Although this slate is too small to fade a particular game properly, I will probably have less exposure to the UTA/DEN matchup, save a couple of selections from the Jazz. I also suspect that the BKN/TOR game will suffer a bit in terms of pace. That leaves the final two games on the slate, which I prefer anyway due to late swap considerations. We're not 100 percent sure how Philly will navigate their backcourt, and the same holds true for the Clippers.
With only eight starting centers, big men will be prime targets and the most likely place where there will be a serious value dropoff at around $7,000. There's one value player below that range, but I'll discuss him a bit later. The guard position is very deep, with a first-tier dropoff at $7,400, but viable options run down to the $4,700 in my model.
Just like the guard position, we only have one player above $10k in the forward pool. The steepest dropoff goes from $9,800 to $8,500, and the baseline for viable forwards are right in the mid-4k range.
INJURY SITUATIONS TO MONITOR
Mike Conley (personal) OUT
Conly has left the bubble to witness the birth of his child. Here's a quick look at usage for the year when Conley is off the floor:
Donovan Mitchell ($8,000) 30.7% (-.3)
Jordan Clarkson ($3,800) 25.7% (+1.2)
With his salary at a very palatable level, going with Clarkson in this pivot is almost a no-brainer, but I also can't fault rostering Mitchell despite the salary and minuscule usage drop. Clarkson will give you a lot more flexibility though, especially if you plan to field multiple elites.
Patrick Beverley (calf) QUESTIONABLE
Landry Shamet (foot) QUESTIONABLE
Montrezl Harrell (personal) QUESTIONABLE
Harrell is the center I hinted at above, and at $5,800, I like his value despite the fact he played his last competitive game in mid-March. He'll be sorely needed against Kristaps Porzingis ($8,300), who otherwise can stand flat-footed in the paint and grab boards. Ivica Zubac ($4,100) is a better size match, and he's had success against the Mavs as well (29.5 DKFP over three games), but you rarely see Zubac for more than 30 minutes per game, and when Harrell is available, he gets a healthy usage and 1.2 DKFP per minute. In Beverley's case, Reggie Jackson ($3,600) is your pivot, but I wouldn't be surprised to see a little bit more of Lou Williams ($6,000) now that all the games count.
Luka Doncic ($11,000) and Joel Embiid ($10,200) sit atop the slate as the only two guys above $10k on Monday. Now that everyone is sending out their first unit, it becomes more and more difficult to justify spending up. Among the league's elites, Doncic and Embiid are also among the most volatile. I can't fault making room for either of them, but neither player has met 5x value on average against their respective opponents. While I don't know that I can find many players who will consistently generate 50 DKFP as these two can, I'd rather target more $8-9k guys who can generate enough production to compensate if I fade the top. If either goes off for 70 DKFP, someone will put the right pieces together around them and burn you, but my exposure will be low to both of them.
Kawhi Leonard, LAC ($9,800) vs. DAL
Paul George, LAC ($8,100) vs. DAL
I'm high on these two, and I would not have an issue with stacking them. With Harrell back and Zubac healthy, the Clippers will be better equipped to handle Porzingis inside, which only leaves Doncic as the primary threat. The Mavericks won't have an answer when both Kawhi and PG are on the court. I will take this duo over LeBron James and Anthony Davis any day of the week, and I will still have an average of $5,350 left for my other spots if I roster both of them.
EXPECTED CHALK AND OTHER TARGETS
Caris LeVert, BKN ($7,600) vs. TOR
LeVert may have gotten just a tad too expensive, but his bubble play exceeded all of his usual season averages, and it will be interesting to see how he responds under playoff pressure. We know that 50-55 DKFP is certainly within his grasp after witnessing him in Orlando, so his upside at this salary is pretty appealing.
Michael Porter, DEN ($7,100) vs. UTA
Porter emerged as one of the bigger surprises in bubble action, as Michael Malone finally gave him the playing time he deserved. I'd set aside his chronic back problems and play him while he has the opportunity. However, if the Nuggets get Will Barton (knee) and Gary Harris (hip) back, he could be reined him in a bit more. For now, 6x value is definitely within his grasp in the current game script.
Kemba Walker, BOS ($6,900) vs. PHI
You won't see Walker at this salary again, and we have his previous minute restriction to thank for this gift. Walker is expected to have zero limitations Monday against the Sixers, and even though I like most of the Celtics' starting five, you won't find a better value than Kemba on this slate. I am sure he will have a rostership percentage of 30 percent or higher in most contests, but that won't dissuade me from using him, especially in cash.
Fred VanVleet, TOR ($6,800) vs. BKN
VanVleet came into his own during last year's playoffs, and if you remember, he was the Raptors' savior in Game 6 of the Finals. He enters this season with a much more significant role thanks to Kawhi's departure, and his season averages have risen in every category. The standout guard is perpetually underpriced, and based on his bubble performance, he appears ready to make an impact in the playoffs once again.
Also consider: Pascal Siakam, TOR ($7,500) vs. BKN
Joe Harris, BKN ($4,700) vs. TOR
The injury-riddled Nets are happy to have Harris back, and they didn't ease him back into action, either. He played 34 minutes on the way to scoring 27 DKFP after returning from a groin injury, and he accomplished that without getting much use out of his considerable three-point arsenal. If he can get that element of his game humming, he could crush value at this salary point.
Marcus Morris, LAC ($4,200) vs. DAL
Morris's defensive prowess will be crucial as he tries to help Paul George hold off Luka Doncic, and at this salary, we won't need a career game from him to make Morris worthwhile. He only faced Dallas once this year but fared well with 28 DKFP thanks to a diverse stat line. He is well rested after sitting out the last game of the bubble and will be in the starting five Monday.
Alec Burks, PHI ($3,900) vs. BOS
Burks will come in with the second unit, and if he gets hot, chances are high that he'll stick around, especially if Shake Milton or Josh Richardson struggle early. Burks will need about 25 minutes to be effective, and if he can exceed 20 DKFP, he could represent excellent value as you try to find cap room for more prolific targets.
JaMychal Green, LAC ($3,100) vs. DAL
Although he'll play behind Marcus Morris, I am fine with Green at this bargain price. Green is the same height as Morris but is a little quicker off the ball. He gets his share of rebounds when he's on the court (6.2 RPG), and even if he doesn't score many points, he should be able to pad his total with boards.