The NBA has 11 games on tap for Monday night, making up for that atrocious excuse for a football game from Sunday night. I mean, 43-8? In the Super Bowl? I legitimately stopped watching at halftime because quite frankly, it wasn’t very entertaining.
Such a facepalm.
Note: FPPG totals are based off FanDuel scoring.
Nick Calathes, PG (vs OKC)
FPPG allowed to PG: 42.57 (26th)
A terrific value play for this evening, Calathes continues to fill in for the injured Mike Conley, and with basically no other options at point guard, he should consistently flirt with 40 minutes each and every night. During his first start of the year, Calathes exploded for an impressive 22 points, five rebounds, three assists and a steal against the Bucks. He gets the Thunder tonight, a team that is surrendering the 6th-most fantasy points per game to opposing point guards this year, and over the past 15 games, only the Wizards are coughing up more fantasy points to the position. Reggie Jackson really isn’t a great defender and is prone to turning the ball over, presenting some steal opportunity for Calathes. You may not get the 37.50 fantasy points from a few nights ago, but at minimum salary, he only needs about 20-25 points to exceed value.
DeMar DeRozan, SG (@ UTA)
FPPG allowed to SG: 33.62 (9th)
DeRozan continues to be one of my favorite players to monitor all season, as he is emerging into one of the league’s best scorers. He reminded everyone just that on Saturday night, going off for 36 points to go along with 12 assists, four rebounds and a block. It was his second game back from injury, and he showed no signs of rust, logging 41 minutes and scoring at least 34 points in three of his last five contests. I’ll keep rolling with him tonight against a Jazz team that will be missing two of their big men in Derrick Favors and Jeramy Evans, so the paint will be very vulnerable. Meanwhile, the Jazz are already 47.4 points in the paint per contest, the second-most in basketball. Also, while the Jazz are inside the top-10 in fantasy points allowed to shooting guards on the year, it’s been a different story over their last 15 games. During that span, shooting guards are posting the 4th-most fantasy points against Utah, coming in at 40.37. Shooting guard is pretty ugly tonight with Paul George facing an Orlando team that should be blown out, so DeRozan could easily be the best of the bunch tonight.
Paul Pierce, SF (vs PHI)
FPPG allowed to SF: 42.34 (30th)
Are we seeing a rejuvenated Pierce in Brooklyn? Well, he’s certainly no Boston Pierce, but over his last five games, he’s posting a serviceable 15.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists and two steals. He also went off for 33 points in one of those games. The 76ers come to town, which warrants fantasy attention immediately, and the last time Pierce faced the NBA’s worst defense, he went off for 24 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and 52.50 fantasy points. No team in basketball allows more fantasy points to opposing small forwards, but the Nets have also gone big, moving Pierce to the power forward role. That wouldn’t be bad either way, as Thaddeus Young isn’t huge by any means, while the Sixers are allowing the second-most fantasy points to power forwards this year. They are also struggling on the glass, coughing up 12.47 rebounds per game to power forwards, while surrendering the third-most total offensive rebounds per game (12.4) and the second-most defensive boards per game (34.9). This game could be a blowout because, well, it’s the Sixers, but Pierce should be able to exploit this matchup.
Blake Griffin, PF (@ DEN)
FPPG allowed to PF: 45.29 (28th)
Griffin is my play of the night, as I talked him up almost religiously in this week’s forecaster. A dominating big man who is improving every week, Griffin should manhandle an undersized Denver frontcourt that is allowing the 3rd-most fantasy points, 4th-most rebounds and 2nd-most points per game to opposing power forwards on the year. The last time these teams faced each other, Griffin had a nice game, scoring 24 points and 16 boards. The Nuggets and Clippers both play at a top-10 pace, so Griffin should see plenty of possessions. And the Clippers power forwards is already seeing an impressive 79.8 offensive touches per game, which is the 22nd-most in all of basketball. Griffin and Kevin Love are the only two non-point guards to rank inside the top-25 in that category. He’s also seeing 6.6 close touches per game (6th-most) and 12.1 elbow touches (2nd-most), so expect plenty of opportunity in tonight’s fast-paced contest.
Enes Kanter, C (vs TOR)
FPPG allowed to C: 41.15 (10th)
Don’t look now, but Kanter is finally starting to put it together, teasing seasonal owners with his potential that they were banking on. Over his last five contests, he’s averaging 16.4 points, seven rebounds and an assist, all while playing less than 30 minutes per game. Tonight, he’ll see extended run with Favors and Evans looking unlikely to play, so he should see plenty of offensive touches. Meanwhile, the Raptors are coughing up the 7th-most fantasy points per game to opposing centers (46.71) over their last 15 games, and their constant shuffling of big men doesn’t provide much of a threat. At less than 9,000 on DraftDay, he will make for an ideal value at the center position tonight.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.