently committed to giving Burke some abundant playing time off the bench coming out of the All-Star break, as he’s seen 29 and 26 minutes in the first pair of contests following the layoff. The fifth-year guard has responded with tallies of 44.50 and 40.50 fantasy points in those games, spectacular returns on his current price. That type of production should naturally earn him another dose of extended opportunity Monday in a matchup against a Warriors team that’s tied with the Lakers for the most possessions per game (105.2) on the road. Burke has been both aggressive and efficient during his time on the court in the aforementioned two-game sample, draining an impressive 53.7 percent of his 41 shot attempts during that stretch. He could well approximate that type of usage Monday, considering the pace at which the game should be played.
Anthony Davis, NO vs. PHO ($20,300): There’s a couple of caveats with Davis on Monday, including the fact the Pels are playing their third game in four nights and have been involved in back-to-back overtime tilts. However, a bit of fatigue on the part of New Orleans might actually help reduce the blowout risk just a tad, certainly making Davis a viable option in a premium matchup. The Suns come in allowing the fourth-most fantasy points per game (40.5) to power forwards, along with the highest shooting percentage (50.0) to the position. Davis has also been on an absolute tear over the last five games -- scoring 51.25 to 90.25 fantasy points while sporting a 33.2 percent usage rate and 1.77 fantasy points per minute – and he compiled an efficient 23 points (on 75.0 percent shooting), nine rebounds, two assists and one block over 26 minutes in his one prior meeting versus Phoenix this season.
Andrew Wiggins, MIN at SAC ($12,000): Wiggins’ teammate Taj Gibson ($12,300) is also worthy of consideration at this level, but Wiggins makes for a nice alternative at a $300 savings. That especially holds true when considering he’s sporting a team-high 29.2 percent usage rate with Jimmy Butler (knee) off the floor this season. The former first overall pick scored 32.50 fantasy points over 34 minutes against the Bulls on Saturday in the T-Wolves’ first full game without Butler, and the matchup Monday could well yield more of the same. The Kings have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points per game (36.5) to small forwards on the season -- including the third most (61.3) over the last five – and the second-highest shooting percentage (47.0) to the position on the campaign as well. Wiggins’ shot attempts are up to 17.0 in the first two games following the All-Star break, and he should be in for a similar level of involvement Monday.
Taurean Prince, ATL vs. LAL ($10,200): Prince has undeniably been a bit of a roller coaster to roster this season, with his last 10 games serving as a perfect example. Prince’s range of fantasy points during that span includes a low-water mark of 4.25 and a high end of 51.50, making him a quintessential tournament play. His matchup Monday could lead to production that leans more toward the latter figure, as the Lakers come in playing at the NBA’s fastest pace (105.0 possessions per game), including the fastest on the road (105.2 possessions per contest). Moreover, Los Angeles is allowing the most fantasy points per game to threes (40.3), including 48.4 over the last 10. They’re also yielding the second-most points (20.0), most rebounds (8.2), third-most assists (3.5), second-most steals (1.7) and most blocks (1.1) to the position on the campaign, giving the versatile Prince an abundance of paths to fantasy success.
Stephen Curry, GS at NY ($18,200): Curry racked up 32 points (on 47.4 percent shooting), seven assists and six rebounds over just 33 minutes against the Knicks in their one prior meeting this season, and he’s scored 45.75 to 74.00 fantasy points in three of the past four games. New York has also been vulnerable to point guards throughout the season, and even more so since Emmanuel Mudiay’s arrival. New York comes into Monday’s contest having allowed the second-most fantasy points per game (53.2) to the position over the last 10 games, including 58.0 over the five-game sample that Mudiay has played in the Big Apple. It’s also worth noting that the Knicks have allowed the fifth-highest percentage of scoring from three-pointers (31.5 percent), while Curry is draining an impressive 45.2 percent of his 10.5 attempts from behind the arc over the last four contests.
Jeff Teague, MIN at SAC ($13,700): Like Wiggins, Teague provided a taste of how expanded his role might be with Butler out of the lineup in the Timberwolves’ last contest, as he racked up 50.75 fantasy points against the Bulls on Saturday night. The veteran point guard put up 17 shot attempts in that game, a sizable boost over his 10.9 season figure. He also hoisted 14 in the prior game when Butler went down with the injury late in the third quarter versus the Rockets, and he’s sporting a 23.8 percent usage rate and averaging 1.06 fantasy points per minute with his teammate off the floor this season. The Kings have also been trending downward against ones as of late, as the 52.9 fantasy points per game they’ve yielded to the position over the last five is a significant increase over the 38.2 they’ve yielded on the season. The fact they’re also allowing the highest rate of scoring from three-pointers (34.5 percent) overall could work in Teague’s favor, considering he’s shooting an impressive 50.0 percent from distance over the last 10 games and will likely be more aggressive in an effort to help fill the expansive offensive vacuum created by Butler’s absence.