This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
We have a big nine-game slate on tap Monday night, but even with the size of the ledger, there's only three games with projected totals of over 220 points, making it a night of lowered scoring expectations. We also still have some very big names on the injury report, with the status of some still firmly up in the air as of late Monday morning.
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 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 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 on Monday's slate:
Milwaukee Bucks at San Antonio Spurs (Projected total: 229.5 points)
These two teams just combined for 245 points Saturday night, so the fact this game carries the highest scoring expectation of the night is unsurprising. There's plenty to fuel offense in this matchup, including the fast pace of both clubs and the fact both will also enter the game at full health at all key positions.
Boston Celtics at Washington Wizards (Projected total: 226.5 points)
The Wizards continue to facilitate elevated offense from their opponents, and even with the potential for Bradley Beal (leg) to miss this game in addition to the already confirmed absence of the Celtics' Kemba Walker (illness), the oddsmakers still expect plenty of points to be scored. Boston is reasonably well-equipped to handle Walker's absence, while Washington has also managed to generate solid point totals in games Beal has missed.
Utah Jazz at New Orleans Pelicans (Projected total: 221.5 points)
The Jazz aren't usually associated with games that have elevated scoring expectations, but the Pelicans certainly are. Utah is the team with the enhanced offensive outlook in this spot, and even with Jrue Holiday (elbow) out for New Orleans, the Pelicans still have plenty of strong scorers that can help make up for his absence.
With 18 teams in action, even the multiple notable injuries to prominent players aren't enough to completely dilute any one position. Having said that, the positions that are affected the most are both backcourt spots and power forward.
At point guard, Kemba Walker (illness) and Malcolm Brogdon (back) are already confirmed to be unavailable Monday, and Dejounte Murray (personal) could also sit. Then, the possible absence of Bradley Beal (leg), and the confirmed absences of Holiday and D'Angelo Russell (shoulder) makes shooting guard thinner at the upper levels.
And at power forward, Kristaps Porzingis (knee) and Draymond Green (ankle) are already expected to be out, while John Collins (back), Lauri Markkanen (ankle) and Marvin Bagley III (foot) could be joining them. Nevertheless, there are still a number of strong options available throughout the pricing scale, beginning with Domantas Sabonis ($9,300) at the top and going all the way down to the likes of Marquese Chriss and Thaddeus Young at the low-$4k levels.
Notable Injury Situations to Monitor
NOTE: Injury reporting is especially fluid in the NBA, where the status of multiple players can change during the course of a day. Therefore, although the following serves as a foundation for the latest injury report as of the time the article is written (usually late morning Eastern time), check back throughout the course of the day with RotoWire for the latest news regarding the status of all players on that night's slate.
Antetokounmpo is considered probable with back soreness and is fully expected to play as of Monday morning. Were he to suffer a setback, Ersan Ilyasova would be in line for a start at power forward, while the usage of the rest of the Bucks' starting five would rise significantly.
Kemba Walker, BOS
Walker will not play due to an illness that's already cost him two games. Marcus Smart and Brad Wanamaker should be the primary beneficiaries, while the rest of the starting five should continue seeing an uptick in usage.
Bradley Beal, WAS
Ian Mahinmi, WAS
Mahinmi is questionable due to a finger injury. Anzejs Pasecniks could be due for a spot start in the decimated Wizards frontcourt.
Caris LeVert, BKN
LeVert will not play due to management of the thumb injury he just returned from Saturday. Garrett Temple should be the primary beneficiary of LeVert's absence.
DeAndre Jordan, BKN
Jordan is considered probable with a knee bruise.
D'Angelo Russell, GSW
Draymond Green, GSW
Green will not play due to an ankle injury. Omari Spellman is likely to draw the start at power forward.
John Collins, ATL
Collins is questionable with a back contusion. Jabari Parker (illness) could be in line to draw a start at power forward should Collins miss, but if Parker also sits, De'Andre Hunter would be in line to handle starting power forward duties.
Jabari Parker, ATL
Cam Reddish, ATL
DeAndre' Bembry, ATL
Bembry is probable with elbow and hip injuries. He could be in line for a start at small forward if Cam Reddish (wrist) misses.
Damian Jones, ATL
Jones is probable with a hip injury.
Malcolm Brogdon, IND
Brogdon will not play Monday due to a back injury. Aaron Holiday is expected to be the biggest beneficiary of a Brogdon absence, although T.J. McConnell (ankle) would also see extra run if he's able to suit up.
Jrue Holiday, NOP
Holiday is out due to an elbow bruise. E'Twaun Moore and J.J. Redick could be the primary beneficiaries if Holiday misses, while the rest of the Pelicans starting five should see a significant bump in usage. Frank Jackson could also see a few more minutes, and there's a chance rookie Nickeil Alexander-Walker could find his way back into the rotation.
Lauri Markkanen, CHI
Markkanen is questionable with an ankle sprain. Thaddeus Young stands to benefit from a spot start at power forward if Markkanen misses.
T.J. McConnell, IND
George Hill, MIL
Hill is probable due to an illness.
Pat Connaughton, MIL
Connaughton is out due to a thigh bruise. Sterling Brown should see a slight bump in minutes as a result.
Nerlens Noel, OKC
Noel will not play due to an ankle injury. Mike Muscala should receive some extra backup center minutes as a result.
