This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
FanDuel presents a five-game main slate Tuesday, as the Heat-76ers contest tipping off at 7:00pm Eastern, one that will feature two very COVID-depleted squads, isn't included. That naturally puts us in even more of a crunch trying to differentiate tournament rosters, but five games still makes it feasible to build unique squads. There's also still some decent star power, considering the likes of Nikola Jokic, Kevin Durant, James Harden, LeBron James and Stephen Curry are among those in action.
All but the Jazz-Cavaliers tilt, which carries a 10.5-point spread in favor of Utah on FanDuel Sportsbook as of Tuesday morning, are projected to be competitive games, while three of the slate's five games – highlighted further below – have projected totals north of 220 points.
Here's a further look at the three games with the highest projected totals on Tuesday's slate:
Denver Nuggets at Brooklyn Nets (Projected total: 231.0 points)
Despite projected to once again be without Kyrie Irving (personal) on Tuesday, the Nets are still expected to do plenty to contribute to this total, as they're averaging the third-most points per game (118.5). The Nuggets are right behind them at 116.5 per contest, while Brooklyn also speeds up the pace significantly for Denver. Coach Steve Nash's squad is averaging the third-most possessions per game (108.2), a big bump up from Denver's 103.3 per contest. Finally, consider both the Nets (113.0 points) and the Nuggets (112.8 points) are also ranked in the bottom 10 in points per game allowed, further supporting the notion of a high-scoring contest.
Indiana Pacers at Golden State Warriors (Projected total: 226.5 points)
The Warriors are ahead of the Nets in pace, averaging a Western Conference-high 108.5 per contest to check in at No. 2 in the league. The Pacers also rank in the top half of the league with 104.6 per game. Golden State ranks No. 26 out of 30 teams with 116.6 points allowed per contest, while Indiana is No. 18 with 111.6 points yielded per game. The overall scoring upside here will take a hit if Victor Oladipo sits out the second game of the back-to-back set for the Pacers, but there would still be plenty of high-upside offensive players for each side to live up to this total.
Los Angeles Lakers at Houston Rockets (Projected total: 222.0 points)
Both LeBron James and Anthony Davis are carrying their usual injury designations, but each is likely to play. Assuming they suit up, this is a contest that could well live up to what isn't an inordinately high total. Houston is allowing a robust 112.8 points per contest (122.0 per home game), while Los Angeles is averaging the eighth-most points per game (114.5). The Rockets also rank No. 11 in pace with 105.1 possessions per game, and the Sunday night matchup between these two teams finished with a total of exactly 222.0 points, a 120-102 win for the Lakers. However, if John Wall (migraine) and Eric Gordon (lower leg) both sit out for the Rockets, there could be a scoring vacuum.
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.
LeBron James, LAL (ankle)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
This designation has become customary for James, who hasn't missed a game yet and is expected to play Tuesday.
Anthony Davis, LAL (hip)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Much like James, Davis is expected to play through his designation after doing so against Houston on Sunday and scoring 27 points over 29 minutes.
Kyrie Irving, BKN (personal)/ Status: OUT
Irving is expected to remain out due to undisclosed personal reasons, meaning Kevin Durant should once again have an expanded role and the remaining members of the Nets' starting five should also see elevated usage.
DeMar DeRozan, SAN (personal)/ Status: OUT
DeRozan is expected to miss a second consecutive game due to personal reasons, which should afford Trey Lyles another start and also boost the usage of the likes of Dejounte Murray and LaMarcus Aldridge.
John Wall, HOU (migraine)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Wall is likely headed for a game-time decision after missing practice Monday. James Harden could potentially switch over to point guard if Wall misses, while Ben McLemore possibly sliding into the starting shooting guard role for Harden.
Victor Oladipo, IND (rest)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
If Oladipo sits out the second game of the back-to-back set for the Pacers, Justin Holiday could draw the start at small forward.
Collin Sexton, CLE (ankle)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Sexton has a chance to return from a three-game absence, but if he doesn't, Damyean Dotson should continue to be a beneficiary.
