This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
We have a solid seven-game slate on tap Monday night, one that may be close to the ideal size depending on your style of play. A 14-team ledger allows for plenty of flexibility in terms of lineup construction, and tonight in particular offers some potentially competitive, high-scoring games to choose from. Despite some injuries to big names, there are still plenty of explosive elite players available, giving you multiple paths to tournament-winning upside.
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.
Here's a closer look at the three games with the highest elevated totals on Monday's slate:
San Antonio Spurs at Houston Rockets (Projected total: 232.5 points)
The Rockets are once again carrying big offensive expectations, and a matchup against a Spurs team that's been surprisingly vulnerable defensively only enhances their outlook. The one prior game between the teams was an overtime tilt that finished with a total of 268 points, so each team's key pieces could be primed for explosive performances.
Washington Wizards at Detroit Pistons (Projected total: 229.5 points)
The Wizards are notorious facilitators of prolific offensive production by their opposition, and they have plenty of firepower with which to pour it on as well. The x-factor here is the potential absences of Andre Drummond (eye) and Blake Griffin (knee). Naturally, if either or both are sidelined, it would lower Detroit's overall scoring potential, even against a defense as poor as Washington's.
Portland Trail Blazers at Phoenix Suns (Projected total: 229.0 points)
Much like Spurs-Rockets, this is a classic Western Conference showdown that should feature a fast pace and plenty of points. However, there's a potential injury situation in play here as well, as Devin Booker remains questionable for Phoenix with a forearm issue. An absence by the star shooting guard would lower overall scoring expectations for the Suns, but there are still a number of very good to excellent offensive pieces that will be on the floor even if Booker sits.
PG: Luka Doncic's ankle injury certainly affects the overall star power at the position, but we still have a strong trio up top with Russell Westbrook, Kyle Lowry and Damian Lillard. Eric Bledsoe's absence due to a shin injury dings the mid-tier, but there are still plenty of solid choices. Despite some other injuries, we still have viable value into the high $3K/low $4K range.
SG: Devin Booker (forearm) and Zach LaVine (shoulder) carry injury tags, but with respective questionable and probable designations, there's a strong chance both are available. Otherwise, we have an excellent upper tier with James Harden, Bradley Beal and Jimmy Butler, and a strong mid-tier that eventually gives way to value plays all the way down to near-minimum prices.
SF There's a good array of selections here up and down the pricing scale, beginning with Giannis Antetokounmpo and working all the way down to a $4K range that includes two potential fill-in starters (Mikal Bridges, Abdel Nader) and valuable high-usage reserves (Rudy Gay, Troy Brown Jr.).
PF: Blake Griffin is a potential absence here due to a knee injury, but otherwise, we pretty much have a clean bill of health. The top tier is headed by Bam Adebayo, and there's solid plays all the way down into the high $3K range, where Griffin's teammate Christian Wood could draw a spot start for Andre Drummond (eye).
C: The big question up top here is Drummond's potential absence. If he sits out Monday, that will eliminate the top option at the position, but Clint Capela and Hassan Whiteside are still available in the $9K range. An impressive mid-tier includes Jonas Valanciunas, Tristan Thompson and Steven Adams, while the sub-$5K range includes a trio of viable bargains in Dwight Powell, Ian Mahinmi and Jakob Poeltl, all starters for the moment.
Notable Injury Situations to Monitor
Andre Drummond, DET
Blake Griffin, DET
Griffin is questionable with a knee injury that forced his early exit from Saturday's game against the Rockets. Markieff Morris would log a spot start in Griffin's stead were the latter to sit.
Fred VanVleet, TOR
VanVleet is considered doubtful due to a knee bruise. Norman Powell would continue filling in for VanVleet at shooting guard should he be out again.
Luka Doncic, DAL
Doncic is headed for a multi-week absence due to the ankle injury he suffered Saturday night against the Heat. Jalen Brunson and Delon Wright are in line to be the primary beneficiaries of his absence, with Brunson expected to get first crack at the starting point guard job.
Isaiah Thomas, WAS
Thomas is considered questionable with a calf injury. Ish Smith would draw the start at point guard should Thomas sit.
Moritz Wagner, WAS
Eric Bledsoe, MIL
Jae Crowder, MEM
Crowder is questionable due to an ankle injury. Kyle Anderson would slot into the starting small forward role in his place.
Grayson Allen, MEM
Lonnie Walker IV, SAN
Walker is questionable with a knee injury.
Tomas Satoransky, CHI
Satoransky is probable with toe soreness.
Zach LaVine, CHI
LaVine is considered probable with shoulder soreness.
Kris Dunn, CHI
Dunn is considered probable with a knee issue.
Denzel Valentine, CHI
Valentine is considered probable with an ankle injury.
Carter is considered probable with back and abdomen issues.
Arcidiacono is considered probable with elbow soreness.
Daniel Gafford, CHI
Gafford is considered questionable with hamstring tightness. Luke Kornet would be due for a bump in backup center minutes should Gafford sit.
