Welcome to the NBA DFS Cash Game Breakdown, where we identify the top point-per-dollar plays for cash games on FanDuel and DraftKings!
This is an ugly little six-game slate for NBA DFS action on Monday. We have some injuries, some blowout potential, and not a ton of superstars to pay for here. Some of the bigger names are in some of the tougher matchups and the best spots on the day belong to some teams we are not normally heavily invested in like the Hornets and Kings. We have a lot to talk about before even getting into the plays, so here’s the highlights of things to know and watch for as you build lineups today.
We have two games where Vegas is slow to release lines. I still have not seen anything for the Knicks/Bucks and Pacers/Grizzlies. Injuries are playing a role in this. For the Knicks, we do not yet know about Elf Payton coming back or if Frank Ntilikina will be able to play after leaving the game yesterday. Dennis Smith Jr. had a big day as the primary point guard and you would expect more of the same if those guys miss.
Marcus Morris is also listed as questionable today. Morris has really been a major offensive weapon for the Knicks. His absence would open up minutes but also make the blowout even more likely than it already is. That’s the tough part about playing Bucks here today, especially Giannis. If you guarantee me 35-40 minutes of Giannis I will gladly pay that price tag, but when the Bucks are blowing people out he tends to get just 25-30 minutes instead. His price is super high and it’s tougher to justify paying it as more guys get ruled out on the Knicks. Kevin Knox is not a major upside guy, but the minutes would remain high again if Morris is out and he’s dirt cheap.
The other major news is that Ja Morant has already been ruled out for the Grizzlies. We saw this last game too and Tyus Jones played very well without him. He’s going to be a popular salary saving option today, although he did only play half the game. D’Anthony Melton saw 23 minutes to his 25, so it was almost split right down the middle here.
The Grizzlies also played yesterday without Kyle Anderson, Jonas Valanciunas, and Brandon Clarke. All three are major minutes contributors and guys that they need to hope to keep this game close. The availability not only changes things for them, but also changes things for the Pacers who may not get full run if they draw a “B” Team from an already weak Memphis squad.
The injury news in those two games will have a big effect on the outcome of this slate. Some of those value options are too hard to ignore if the news breaks favorably for them. I included most of them in the write up, but definitely check out the livestream and chat today for future updates as the news becomes available.
Top Projected Totals
- Bucks 118.75
- Suns 114.75
- Hawks 114.5
- Pacers 114
- Hornets 110.75
Biggest Pace Bump
- Knicks +7.4
- Kings +4.7
- Pacers +4.3
- Hornets +3.8
Highest Projection over Average
- Hawks +7
- Hornets +5
- Pacers +5
- Kings +4
Position by Position
Trae Young –
The Warriors/Hawks game should be one of the more fruitful ones for NBA DFS. The Hawks project for 7 points over their average and Young is the biggest usage guy on the team. Whether we are talking shot attempts, touches, or assists he leads the team in all those categories. Given how weak the defense is here, that should translate into better opportunities for him and his teammates.
The Hawks are not blowing anyone out. They have only 4 wins on the season and none by a big margin. That should mean we see max minutes for the main guys today. Young only played 31 minutes last game, but they are getting blown off the court. In most other games he routinely hits 35+ and sometimes even into the 40s. He plays a heavy minute load with a usage rate consistently over 30 and sometimes touching the 40s as well.
Huge minutes and a big usage against a soft defense with his team projected for the most points over average all point to Young having a very good night.
Malcolm Brogdon –
This Memphis team is dealing with a lot of potential injuries and I’m a little more nervous about Brogdon getting full run because of it. We know Morant is out, but hopefully they get some combination of Anderson, Valanciunas and Clarke out on the floor. If so, then Brogdon becomes safer as the game is more likely to remain close.
The Pacers are in an excellent spot here. They project for five points above their norm and also see one of the bigger pace bumps at +4.3. Brogdon has not shown massive upside since earlier in the year but he’s still providing consistently good returns. I’m not thinking he’s the guy that gets us 50-60 fantasy points tonight, but he’s unlikely to not get us his typical 40ish. On a larger slate, I wouldn’t be as interested.
While I’ll still try to get the money to pay up for Young, I don’t think it’s a bad play to drop down to Brogdon if you need the salary to use elsewhere.
Dennis Smith Jr –
Frank Ntilikina left last game with a back issue and we saw tons of minutes and a productive night out of DSJ. His price remains dirt cheap and Ntilikina is listed as questionable. Elf Payton is also practicing, but I am not sure he is ready to return. Even if he did, it’s unclear what kind of minutes he would play.
