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Fantasy basketball tipoff for March 21

Tobias Harris should see an uptick in both rebounding and scoring potential on Monday. Rob Carr/Getty Images

Each morning we provide the fantasy basketball tipoff, in which we examine several key angles to get you ready for this evening’s season-long and daily fantasy action. We have nine games on tap Monday, so let’s tip it off.


Pace and defensive efficiency

The Spurs, Cavaliers, Pacers, Hawks and Grizzlies are playing opponents tonight who have been running at a significantly higher pace lately.

Pace over the past three weeks

  • Spurs (No. 28) @ Hornets (No. 15)

  • Nuggets (No. 14) @ Cavaliers (No. 26)

  • 76ers (No. 2) @ Pacers (No. 21)

  • Magic (No. 4) @ Celtics (No. 9)

  • Bucks (No. 25) @ Pistons (No. 22)

  • Wizards (No. 5) @ Hawks (No. 18)

  • Kings (No. 6) @ Bulls (No. 13)

  • Warriors (No. 10) @ Timberwolves (No. 11)

  • Grizzlies (No. 20) @ Suns (No. 8)

While that means players on those teams should see more possessions than average, some of those teams have notably better matchups in terms of how well their opponents have been playing defense.

Defensive efficiency over the three weeks

  • Spurs (No. 2) @ Hornets (No. 5)

  • Nuggets (No. 24) @ Cavaliers (No. 18)

  • 76ers (No. 28) @ Pacers (No. 9)

  • Magic (No. 15) @ Celtics (No. 13)

  • Bucks (No. 8) @ Pistons (No. 27)

  • Wizards (No. 3) @ Hawks (No. 1)

  • Kings (No. 19) @ Bulls (No. 22)

  • Warriors (No. 7) @ Timberwolves (No. 26)

  • Grizzlies (No. 23) @ Suns (No. 25)

Clearly, any advantage the Spurs may have from playing up in pace against the Hornets is countered by the fact that both teams rank in the top five in defensive efficiency over the past few weeks. To wit, this game is projected for just 199 points.

The same goes for the Hawks, who face a Wizards team that, like the Hawks, ranks in the top three in defensive efficiency lately. Since the Wizards are No. 5 in pace, though, this game at least cracks the 200-point mark, sporting an over/under of 206 points. Still, it may be difficult for the top offensive weapons in this game to come through with huge box scores.

On the other hand, the Cavs, Pacers and Grizzlies not only are playing up in pace but face teams who have been playing shoddy defense. The door should be opened pretty wide for scorers on the Cavs, Pacers and Grizzlies to come through with impact outings.

The same goes for those in the battle between the Warriors and Timberwolves, which is carries an over/under of 231.5 points. Yes, the Warriors are on the better side of things, thanks to the low-rated defense of the Wolves, but there will be enough opportunities in this tilt for Minnesota players to come through too.

Owning the glass

Four of the five worst-rebounding teams over the past few weeks play Monday evening: 76ers, Kings, Timberwolves, Bucks.

Rebounding rate over the three weeks

  • Spurs (No. 8) @ Hornets (No. 10)

  • Nuggets (No. 3) @ Cavaliers (No. 7)

  • 76ers (No. 30) @ Pacers (No. 20)

  • Magic (No. 22) @ Celtics (No. 18)

  • Bucks (No. 26) @ Pistons (No. 6)

  • Wizards (No. 11) @ Hawks (No. 23)

  • Kings (No. 28) @ Bulls (No. 16)

  • Warriors (No. 9) @ Timberwolves (No. 27)

  • Grizzlies (No. 14) @ Suns (No. 12)

Look for players such as Paul George, Myles Turner, Ian Mahinmi, Pau Gasol (if he returns Monday), Taj Gibson, Nikola Mirotic, Jimmy Butler, Draymond Green, Marreese Speights, Andre Drummond and Tobias Harris to get a nice bump in rebounding upside tonight, as they are capable rebounders for the respective positions and have excellent matchups on tap.

Advantages and disadvantages beyond the arc

Players on the Hornets, Wizards and Hawks who typically earn extra value by succeeding as 3-point shooters may not get that bump in production tonight, since they face teams who have been protecting the arc well in recent weeks.

3-point differential over the three weeks

  • Spurs (No. 8) @ Hornets (No. 10)

  • Nuggets (No. 16) @ Cavaliers (No. 26)

  • 76ers (No. 28) @ Pacers (No. 11)

  • Magic (No. 18) @ Celtics (No. 17)

  • Bucks (No. 22) @ Pistons (No. 15)

  • Wizards (No. 7) @ Hawks (No. 1)

  • Kings (No. 9) @ Bulls (No. 20)

  • Warriors (No. 7) @ Timberwolves (No. 13)

  • Grizzlies (No. 23) @ Suns (No. 30)

Not only have they been successful in 3-point differential, but the Spurs and Hawks have allowed the fewest and second-fewest, respectively, 3-PPG to opponents over the past three weeks, while the Wizards have allowed the eighth fewest.

Fortunately, we can cull 3-point upside from players facing teams such as the Suns, Grizzlies, Timberwolves, Magic and Bucks, who rank among the seven teams who have allowed the most 3-PPG over the past few weeks.

We can expect players like Matt Barnes, Brandon Knight, Mirza Teletovic, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Reggie Jackson and Tobias Harris to carry a little extra scoring potential if they take advantage of their plus-matchups from 3-point range.

Disadvantages at shooting guard

The Pacers (vs. 76ers), Pistons (vs. Bucks), Wizards (@ Hawks) and Spurs (@ Hornets) make up four of the six teams who have allowed the fewest DraftKings points per game to opposing shooting guards over the past three weeks.

On FanDuel, the Pacers, Pistons, Wizards, Spurs and Grizzlies (@ Suns) are five of the seven teams who have allowed the fewest DFS points per game over that stretch.

With this in mind, you should scale back expectations for players like Isaiah Canaan, Khris Middleton, Kyle Korver and Courtney Lee on both sites … and Devin Booker on FanDuel.

Injury roundup

Here is a brief overview of notable players dealing with recent or short-term injuries and their statuses for this week, followed by teammates whose value may be impacted by the status of the dinged-up player (listed in order of likely impact).