This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
We have a six-game slate Monday, one that offers us a solid selection of players across the board and that also has a total of four games projected over the desired 220-point threshold as of Monday morning. While we do have some notable injuries that mar the player pool to an extent, we also have the projected season debut of Blake Griffin and the potential return of Draymond Green from his finger injury on tap. As usual, we'll break down the positional outlook below, along with the games with the highest projected totals, possible chalk plays and some likely under-owned bargains that could help you round out your lineups with a couple of superstars.
Before delving into the slate, a reminder that FanDuel has reverted to its previous format of NOT dropping the lowest scoring in lineups after a one-year experiment with that feature. Therefore, it's important to be prudent with each selection, as each player's total will count toward your final score.
Without further ado, let's take a more comprehensive look at Monday's slate!
Here's a closer look at the games with the three most elevated projected totals on Monday's slate:
Houston Rockets at New Orleans Pelicans (Projected total: 245.0 points)
Even considering the two teams taking the floor, this total is an absolutely massive one by any standard. However, it's not exactly unwarranted, considering the Rockets have already given up 158 points in one game this season and both squads rank in the bottom five in points allowed, with New Orleans surrendering an NBA-high 122.4 points per contest. Each also pays at a top-five pace, and outside of Lonzo Ball (and not factoring in Zion Williamson, who's yet to play this season), each team will have all of its high-octane talent on the floor.
Memphis Grizzlies at San Antonio Spurs (Projected total: 223.0 points)
The Grizzlies are a far cry from the half-court, defensive-minded crew we got used to seeing grind out games in recent seasons. Memphis is averaging just over 10 possessions more per game than last season, and their 110.7 per contest ties them for fifth most in the league. Meanwhile, San Antonio has been a shell of its former self on defense in the early going as well. They check in yielding 112.7 points per game, including 115.5 per home contest.
Toronto Raptors at Los Angeles Clippers (Projected total: 222.5 points)
Kawhi Leonard's first reunion with his former Raptors teammates is projected to be a relatively high-scoring affair as well. Toronto is missing a couple of important defensive pieces in Kyle Lowry (thumb) and Serge Ibaka (ankle), and Los Angeles already comes in averaging a robust 113.4 points per game, while Toronto is averaging 110.8 per away contest. The Raps have enough depth to keep their offense going without their two aforementioned injured players, while the Clips should be able to take advantage of those absences to put up a solid point tally themselves.
We're not hard up for options at any position with a six-game slate Monday, as there are plenty of superstars, mid-tier options and value plays to select from. That should keep ownership fairly spread out, although the fact the Rockets-Pelicans game has a projected total so much higher than all the other games is likely to draw plenty of attention to it.
If we had to select where the biggest embarrassment of riches are Monday, it could well be shooting guard, where the position is helmed by the likes of James Harden, D'Angelo Russell, Jrue Holiday and Donovan Mitchell and has viable selections all the way down below the $5K range in the form of Dillon Brooks, Delon Wright and Bryn Forbes. Small forward is also well stocked, while power forward gets a nice boost Monday with the expected debut of Blake Griffin and the projected return of Draymond Green. And at center, we have a face-off between Karl-Anthony Towns and Andre Drummond that could result in big performances for both players, while value can be found below the $5K range with the likes of Ivica Zubac and Chris Boucher.
Notable Injury Situations to Monitor
Blake Griffin, DET
Griffin is considered probable to make his long-awaited 2019-20 debut after overcoming a hamstring injury and participating in recent practices. Griffin will probably enter the starting lineup right from the jump, but he'll likely face a minutes limit.
Draymond Green, GSW
Green is considered probable to return for Monday's game against the Jazz after a five-game absence due to a finger injury. Green's return would result in a notable hit to the playing time of Eric Paschall (hip), who's been impressive in Green's stead and is essentially considered probable for Monday's game in his own right.
Gordon Hayward, BOS
The Celtics will be playing their first full game without Hayward, who broke his hand Saturday afternoon against the Spurs. Hayward was boasting a 22.6 percent usage rate and averaging 18.9 points on 13.8 shot attempts per contest, so there will be plenty of opportunity left over for his teammates. Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart could potentially be the biggest beneficiaries of his absence.
Lonzo Ball, NOP
Ball will not suit up for Monday's game versus the Rockets due to a hip injury. Jrue Holiday will once again slide over into the point guard role, while Josh Hart should remain in the starting lineup at shooting guard.
Derrick Rose, DET
Rose is considered questionable for Monday's game against the Timberwolves with a hamstring injury that's already cost him four games. If Rose is able to return, he'd likely slide right back into a high-usage role off the bench at point guard behind Bruce Brown or Tim Frazier. Rose's return would also lead to Langston Galloway's minutes taking a hit in his second-unit role.
Jeff Teague, MIN
Teague is questionable for Monday's game versus the Pistons due to an illness that's caused him to miss the last three games. Jarrett Culver could log another start should Teague sit.
