This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
As injuries and COVID-19 absences spread around the NBA, it's almost a requirement for managers to be around for game lock. Yesterday was another excellent example of what can go wrong in this climate, as one game was canceled and several other players suffered late scratches due to injury. Our Monday slate tips off at 7:00 p.m. EST with eight games, and there's already a lot of designations announced. We'll try to be as thorough as possible here, but you must keep your ear to the ground for any new developments throughout the day.
NYK @ CHA (-4.5) O/U: 210.5
PHO @ WAS (+5.5) O/U: TBA
MIL @ ORL (+7.5) O/U: TBA
MEM @ CLE (-1) O//U: 215.5
PHI @ ATL (-6.5) O/U: TBA
NOR @ DAL (-4.5) O/U: 214.5
IND @ SAC (+4.5) O/U: 227
TOR @ POR (-4.5) O/U: 231
BACK-TO-BACK GAMES: Knicks, Raptors
Ben Simmons (knee) - OUT
Seth Curry (COVID-19) - OUT
Tobias Harris (COVID-19) - OUT
Shake Milton (COVID-19) - OUT
Furkan Korkmaz (adductor) - OUT
Matisse Thybulle (COVID-19) - OUT
Joel Embiid (back) - PROBABLE
Simmons didn't travel with the team, so he is going to miss another game. The possibility of more COVID-19 designations could crop up throughout the day, but if it runs as is, a lot of value should come from these absences. Right now, it looks like the Sixers will have nine players, and it'll only take two more designations to get this game canceled. Tyrese Maxey ($5,200) is the first guy you want here. Due to his breakout 60 FDFP and 31 percent usage game against Denver, he'll be extraordinarily chalky and, under normal circumstances, should be faded due to the popularity, especially for GPPs. His salary point is way too good to pass up however, and he gives you a lot of flexibility. I also anticipate extended run for Danny Green ($5,200), Dakota Mathias ($4,100), Tony Bradley ($4,500) and Isaiah Joe ($3,900).
Russell Westbrook, WAS (quad) - OUT
Bradley Beal ($10.100) should get a boost here, and Raul Neto ($4,200) will start in Westbrook's place. Although Neto only netted 18 DKFP in his last start, he has a pace-up opportunity against the Suns.
Steven Adams, NOR (migraine) - QUESTIONABLE
Adams has played with this issue before, so right now, I'd assume he'll be on the court. If he's out, the play goes to Jaxson Hayes ($3,500), but you may also see a Willy Hernangomez ($3,600) sighting as well.
Thomas Bryant, WAS (knee) - OUT FOR SEASON
Since the injury happened early in the Miami game, this game provides an opportunity to take a closer look at the Wizards' usage at center. Preference seems to have gone to Moritz Wagner ($4,000) over Robin Lopez ($3,500).
Buddy Hield, SAC (ankle) - QUESTIONABLE
Richaun Holmes, SAC (ankle) - QUESTIONABLE
There's no word on Hield's status, but if he doesn't play, things open up for Tyrese Haliburton ($5,400), and a boost for Harrison Barnes ($6,200) is also in order. If Holmes sits, Marvin Bagley ($5,700) will draw the start, and we'll also see a good deal of Hassan Whiteside ($4,200).
Elsewhere, more play is in the offing for Cleveland's Damyean Dotson ($5,200) with Darius Garland out and Collin Sexton questionable. In Atlanta, injuries to Danilo Gallinari and Bogdan Bogdanovic have ramped up production for Cam Reddish ($4,100). Finally, Trey Burke ($4,100) and Tim Hardaway ($5,500) are great options in Dallas with Josh Richardson and Dorian Finney-Smith sidelined.