Michael Porter, DEN (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: OUT
Porter's ongoing absence will continue to afford Will Barton a starting small forward role.
Darius Garland, CLE (shoulder)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Garland will likely be a game-time decision to return from what is now five-game absence.
Joe Ingles, UTA (Achilles)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
If Ingles can't go Tuesday, Royce O'Neale could be in line for some extra minutes.
Eric Gordon, HOU (lower leg)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
If Gordon misses Tuesday's game, David Nwaba is likely in for a start at small forward.
Other injuries of note
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (ankle)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Derrick Favors, UTA (knee)/ Status: PROBABLE
Danuel House, HOU (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: OUT
NOTABLE LONG-TERM INJURIES: Kevin Love, CLE (calf); Derrick White, SAN (toe); T.J. Warren, IND (foot); Trevor Ariza, OKC (personal); Nicolas Claxton, BKN (knee); Kevin Porter, CLE (personal); Ty Jerome, OKC (ankle)
There are three players with five-figure salaries on the small slate, with Nikola Jokic ($11,400) up top and James Harden ($10,400) and Kevin Durant ($10,100) below him. All three are free of injury designations, and with Kyrie Irving still expected to remain out for Brooklyn on Tuesday, Durant should be especially busy once again after scoring 54.1 FD points in his return from his COVID-19 sabbatical Sunday, while Harden could be even more valuable than usual if John Wall sits out due to migraines and Harden slides over to point guard.
There's also plenty of potential for elite production from players with four-figure salaries such as LeBron James ($9,900), Anthony Davis ($9,800), Andre Drummond ($9,800), Stephen Curry ($9,600) and Domantas Sabonis ($9,200). James and Davis are carrying their usual injury designations but should both play, while Drummond and Sabonis are both on the second game of back-to-back sets.
With just 10 teams in action, there's inevitably going to be some congregating on the biggest stars. The fact that three players – Jokic, Durant and Harden – arguably stand above all others in terms of upside further narrows the pool of players with the likely highest roster rates. Curry, LeBron and AD should naturally also see plenty of clicks on their names.
Montrezl Harrell, LAL at HOU ($5,800)
Harrell is averaging 25.64 FD points per game, but he's outperformed that number in each of his last two games. Harrell has posted 34.8 and 29.6 FD points in those contests, the latter figure coming against the same Rockets squad he'll face Tuesday. The big man has been over 30 FD points in four of 11 games thus far, and Houston comes into the matchup ranked just outside the bottom 10 in offensive efficiency allowed to centers (32.6) as well as in the paint (57.0), where nearly 75.0 percent of Harrell's scoring occurs.
Al Horford, OKC vs. SA ($5,500)
It took a few games, but Horford appears to be hitting his stride in OKC's system. The floor-stretching veteran is now averaging 25.73 FD points per contest after scoring 25.6 to 37.7 FD points in his last three games, as well as 28.7 and 28.4 in two other contests over the last six. Horford has encouragingly upped his shot attempts over those of the prior game in three straight contests as well, topping out at a season-high 17 on Sunday against the Nets. The big man has even taken seven three-point attempts in three consecutive games, and Tuesday, he faces a Spurs squad that's allowing 55.9 percent shooting to centers, including a robust 50.0 percent from three-point range specifically.
Justin Holiday, IND at GSW ($4,500)
Holiday is boasting career-best efficiency so far this season, with his 52.0 percent overall field-goal percentage and 42.9 percent success rate from behind the arc both comfortably serving as new high-water marks for the veteran. Holiday is also offering his usual serviceable contributions in rebounds, assists and steals, and he now faces a Warriors team that's allowing 41.3 percent three-point shooting to bench players, as well as the eighth-highest offensive efficiency rating (45.8) to second units. What's more, Golden State plays at the second-fastest pace in the league (108.5 possessions per game), and with Victor Oladipo potentially sitting out the second game of the back-to-back set for the Pacers, Holiday could even be in for a spot start.