Serge Ibaka, TOR
Ibaka will miss Monday's game versus the Clippers with an ankle sprain. Chris Boucher was the immediate beneficiary of Ibaka's first full-game absence against the Lakers, logging 24 minutes Sunday night. However, the domino effect of Ibaka's absence also led to Rondae Hollis-Jefferson logging 15 minutes, his highest amount of playing time this season.
Eric Paschall, GSW
Paschall is considered to have good chance of returning from a one-game absence due to a hip bruise. Marquese Chriss would likely be due for some extra minutes if Paschall misses a second straight game, but with Draymond Green probable to return Monday from his finger injury, Paschall's minutes are due to take a hit even if he does suit up.
Omari Spellman, GSW
Spellman is considered questionable for Monday's game versus the Jazz due to an ankle injury that caused his early exit from Saturday's game against the Thunder.
Tim Frazier, DET
Frazier is considered probable for Monday's game against the Timberwolves after a four-game absence. His return could knock Bruce Brown out of the starting point guard role he's been filling.
Bruce Brown, DET
Brown carries a probable designation for Monday's game versus the Timberwolves with a right knee contusion. It's unknown whether Brown would slide back into the starting point guard role if he does suit up, considering Tim Frazier (shoulder) is also probable for a return.
Emmanuel Mudiay, UTA
Mudiay is questionable for Monday's game with a hamstring injury that's already cost him three games.
Notable Long-Term Injuries/Absences: Zion Williamson, NOP; Kyle Lowry, TOR; Paul George, LAC; Andre Iguodala, MEM; Stephen Curry, GSW; Klay Thompson, GSW; Kevon Looney, GSW; Gerald Green, HOU; Dante Exum, UTA
There's a quintet of five-figure salaries on Monday's slate in the form of James Harden ($12,000), Karl-Anthony Towns ($10,800), Luka Doncic ($10,700), Kawhi Leonard ($10,500) and Andre Drummond ($10,400), plus two more bona fide elite players just below that level in Russell Westbrook and Pascal Siakam at $9,900 and $9,700, respectively.
Based on talent alone, all of them are naturally worthy of consideration, although if Blake Griffin does return for the Pistons, Drummond could potentially struggle to return full value. Conversely, with Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka missing for the Raptors, Siakam could arguably exceed his $9.7K cost, especially considering he's exceeded 50 FanDuel points in each of his last two games.
With the projected total of the Rockets-Pelicans matchup, expect James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Jrue Holiday, Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart to all be very popular plays. Kawhi Leonard should also be fairly chalky, considering the fact he'll face his former Raptors teammates and they'll be more compromised defensively than usual due to injury.
There are also a host of very reasonably priced players (listed at the end of this article) that are likely to see their names clicked on often, not just for the bargains they are relative to their expected roles, but because they'll make it possible to fit in one or two of the seven elite players on the slate.
Key Value Plays
Trey Lyles, SA vs. MEM ($4,000):
Rather quietly, Lyles has started rounding into form as the starting power forward in San Antonio. He's still playing relatively modest minutes, but he's logged at least 20 in three straight games and has scored over 20 FanDuel points in two of the last three. He offers very cheap exposure to the game with the second-highest projected total on the slate, and as alluded to earlier, the Grizzlies are nowhere near the intimidating presence down low than they've been in past seasons, allowing 42.0 FanDuel points per game to PFs and helping solidify Lyles' case at a very reasonable cost.
Josh Okogie, MIN at DET ($4,000):
Jarrett Culver has drawn recent starts at point guard for Jeff Teague (illness), but Okogie is taking advantage of facing opposing team's second units to score over 30 FanDuel points in each of his last two games. He's also eclipsed 20 FD points in five other contests and is averaging 23.2 FD points per game overall. Just as encouraging is the fact Okogie has logged over 30 minutes in both of his last two contests, and at least 20 in all but two games.
Jaxson Hayes, NOP vs. HOU ($3,600):
Hayes gives you near-min price exposure to that projected Pelicans-Rockets shootout, and although his upside is seemingly capped in his rotation role, he's actually seeing steady minutes irrespective of the status of Derrick Favors and Jahlil Okafor. The 2019 first-round pick has logged between 13 and 18 minutes in four straight games, scoring 14.2 to 17.5 FanDuel points in those contests. Those aren't spectacular scores, but they're rock-solid returns on his current price. Moreover, given the projected amount of offense in this contest, Hayes could be a beneficiary of what should be the fastest-paced game of the night, and he'll certainly open up plenty of salary for you for all the high-priced options elsewhere.
Other likely much higher-owned value plays to consider: Luke Kennard ($5,900); Danuel House ($5,500); Marcus Smart ($5,400); Josh Hart ($5,400); Derrick Favors ($5,300); Patrick Beverley ($5,300); Ivica Zubac ($4,900); Dillon Brooks ($4,900); Tyus Jones ($4,500); Maxi Kleber ($4,500); Robert Williams ($4,300); Patty Mills ($4,200); Chris Boucher ($4,100)