FanDuel NBA: Sunday Value Plays

FanDuel NBA: Sunday Value Plays

This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.

We have a solid seven-game slate on tap Sunday night, one that has plenty of playoff contenders in action. The injury report doesn't shape up as too much of an obstacle in terms of potential big-name absences, with five of the seven games projecting spreads of seven points or fewer as of early Sunday morning.

Slate Overview

Here's a closer look at the three games with projected totals on FanDuel Sportsbook: 

Portland Trail Blazers at Boston Celtics (Projected total: 231.5 points) 

The Trail Blazers have been particularly generous on the road surrendering 114.9 points per game when traveling, while the Celtics have allowed a modest 109.4 per home game but 123.3 per game overall in their last three. Kemba Walker will very likely miss for Boston, which does lower their offensive expectations a bit. However, key scorers on both sides are otherwise healthy, and each side carries impressive offensive team numbers in the road/home splits that apply (Portland-116.2 PPG on road/Boston-113.4 PPG at home). 

Sacramento Kings at Dallas Mavericks (Projected total: 228.0 points)

The Kings project to remain without De'Aaron Fox due to health and safety protocols, but they have managed to score 113 points in two of the first four matchups he's missed. Sacramento has also 117.4 points per road game while the Mavs are yielding 111.6 per home contest. Dallas is coming off a grueling Saturday night battle against the Wizards and will once again be missing Kristaps Porzingis (knee), but they should have plenty of motivation after getting beaten by the Kings in each of the first two meetings in games that finished with totals of 228 and 219 points.  

Phoenix Suns at Oklahoma City Thunder (Projected total: 223.0 points) 

The first caveat from a DFS perspective regarding this game before even getting to the total is that the Suns are the largest favorite of the night with a 15-to-15.5-point projected advantage as of early Sunday at multiple sportsbooks. Therefore, a bulk of the scoring could come on Phoenix's side. And if the game unfolds as oddsmakers envision, a lot of those points could be piled up by bench players in garbage time. OKC is coming off their largest home loss in NBA history by the Pacers on Saturday night, so what the Thunder's mindset will be here is anyone's guess. The Suns dealt the Thunder a 140-103 loss the last time these two teams played, so a similar drubbing could be in the works. 

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 

If James is sat for injury management purposes, the remainder of the first unit - particularly Anthony Davis - will enjoy elevated usage. 

Dejounte Murray, SA (knee)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

If Murray were to sit out, Lonnie Walker, Tre Jones and Patty Mills could all benefit while DeMar DeRozan's usage would particularly see a boost.

Kristaps Porzingis, DAL (knee)/ Status: OUT 

With Porzingis out, Maxi Kleber and Willie Cauley-Stein could be a primary beneficiaries while the usage of the remainder of the starting five - including Luka Doncic - will bump up.

Kemba Walker, BOS (oblique)/ Status: DOUBTFUL 

In Walker's likely absence, Marcus Smart is likely to draw another start at point guard while Payton Pritchard should enjoy extra minutes off the bench. 

Harrison Barnes, SAC (groin)/ Status: DOUBTFUL 

With Barnes likely out for a third straight game, Marvin Bagley could draw a start at power forward.

Other notable injuries: 

Anthony Davis, LAL (calf)/ Status: PROBABLE 

Dennis Schroder, LAL (calf)/ Status: PROBABLE 

Kyle Kuzma, LAL (thumb)/ Status: PROBABLE 

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, LAL (ankle)/ Status: PROBABLE 

De'Aaron Fox, SAC (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: OUT 

Derrick White, SA (ankle)/ Status: OUT 

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, OKC (foot)/ Status: OUT 

Devonte' Graham, CHA (knee)/ Status: GTD 

Gary Trent, TOR (lower leg)/ Status: DOUBTFUL 

Victor Oladipo, MIA (knee)/ Status: OUT 

Tyler Herro, MIA (foot)/ Status: OUT 

Gordon Hayward, CHA (foot)/ Status: OUT 

Chris Boucher, TOR (knee)/Status: OUT 

Luguentz Dort, OKC (hip)/ Status: GTD 

Elite Players

We have just two players with five-figure salaries on Sunday's slate: Luka Doncic ($10,900) and Jayson Tatum ($10,100)

Doncic is coming off a spectacular 31-point, 20-assist, 12-rebound triple-double versus the Wizards on Saturday, a game where he logged 39 minutes. He'll once again take the floor without Kristaps Porzingis and faces a depleted Kings team, so while he'll likely have a hard time producing a comparable encore, he could still very well deliver a strong return. Meanwhile, Tatum is coming off a spectacular performance with a career-high 60 points against the Spurs in a miraculous comeback OT win for Boston. The Trail Blazers are defensively deficient for the most part as detailed earlier, and Tatum did put up 53.3 FD points against them over 38 minutes the first time these teams met this season. 

