This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
We have an eight-game slate Monday night, giving us an ideal number of options across the board. The robust number of games is especially timely, given that there are several big names on the injury report. The depth afforded by 16 teams being action does still leave us with plenty of options for every budget at each 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 total on Monday's slate:
Milwaukee Bucks at Washington Wizards (Projected total: 243.5 points)
This total has been climbing through the early part of the day – no surprise given the teams at play. The Bucks remain the highest-scoring team in the NBA (119.7 PPG), while the Wizards are the worst in terms of points allowed (119.8 PPG). That statistical synergy alone explains the offensive expectations, as does Milwaukee's league-high pace (108.2 possessions per game) and Washington's sixth-fastest number (106.9 possessions per game). The first meeting between these teams finished with a combined 282 points. It did not go into overtime, and Giannis Antetokounmpo didn't even play.
Minnesota Timberwolves at Dallas Mavericks (Projected total: 238.0 points)
This game represents an interesting pivot for those worried about a potential blowout in the Bucks-Wizards contest. The total would pace the slate on many nights, and both teams have proven highly capable of lighting up the scoreboard. Dallas is averaging 116.4 points per contest, while Minnesota has been a better offensive team on the road (114.0 PPG) than at home (111.1 PPG). The T-Wolves' defense has also been highly suspect (117.8 PPG allowed on the road).
Memphis Grizzlies at Los Angeles Clippers (Projected total: 233.0 points)
The fast-paced Grizzlies head into Los Angeles, and although both clubs have key players on the injury list (Paul George, Jaren Jackson), there are still plenty of fireworks expected. Memphis is allowing 115.5 points per road game, and both teams are playing at a top-10 pace (Grizzlies-106.6 possessions per 48/Clippers-106.2 possessions per 48), while the Clippers are averaging an impressive 116.7 points per home game. And if any further reason to place faith in the elevated total was necessary, consider the first two games between these teams have finished with eye-popping totals of 240 and 254 points, respectively.
Point guard has some big-name injury concerns in the form of Ben Simmons (OUT-back) and Elfrid Payton (QUES-ankle) near the top of the pool, and the potential absence of Patrick Beverley (groin), as well. However, the rest of the position remains in good health overall.
Small forward doesn't avoid the injury bug, either. Both Paul George (hamstring) and Tobias Harris (knee) do have a chance to play, but both are very much questionable. Harris was initially listed as doubtful before shootaround. George, meanwhile, was able to practice last week, so there's hope that he'll return Monday night. George and Harris aside, there is a significant price drop-off from top choice Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11.8K) to next-most-expensive option in Tim Hardaway ($6.2K).
Finally, the center position will continue to be without the services of Clint Capela (heel) and Karl-Anthony Towns (wrist), draining the top-tier pool. However, Deandre Ayton (ankle) is expected to play, and both Joel Embiid ($10K) and Nikola Vucevic ($9.4K) could provide strong returns on their lofty prices due to injuries on their team/matchup.
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.
Luka Doncic, DAL
Doncic is expected to play Monday after missing Saturday's game with ankle soreness.
Ben Simmons, PHI
Simmons is out with a back injury. With teammate Tobias Harris also questionable with a knee injury, the usage of Josh Richardson, Glenn Robinson and Joel Embiid should skyrocket, while Raul Neto and Shake Milton should see plenty of run at point guard.
Paul George, LAC
George is considered questionable with the hamstring injury that's already cost him five games.
Tobias Harris, PHI
Harris is questionable with the knee injury he sustained Saturday against the Bucks. Al Horford is likely to draw the start at power forward if Harris misses.
Jimmy Butler, MIA
Butler remains out due to personal reasons. Duncan Robinson, Kendrick Nunn and Goran Dragic should all be beneficiaries of his absence from a backcourt perspective, while the usage of the remainder of Miami's starting five is also slated to bump up.
D'Angelo Russell, MIN
Russell is probable with the knee soreness that cost him Sunday's game.
Kevin Love, CLE
Love is probable with Achilles soreness.
Deandre Ayton, PHO
Ayton is probable due to an ankle injury.
Aron Baynes, PHO
Baynes is probable with a hip injury.
Dario Saric, PHO
Saric is probable with an ankle injury.
Patrick Beverley, LAC
Beverley is questionable with the groin injury that's cost him the last five games.
Elie Okobo, PHO
Okobo is probable with an ankle injury.
Tyler Herro, MIA
Herro remains out with a foot injury.
Meyers Leonard, MIA
Leonard remains out with an ankle injury.
DeAndre' Bembry, ATL
Bembry remains out due to an abdominal injury.
Alfonzo McKinnie, CLE
McKinnie will not play due to a foot injury.
Allen Crabbe, MIN
Crabbe is likely to be listed as questionable due to personal reasons.
Brook Lopez, MIL
Lopez will not play due to a back injury.
Kyle Korver, MIL
Korver is likely to be listed no better than questionable with a back injury.
Elfrid Payton, NYK
Payton is questionable with an ankle injury.
Frank Ntilikina, NYK
Ntilikina is questionable due to a groin injury.
Wayne Ellington, NYK
Ellington is questionable with an ankle injury.
Willie Cauley-Stein, DAL
Cauley-Stein is listed as questionable due to personal reasons.
