This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
The NBA tees up an eight-game slate Monday that features a heavily COVID-impacted team in the 76ers that nevertheless expects to get Joel Embiid back from injury, and a Wizards squad that will play a second straight contest without Russell Westbrook (quadriceps). Giannis Antetokounmpo is also on the slate and expected to suit up despite some back spasms that are apparently subsiding, while Luka Doncic is at full health and set to take on the Pelicans in what should be an entertaining affair between New Orleans and the Mavericks that could also feature a likely limited appearance from Kristaps Porzingis, who's yet to play this season following knee surgery.
The outlook is pretty solid in terms of offensive expectations as well. As of Monday morning on DK Sportsbook, five of the eight contests had projected totals of 224 points or higher.
Here's a further look at the three games with the highest projected totals on Monday's slate:
Toronto Raptors at Portland Trail Blazers (Projected total: 230.0 points)
Both teams rank in the bottom half of the league in points allowed per game, with the visiting Raptors surrendering 112.6 per contest and the Trail Blazers checking in with 115.9 per game allowed. Portland will also push the pace on Toronto, as they're currently averaging the fifth-most possessions per game (106.9). It's also worth noting the Raps have been more vulnerable from distance lately, as the 40.8 percent success rate they've allowed from behind the arc in the last three games is the third-highest figure in the league over that span. With names like Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet taking the floor, this is a game that could well live up to the projected total.
Phoenix Suns at Washington Wizards (Projected total: 230.0 points)
The Wizards perpetually find themselves in the role of being part of one of the games with the highest projected totals of any given slate. Washington continues to give up the most points per game in the league (122.7) and play at the fastest pace (109.8 possessions per game). The Wizards also allow the highest three-point shooting percentage in the league (39.6), and while the Suns' excellent defense (Western Conference-low 104.6 points per game allowed) and Russell Westbrook's absence could certainly help overall scoring remain down somewhat, there will be plenty of strong offensive players on either side to potentially allow this game to live up to expectations.
Indiana Pacers at Sacramento Kings (Projected total: 227.5 points)
The Kings have been almost as vulnerable as the Wizards in terms of defense, surrendering the third-most points (121.0) per game, including 131.0 over the last three. Sacramento is also ranked in the top 10 in pace (105.6 possessions per game) and three-point shooting percentage (38.3) allowed, setting the Pacers up for what could be a fruitful offensive night for multiple players. On the other side, it's also worth noting Indiana has allowed 116.0 points per contest over the last three games, a significant bump up from their 109.9 seasonal figure. Each squad comes in with decent health in terms of its main players, so this total could easily be reached or exceeded if shooting is on point for each side.
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, 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.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL (back)/ Status: PROBABLE
Antetokounmpo looks set to return after a one-game absence, and he should be able to operate without limitations after resting the last two days.
Russell Westbrook (quadriceps)/ Status: OUT
Westbrook will miss a second straight game, meaning the returning Bradley Beal should be primed for massive usage.
Joel Embiid (back)/ Status: PROBABLE
Coach Doc Rivers held Embiid out Saturday due to back tightness in a game the Sixers were going to play without multiple players due to COVID-19 protocols, but the big man is projected to come back Monday and should be in line for even more usage than usual with Ben Simmons (knee) and Tobias Harris (COVID-19 protocol) still out.
Trae Young, ATL (wrist)/ Status: PROBABLE
Young will apparently play through the right wrist soreness that seems to have been partly responsible for his 7-for-28 tally from the field over his last two games.
Ben Simmons, PHI (knee)/ Status: OUT
Kristaps Porzingis, DAL (knee)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Porzingis apparently has a chance to make his season debut Monday, although his minutes would likely be significantly limited if he did.
Tobias Harris, PHI (COVID-19 protocol)/ Status: OUT
Collin Sexton, CLE (ankle)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Sexton apparently has a chance to return from a two-game absence, but if he doesn't, Damyean Dotson should continue to be a beneficiary.
Steven Adams, NOP (migraine)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
If Adams sits out, Jaxson Hayes would be in line for a start at center.
Buddy Hield, SAC (ankle)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
An absence on Hield's part would likely lead to more minutes for rookie Tyrese Haliburton.
Darius Garland, CLE (shoulder)/ Status: OUT
Garland's continued absence Monday will afford Damyean Dotson additional run.
