By Benjamin Zweiman
RotoWire Basketball Writer
Monday offers seven games with a couple of superstars to keep an eye on. LeBron James has a soft matchup at home against the Magic, while Russell Westbrook will play the second game of a back-to-back on the road against a stout Jazz defense. Westbrook may get some reinforcement, though, as Kevin Durant (hamstring) could return, so be sure to monitor his status carefully considering the 9 p.m. ET start.
Rajon Rondo, SAC at CHA ($31) - Outside of Westbrook, there isn't a hotter fantasy point guard in the NBA than Rondo. He's posted three triple-doubles in his last six contests and came a rebound shy of a fourth Thursday against the Heat. Rondo has double-digit assists in six of his last seven games and while he isn't known for his three-point shooting, he's hit five treys in his last two outings. He isn't consistently putting up 60-plus fantasy points like Westbrook, but Rondo comes $25 cheaper and should have an easy time against the Hornets.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, DET at MIL ($20) - KCP shot the ball very well from distance in Saturday's loss to the Wizards, draining four of seven three-pointers. The Bucks are one of the worst defensive teams in the league, ranking 26th in opponent three-point shooting percentage (.372). Caldwell-Pope hasn't really exploded this season, but he'll have a good shot Monday with the over/under likely to be high for this contest. If he chips in a few steals and assists to go with a handful of triples, the Pistons' young sharpshooter will provide a nice contrarian play in GPPs.
Guard to Avoid:
Victor Oladipo, ORL at CLE ($36) - Dipo was benched in the fourth quarter of Saturday's loss to the Kings and has scored a combined 15 points in his last three games. In addition to the benching, he also just returned from a brief absence due to a concussion and gets a rough matchup on the road against the Cavaliers. Oladipo's price is still pretty high considering he normally contributes in multiple categories, but all these red flags lately make him an easy fade candidate Monday.
DeMarcus Cousins, SAC at CHA ($49) - Boogie has been on a tear lately with four straight double-doubles, plus he faces a Hornets squad that allows a ton of points to power forwards in Yahoo DFS scoring. Cousins' three-point shooting has picked up as well, and he dished out a season-high six assists against the Magic on Saturday. If you're going to spend big on any superstars Monday, opt for Cousins over the likes of LeBron James, Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony -- especially in cash games.
Kevin Love, CLE vs. ORL ($35) - Love is starting to hit his stride with 20-plus points in three of his last four games with three double-doubles. He's also been a much better player at home this season, averaging 19.7 points and 13.3 rebounds per game while hitting 35 percent of his three-pointers. The Magic just got torched by the guy above, so Love shouldn't have too much trouble posting a similar stat line to Cousins, plus he's a bit cheaper if you're looking to save a bit of salary.
Forward to Avoid:
Serge Ibaka, OKC at UTA ($31) - Ibaka is trending down, scoring just 14 points with eight rebounds over his last two games. There's a chance the Thunder get Kevin Durant back, which will only limit Ibaka's offensive touches and number of rebounds. Ibaka should have a tough time hanging with Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert in the paint and there are way more appealing options at PF such as Kristaps Porzingis ($28) and even Ersan Ilyasova ($16).
Tristan Thompson, CLE vs. ORL ($20) - With Timofey Mozgov sidelined with a shoulder injury, Thompson made his first start of the season Saturday and got a huge fantasy boost. He posted season highs in both minutes (40), rebounds (16) and assists (5). Orlando is prone to getting worked on the glass on most nights, so the Cavs should win the rebounding battle, which bodes well for Thompson's double-double prospects. Chances are his ownership percentage will be pretty high, but he probably offers the most value at the center position Monday.
Center to Avoid:
Jahlil Okafor, PHI at MIN ($30) - For the first time, Okafor will face 2015 No. 1 pick Karl-Anthony Towns. The two have been pretty even in terms of fantasy production, but Towns has been the superior defender and has been more consistent on the glass. Okafor's price has leveled off after 14 games, but his production hasn't been up to par lately, as he's averaging just 16 points per game over his last five contests. With the same price, I'd take Towns over Okafor and if you're willing to pay a few extra dollars, Hassan Whiteside at $35 might be your guy.
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