Justise Winslow, MIA
James Johnson, MIA
Johnson will not play due to personal reasons. Kelly Olynyk should continue seeing extra minutes as a result.
Devin Booker, PHO
Booker is questionable due to a forearm injury. Mikal Bridges would draw a start should Booker sit.
Dario Saric, PHO
Saric is probable with lower back tightness.
Cameron Johnson, PHO
Johnson is probable with hip soreness.
Austin Rivers, HOU
Rivers is probable with an illness.
Nassir Little, POR
Terrance Ferguson, OKC
Ferguson is questionable with a hip injury. Abdel Nader projects for another start at shooting guard if Ferguson misses a sixth straight game.
Notable Long-Term Injuries/Absences: Goran Dragic, MIA; Dion Waiters, MIA; Eric Gordon, HOU; Gerald Green, HOU; Andre Roberson, OKC; Hamidou Diallo, OKC; C.J. Miles, WAS; Thomas Bryant, WAS; Jordan McRae, WAS; Deandre Ayton, PHO; Zach Collins, POR; Jusuf Nurkic, POR; Rodney Hood, POR; Otto Porter Jr., CHI; Chandler Hutchison, CHI; Andre Iguodala, MEM
We have six players with five-figure salaries Monday, but that carries an asterisk. Luka Doncic ($11,900) is already ruled out with an ankle injury, while Andre Drummond ($10,000) could sit out as well. Otherwise, it's James Harden ($12,400), Bradley Beal ($10,500) and Russell Westbrook ($10,400) who arguably hold the most appeal based on their skill sets and expected game environments. Giannis Antetokounmpo ($12,100) is naturally always worthy of serious consideration, but there's also a chance that the Bucks put away a Doncic-less Mavericks team at home early, limiting Giannis' minutes.
We'll be in good shape in terms of avoiding overly concentrated ownership with seven games on the slate, but a number of injuries detailed earlier could certainly lead to a number of cheaper plays becoming quite popular.
In terms of chalk among the more expensive options on the slate, the Rockets duo of Russell Westbrook and James Harden should be especially popular, considering the elevated offensive projections for the Rockets-Spurs tilt. Their teammate Clint Capela ($9,600) should get the same treatment, while Kyle Lowry ($8,700) could also see his ownership spike a bit while matched up against a Cavaliers team that's been poor versus the point guard position all season.
Key and Likely Underowned Values
Cedi Osman, CLE at TOR ($4,100)
Osman's production has been hard to trust, which helps keep his ownership down. However, he's also proven capable of outpacing his current salary by a notable amount on multiple occasions, which keeps him very much in play for tournaments. He could be primed for one of his spikes in production Monday, considering the Raptors have allowed the ninth-most FanDuel points per game (48.7) to small forwards on the season, along with 36.7 percent three-point shooting to the position. Osman has tallies of 17.9 and 24.9 FanDuel points in two of his last three games, and he shot up to 39.0 FanDuel points six games ago, offering a glimpse of his upside. While he undeniably carries risk, his price is such that he won't disintegrate your lineup with a mediocre performance, and he offers you some great leverage in GPPs if he comes up with one of his better efforts.
Derrick Jones Jr., MIA at MEM ($4,100)
Jones is currently working as the backup small forward behind Duncan Robinson, but he's still logged between 26 and 35 minutes in the last five games. He's scored 21.6 to 33.8 FanDuel points in those contests while contributing across the stat sheet. Jones should be in for another solid allotment of playing time against the vulnerable and fast-paced Grizzlies, which have allowed the seventh-most FanDuel points per game (49.4) to small forwards, along with 48.0 percent shooting and the sixth-highest offensive efficiency rating (25.3) to threes. Jones is struggling from distance thus far (27.8 percent), but he's shooting an outstanding 49.1 percent overall and also contributes in rebounds, assists and steals.
Tony Snell, DET vs. WAS ($3,600)
Much like Osman, Snell is another player that's hard to trust from night to night. However, his price more than accounts for that volatility, and he's proven capable of providing a 7x-8x return on his current salary on multiple occasions. Most recently, Snell compiled 27.0 FanDuel points versus the Rockets on Saturday night, and he's been over 20 FanDuel points three other times. Both Blake Griffin (knee) and Andre Drummond (eye) could miss Monday's contest, which would certainly bump up Snell's opportunities against a Wizards team that's allowing 48.4 FanDuel points per game to small forwards, along with 48.0 percent shooting (including 36.2 percent from three-point range) and the second-highest offensive efficiency rating (27.3) to threes.
Other likely higher-owned value plays to consider: Ish Smith ($5,900); Dillon Brooks ($5,900); Dario Saric ($5,800); Derrick Rose ($5,700); OG Anunoby ($5,500); Aron Baynes ($5,400); Norman Powell ($5,000); Troy Brown Jr. ($4,800); Bruce Brown ($4,200); Christian Wood ($3,800); Jalen Brunson ($3,700)