Which players should you build around and which players should you fade in DFS as we tip off Monday night's seven-game slate of NBA action? Our experts have the answers.
Players to build around
There may be only seven games on the slate tonight, but you're going to need to land the right guard given the star power in action. Nobody is going to blame you for going with Russell Westbrook or James Harden, but I believe you will be leaving value on the table. Consider these DraftKings numbers (the FanDuel numbers are similar, but slightly less favorable): Wall is averaging 19.2 percent fewer points per minute than Harden, and 29.2 percent fewer than Westbrook, but he is priced 24.4 percent below Harden and 38.5 percent less than Westbrook. Take advantage.
Considering that Wall ranks fifth in the league (ahead of both Harden and Westbrook) in minutes per game since the All-Star Break, how can you not like Wall to be the top value at the point guard position in this plus-matchup against an injured (but probable) Isaiah Thomas? Somebody will take down a big GPP tonight and I think Wall is going to be the victor's point guard of choice.
Joe Kaiser -- Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
Westbrook is always extra dangerous (in a good way) when he has added motivation, and that's never more true than when he faces his former teammate, Kevin Durant, and the rival Golden State Warriors. In three games against the Warriors this season, Westbrook has averaged 31.3 points, 10.7 rebounds, 10.3 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.3 blocks. Pay up for the Thunder star and watch the DFS points add up on Monday.
With Paul Millsap out, Ilyasova made his first start for the Hawks and dazzled with 23 points, four rebounds, an assist, a block and two steals. That line came against Portland, and tonight's bout with Charlotte presents another great opportunity for Ilyasova to exceed value. Not only does Charlotte allow the sixth-most fantasy points per game to opposing fours, but this should be a competitive and relatively high-scoring game.
What makes Ilyasova a building block -- and not just a decent play tonight -- is the nature of the slate. There are several mid-range small forwards and centers to like, and decent value at shooting guard, including Ilyasova's teammate Tim Hardaway Jr., but the power forward and point guard options are tricky. Paying up is a risk with guys like Stephen Curry, Blake Griffin and John Wall at their current salaries. Nikola Jokic and Russell Westbrook are great if you can afford them, which brings us back to Ilyasova. He gives you the right combination of a solid floor and big upside, allowing you to go stars and scrubs around him.
Players to fade
I think Horford is a nice player and I don't believe his massive game last night (27 points, eight rebounds, six assists, and two blocks) was a mistake. That said, there is simply no circumstance in which I will be rostering him this evening. We've been without NFL football for a while, right? Well, Super Sunday was the last time Horford had a points/rebounds double-double, and while he does boast a versatile skill set, his lack of high-end rebounding scares me at this price.
His scoring is also more hit-or-miss than in years past, as Horford's usage from beyond 24 feet (32.1 percent) is nearly the same as his usage inside of eight feet (35.4 percent). The Wizards boast an average defense and, with the Celtics center struggling on the second night of back-to-backs (shooting just 43.5 percent from the field with a mere 5.6 boards per game), there's no reason to look to him in this spot at this price point. Instead, give me Rudy Gobert (the Pacers are the fifth-worst rebounding team in the NBA) or DeAndre Jordan (the Knicks give up the fifth-most paint points per game, due in large part to their league-worst defensive rebound rate).
Turner may look like a tempting option at his appealing low salary on Monday, but don't overlook the fact that his salary has plummeted because his of the way his scoring has fallen off. Turner is averaging just 9.2 PPG in his last 10 games, and when you combine that with only 6.8 RPG in that span, it doesn't bode well heading into tonight's matchup against a defensive monster like Rudy Gobert.
Hill might be the guy at the salary you have left to spend tonight, but don't be trapped by him. This game has the lowest total of the night and although Vegas has it as a close one, Hill is unlikely to shine. Jeff Teague and the Pacers have allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing point guards this season. If you're trying to take advantage of low ownership in this game, I prefer Gordon Hayward or Rudy Gobert to Hill, whose price may be tempting based on some of his recent performances, but who is set up for a let down tonight.