This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
We have a jumbo 11-game slate on tap Monday night. The good news with so many options is that we are well insulated from injuries and ownership concerns in tournaments. There will be ample choices at each position, and even the injury-related value plays should see their popularity thin out a bit.
As usual, we'll proceed to break down the positional outlook below, along with possible chalk plays and some likely under-owned bargains that could help you round out your lineups.
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 will be 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 three games with the highest projected totals:
Minnesota Timberwolves at Atlanta Hawks (Projected total: 234.5 points)
This total is no surprise and is befitting of two of the most porous defensive squads in the league. Both teams are ranked in the bottom 10 in points allowed per game (Hawks- 117.7/ T-Wolves- 115.3). Minnesota also continues to play at the fastest pace in the league (110.2 possessions per game) and Atlanta isn't far behind (106.8 per contest). Each team also ranks in the bottom 10 in three-point percentage allowed and the Hawks check in with the fifth-worst defensive efficiency rating (1.102), making this the most fertile environment for DFS purposes Monday. There are multiple players from each team that will be worthy of consideration here, naturally beginning with the biggest names.
Portland Trail Blazers at Chicago Bulls (Projected total: 226.5 points)
The Trail Blazers have been a poor defensive squad this season, allowing 116.3 points per game and checking in with a bottom-10 defensive efficiency rating (1.084). Portland is also playing at a top-10 pace (107.3 possessions per game), while the Bulls aren't far behind them with 106.1 possessions per contest. The Blazers are mostly healthy again, and the addition of Carmelo Anthony and his developing chemistry with his teammates should lead to even more offensive fireworks from Portland.
Los Angeles Lakers at San Antonio Spurs (Projected total: 223.5 points)
The roles have flip-flopped this season, with the Spurs as the team playing highly questionable defense and the Lakers suddenly an elite Western Conference powerhouse that's been holding teams to a miserly 103.1 points per game, fourth fewest in the league. Los Angeles has been more generous on the road, however, yielding 111.4 points per away tilt. Meanwhile, the Spurs are surrendering 115.9 points per game on their home floor and are yielding the fourth-highest opponent shooting percentage (47.8) in the league. As a result, each team has multiple pieces worthy of consideration.
PG: Even with Kyrie Irving (shoulder) and Kyle Lowry (thumb) still out of action, we have plenty of elite options in Trae Young, Damian Lillard and Ben Simmons, and the position also gets a boost with the expected return of Malcolm Brogdon (back). The mid-tier is also as flush as you'd expect on a big slate like Monday's, and there's value into the high $3K range.
SG: We're in good shape at shooting guard as well, as the likes of Jimmy Butler and Donovan Mitchell head up the group, and Andrew Wiggins and C.J. McCollum offer upside that often outpaces their respective $8K and $7.7K salaries. As with PG, we can also find reasonable value plays down into the high $3K range.
SF: For such a big slate, we only have a modest number of five-figure salaries, and two of them head up this group in the form of Giannis Antetokounmpo ($12,500) and LeBron James ($11,400). The getting is good all the way to near-minimum salary, where you can make a case as far down as Vince Carter at $3,600 (and I will, further in this article).
PF: Anthony Davis sports a five-figure salary in his own right and heads up the power forward spot in fine fashion, and even with the iffy status of Kevin Love (back), we still have players we can consider into the sub-$4K range.
C: Our remaining two five-figure salary players are here in Karl-Anthony Towns ($11,600) and Joel Embiid ($10,200), but we do have some attrition that weakens the higher end of the pool due to the confirmed absence of Nikola Vucevic (ankle) and the potential ones for Rudy Gobert (ankle) and Hassan Whiteside (hip). However, a rock-solid mid-tier helps make up for it, as does a respectable value group.
Notable Injury Situations to Monitor
Kemba Walker, BOS
Walker is considered doubtful for Monday's game due to the neck/head injury he suffered when colliding with teammate Semi Ojeleye on Friday against the Nuggets. Brad Wanamaker would be set for extra opportunity in his absence, but the usage of Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown should also see a nice bump.
Kyrie Irving, BKN
Irving remains out with a shoulder injury Monday. Spencer Dinwiddie will continue manning the point for Brooklyn in his stead.
Hassan Whiteside, POR
Aaron Gordon, ORL
Kevin Love, CLE
Cam Reddish, ATL
Reddish is considered questionable for Monday's game due to a wrist injury. Another absence for the rookie would continue to result in extra opportunities for DeAndre' Bembry.
