Tonight we have a small five-game slate, with a lot of injury news to pay attention to throughout the day. Like every slate this late in the season, you have to be careful with teams that are out of the playoff race. I’d be very careful with the Knicks and Grizzlies and focus more on teams with something to play for tonight.
Let’s get into my top FanDuel and DraftKings plays for Monday's slate.
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Terry Rozier @ Phoenix Suns
The Celtics have one of the highest implied team totals and have the second-biggest bump in pace on the slate. With Marcus Smart and Kyrie Irving off the floor this season, Rozier has a 25.5% usage rate, which is a 4.1% bump for him over his season average. He’s also averaging 1.06 fantasy points per minute with those two off the floor. Rozier, who has played at least 34 minutes in six of the last seven games, faces the Suns, who are ranked 30th in total defensive efficiency and 28th against point guards this season. Given the matchup and the pace bump, Rozier has great upside for tournaments tonight.
Luke Kennard vs. Los Angeles Lakers
I expect Devin Harris to be popular with Gary Harris out again tonight, but I think Kennard is a very interesting pivot for tournaments. I like Kennard a lot more if Stanley Johnson ends up missing the game. He started the second half when Johnson went out the other night, and he still played plenty of minutes with the second unit in the fourth quarter. Kennard is shooting the ball well right now, as he has over 25 fantasy points in three straight games. Meanwhile, the Lakers have struggled with small forwards all season, and Kennard should get the start if Johnson sits out tonight.
Josh Jackson vs. Boston Celtics
T.J. Warren is doubtful tonight, while Devin Booker is dealing with a sprained hand and is questionable for the game. Small forward is extremely weak on FanDuel, meaning I like paying up for someone like Jackson. With both Warren and Booker off the floor, he has a 30.1% usage rate and is averaging 1.01 fantasy points per minute. With just Warren off the floor, Jackson has a 28.9% usage rate and is averaging 1.0 fantasy points per minute. It’s a tough matchup against Boston, so at this price, I don’t expect him to be too popular tonight. That said, Jackson's usage is hard to ignore right now.
Blake Griffin vs. Los Angeles Lakers
The Pistons are making one last push to make the playoffs, and every game is a must win for them. They need a lot of help to have a chance, but they’re not officially out of it yet. Griffin has been playing great lately, as he has over 50 fantasy points in four of the last six games. The Pistons have the biggest bump in pace on this slate, and their implied team total is 6.8 points higher than their season average. As for the matchup, the Lakers are ranked 26th in defensive efficiency against power forwards, while allowing the second-most fantasy points to the position. LA is also allowing the third-most fantasy points to opposing power forwards over the team's last 12 games.
Dwight Howard vs. New York Knicks
Like the Pistons, the Hornets need to win every game and have a lot go their way to have a chance to make the playoffs. Howard is coming off two monster performances, and he draws another great spot tonight against the Knicks, who have been struggling against centers recently. While they’re ranked 16th in defensive efficiency against centers on the year, they’re allowing the third-most fantasy points to the position over the last month. Howard offers 50+ point upside, and on a small slate like this, I’m willing to pay up for someone with that type of upside.