ELITE PLAYERS ($9,000-plus)
While Luka Doncic ($11,500) against the Pelicans is a chalky and reasonable play, I really like Damian Lillard ($9,600) on Monday. After not hitting projections against the Kings, I think he'll bounce back against the Raptors. Aside from a nasty outlier game in 2018, Lillard's historical totals against Toronto have been very stable, and since there are no significant changes to either backcourt, I expect concrete production from him. Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,200) is also up there, but he has a back issue and a soft spot against Orlando. I'd keep our exposure down to a few contrarian lineups for Giannis today. We're forced to adopt a wait-and-see attitude about all things Philly, but Joel Embiid ($9,700) will carry a considerable load if his back allows him to play. Domantas Sabonis ($9,000) has been an absolute beast of late, and I like his game against the Kings. I'd prefer it if Richaun Holmes was able to play, as Hassan Whiteside and Marvin Bagley might give Sabonis a stiffer defensive test, but I think he's a fair play regardless. Finally, although he's now just under the cutoff at $8,800, that salary is just too good to fade Trae Young despite a probable designation. His salary dropped after two tepid games against the Hornets, but he'll face a motley crew in Philly if this game goes on as planned.
Malcolm Brogdon, IND ($8,400) @ SAC
Brogdon hasn't dipped below 4.1x value this season, but he may be getting too expensive as his salary continues to balloon. I still think Brogdon could go for 40 FDFP or higher against the Kings. It's a feat he's achieved five times already this season. I also like his teammate Victor Oladipo ($7,000), although Sabonis still leads the way for Indiana in terms of DFS value on tonight's slate.
Devin Booker, PHO ($7,600) @ WAS
Booker finally showed us why season-long managers drafted him early against Indiana two days ago. With so much potential, I anticipate supreme chalkiness here. It's only a matter of time before we see 40 DKFP on a nightly basis from Booker, and the game against the Pacers was a great start. Booker's pivot is another guy who has unrealized value, and that's Jrue Holiday ($7,600). He's now beaten value in two straight games after a string of underwhelming efforts.
LaMelo Ball, CHA ($7,400) vs. NYK
Both Ball brothers are worth a shot tonight, but LaMelo is the prime guy to target. The 19-year-old has quickly found himself in triple-double territory on a nightly basis, and he should have another excellent opportunity in a pace-up game against the Knicks tonight. Devonte' Graham ($5,600) also has decent value in this backcourt.
Chris Boucher, TOR ($7,200) @ POR
He's at a lower price on other sites, but I still like Boucher on a nightly basis right now. Although he has to depend on Nick Nurse's whims, there isn't another player in the NBA who's done as much as Boucher with limited minutes. You'll likely need NBA League Pass to watch him, but he's just plain fun to cheer for because the upside is pure DFS gold, even at this price.
VALUE PLAYS ($6,667 and below)
Philly, all day. If this game tips off, refer to the above injury notes and fill it up.
Deandre Ayton, PHO ($6,700) @ WAS
Thomas Bryant is done for the year, leaving Moritz Wagner and Robin Lopez under center for the Wizards. Ayton hasn't exactly lit up the boards in the new year, but this is as exploitable a matchup as he'll find. I also think Cameron Johnson ($4,300) might be able to take advantage of this situation as well.
Jusuf Nurkic, POR ($6,400) vs. TOR
Nurkic's price is finally rising, thanks to a string of three straight value-beating games. He made managers nervous with an ice-cold start, but he is finally coming around, and he's in a great spot against the Raptors, who rank 24th against opposing centers.
Bobby Portis, MIL ($5,900) @ ORL
I was reserving Portis for blowouts only, but now the guy is starting for the Bucks. He saw 33 minutes against the Cavs and put up 41 FDFP. Giannis may also be struggling with a back issue, so I'll happily take Portis at this salary.
Elfrid Payton, NYK ($5,500) @ CHA
Although the Charlotte backcourt is sharp offensively, their defense needs some work. They're allowing an average of 20.5 points and a whopping 9.1 assists to opposing point guards, which indicates that Payton may benefit those who roster him as a facilitator for guys like Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson.
Be sure to keep an eye on the PHI/ATL status. There may be other late scratches around the slate as well, and it may require you to move quickly. As always, RotoWire will be here to help you out with all last-minute updates!