This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
We have a solid six-game slate Monday night, with three of those games sporting projected totals over 220 points. However, there are some elite players that are either confirmed (Russell Westbrook, rest), likely (James Harden, thigh) or potentially set to sit (Jimmy Butler, ankle). Those injury situations make the ledger a very interesting one to navigate for DFS purposes, as there will be several modestly priced players moving into expanded roles as a result of some of these developments.
As usual, we'll proceed to break down the positional outlook below, along with possible chalk plays and some likely under-owned bargains that could help you round out your lineups with a couple of superstars.
Before delving into the slate, a reminder that FanDuel has reverted to its previous format of NOT dropping the lowest scoring in lineups after a one-year experiment with that feature. Therefore, it will be important to be prudent with each selection, as each player's total will count toward your final score.
Without further ado, let's take a more comprehensive look at Monday's slate!
Here's a closer look at the three games on Monday's slate with the highest projected total:
Dallas Mavericks at Oklahoma City Thunder (Projected total: 226.5 points)
The Mavericks continue to rank as one of the most prolific road teams in the NBA (118.7 PPG), while the Thunder score 114.5 points per home contest. That pair of figures raise expectations in a game that will also see both teams having all of their key pieces at full health.
Sacramento Kings at Minnesota Timberwolves (Projected total: 226.0 points)
The Timberwolves are allowing a robust 113.2 points per home contest, while the Kings are yielding 109.9 points per road tilt. Minnesota (107.5 possessions per game, third most in NBA) will also bring an appreciable bump in pace for Sacramento, and the T-Wolves also sport the sixth-worst defensive efficiency rating (1.131) over the last three games.
Houston Rockets at Utah Jazz (Projected total: 221.0 points)
The total has already come down a couple of points throughout the course of the morning with the news that both Russell Westbrook (rest) and James Harden (thigh) are projected to miss the contest for the Rockets. Houston does have some very capable fill-ins in the likes of Austin Rivers and Eric Gordon, while some of the team's other role players (Danuel House, Ben McLemore) are capable of helping Clint Capela hold down the fort. The Jazz are always a stingy defense at home, however, so it remains to be seen if this contest can live up to the oddsmakers' expectations.
Point guard suffers from the absences of Russell Westbrook (rest) and Chris Paul (personal), but luckily for those who want to pay up, the load management day comes on a night when Luka Doncic is also around. The rest of the position is mostly in good health until the low $5K range, where both Kendrick Nunn (Achilles) and Goran Dragic (calf) have questionable designations.
Shooting guard appears likely to have James Harden (thigh) sitting out a second straight game, while Jimmy Butler (ankle) also carries a questionable tag. While the absences of both players would thin out the top tier significantly, Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, Donovan Mitchell and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander are all fine alternatives that won't break the bank.
Small forward is a position where you'll realize even more savings Monday, as the most expensive option is just $6.2K (Danilo Gallinari). Luckily, the remainder of the pool does offer a good dose of upside alongside the bargains, with appealing value selections such as Bojan Bogdanovic ($5.8K), Joe Ingles ($5.5K), Harrison Barnes ($4.6K) and Eric Gordon ($4.4K) particularly standing out.
Power forward is in fine shape overall health-wise until we get to the mid-$5k range, where both Marvin Bagley (foot) and Lauri Markkanen (pelvis) are out of action. There are a couple of other longer-term injuries as well (Daniel Gafford, Richaun Holmes), which makes the value tier a bit thin on viable options.
Center is in near-impeccable health, and the duo of Andre Drummond and Karl-Anthony Towns is about as good as it gets up top. Clint Capela could also prove to be a bargain at $8K with both Westbrook and Harden sitting, and a strong mid-tier gives way to a value level that has potential into the high $3K range (Boban Marjanovic, Kelly Olynyk).
Notable 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 (usually late morning Eastern time), 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.
UPDATE @ 6:00PM ET: The Rockets' Clint Capela is now doubtful due to his heel injury. The Thunder's Chris Paul will be out for personal reasons. LaMarcus Aldridge will also be out for the Spurs due to a thumb sprain.
Russell Westbrook, HOU
Westbrook will sit out Monday's game for rest purposes. Austin Rivers will be in line for a start at point guard, while the usage rate of the remaining members of the Rockets' starting five, especially Clint Capela, should skyrocket with James Harden (thigh) also projected to be out of action.
James Harden, HOU
Harden is doubtful with the thigh injury that cost him Sunday's game. Eric Gordon will be in line for a start at shooting guard if Harden sits as expected, while the usage rate of the remaining members of the Rockets' starting five, especially Clint Capela, should skyrocket with Russell Westbrook (rest) also projected to be out of action.
Marvin Bagley, SAC
Bagley is out due to a foot injury that's cost him the last two games.
Jimmy Butler, MIA
Butler is questionable with an ankle injury.
Kendrick Nunn, MIA
Nunn is questionable with an Achilles injury.
Goran Dragic, MIA
Dragic is questionable with a calf injury.
Bam Adebayo, MIA
Adebayo is probable with ankle soreness.
Derrick Rose, DET
Rose is probable with knee soreness.
Tomas Satoransky, CHI
Satoransky is probable with ankle soreness.
Chandler Hutchison, CHI
Hutchison is probable with shoulder soreness.
