This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
Monday night brings a big nine-game slate, one that features plenty of injury concerns but several games with high scoring expectations as well. Additionally, we benefit from additional clarity on the new roles for both recently traded players and those on their former teams that have inherited their positions. The sudden changes have led to a number of players who sport prices that aren't quite reflective of their new reality.
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 on Monday's slate with the highest projected totals:
Phoenix Suns at Los Angeles Lakers (Projected total: 228.0 points)
The Suns have been frequently facilitating elevated point totals for their opponents, as they're allowing 113.6 points per game, including 114.3 per road contest. The first two games between these teams have finished with totals of 238 and 224 points, respectively, and the Lakers come into Monday's game averaging the seventh-most points per contest (114.4). Pace should also help keep the scoreboard busy, as both Phoenix (105.5 possessions per game) and Los Angeles (104.1 possessions per game) rank in the top half of the league in that category.
Minnesota Timberwolves at Toronto Raptors (Projected total: 227.0 points)
The Timberwolves are allowing 116.6 points per road game, and they've yielded 118.3 over the last three games overall. Toronto also comes in scoring the sixth-most points (116.6) per home game, and even if Kyle Lowry (neck) remains out Monday, they have plenty of firepower on their roster to keep the points coming. Additionally, it's worth noting Minnesota could have D'Angelo Russell (thigh) available for the first time Monday, and that the first game between these teams finished with a total of 234 points.
Sacramento Kings at Milwaukee Bucks (Projected total: 226.5 points)
The Bucks continue to be the most prolific team in the league (119.7 PPG, including 121.5 PPG at home) and check into this interconference clash at full health. Meanwhile, the Kings are allowing 110.4 points per road game, and although they've been one of the lower-scoring teams in the league this season, they're averaging an impressive 113.3 points over their last three contests. The one big question mark here is Giannis Antetokounmpo's status due to a personal matter, as his absence would naturally lead to a downturn in Milwaukee's scoring expectations.
Point guard continues to be a bit thin Monday, beginning right from the top. Both Luka Doncic (ankle) and Kyrie Irving (knee) remain out, while Kyle Lowry (neck) and Derrick Rose (hip) could sit as well. There's a strong mid-tier and bargain level, however, with the likes of Spencer Dinwiddie, Eric Bledsoe, Malcolm Brogdon, Reggie Jackson, Mike Conley and Goran Dragic.
Shooting guard will be in particularly good shape if both Jimmy Butler (shoulder) and D'Angelo Russell (thigh) can suit up, but the position enjoys solid health otherwise. Devin Booker is the most expensive option at just $8.1K, and Khris Middleton ($7.5K) could prove to be a bargain if Giannis Antetokounmpo (personal) is out. There's also plenty of appealing sub-$6K values, including Caris LeVert ($5.6K) and Malik Beasley ($4.7K).
Small forward could take a big hit at the top if Giannis is out, but the rest of the position is in good shape until the sub-$5K range, with only Will Barton (ankle) confirmed out. While there are a variety of potential or confirmed absences at the bargain level, there are also some potentially rewarding values in the form of Jae Crowder ($4.2K) and De'Andre Hunter ($4.1K).
Power forward could be the healthiest position overall, as the only injury concerns of note are the long-term absences of Richaun Holmes (shoulder) and Marvin Bagley (foot). At the top, there's also a nice drop-off in price from top option Anthony Davis ($10.4K) to Kristaps Porzingis ($9K), who continues to enjoy robust usage in the absence of Luka Doncic (ankle).
Finally, center still features Clint Capela (heel) and Marc Gasol (hamstring) among its sidelined players, while Deandre Ayton (ankle) is also a 50/50 proposition to play Monday. However, thanks to the fact there are 18 teams in action, there's still plenty of depth, beginning with the impressive duo of Nikola Jokic and Karl-Anthony Towns up top on down to the likes of Thon Maker ($4.1K) at the bargain level.
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.
Clint Capela, ATL
Capela remains out with a heel injury, leaving Dewayne Dedmon to continue logging starts at center.
Antetokounmpo is considered questionable due to a personal matter.
Luka Doncic, DAL
Doncic remains out with an ankle injury.
Kyrie Irving, BKN
Irving remains out due to an MCL sprain.
Jimmy Butler, MIA
Butler is likely to be considered questionable at best due to a shoulder injury.
DeAndre' Bembry, ATL
Bembry will likely be listed as questionable at best due to a hand injury.
Cam Reddish, ATL
Reddish will likely be listed as questionable at best due to a concussion.
James Ennis, ORL
Ennis could make Magic debut Monday after recently having been traded from the 76ers.
Cody Martin, CHA
Martin will not play due to a concussion.
Nicolas Batum, CHA
Batum will not play due to an illness.
Tyler Herro, MIA
Herro is likely to be considered questionable at best due to a foot injury.
Deandre Ayton, PHO
Ayton is considered questionable due to ankle soreness.
Kyle Lowry, TOR
Lowry is considered questionable with the neck injury that cost him Saturday's game.
D'Angelo Russell, MIN
Russell will be listed as questionable due to a thigh injury. Jordan McLaughlin would draw another start at point guard should Russell sit again.
Omari Spellman, MIN
Spellman will likely carry a questionable designation after being held out of Saturday's game due to coach's decision.
Evan Turner, MIN
Turner is likely to be held out as he and the team reportedly discuss a buyout.