Reggie Bullock, NYK (hip)/ Status: OUT
Richaun Holmes, SAC (ankle)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
If Holmes sits out, Hassan Whiteside will see extra run.
Josh Richardson, DAL (COVID-19 protocol)/ Status: OUT
Evan Fournier, ORL (back)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
NOTABLE LONG-TERM INJURIES: Kemba Walker, BOS (knee); Kevin Love, CLE (calf); Ja Morant, MEM (ankle); Jaren Jackson, MEM (knee); Danilo Gallinari, ATL (ankle); Alec Burks, NYK (ankle); Nicholas Claxton, BKN (knee); Cody Zeller, CHA (hand); Patrick McCaw, TOR (knee)
There are only three players with five-figure salaries despite there being eight games on the slate, with Luka Doncic ($11,300) up top and Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,000) and Russell Westbrook ($10,200) below him. However, of the trio, Doncic is the only one free of an injury designation. Antetokokunmpo is considered probable with his back spasms, but Westbrook has been ruled out for a second straight game with his quad injury. Doncic's matchup Monday is an interesting one, as he figures to have to deal with Lonzo Ball's defense.
There's also the potential for elite production from a number of players with slightly lower salaries, such as Bradley Beal ($9,900), Joel Embiid ($9,800), Damian Lillard ($9,700), Julius Randle ($9,600), Trae Young ($9,400) and Domantas Sabonis ($9,300). Of that group, Embiid could be headed for massive usage with Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris still out, while Randle, despite playing on the second game of a back-to-back set, has an excellent matchup against the Hornets' vulnerable frontcourt defense. Meanwhile, Young is still dealing with a wrist injury that seems to clearly be affecting his shooting in recent games, but he will face a depleted Philadelphia squad.
All of the names mentioned in Elite Players section are naturally going to be very popular on Monday's main slate, although the fact there will be 16 teams in action certainly should divvy up the popularity of some of the biggest stars. Injuries/absences will particularly play a role in the rostering rate of some players; however, Simmons' absence, along with that of Harris, projects to make Embiid especially popular. Tyrese Maxey, who excelled without many of his teammates in the Sixers' most recent game and still carries a sub-$5K salary, should also see plenty of clicks on his name. Ditto for Beal, who'll suit up without Westbrook next to him in the backcourt Monday.
Myles Turner, IND at SAC ($6,200)
Turner is averaging an impressive 32.6 DK points per game and is coming off a season-high 42.5 DK points against the Suns on Saturday. The big man has been about as steady as they come for a mid-salary center, posting no fewer than 24.5 DK points in any contest thus far, generating a 49.4 percent success rate from the field that's his best figure since the 2016-17 season, and averaging an eye-popping 4.1 blocks per contest through nine games. The matchup lines up perfectly for him Monday, considering the Kings are allowing the second-highest offensive efficiency (36.3) to centers and rank in the bottom 10 in points (23.3), rebounds (16.4) and blocks (2.4) allowed to the position, while yielding an NBA-high 6.3 assists per contests to fives as well.
Mikal Bridges, PHO at WAS ($6,100)
Bridges has taken full advantage of the starting small forward role he was afforded after Kelly Oubre departed this offseason, posting career highs in points (15.2), rebounds (5.4), blocks (1.3) and three-point percentage (46.7) over his first 10 games. The third-year wing hasn't been below 21.0 DK points in any contest thus far and just posted a season-high 45.8 against the Pacers on Saturday. Monday, he draws a matchup against a Wizards team that's allowing the most points per game (122.7) and continues to play at the fastest pace in the NBA. Additionally, small forwards have found plenty of success from the field against Washington, with threes boasting a 50.0 percent success rate from the floor, including 47.9 percent from behind the arc. Meanwhile, Bridges' efficiency has been off the charts, as he's draining 49.0 percent of his attempts overall, including an excellent 46.7 percent of his shots from distance.
Tyrese Maxey, PHI at ATL ($4,700)
As noted earlier, there's little question Maxey will be popular Monday with the 76ers still missing plenty of players. Even with Embiid back in the lineup, Maxey should still enjoy solid usage after posting 60.4 DK points against the Nuggets on Saturday afternoon on the strength of a 39-point, seven-rebound, six-assists performance. The 33 shot attempts Maxey took in that contest are clearly an outlier, but the rookie could well put up between 15 and 20 shots Monday while also facilitating plenty to Embiid against a Hawks team that's ranked in the bottom half of the league in assists (9.1) allowed to PGs.