This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
We're set for another abbreviated Tuesday night slate, as four games are on tap. Big-name injuries and a suspension could play a pivotal part in how things unfold, and for the time being, oddsmakers are projecting defense to take center stage to varying degree in all four games, which could make it a lower-scoring DFS night overall.
Miami Heat (-10) at Detroit Pistons (O/U: 208.5 points)
Los Angeles Lakers at New York Knicks (-4.5) (O/U: 213.5 points)
Denver Nuggets at Portland Trail Blazers (-6.5) (O/U: 213.5 points)
Dallas Mavericks at Los Angeles Clippers (-5.5) (O/U: 209.0 points)
The fact that three games have what could be considered relatively narrow spreads is a plus Tuesday despite the projected lower scoring. The availability, or lack thereof, of Luka Doncic and Nikola Jokic will help steer the course of their team's respective games, and if both are able to take the floor, those contests would project to be much more appealing from the DFS perspective.
LeBron James will also serve his one-game suspension stemming from his ejection Sunday night against the Pistons, but given the Lakers have played plenty without the future Hall of Famer this season due to injuries, the impact/domino effect of his absence is more or less a known quantity at this point.
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.
Nikola Jokic, DEN (wrist)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
If Jokic were to sit out a third straight game Tuesday, the duo of JaMychal Green and Jeff Green would be tasked with handling center duties, while the remaining members of the starting five would see elevated usage.
Luka Doncic, DAL (ankle/knee)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
If Doncic were to sit out a fourth straight game Tuesday, Jalen Brunson would continue in the starting point guard role, while both Tim Hardaway and Kristaps Porzingis would be due for elevated usage.
Anthony Davis, LAL (thigh)/ Status: PROBABLE
Davis is expected to continue playing through his thigh issue and will see particularly elevated usage with LeBron James (abdomen/suspension) unavailable.
LeBron James, LAL (abdomen/suspension)/ Status: OUT
Other notable injuries:
Duncan Robinson, MIA (knee)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Michael Porter, DEN (back)/ Status: OUT
Derrick Rose, NYK (ankle)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Killian Hayes, DET (thumb)/ Status: OUT
Kelly Olynyk, DET (knee)/ Status: OUT
Isaiah Stewart, DET (suspension)/ Status: OUT
Mitchell Robinson, NYK (concussion)/ Status: OUT
Marcus Morris, LAC (knee)/ Status: PROBABLE
Nicolas Batum, LAC (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: OUT
Bones Hyland, DEN (ankle)/ Status: OUT
Maxi Kleber, DAL (oblique)/ Status: PROBABLE
Taj Gibson, NYK (groin)/ Status: DOUBTFUL
We have four players with five-figure salaries that have a chance to be available for Tuesday's slate: Nikola Jokic ($11,300), Luka Doncic ($10,700), Anthony Davis ($10,500) and Jimmy Butler ($10,100).
As alluded to earlier, Jokic's status will bear monitoring. If he does suit up and fills his usual role, he'll face old Nuggets teammate Jusuf Nurkic down low, a matchup that Jokic averaged 33.0 points, 10.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game in during last summer's Western Conference quarterfinal round. He also went for 28 points, nine boards and nine assists against Nurkic earlier this season.
Doncic is the other major star sporting a questionable tag. Considering he's dealing with two different lower-body injuries, he could lack some explosiveness if he does play.
Davis' thigh injury is one he's already demonstrated an ability to successfully play through, and he should enjoy elevated usage with James out in a frontcourt matchup AD should be able to thrive in.
Butler is averaging 45.3 FD points per contest and has scored over 50 FD points in two of his first three games back from an ankle injury. However, his game does carry the largest spread of the night, which could result in fewer minutes than usual for Butler if it becomes a blowout.
In addition to the players just mentioned in the prior section, other likely chalk plays include:
Russell Westbrook, LAL ($9,900)
Westbrook's production continues to be somewhat inconsistent, but his tally of 54.8 FD points against the Pistons on Sunday, the small slate and the fact James will be out should all keep the star point guard very popular.
Paul George, LAC ($9,200)
George continues to be the linchpin of the Clippers' attack and will be very chalky on any slate this season, particularly as long as Kawhi Leonard (knee) is sidelined.
Damian Lillard, POR ($8,800)
Lillard is starting to pick up his efficiency (45.2 percent shooting, including 38.2 percent from distance, over the last seven games) and is coming off a season-best 39-point effort, so he should be on plenty of rosters Tuesday.
Kristaps Porzingis, DAL ($8,800)
Porzingis has scored 43.6 FD points or more in five straight games and could be taking the floor without Doncic again, factors which should keep the big man very popular.
Julius Randle, NYK ($8,500)
Randle has slowed down his production a notch or two since a hot start to the season, but he's coming off a 45.5 FD-point tally Sunday against the Bulls and is facing his old Lakers squad, one that he's averaged 24.1 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.8 assists in eight career games against.
Talen Horton-Tucker, LAL at NYK ($6,000)
Horton-Tucker's salary would ideally be about $500 less, but he could still deliver a very nice return on his current figure if he exhibits the same level of aggressiveness offensively as in his first three starts in James' stead. Horton-Tucker averaged 39.1 FD points across 34.3 minutes in that trio of contests, shooting 49.0 percent, including 40.0 percent from distance, on 17 shot attempts per contest. The third-year wing's positional matchup isn't prohibitive either, as the Knicks rank just inside the bottom 10 in the league in offensive efficiency allowed to small forwards (22.3 percent) and are allowing the third-most FD points per game to the position as well (42.4).
Ivica Zubac, LAC vs. DAL ($5,500)
Zubac has been on a nice run of late, posting 26.4 to 29.2 FD points in his last four games while notching double-digit rebounds in three of those contests. His most recent success came against this same Mavs squad Sunday afternoon, when Zubac put up 27 FD points across 27 minutes on the strength of a 16-point, 10-rebound double-double. Centers have given Dallas trouble most of the season, as the Mavs are allowing NBA-high 37.1 percent offensive efficiency to centers, along with the second-most FD points per game to the position (60.1). Dallas is also allowing the eighth-most points in the paint per game (46.9), while just under 75.0 percent of Zubac's scoring emanates from that part of the floor.
ALSO CONSIDER: Carmelo Anthony, LAL at NYK ($5,400)