If both of those guys miss this game, we can lock in 30+ minutes for DSJ again. This is a guy who is $3200 on DK, played 38 minutes yesterday and went over 10X today’s salary The matchup is not easy, but he’d be tough to fade at this price. It really depends on the status of the other PG options here. DSJ is arguably the most talented of the bunch anyway and has put up good fantasy numbers before. At $5K, we would still be considering him in this spot, so at $3200, he’s definitely in play if those guys miss. He’s even in consideration if they do play.
Tyus Jones –
Morant went down last game and Jones stepped into the bulk of the PG minutes and put up a smash score. In cash games, he’s going to be very popular and it’s not a bad play. Like DSJ, he is near min price. He’s not a lock for more than half the game though as he split it with DeAnthony Melton last time out.
Despite that, Jones has been productive in this role in the past when given the chance. While his ceiling is a little suspect with the minutes being shared, his floor for the price should easily be enough to get you at or above value. At worst, he’s a good play today. At best, he’s a must play that would eliminate you from cash contention at super high ownership if you faded him.
Zach LaVine –
We have multiple options to pay up for here tonight. Devin Booker and Buddy Hield are two guys I also considered strongly, but, ultimately, I’m leaning towards LaVine.
The last couple games he’s gone off for 45, 59, and 52 fantasy points with one clunker against Portland sandwiched in the middle of this amazing run. He had a little foul trouble in that first Portland matchup, which is why the minutes and production took a dip. In the other games though, he played 36 minutes and took no less than 24 shots in each of them. He’s averaging 32 minutes and 18 shots on the season, so we are talking a bump of more than 10% on minutes and 30% on shots.
I know the matchup is a slower paced one, but with the role Lavine is playing lately, he’s the guy most likely to not only meet, but exceed his value. Hield might be as consistent, but he can’t match the floor or ceiling of LaVine. Booker on his best days could top LaVine, but he’s not doing that upside stuff as consistently this year, especially with Rubio active. LaVine plays on a weaker team that needs him to really play the alpha role and he’s done it successfully in recent games and should continue.
Devonte’ Graham –
Graham was not a guy I expected to roster as often as I have coming into the year, but it often works out. He’s putting up the numbers most people expected to see from Terry Rozier. In fact, Graham is putting up better numbers.
The Hornets lost a lot with Kemba departing and no one player was going to make up for that. Rozier has not been bad, but Graham has averaged 1.1 fantasy points per minute with Rozier slightly under 1. Graham had been seeing less minutes and averages a minute less than Rozier, but in recent games, he’s the one seeing 35-38 with Rozier around 32-34. More court time and better production make Graham the preferred play of the two.
Phoenix paces up the Hornets, who are projected for five points above their seasonal averages at home in this one. We have a lot of reasons to like Graham and think he has some upside coming in this spot.
Dillon Brooks –
The Memphis Grizzlies are already in need of some scoring without Morant. Brooks has been volatile as hell this year, but is in a better position to carry more of the offensive load with Ja out. He’s played to 25-35 point upside when seeing 30+ minutes and getting his 15-18 shots. He did it again last game with 32 minutes, 18 shots, and 32 fantasy points.
Brooks is priced around $5K on both sites, so him getting up to that 30 point range means a return of 6X, which puts us on pace for 300 on DK and 360 on FanDuel. Those numbers are big enough to cash even on the highest scoring nights.
This is a stacked position today and one that I would have a big pool in Mega Multi-entry GPPs. It’s a scary spot for Giannis based on the blowout potential, but he’s the highest projected scorer at the position by a wide margin. Tj Warren and Kelly Oubre are also very good plays, I just like Alec Burks in his spot a tad better than both. I wouldn’t argue with anyone who played either of those guys though.
Jae Crowder could be in line for a larger role and one where his rebounding is needed more depending on the status of the other Memphis frontcourt players. If Clarke and JV both sit again, Crowder becomes a potential double-double threat that projects for well into 30+ minutes tonight.
Even a guy like James Ennis at his near minimum price caught my eye. I actually like his chances for production more than Furkan Korkmaz who keeps taking more ownership with Josh Richardson out.
All of them are solid plays and definitely GPP viable, I just prefer the guys I listed the most at this position, so I shortened the list to my favorite plays. It is a deep and talented group though and the decisions were not easy to make.
Alec Burks –
The middle range has a lot of usable plays here, but the pace bump and projection over average for the Warriors has Burks at the top of my list. Draymond Green is already ruled out and they still are without the trio of Steph, Klay, and D’Angelo Russell. That means someone else has to step up and Burks has been happy to do so.
