Editor's note: FanDuel.com is hosting a one-day $200,000 Fantasy Basketball contest for Monday's games. It's $25 to enter and first prize is $20,000. Starts Monday at tipoff. Enter now!
Monday's schedule isn't a great one for Fantasy purposes, with either subpar matchups or injuries to stars marring each game across the board. The Rockets head into a tough matchup against the Pacers without Dwight Howard and Terrence Jones. The Grizzlies should dominate the Knicks, who might not have Alexey Shved and the same could be said for the Jazz-Wolves game, especially with the Wolves' plethora of injuries.
The number of high-profile injuries and mediocre matchups complicates things, but it could also lead to some good values popping up if you know where to look. Rodney Stuckey's potential absence could put George Hill in position to put up bigger numbers, and Shved's injury pushes Langston Galloway and Shane Larkin into more prominent roles.
Monday isn't a night for the timid, because it won't be easy to predict what happens. There is only one $10,000-plus player and the second- and third-most expensive players -- Stephen Curry and John Wall, respectively -- have tough opposing defenses to deal with. It's hard to look at Monday's slate of games and pick out a sure thing.
Nights like this tend to be the craziest for the daily game, because whoever ends up with the end-of-bunch scrub who goes off unexpectedly will come away the winner. The fact that it is so hard to pin things down could make this an entertaining night -- unless the matchups take you down.
Houston at Indiana
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 386.1
This is a very tough matchup, but Terrence Jones' expected absence should open up some opportunities for surplus value in Houston.
Boston at Brooklyn
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 397.5
This is probably the best matchup of the night for Fantasy purposes. With how much of a mess the Nets are, that's not a great sign.
Memphis at New York
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 382.6
It might take a miracle for the Knicks to keep this one close, unless the Grizzlies decide to rest some starters. Either way, I'm steering clear.
Minnesota at Utah
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 390.8
The Timberwolves are down to about a half-dozen healthy bodies at this point, so they might struggle to break 80 against this Jazz defense.
Washington at Golden State
Combined FanDuel points allowed per game: 377.1
Both of these teams have a tendency to kill Fantasy value, but I feel like we could see a couple of huge games from the star point guards. Klay Thompson's absence continues to create opportunities for value, but predicting who will benefit each night has been tough.
My roster for March 23 at FanDuel.com:
PG John Wall, Wizards at Golden State ($9,600)
PG Kemba Walker, Hornets at Chicago ($6,900)
SG James Harden, Rockets at Indiana ($11,000)
SG Evan Turner, Celtics at Brooklyn ($5,800)
SF Rodney Hood, Jazz vs. Minnesota ($4,600)
SF Harrison Barnes, Warriors vs. Washington ($4,400)
PF Derrick Favors, Jazz vs. Minnesota ($7,500)
PF Donatas Motiejunas, Rockets at Indiana ($5,600)
C Kelly Olynyk, Celtics at Brooklyn ($4,200)
Brook Lopez, C, Netsvs. Boston ($7,600)
It has been nice to see Lopez start to rediscover his form lately, especially since he's been downright dominant at times on the glass. In addition to an 18-rebound performance against the Bucks, Lopez has four double-doubles in his last nine games, and is averaging 10.1 rebounds per game over that span. The Celtics' frontcourt has improved a bit defensively of late, but they still allow the seventh-most FanDuel points per minute to opposing centers for the season, so Lopez should be in for another big night.
Kemba Walker, PG, Hornets at Chicago ($6,900)
This won't be a good value for long, so make sure you take advantage while you can. Walker has predictably needed some time to knock off the rust since returning from knee surgery, but his minutes are growing since making his triumpant return to the starting line Friday with 18 points. He had 33 FanDuel points in that game and then followed it up with 43.6 against the Timberwolves Sunday. The second night of the back-to-back factor is a little worrisome, but Walker also had 31.1 points in 28 minutes against the Bulls two weeks ago, so this could be a matchup he exploits. At anything under $7,000, you have to love Walker.
Kelly Olynyk, C, Celtics at Brooklyn ($4,200)
You usually want a rim-protector at the center position, just because of how valuable those defensive stats are when you get twice as many points for each. Olynyk is not much of a rim protector, with just six blocks in his last 10 games, but he can do enough else well to make up for it. He has 24-plus FanDuel points in two of the last three games, and played 29 minutes Sunday, his highest total since returning from an ankle injury. With his minutes growing and a pretty good matchup on the way -- he is averaging 19.6 FanDuel points in just 24.7 minutes over three games against the Nets -- he is a nice low-cost gamble.
Overpay of the night
Ricky Rubio, PG, Timberwolves at Utah ($7,600)
Rubio's ankle is going to be an issue for the rest of the year, even if he does end up playing through the injury. And there is no guarantee he will do so Monday, having already missed four of five games. If he was playing, and was 100-percent healthy, and wasn't struggling mightily as a result of the injury and its lingering effects... I still wouldn't like Rubio tonight. The Jazz have been the league's best defense by a solid margin since the All-Star break, and they might be one of those matchups you just avoid by default due to their point suppression mastery. Opposing point guards are averaging the second-fewest FanDuel points per-48 minutes against the Jazz over the last three weeks, according to RotoGrinders.com, so I don't want to touch Rubio tonight.
CT: I think Waiters is a non-starter in this conversation. Even with some big performances in his last few games, he still has more field-goal attempts than points over the last five. Whatever edge he has on Hood or Burke is probably negated by the rest of the flaws in his game. Burke is likely to give you more assists than Hood, but the scoring should be close, especially if Gordon Hayward's knee continues to limit him. If Hood's minutes increase, he should be a solid source of 3-pointers and defense, and will have an efficiency edge on both Burke and Waiters. Roll the dice on him.
CT: The concerns about Vucevic's schedule are valid for Week 22, with the Magic playing just twice. However, he's probably your best bet here, since it doesn't look likely that Howard will be back Monday; yes, he was upgraded, but is still doubtful to make his return. If, in a best-case scenario, Howard plays three times, can you really expect him to outperform Vucevic? Maybe he blocks a few more shots, but you are likely to get more points, rebounds and assists from Vucevic than a potentially limited Howard. He might make a difference down the stretch, but not this week.