Healthy players with salaries in the high four-figures capable of also delivering elite scores include Jimmy Butler ($9,800), LeBron James ($9,800), Joel Embiid ($9,800), Julius Randle ($9,700) and Anthony Davis ($9,600)

Butler had a down effort by his standards Saturday in a relatively easy win over the Cavs, but he draws an excellent positional matchup against a Hornets team that was just smoked by rookie wing Saddiq Bey on Saturday. James' and Davis' fates are intertwined Saturday, as the latter will benefit considerably if the former is sat for injury management. Embiid faces a solid matchup against the Spurs and is well rested after playing under 30 minutes for four straight games. Finally, Randle should be refreshed after the Knicks last played Wednesday and has a premium matchup against a Rockets team that's given up the most rebounds per game in the league.

Expected Chalk

In addition to the players just mentioned in the prior section, other likely chalk plays include:

DeMar DeRozan, SA ($8,800) 

DeRozan should be popular based on his abilities, but even more so if Murray sits.

Jaylen Brown, BOS ($8,800) 

While Brown will likely be outrostered by Tatum, he should still be in plenty of lineups with Walker likely out.

Damian Lillard, POR ($8,500) 

Lillard is part of the game with the highest-projected total and bounced back in a big way against the Nets last time out. 

Marcus Smart, BOS ($6,700) 

Smart should once again be popular with Walker out - the previous time producing 38.8 FD points - and another likely start at point guard.

Key Values 

Marcus Smart, BOS vs. POR ($6,700)

I just got a head start on making a case for Smart in the previous section, but there's more to add about the versatile veteran's appeal for Sunday's contest. The ball-handling opportunities the expected start at point guard should afford him is definitely one, as is the fact he checks in having averaged 32.6 FD points over 14 games in April. Additionally, Smart is averaging 33.4 FD points per 36 minutes with Kemba Walker off the floor while the Blazers – against which Smart totaled 35.3 FD points over 37 minutes on April 13 – are allowing the highest offensive efficiency rating to PGs on the season (31.1 percent), along with 54.0 FD points per contest to ones over the last 10.  

Dorian Finney-Smith, DAL vs. SAC ($5,600)

The Mavericks' wing aptly carries the acronym "DFS" and has been quite the asset from the fantasy perspective of late by averaging 28.3 FD points over the last 15 contests while posting 13.5 points (on 52.8 percent shooting, including 47.9 percent from three-point range), 6.3 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.1 steals over 34.5 minutes per contest. Finney-Smith is putting up a relatively modest 9.5 shot attempts per game during that span, but the efficiency that his shooting percentages reveal has consistently helped him to strong returns. He's also averaging 26.6 FD points per 36 without Porzingis on the floor this season and has averaged 31.4 FD points in his two prior meetings with the Kings. Finally, consider Sacramento is likely to be missing Harrison Barnes on the wing again Sunday and has allowed elevated 47.4 percent shooting for the season to small forwards, along with the fifth-most FD points per game to the position in the last 10 (51.6).

Nerlens Noel, NY at HOU ($5,100)

Noel had a clunker two games ago, but he's otherwise been excellent from a fantasy standpoint of late. The big man is coming off 49.1 FD points against the Bulls on Wednesday, a performance that saw him record five blocks and four steals. Noel also averaged 31.3 FD points over the eight games prior to his aforementioned lackluster effort (14.1 FD points) versus the Suns, and he'll face a Rockets team that's allowed the most rebounds per game (56.4), along with the seventh-most FD points per game to centers in the last 10 (42.8). Zooming out to a season-long view, it's also notable Houston has yielded the seventh-most blocks per game to centers (1.7), particularly relevant when considering Noel.

Other value plays to consider: LaMelo Ball, CHA vs. MIA ($6,100); Robert Williams, BOS vs. POR ($5,400); Aaron Nesmith, BOS vs. POR ($5,000); Trevor Ariza, MIA at CHA ($4,800); Alec Burks, NY at HOU ($4,100); Dario Saric, PHO at OKC ($3,500)

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Juan Carlos Blanco plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: jcblanco22, FanDuel: jc_blanco22, DraftPot: jc_blanco22, FantasyDraft: jc_blanco22, OwnThePlay: jcblanco22.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Juan Carlos Blanco
Winner of the FSWA 2016 Newcomer of the Year Award, Juan Carlos Blanco has been playing fantasy sports for over 20 years and covers NBA, MLB, NFL, CFL and Arena Football for Rotowire.com, including serving as the beat writer for teams in multiple sports. He has previously written for KFFL.com and remains an avid season-long and daily fantasy player in multiple sports as well.
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