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NBA DFS Primer: Monday (1/17)

Jan 17, 2022
LeBron James

We were subjected to a tiny three-game slate on Sunday, but it has us ready for this monster Monday Card. This happens to be the Martin Luther King Day slate, which is one of the highlight days for the NBA. It has almost every team in action, and it’s a good time to reflect and look back on all the privileges we’ve been blessed with. Getting to watch the NBA at this sort of level is one of my favorite privileges, and I hope you guys enjoy it just as much as I do!

It’s always tough to break down a slate like this. Not only do we have 12 games in total, but they’re spread all throughout the day. That means it’s dealer’s choice in terms of when you want to play, but we’re going to zone in on the main card beginning at 7ET. There’s a lot to discuss, though, so let’s get into it!

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Schedule and Odds

  • POR at ORL (ORL -1) O/U: 215.5
  • TOR at MIA (MIA -3.5) O/U: 209.5
  • OKC at DAL (DAL -10.5) O/U: 207.5
  • PHX at SAS (PHX -4.5) O/U: 224.5
  • UTA at LAL (UTA -4.5) O/U: 231

Check out our consensus game odds as well as the odds from each sportsbook at BettingPros >>

Injury Report

Core Plays

LeBron James (PG/SF – LAL): $10,900 DraftKings, $11,200 FanDuel
It’s crazy to see a 37-year-old doing what King James is doing right now, but this guy is super-human. The future Hall-of-Famer is in one of the best stretches of his career, averaging 33.5 points, 9.4 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.5 blocks across his last 13 games played. He’s also scored at least 43 DraftKings points in all of those en route to a ridiculous 60-point average.

Donovan Mitchell (PG/SG – UTA): $9,000 DraftKings, $8,200 FanDuel
A guard facing the Lakers is arguably the best matchup in fantasy. Not only does Los Angeles rank third in pace and 27th in points allowed, but they also surrender the second-most fantasy points to opposing guards. That’s bad news against a menace like Mitchell, with DM scoring at least 38 fantasy points in 19 of his last 21 games while providing a 44-point average in that span.

Jimmy Butler (PS/SF – MIA): $8,900 DraftKings, $9,100 FanDuel
Jimmy Buckets is quietly having the best season of his storied career, averaging a career-best 43 DraftKings points per game. It’s his stat-stuffing that’s led to this career year, scoring at least 33 fantasy points in all but three games this season. That floor should be easy to reach here, with Toronto owning a 20th OPRK against opposing wings. Not to mention, Jimmy’s touches and ball-handling should increase here with Kyle Lowry sitting.

Cash Game Considerations

Rudy Gobert (C – UTA): $8,300 DraftKings, $8,600 FanDuel
Gobert is always one of the best cash game options out there, but he should feast in this fantastic matchup. We already talked about how bad the Lakers have been, and their pace makes Gobert a 20-20 candidate. It’s his floor that makes him such a good cash game play, though, scoring at least 33.5 DK points in all but four games this season. That’s led to a career-best 42.4 DK points per game, which should be easy to reach since LA has been starting King James at center.

Tyler Herro (PG/SG – MIA): $7,500 DraftKings, $7,300 FanDuel
We just mentioned that Lowry is sitting for the Heat, which makes Herro one of the best options on the board. The Sixth Man of the Year frontrunner leads the team with a 31 percent usage rate when Lowry is off the floor, playing 35 minutes while attempting nearly 20 shots a game. That’s led to Tyler tallying at least 29 DK points in nine straight games while flirting with a 40-point average in that span.

Cole Anthony (PG – ORL): $7,300 DraftKings, $7,500 FanDuel
This guy is not getting the credit he deserves. Cole has been playing at an $8K level for the majority of the season, and these sites are keeping his price affordable for whatever reason. The 21-year-old ball-handler has at least 34 fantasy points in all but nine games this season, generating a 38-point average for the year. That alone makes him a good value at this price but facing a 30th-ranked Portland defense makes him one of the best plays on the board.

GPP Targets

Mo Bamba (C – ORL): $5,600 DraftKings, $5,700 FanDuel
Mo made his return off the COVID list to play 19 minutes off the bench over the weekend, but we’re going to assume he resumes his 30-minute starting role here. We say that because Orlando is missing Wendell Carter Jr, leaving Mo with all the rebounds and center minutes he can handle. He’s been a beast in this role all year, too, averaging 29 DK points per game in fewer than 28 minutes a night. If he reaches that average at this price, Bamba would be a beautiful play. Not to mention, Portland ranks 26th in points allowed and dead-last in defensive efficiency.

Chris Boucher (PF/C – TOR): $5,700 DraftKings, $6,200 FanDuel
Boucher is the definition of a GPP play because we never know if he will play 10 minutes or 40. We love that he’s played at least 36 minutes in two of his last three games, though, because he should be an $8K player in that sort of role. Boucher averaged 37 DK points per game in those outings, and he’s proven to be that sort of player when given the opportunity.

JaVale McGee (C – PHX): $3,700 DraftKings, $4,900 FanDuel
With Ayton suffering an injury on Sunday, it looks like McGee could get a rare start here. That means a bump in playing time, which is huge for a guy averaging 22 DK points per game across 16 minutes a night. If he plays the 30 minutes we anticipate, we could be looking at 40-45 DraftKings points! That becomes even more enticing in this extraordinary matchup, with the Spurs surrendering the third-most fantasy points to opposing centers.

Value Plays

Chuma Okeke (PF – ORL): $4,600 DraftKings, $5,000 FanDuel
Chuma doesn’t get the credit he deserves, either. This guy has been stepping up ever since WCJ went down, scoring at least 21 DK points in eight of his last 10 games. The two games he didn’t reach that total were when he left due to injury and the one he returned! He’s actually averaging 33 DK points per game in those other eight outings, and we certainly believe he can reach that against a putrid Portland defense.

P.J. Tucker (PF – MIA): $4,400 DraftKings, $5,300 FanDuel
I hate that we’re going down this route, but Tucker has been tremendous recently. In fact, P.J. is averaging 30 DK points per game across 32 minutes a night over his last five fixtures. He’s had stretches like that throughout his career, but it makes him impossible to fade in this sub-$5K price range. We also don’t mind that Toronto owns a 26th OPRK against opposing forwards.

Precious Achiuwa (PF/C – TOR): $3,900 DraftKings, $4,500 FanDuel
With Khem Birch sidelined, Precious should get all the minutes he can handle. The big man played 39 minutes in Toronto’s most recent game, dropping 38 DK points. That sort of role and production is unimaginable to avoid from a player this cheap because Achiuwa only needs 20 fantasy points to reach value at $4K.

Advantageous Pricing

Donovan Mitchell (PG/SG – UTA): $9,000 DraftKings, $8,200 FanDuel

Russell Westbrook (PG – LAL): $9,400 DraftKings, $8,100 FanDuel

JaVale McGee (C – PHX): $3,700 DraftKings, $4,900 FanDuel

Kristaps Porzingis (PF – DAL): $7,900 DraftKings, $9,400 FanDuel

Darius Bazley (PF – OKC): $4,600 DraftKings, $5,500 FanDuel

P.J. Tucker (PF – MIA): $4,400 DraftKings, $5,300 FanDuel

Mikal Bridges (SF – PHX): $5,300 DraftKings, $4,500 FanDuel

Royce O’Neale (SF/PF – UTA): $4,600 DraftKings, $5,500 FanDuel

Eric Paschall (SF/PF – UTA): $3,600 DraftKings, $5,400 FanDuel

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Joel Bartilotta is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Joel, check out his archive and follow him @Bartilottajoel.

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