Tony Snell, DET
Snell is ruled out for Monday's game due to a hip injury. Bruce Brown will be set for another start at small forward.
Notable Long-Term Injuries/Absences: Caris LeVert, BKN; Jusuf Nurkic, POR; Zach Collins, POR; Khris Middleton, MIL; Ed Davis, UTA; Otto Porter Jr., CHI; Kevin Huerter, ATL; John Collins, ATL; Justise Winslow, MIA; Derrick Jones Jr. MIA; Dion Waiters, MIA; Andre Iguodala, MEM; Victor Oladipo, IND; Edmond Sumner, IND; Reggie Jackson, DET; Kyle Lowry, TOR; Nikola Vucevic, ORL; Marvin Bagley, SAC, Trevor Ariza, SAC; Avery Bradley, LAL
As mentioned earlier, we have a quintet of players priced over $10K on Monday, but with slates of this size, you don't necessarily need to roster any of them based on positional scarcity alone. Even center, which has up to three potential big-name absences in Nikola Vucevic, Rudy Gobert and Hassan Whiteside, still has a trio of even more expensive options up top you can turn to (Karl-Anthony Towns, Joel Embiid, Andre Drummond).
At power forward, Anthony Davis is the only player with elite upside, so he does take on a bit more importance if you're looking to pay up. However, Domantas Sabonis ($8,900) offers significant savings from Davis and has a ceiling that surpasses his price tag. At the other positions, you have plenty of strong mid-tier options if you choose to stay away from the most expensive stars.
I feel confident that we won't run into too many "chalk issues" Monday due to there being 22 teams in action. Even the top names should see ownership spread out among them, although I'd say that the likes of Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins and Trae Young could see at least a slight uptick over their usual popularity due to their involvement in the game with the highest projected total of the night.
Otherwise, there are enough injury scenarios to dilute the popularity of the players that will fill larger roles as a result of those absences.
Key and Likely Underowned Values
Jordan Clarkson, CLE vs. BKN ($4,500)
Clarkson shouldn't necessarily attract a lot of attention on such a large slate, but his price stands out relative to the type of production he's capable of offering. The veteran guard is enjoying his typical role off the bench (22.9 minutes), and while he is coming off a big 42.9 FanDuel point showing versus the Trail Blazers on Saturday, he also has enough sub-20 FDP tallies recently to depress ownership. Clarkson is actually shooting notably better over his last five contests (47.5 percent, including 52.4 percent from distance) than on the season (42.7 percent overall, 34.2 percent from three-point range) and will face a Nets team allowing 52.6 FanDuel points per game to PGs, furthering his appeal.
Danny Green, LAL at SA ($4,300)
Green returns to San Antonio to take on some of his old teammates and finds himself in the game with the second-highest projected total of the night. The veteran sharpshooter has been on an upswing lately, scoring over 20 FanDuel points in three of his last four games with the help of some solid work on the boards in addition to efficient shooting. Green continues to see minutes in the mid-20s, and the Spurs come in tied for the second-highest three-point percentage allowed (38.1) while also yielding 49.2 FanDuel points per game and league-high 52.0 percent shooting to small forwards specifically.
Vince Carter, ATL vs. MIN ($3,600)
Carter is ensconced all the way down near the bottom of the small forward pool, which always ups the chances he can be overlooked. He wouldn't normally draw particularly strong ownership on such a large slate anyhow, but he comes in having scored 16.2 and 20.3 FanDuel points in two of his last three games. He's eclipsed 20 FanDuel points on one other occasion this season as well, garnering 23.5 versus the Bulls back on Nov. 6. Even though that figure probably represents his ceiling, his near-minimum price and the fact he offers extremely low-risk exposure to the game with the highest projected total make him worth a roll of the dice in large-field tournament play. Moreover, the T-Wolves are also tied with the Spurs for second-highest three-point percentage allowed (38.1), a stat that's particularly relevant considering Carter's solid work in that department over the course of his long career.
Other likely much higher-owned value plays to consider: Alec Burks ($5,900); Nemanja Bjelica ($5,600); Steven Adams ($5,600); Taurean Prince ($5,400); Dillon Brooks ($5,300); Rondae Hollis-Jefferson ($5,200); Coby White ($5,200); Carmelo Anthony ($4,800); DeAndre' Bembry ($4,600); Brad Wanamaker ($4,000)