This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
We have a big 11-game MLK Day main slate Monday, which almost overwhelms us in terms of options. It's certainly a tailor-made slate for multi-lineup tournament play, as differentiation shouldn't be any issue whatsoever. While the injury report is fairly large as one would expect, there aren't anywhere near enough absences to cause a true depth issue at any position.
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:
New Orleans Pelicans at Memphis Grizzlies (Projected total: 239.5 points)
This game comfortably outpaces all the others on the slate in terms of projected total, and the bonus is that there are even multiple value plays on the Grizzlies (listed in the final section of this article) that allow you cost-effective exposure to the game. The offensive expectations are understandable, considering the top-10 ranking of both teams in both possessions per game and scoring, as well as the fact both also slot into the bottom five in points allowed per contest (New Orleans 117.7 PPG, Memphis 115.8 PPG).
Oklahoma City Thunder at Houston Rockets (Projected total: 229.5 points)
This is a matchup of another two Western Conference powerhouses that can both light up the scoreboard and give up their fair share of points. All the elite players on either squad are healthy as well, and the two teams already combined for 228 points in one of their two meetings this season. Houston is also tied for third-most possessions per game (107.6), and they're averaging a Western Conference-high 119.5 points per home contest.
San Antonio Spurs at Phoenix Suns (Projected total: 229.0 points)
The two squads combined for 240 points in an overtime battle the first time they hooked up this season, and San Antonio and Phoenix also rank 10th and 11th, respectively, in possessions per game. Both teams are also ranked in the top 10 in scoring and bottom 10 in points allowed per game, setting up a perfect environment for plenty of offense. To top it off, the Spurs are playing their fourth game in five nights, which could certainly affect their defense in this spot.
Shooting guard is in almost as good health, although C.J. McCollum (ankle) and RJ Barrett (ankle) are both confirmed out. However, Jrue Holiday (elbow) does have a chance for a return Monday, which would offer a nice boost to the overall depth.
At small forward, Kelly Oubre Jr. (concussion) is expected to make his return, while Jaylen Brown (thumb), remains uncertain. Other than a questionable designation for the Warriors' Glenn Robinson III (ankle) at the sub-$5K level, the position is in very good shape overall top to bottom.
Power forward has two ailing members in Anthony Davis (back) and Derrick Favors (back) that carry questionable designations, but there are still plenty of choices up and down the pricing scale, beginning with Domantas Sabonis ($9.1K) and Bam Adebayo ($8.7K) up top even if Davis sits, and continuing with a strong mid-tier that includes appealing prices on Jayson Tatum ($7.6K) and Kevin Love ($6.9K).
Finally, center is in the best shape of all, with only Aron Baynes' doubtful designation blemishing another otherwise clean bill of health in the $4K range and up. There's literally something for every budget, beginning with Karl-Anthony Towns ($10.4K) and Nikola Jokic ($10K) at the top and extending all the way down to potential values such as Bismack Biyombo ($4.2K) and Jaxson Hayes ($4.1K).
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.
Marvin Bagley III, SAC
Bagley is questionable with the foot injury that caused his early exit from Saturday's game against the Jazz.
Nemanja Bjelica, SAC
Bjelica is probable with an ankle injury.
Kent Bazemore, SAC
Bazemore is likely to sit out Monday after just having been traded from the Trail Blazers on Saturday.
Anthony Tolliver, SAC
Tolliver is likely to sit out Monday after just having been traded from the Trail Blazers on Friday.
Lauri Markkanen, CHI
Markkanen is probable with an ankle injury.
Robin Lopez, MIL
Lopez is doubtful with an illness.
Jrue Holiday, NOP
Holiday is questionable with the elbow injury that's cost him the last seven games.
JJ Redick, NOP
Redick is probable with a hamstring strain.
Derrick Favors, NOP
Favors is questionable with lower back soreness.
Jahlil Okafor, NOP
Okafor is likely to be considered questionable at best with a back injury that's already cost him the last two games.
RJ Barrett, NYK
Barrett will not play due to an ankle injury.
Wayne Ellington, NYK
Ellington will likely be considered questionable at best with the illness that's cost him the last two games.
Brandon Knight, CLE
Knight will remain out with the knee injury that's cost him the last two games.
Ante Zizic, CLE
Zizic will remain out with an illness.
John Henson, CLE
Henson is considered questionable with a back injury.
Terrance Ferguson, OKC
Ferguson will not play due to a personal matter.
Abdel Nader, OKC
Nader is out due to an ankle injury.
Anthony Davis, LAL
Davis is considered questionable with his back injury. Kyle Kuzma would be due for another start should Davis sit.
Kemba Walker, BOS
Walker is questionable with knee soreness.
Rajon Rondo, LAL
Rondo is considered questionable with a finger injury.
Jamal Murray, DEN
Murray is likely to be considered questionable at best with an ankle injury that's already cost him two games.
Gary Harris, DEN
Harris is likely to be considered questionable at best with the groin injury that's already cost him three games.
Paul Millsap, DEN
Millsap is likely to be considered questionable at best with the knee injury that's already cost him six games.
Allen Crabbe, MIN
Crabbe is considered questionable due to an illness.
Rudy Gay, SAN
Gay is likely to be considered questionable at best with the illness that cost him Sunday's game.
Kelly Oubre Jr., PHO
Oubre is expected to return from a two-game absence due to a concussion.
Cameron Johnson, PHO
Johnson is questionable due to a quadriceps bruise.
Aron Baynes, PHO
Baynes is considered doubtful due to a hip bruise.
Jaylen Brown, BOS
Brown is questionable with a thumb sprain. Marcus Smart will be the likely spot starter at two-guard if Brown sits.