Ryan Arcidiacono, CHI
Arcidiacono is probable with elbow discomfort.
Kevin Porter Jr., CLE
Porter is probable with the knee injury that's cost him the last 10 games.
Willie Cauley-Stein, DAL
Cauley-Stein is questionable to suit up after just being acquired via a trade with the Warriors on Friday.
Tony Snell, DET
Snell is questionable with an illness.
Terrance Ferguson, OKC
Ferguson will remain out with the personal matter that's cost him the last five games.
Abdel Nader, OKC
Nader will not play due to the ankle injury that's cost him the last seven games.
Nerlens Noel, OKC
Noel is questionable due to a facial injury.
Allen Crabbe, MIN
Crabbe is considered questionable due to a knee injury.
Emmanuel Mudiay, UTA
Mudiay is probable with an ankle injury.
Notable Longer-Term Injuries/Absences: Richaun Holmes, SAC; D.J. Augustin, ORL; Al-Farouq Aminu, ORL; Jonathan Isaac, ORL; Ryan Broekhoff, DAL; Brandon Knight, CLE; Ante Zizic, CLE; Joel Embiid, PHI; Josh Richardson, PHI; Wendell Carter Jr., CHI; Daniel Gafford, CHI; Lauri Markkanen, CHI; Blake Griffin, DET; Luke Kennard, DET; Khyri Thomas, DET; Andre Roberson, OKC; Jake Layman, MIN; Gerald Green, HOU; Nene Hilario, HOU
The elite pool takes a hit Monday with the expected absences of Russell Westbrook and James Harden, leaving Luka Doncic ($10.9K), Andre Drummond ($10.5K) and Karl-Anthony Towns ($10.4K) as the trio of healthy five-figure salaried players. In the $9K range, Zach LaVine ($9.3K) could be one of the better fantasy point-per-dollar values on the slate in his matchup versus the Spurs, and with both Westbrook and Harden out of the guard pool, he could make for a nice pivot away from the many that should flock to Doncic.
There could be several chalky spots Monday with healthy, cheap Rockets (plus Clint Capela) particularly drawing plenty of ownership as both Russell Westbrook and James Harden are set to sit. To an extent, the same could develop in Miami if Kendrick Nunn and Jimmy Butler, currently questionable with Achilles and ankle injuries respectively, both sit out. The likes of Luka Doncic, Andre Drummond and Karl-Anthony Towns should also be popular based solely on their star power.
As customary, I've also compiled a list of multiple sub-$6K value plays that should be particularly popular, – many of them also due to injuries on their team – and have listed them underneath the next section.
Key and Likely Underowned Values
Dorian Finney-Smith, DAL at OKC ($4,300)
Finney-Smith isn't a name many DFS players ever get excited about, but the versatile wing's across-the-board contributions in recent games make him worthy of consideration at his low-risk cost. Finney-Smith has double-doubled in two straight games and has scored 20.0 FanDuel points or more in 10 of the last 12 contests. He's also shooting a solid 36.4 percent from behind the arc on 5.5 three-point attempts per contest over that 12-game stretch, a level of aggressiveness that could pay off versus a Thunder squad allowing an almost identical 36.5 percent success rate from distance to small forwards, along with 45.8 FanDuel points per game to the position over the last five.
Markieff Morris, DET vs. CLE ($3,900)
Morris is seeing a steady role off the bench that's typically affording him minutes in the mid-20s on many nights, but he's disappointed some in recent games by tallying under 20.0 FanDuel points in three of his last four contests. However, Morris also has totals of 36.4, 28.2 and 25.7 FD points in three other contests since Jan. 15, offering a glimpse at his upside. Morris also posted 12 points, five rebounds, one assist and one steal over just 17 minutes in his one prior encounter with the Cavaliers this season, and Cleveland checks in ranked in the bottom half of the league in shooting percentage allowed to power forwards (46.4 percent). The Cavs are also surrendering the third-highest shooting percentage (47.2 percent) and offensive efficiency rating (47.3) to opposing second-unit players, furthering Morris' case at a minuscule price.
Danuel House, HOU at UTA ($3,500)
There will be a number of cheap Rockets players drawing solid ownership Monday, but House could potentially fly a bit under the radar all the way down at minimum price. The versatile wing could pay off nicely, however, considering his ability to get hot from the field and the fact he should enjoy an expanded role offensively with both Russell Westbrook (rest) and James Harden (thigh) expected to miss the contest. House checks in having scored 18.4 to 35.7 FanDuel points in four of his last five games as well, a stretch during which he's shot just 38.5 percent but atoned for the inefficiency with 4.4 rebounds, 1.0 assist, 1.4 steals and 1.0 block across 27.6 minutes.
Other likely higher-owned value plays to consider: Bojan Bogdanovic, UTA ($5,800);Tristan Thompson, CLE ($5,700); Joe Ingles, UTA ($5,500); Thaddeus Young, CHI ($5,500); Steven Adams, OKC ($5,300); Shabazz Napier, MIN ($5,300); Evan Fournier, ORL ($5,200); Larry Nance ($5,100); Harrison Barnes, SAC ($4,600); Bogdan Bogdanovic, SAC ($4,500); Eric Gordon, HOU ($4,400); Seth Curry, DAL ($4,300); Austin Rivers, HOU ($3,600)