Jabari Parker, SAC
Parker is considered questionable due to the shoulder injury that's kept him sidelined since Jan. 3.
George Hill, MIL
Hill is likely to be considered questionable at best due to the hamstring injury that's cost him the last five games.
Will Barton, DEN
Barton will not play due to knee inflammation.
Michael Porter, DEN
Porter will not play due to an ankle injury.
Aron Baynes, PHO
Baynes is likely to be considered questionable at best due to a hip injury.
Dario Saric, PHO
Saric is out due to an ankle injury.
Derrick Rose, DET
Rose will likely be listed as questionable at best due to a hip injury.
Brandon Knight, DET
Knight is likely to be considered questionable at best due to knee soreness.
Mykhailiuk will not play due to a hip injury.
Markieff Morris, DET
Morris is probable due to an illness.
Notable Longer-Term Injuries/Absences: Stephen Curry, GSW; Klay Thompson, GSW; Richaun Holmes, SAC; Marvin Bagley, SAC; Alex Len, SAC; Mason Plumlee, DEN; Luke Kennard, DET; Norman Powell, TOR; Marc Gasol, TOR; Frank Kaminsky, PHO; Jonathan Isaac, ORL; Al-Farouq Aminu, ORL; D.J. Augustin, ORL; Skal Labissiere, ATL; Jake Layman, MIN; Dewan Hernandez, TOR
There are five players with five-digit salaries overall on Monday's slate, although Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,600) does carry a questionable tag due to a personal matter. The remaining four – Nikola Jokic ($11,300), LeBron James ($10,500), Anthony Davis ($10,400) and Karl-Anthony Towns ($10,000) – are all valuable in their own right, but none are must-haves due to positional scarcity or matchup.
Trae Young ($9,500) and Kristaps Porzingis ($9,000) are both capable of providing as much upside as any of those higher-priced options, but both will be in tougher-than-average matchups against the Magic and Jazz, respectively.
The elite players just mentioned should see high ownership Monday based on their usual popularity, but there are others that could also see plenty of clicks due to potential absences on their squads and/or their own recent performances. Examples include Spencer Dinwiddie ($7,500) and Caris LeVert ($5,600) in Brooklyn with Kyrie Irving out, Porzingis in Luka Doncic's ongoing absence, Fred VanVleet ($6,700) if Kyle Lowry is forced to sit for a second straight game, and both Khris Middleton ($7,400) and Eric Bledsoe ($6,700) if Giannis Antetokounmpo is out.
Key and Likely Underowned Values
Kendrick Nunn, MIA at GSW ($4,600)
Nunn's teammate Goran Dragic will be much more popular, but Nunn could pay off nicely in his own right at what should be markedly lower ownership. The young guard has been somewhat inconsistent of late, as he's mired in a shooting slump that has seen him drain just 27.8 percent of his attempts over the last three contests. However, Nunn draws an ideal matchup for righting the ship Monday, as the Warriors check in with second-highest offensive efficiency rate allowed to point guards (29.5), including the second-highest three-point percentage (39.0) surrendered to the position. Golden State has also allowed 43.2 FanDuel points per game to ones for the season, including 48.3 over the last 10. Additionally, if either or both Jimmy Butler (shoulder) and Tyler Herro (foot) sit Monday, Nunn could see an uptick in usage.
Dwight Howard, LAL vs. PHO ($4,300)
Howard continues to see a fairly steady role in the frontcourt rotation, but he's had a couple of recent hiccups that are likely to keep his ownership down on the large slate. Howard has scored 6.2 to 14.8 FanDuel points in four of his last six games, but he's also contributed 20.6 and 27.5 FanDuel points in the two other games over that span. Howard has proven his ability to rack up production off the bench on countless occasions this season, as he's compiled at least 20 FanDuel points 29 times. The Suns make for fine targets as well, considering they've allowed the highest shooting percentage (57.4) to centers, as well as a bottom-10 offensive efficiency rating (44.5) to second units. Phoenix is also generating the eighth-lowest rebounding rate (49.2 percent) in the league, furthering Howard's prospects.
John Henson, DET vs. CHA ($4,200)
Henson was impressive in his Pistons debut Saturday, posting 20.3 FanDuel points across 18 minutes versus the Knicks. The big man appears set for a steady role behind Thon Maker for the time being, and he'll be in a good position for a successful encore Monday. The Hornets continue to rank in the bottom 10 in the league with a 48.8 percent rebounding rate, and they've allowed the highest offensive efficiency rating (48.6) to second-unit players this season. Additionally, the Hornets are yielding the second-most FanDuel points per game to centers over the last 10 games (45.5), along with the second-highest offensive efficiency rating (33.8) and fourth-most rebounds per game (16.0) to the position.
Other likely higher-owned value plays to consider: Marquese Chriss, GSW vs. MIA ($5,800); Myles Turner, IND vs. BKN ($5,800); Evan Fournier, ORL vs. ATL ($5,600); Bojan Bogdanovic, UTA at DAL ($5,600); Caris LeVert, BKN at IND ($5,600); Goran Dragic, MIA at GS ($5,400); Terrence Ross, ORL vs. ATL ($5,000); DeAndre Jordan,, BKN at IND ($5,000); Malik Beasley, MIN at TOR ($4,700); Jae Crowder, MIA at GSW ($4,200); De'Andre Hunter, ATL at ORL ($4,100); Thon Maker, DET vs. CHA ($4,100); Ky Bowman, GSW vs. MIA ($3,600)