He’s averaging over 35 fantasy points without Draymond in the lineup, and remember he played a game or two as a bench player with Steph and Russell shining. He’s routinely playing mid 30s minutes and getting up 15+ shots over his last eight games. In the last five, he’s taken no fewer than 13 and the usage has climbed up to the high 20 range.
Atlanta isn’t blowing anyone out and both of these teams project to score above average with the Warriors also seeing a pace bump in this game. Plenty of reasons to believe Burks plays more towards his ceiling which has been over 40 points. At around $6K, that means 6-7X upside and even a little short of the mark still has him squarely in the 5.5-6.5X range.
Harrison Barnes –
The Sacramento Kings are beat up right now and looking for guys to do more. Barnes and Buddy Hield have been the main beneficiaries in terms of both minutes and overall production. Barnes saw 45 and 39 minutes in the last two games. He’s routinely seeing 30+ and more like 34-35 minutes a night.
Sacramento is thin at multiple positions and Barnes flexibility keeps him on the floor. In recent games we have also seen the shot attempts spike and that could continue. More minutes, more shots, and a soft matchup against a Bulls team that paces them up +4.7 in a game where they project for four points above their normal average. All of those things are positive signs that Barnes could continue to meet or exceed value.
Kevin Knox –
The Knox play relies solely on the health status of Marcus Morris. Knox is more of a secondary type piece, so even if he does get the big minutes he saw last game, don’t expect a monster output. Still, with Morris out, he is dirt cheap and did get the playing time. He didn’t even have a huge game going for a little over 20 fantasy points, but that is 6X+ on his salary. No Morris makes him one of the better value plays not at the point guard position tonight.
Domantas Sabonis –
I may wind up paying for him almost by default. I don’t see huge upside now that everyone is back and healthy, but he could play towards his ceiling because the Pacers do have a nice pace bump and project for five points above their average today.
Memphis has a bunch of guys questionable in the frontcourt too, so Sabonis could have a field day eating up young talented players where he has the edge in size, skill, and experience. Sabonis has been a near lock every game for a double-double. Remember too that he played barely half the game last year as he came off the bench, so these bumps in his production this season in major minutes and a starters role are not out of his realm of outcomes.
In fact, I would argue that this type of production is exactly what we should expect from him given the expanded court time and role. He’s my favorite at a relatively weak position today to end up with the most raw points.
Richaun Holmes –
After a couple of subpar outings, he is turning it on again. Those rough games were in some of the tougher matchups he will see, but he crushed the Wizards in a good matchup and just made value in a tough spot against the Nuggets. His minutes in the most recent Nuggets game were also up and that’s good news for those of us who like him.
Holmes draws another easy spot here today with the Kings being paced up by +4.7 and also projecting over average here against the Bulls. As long as the frontcourt remains thin, he should continue to get his minutes. He’s a rebounding machine and someone who can score when given the chance as well. Take those things into account and you have a guy who feels a tad too cheap for the role and matchup he is going to have today.
Dario Saric –
Maybe a little of the upside is sapped with Aron Baynes back, but this is a guy who has more upside than his mid $5K price suggests he should. Phoenix is not being paced up here, but they project for their normal amount of points anyway.
Saric has 40 point upside and a solid enough floor that he could and should still make it around value most nights of the week. Remember, this is a weak position compared to SF with fewer good and almost no great options to roll out. Saric is a guy that may not be the reason your win a GPP, but he’s unlikely to be the reason you lost one either.
Rudy Gobert –
Gobert has a matchup with Joel Embiid and the 76ers today. On paper, the matchup favors neither of their teams. Vegas projects both for below average production and the pace bump is less than 0.5. They did play once already this season and both guys went out and performed well. They each put up right around 50 fantasy points with massive double-doubles. Embiid actually edged out Gobert for production by a little bit in that matchup.
That’s my issue with Embiid today. Not that he isn’t a stud, but he’s not a $2000-$3000 better stud than Gobert. Gobert is $8400 on FD and $7400 on DK. Embiid is over $10K on both and only $100 shy of $11K on FanDuel now. I do project Embiid for more points again today, but only a few more points and a couple of points is not enough to really justify playing $2K+ for him.
Robin Lopez –
This may end up being my favorite and one of the easiest plays of the night. Brook Lopez is expected to miss this game and plugging in his twin brother makes a lot of sense if he does. On DraftKings at $4400, I don’t mind him. In just 23 minutes of action in a blowout last game he went 7X+ that price. On FanDuel he is even cheaper than on DK at the stone minimum of $3500.
This is a guy who dropped almost 10X in only half the game of a blowout last time out, so with that many minutes or more he should smash again. If Brook plays, all bets are off, but if he sits, then his brother is in line to pick up the slack.