Austin Rivers, HOU
Rivers is questionable due to a thumb sprain. Chris Clemons could see a bump in opportunity as a backup point guard.
Jacob Evans, GSW
Evans will not play due to a concussion.
Glenn Robinson III, GSW
Robinson is questionable with an ankle sprain that cost him Saturday's game. Eric Paschall could see a spot start at SF in his stead.
C.J. McCollum, POR
McCollum will miss his second straight game due to an ankle sprain. Anfernee Simons and Gary Trent Jr. should be the biggest direct beneficiaries of McCollum's absence, while the usage rates of the likes of Damian Lillard and Hassan Whiteside could see a significant bump.
Trevor Ariza, POR
Ariza is likely to sit out Monday after just having been traded from the Kings on Saturday.
Caleb Swanigan, POR
Swanigan is likely to sit out Monday after just having been traded from the Kings on Saturday.
Notable Longer-Term Injuries/Absences: Stephen Curry, GSW; Klay Thompson, GSW; Justise Winslow, MIA; Victor Oladipo, IND; Jonathan Isaac, ORL; Al-Farouq Aminu, ORL; D.J. Augustin, ORL; Robert Williams III, BOS; Dennis Smith Jr., NYK; Frank Kaminsky, PHO; Kevon Looney, GSW; Wendell Carter, Jr., CHI; Daniel Gafford, CHI; Otto Porter Jr., CHI; Kevin Porter Jr., CLE; Jabari Parker, ATL; Richaun Holmes, SAC; Gerald Green, HOU; Jusuf Nurkic, POR, Zach Collins, POR; Skal Labissiere, POR; Jake Layman, MIN; Bruno Caboclo, MEM; Andre Iguodala, MEM; Andre Roberson, OKC
With 22 teams in action, we unsurprisingly have a total of six players with five-figure salaries on the big slate. Only one, Anthony Davis ($10,900), carries an injury designation, while LeBron James ($11,100) and Nikola Jokic ($10,000) could hold even more appeal than usual if their respective injured teammates are confirmed as out. James Harden ($11,400) will be involved in what is expected to be one of the highest-projected scoring games of the night versus the Thunder.
In the upper $9K range, Rudy Gobert ($9,700) could be set for one of his most explosive performances due to an excellent positional matchup versus the Pacers. It's also worth noting that two players which technically fall below "elite" range in terms of pricing – Hassan Whiteside ($9,000) and Damian Lillard ($8,800) – will be poised for a nice bump in usage with C.J. McCollum (ankle) already ruled out.
We should be in excellent shape overall Monday in terms of having to deal with too many chalk plays, as the sheer size of the slate should help prevent it despite the extensive injury report. There are still a couple of scenarios that could lead to a slight spike for certain players – another absence by Anthony Davis (back) or Kemba Walker (knee) could certainly result in certain teammates enjoying a bump in popularity, for example – but we should otherwise benefit from a pretty balanced landscape.
Key and Likely Underowned Values
Derrick White, SA at PHO ($4,200)
White is nicely priced for a player who's scored over 20 FanDuel points in three of his past four games in a steady backcourt rotation role, and for one who's facing a Suns team that's allowed the fourth-highest three-point percentage to opposing second-unit players. White is shooting a solid 36.8 percent from distance and has four double-digit scoring efforts in his last six contests overall. He's doing a nice job complementing his offensive production with rebounds, assists and steals as well, making a 5x return on his current salary a realistic proposition at what should be very modest ownership.
Jordan Poole, GS at POR ($4,000)
With so many options on this big slate, Poole is likely to go underowned despite his recent stretch of strong play. The rookie has four consecutive double-digit scoring efforts, scoring 18.6 to 28.6 FanDuel points in those contests, including over 20 in three straight. Poole has logged 27 or 28 minutes on three occasions during that span and is shooting 41.9 percent from three-point range on a whopping 7.8 three-point attempts per game over that four-game sample. Moreover, with Glenn Robinson III (ankle) questionable for Monday's game, Poole could be in for even more run, and the Trail Blazers check in allowing the second-highest offensive efficiency rating (47.9) and sixth-highest three-point percentage (36.6) to opposing benches as well.
Mo Bamba, ORL at CHA ($3,500)
Bamba's production does fluctuate and his minutes are typically capped in the teens, but at minimum price and with what's projected to be minuscule ownership, he's worthy of a mention if you want to pay all the way down at center and spend up elsewhere. The second-year big has also flashed some nice upside on a couple of occasions recently, as he just racked up 30.9 FanDuel points versus the Warriors on Saturday night and went for 24.7 FanDuel points against the Lakers three games ago. Monday's matchup could coax another strong performance out of him relative to playing time, considering the Hornets are allowing the eighth-most rebounds (17.2) and highest offensive efficiency rating (47.9) to opposing second units, and the third-most rebounds (16.3) and fifth-highest offensive efficiency rating (33.2) to centers. Charlotte is also allowing the fourth-most FanDuel points per game to centers (40.9), putting a bow on Bamba's strong case.
Other likely higher-owned value plays to consider: Danilo Gallinari, OKC ($5,900); Bojan Bogdanovic, UTA ($5,700); Dillon Brooks, MEM ($5,600); Evan Fournier, ORL ($5,500); Aaron Gordon, ORL ($5,500); Dennis Schroder, OKC ($5,400); Marcus Morris, NYK ($5,200); Kendrick Nunn, MIA ($5,100); De'Anthony Melton, MEM ($5,000); Brandon Clarke, MEM ($4,900); Jae Crowder, MEM ($4,900); Luke Kornet, CHI ($4,200); Mike Conley, UTA ($4,100); Reggie Bullock, NYK ($4,000); Nerlens Noel, OKC ($4,000); Gary Trent Jr. POR ($3,600)