Kristaps Porzingis, DAL
Porzingis is expected to miss a fourth straight game due to knee soreness. Dorian Finney-Smith, Justin Jackson and Maxi Kleber should continue to benefit from another Porzingis absence, while the already robust usage of Luka Doncic should rise even further.
Bogdan Bogdanovic, SAC
Marvin Bagley III, SAC
Bagley will likely be considered questionable at best due to a foot sprain. Nemanja Bjelica would be in line for another start at power forward should Bagley miss.
Dejounte Murray, SA
Murray will likely be considered questionable at best due to personal reasons. Derrick White sets up for a spot start at point guard if Murray misses a second straight game.
Ryan Arcidiacono, CHI
Arcidiacono is considered probable with an elbow injury.
Tim Hardaway Jr., DAL
Hardaway is out with the hamstring injury that cost him the last three games.
Notable Longer-Term Injuries/Absences: Kyrie Irving, BKN; Stephen Curry, GSW; Klay Thompson, GSW; Victor Oladipo, IND; Zion Williamson, NOP; Darius Miller, NOP; Otto Porter Jr., CHI; Mike Conley, UTA; Jonathan Isaac, ORL; Al-Farouq Aminu, ORL; Michael Carter-Williams, ORL; Andre Roberson, OKC; Robert Williams III, BOS; Thomas Bryant, WAS; Moritz Wagner, WAS; Rui Hachimura, WAS; C.J. Miles, WAS; Davis Bertans, WAS; Ryan Broekhoff, DAL; Nicolas Claxton, BKN; Matisse Thybulle, PHI; Kevon Looney, GSW
We have only two players with five-figure salaries – Luka Doncic ($11.6K) and Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11.4K) – despite 18 teams being in action. However, the trio of $9K range players – Joel Embiid ($9.6K0, Domantas Sabonis ($9.3K) and Trae Young ($9.1K) all have the ability to outpace their current salaries. Young could especially be in a good position to do so if John Collins (back) misses another contest, while Doncic will also have an even better chance of justifying his lofty salary if Kristaps Porzingis (knee) is out again as expected.
As just mentioned, Doncic and Young could be even slightly more popular than usual if Collins and Porzingis miss with their respective injuries. Additionally, Embiid and Nikola Jokic ($8,800) sport prices that could certainly lead to them being even more popular than customary, especially since each is in an appealing matchup as well. The remainder of the chalk Monday should primarily stem from injury situations that are creating expanded opportunity for reasonably priced players.
On that subject, as customary, I've compiled a list of some likely popular sub-$6K value plays and placed them below the next section, with some of those names deriving their likely elevated ownership due to those confirmed/expected injury absences and resulting expanded roles.
Key and Likely Underowned Values
Cody Zeller, CHA vs. IND ($4,500)
Zeller continues coming off the bench behind Bismack Biyombo, but he's still seeing minutes in the high teens at minimum on most nights. The veteran big has scored over 20 FanDuel points in three of his past five games, and he recent posted between 24.7 to 33.2 FanDuel points in a string of six consecutive games on the second unit, corroborating his ability to outpace his current salary while coming off the bench. The Pacers make for appealing targets as well Monday, as they're allowing the highest offensive efficiency rating to centers (34.5), along with the third-highest shooting percentage (57.0). Indiana is also surrendering the most FanDuel points per game to fives for the season (43.2), furthering Zeller's case at what should be modest ownership.
Cory Joseph, SAC vs GSW ($4,100)
Joseph doesn't normally carry very elevated ownership on large slates unless he's drawing a spot start, which isn't the case Monday. Instead, he should be in his usual second-unit role that affords him minutes in the high teens at minimum, one in which he's eclipsed 20 FanDuel points in back-to-back games. Joseph draws a good matchup with which to generate one of his more productive outings, as the Warriors are allowing 46.5 percent shooting (including 36.2 percent from three-point range) to opposing second-unit players, along with an offensive efficiency rating (44.5) that ranks them just outside the bottom 10 in that category. Golden State also allows the second-highest offensive efficiency rating (29.0) to point guards, along with the second-most FanDuel points per game to point guards (65.9) over the last five.
Georges Niang, UTA at NO ($3,700)
Niang is likely to fly well under the radar Monday as large-field tournament play, as he's only recently began to make his mark in the Jazz frontcourt rotation. The big man has scored 15.2 and 24.0 FanDuel points over the last two games, respectively, draining an outstanding eight of 13 three-point attempts during that pair of contests. Niang has seen between 14 and 17 minutes in five straight as well, and Monday, he'll face a Pelicans squad allowing the fifth-highest offensive efficiency rating to opposing second units (45.7), along with 45.7 percent shooting, including the second-highest three-point percentage (38.7). What's more, New Orleans also yields the third-highest shooting percentage (49.2) to power forwards, along with the second-highest three-point success rate (39.8) to the position as well.
Other considerations: Jordan Clarkson, UTA at NO ($4,200); Bojan Bogdanovic ($5,700); Jeremy Lamb ($5,700); Dwight Powell ($5,700); Aaron Holiday ($5,600); Damion Lee ($5,600); Enes Kanter ($5,400); Joe Ingles ($5,400); Harrison Barnes ($5,000); Marcus Smart, ($4,900); D.J. Augustin ($4,900); Alex Len ($4,800); Bismack Biyombo ($4,700); Gary Harris ($4,500); Glenn Robinson III ($4,300); Anzejs Pasecniks ($4,200)