Jalen Brunson, DAL
Brunson is out due to a shoulder injury, leaving Seth Curry with a likely spot start at shooting guard.
Evan Turner, MIN
Turner is projected to remain out while he and the Timberwolves explore a buyout.
Notable Longer-Term Injuries/Absences: Karl-Anthony Towns, MIN; Clint Capela, ATL; Skal Labissiere, ATL; Jaren Jackson, MEM; Grayson Allen, MEM; Justise Winslow, MEM; Al-Farouq Aminu, ORL; Frank Kaminsky, PHO; Jake Layman, MIN
We have a quartet of five-figure players on the big Monday slate, with Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11.8K), James Harden ($11.5K), Russell Westbrook ($10.4K), Joel Embiid ($10K) fitting the bill. The $9K range is is appealing in its own right, as Kawhi Leonard ($9.9K), Luka Doncic ($9.8K), Trae Young ($9.6K) and Nikola Vucevic ($9.4K) are all in positions where they could outpace their salaries.
In terms of which of the highest-priced players particularly stand out due to matchup/injuries, Antetokounmpo is in a premium situation facing the highly vulnerable Wizards, while Embiid should see a massive usage bump with Ben Simmons (back) ruled out and Tobias Harris (knee) potentially sitting . Meanwhile, there's a chance Harden and Westbrook have a difficult time fully paying off their lofty salaries in a game against the Knicks that certainly carries blowout risk.
With some big names on the injury report Monday, we're going to see some corresponding chalk on the 76ers (Josh Richardson, Al Horford, Joel Embiid), the Heat (Bam Adebayo, Kendrick Nunn, Goran Dragic, Jae Crowder), the Timberwolves (D'Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley, Naz Reid) and the Clippers (Kawhi Leonard, Lou Williams, Marcus Morris). The usual star players not mentioned in that list will also draw plenty of ownership, especially members of the Bucks in their matchup against the sieve-like Wizards.
As customary, I've also put together a specific list of sub-$6K value plays that should find themselves in plenty of lineups – some due to injury situations on their respective teams – and have included those below the next section.
Likely Underowned Values
RJ Barrett, NYK at HOU ($4,600)
For all his draft pedigree, Barrett has driven DFS players batty this season due to inconsistency. The rookie's inefficiency (38.9 percent shooting) has played a big part in his struggles, and he checks into Monday's game having posted a pair of single-digit scoring tallies over his last five games, along with no more than 21.8 FanDuel points in any of those contests.
Given the fact there's 16 teams in action Monday, his ownership should be depressed, but Barrett's game environment could coax one of his better performances out of him. The Rockets will bring a significant bump in pace for New York, and Houston is also allowing the fourth-highest offensive efficiency rating (23.6) and sixth-most FanDuel points per game (50.4) to shooting guards on the season. The Knicks could also be down multiple point guards (Elfrid Payton, Frank Ntilikina) on Monday, furthering Barrett's case.
Alec Burks, PHI vs. ATL ($4,000)
Burks has taken a tumble in terms of DFS cache since his stint with Golden State earlier this season, a stretch during which he was a highly rewarding value play almost every time he took the floor. He's still acclimating to a bench role in Philly, but the veteran has shown some signs of life over the last two games.
Burks has scored 25.3 and 19.3 FanDuel points over his last two games, respectively, while seeing over 20 minutes in each. His increased playing time against a vulnerable Hawks squad should be locked in again Monday, considering Ben Simmons (back) will miss the contest. Atlanta also allows the highest offensive efficiency rating (48.4) to opposing second units, along with the fifth-highest three-point shooting percentage overall (38.0 percent) on the road. Moreover, the Hawks also rank in the bottom 10 in offensive efficiency rating allowed to backcourts (49.3), making Burks a potential fantasy-point-per-dollar steal at modest ownership Monday.
Jarrett Culver, MIN at DAL ($3,800)
Culver has been inconsistent in recent games, and with such a large slate, he's likely to be a bit of a forgotten man all the way down at just $300 away from minimum. The rookie has scored over 20 FanDuel points only twice over the last 13 games, a stretch during which he's shot just 35.2 percent. However, both of those 20-plus fantasy-point tallies have come within the last four games, hinting at a potential resurgence for Culver.
Despite his struggles, his minutes have remained in the low-20s on the majority of nights, and there's a chance for increased usage overall across the T-Wolves roster in Karl-Anthony Towns' (wrist) ongoing absence. There's also the fact that Culver accumulated 37.6 FanDuel points versus the Mavericks the one previous time he faced them this season (Dec. 4).
Higher-owned values to consider: Montrezl Harrell, LAC ($5,800); Mike Conley, UTA ($5,700); Markelle Fultz, ORL ($5,700); Malik Beasley, MIN ($5,600); Goran Dragic, MIA ($5,500); Davis Bertans, WAS ($5,400); Jordan Clarkson, UTA ($5,300); Mikal Bridges, PHO ($5,300); Brandon Clarke, MEM ($5,200); DeAndre Jordan, BKN ($5,100); Jarrett Allen, BKN ($5,100): Josh Richardson, PHI ($5,100); Seth Curry, DAL ($5,000); Naz Reid ($5,000); Al Horford, PHI ($4,900); Jae Crowder, MIA ($4,800); Kendrick Nunn, MIA ($4,700)