FanDuel NBA: Monday Value Plays

FanDuel NBA: Monday Value Plays

This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.

.We have a seven-game slate Monday night, one that once again features some confirmed or likely big-name absences. Those will continue to bump up the usage of other players on those respective squads, creating some good opportunities in terms of reasonable salaries relative to expected roles. There are also plenty of projected high-scoring games on the ledger, which naturally improves the overall DFS environment.

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!

Slate Overview

Here's a closer look at the three games with the highest projected totals on Monday's slate:

Memphis Grizzlies at Atlanta Hawks (Projected total: 241.5 points)

These two fast-paced squads could short-circuit the scoreboard at State Farm Arena on Monday night, considering their defensive deficiencies and pace. The Hawks are allowing the second-most points per game (119.1), while the Grizzlies aren't far behind with 114.7 PPG surrendered. Atlanta is also averaging the fourth-most possessions per game (107.7), while Memphis is right on the Hawks' heels with 106.4 per contest. And, while the two teams have yet to meet this season, they combined for 248 and 243 points in their two meetings in the 2018-19 campaign, with both squads sporting even more firepower this season.

Houston Rockets at New York Knicks (Projected total: 230.5 points)

The Knicks surprisingly played the Rockets tough when these two squads met in Houston three games ago, with the game finishing at a combined 235 points. Houston is allowing an elevated 116.6 points per road game, and even though New York sports one of the NBA's poorest home-court offenses (105.2 PPG), they seem to match up well with the small-ball Rockets and could exceed expectations again.

Milwaukee Bucks at Miami Heat (Projected total: 226.0 points)

This could certainly be considered a marquee matchup, as even though Milwaukee has been nearly unbeatable, the Heat is one of the NBA's toughest home teams (25-4 record at AA Arena) and already has notched one win over the Bucks this season. Giannis Antetokounmpo and company are still atop the NBA in points per game (119.6), while Miami is yielding 107.4 points per home contest. Something will have to give Monday, but the total is still well within reach for these two talented teams.

Positional Breakdown

Point guard could be missing up to two big names, with Damian Lillard (groin) already ruled out and Luka Doncic (thumb) in danger of sitting. Otherwise, the position is in good health and sports plenty of depth, beginning with the explosive duo of Russell Westbrook and Trae Young up top. 

Shooting guard is in even better shape, with only Khris Middleton's questionable status due to a neck injury the one notable concern. There's an appealing duo up top here as well, with James Harden leading the way and a potentially underpriced CJ McCollum as the next most expensive option. Those wishing to pivot off McCollum's likely elevated ownership but still gain access to potentially elite production have options in the form of Zach LaVine, Jimmy Butler, Donovan Mitchell and DeMar DeRozan as well.

Small forward is in excellent shape until the sub-$5K range, where Cam Reddish (back) could sit and Otto Porter (foot) is likely to remain out. Otherwise, Giannis Antetokounmpo could once again be worth every penny, especially if Middleton sits. T.J. Warren is a very distant second to Antetokounmpo in terms of salary at the position and could also serve as a rewarding value play against the Spurs' spotty defense.

Power forward will once again be missing LaMarcus Aldridge (shoulder) in terms of short-term injuries, while Jaren Jackson (knee) and Brandon Clarke (quadriceps) are still out with their longer-term issues. However, there's one of the best potential fantasy-point-per-dollar plays of the night up top in Kristaps Porzingis, who draws a premium matchup against the Bulls and could once again be playing without Doncic.  (Update: Porzingis has been ruled out for rest). John Collins ($8.6K) also stands an excellent chance of outpacing his salary in a very favorable matchup against the decimated Grizzlies frontcourt.

Finally, center will see the quartet of Clint Capela (heel), Tristan Thompson (knee), Dewayne Dedmon (elbow) and Jakob Poeltl (knee) unavailable, but with a top-heavy group that includes the likes of Hassan Whiteside, Nikola Vucevic, Rudy Gobert and Andre Drummond – the latter likely set for heavy minutes again with Thompson sidelined – there's still solid depth.

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: Kristaps Porzingis has now been ruled out for rest Monday.

Luka Doncic, DAL

Doncic will likely be a game-time decision due to the thumb sprain that cost him Sunday's game. Were he to miss a second straight contest, the usage of all the remaining members of the Mavericks' starting five would naturally rise considerably, and Delon Wright would remain in the starting five at point guard.

Damian Lillard, POR

Lillard will remain out with a groin injury. Gary Trent and Anfernee Simons (ankle) should be the primary beneficiaries of his absence once again, although Simons carries a questionable tag himself. Meanwhile, the usage of CJ McCollum, Trevor Ariza, Carmelo Anthony and Hassan Whiteside will remain elevated.

LaMarcus Aldridge, SAN

Aldridge is considered doubtful due to a shoulder injury that's cost him the last two games. With Jakob Poeltl (knee) ruled out for multiple weeks, Lonnie Walker and Trey Lyles could once again be the primary beneficiaries of another Aldridge absence.

Khris Middleton, MIL

Middleton is likely to be listed as no better than questionable with the neck injury that's cost him the last two games. If he sits again, Donte DiVincenzo is the likely starter at small forward, while the already robust usage of Giannis Antetokounmpo will rise even further.

Darius Garland, CLE

Garland will not play due to a left groin strain. His absence could lead to a shift to point guard for Collin Sexton, which would up his fantasy expectations as the primary ball handler.

Tristan Thompson, CLE

Thompson will not play due to a knee injury. Andre Drummond should continue to be the beneficiary of increased run with Thompson not available to back him up.

Lauri Markkanen, CHI

Markkanen will be listed as doubtful to return from his pelvic injury Monday.

Otto Porter, CHI

Porter will be listed as questionable to return from his foot injury Monday.

Zach LaVine, CHI

LaVine is considered questionable due to a quadriceps injury.

Wendell Carter, CHI

Carter is probable due to an ankle injury.

Coby White, CHI

White is probable due to a back injury.

Dennis Smith, NYK

Smith is out due to a concussion.

Reggie Bullock, NYK

Bullock is likely to be listed no better than questionable due to an illness.

Cam Reddish, ATL

Reddish is questionable due to a back injury.

Dewayne Dedmon, ATL

Dedmon will be out due to an elbow injury.

DeAndre' Bembry, ATL

Bembry will remain out due to an abdomen injury.

Tyler Herro, MIA

Herro is likely to remain out due to a foot injury.

Meyers Leonard, MIA

Leonard is likely to remain out due to an ankle injury.

Anfernee Simons, POR

Simons is questionable with an ankle sprain. Gary Trent could be primary beneficiary if Simons misses.

Alfonzo McKinnie, CLE

McKinnie will remain out with a heel injury.

Kyle Korver, MIL

Korver remains out with a back injury.

Notable Longer-Term Injuries/Absences: Clint Capela, ATL; Luke Kornet, CHI; Kris Dunn, CHI; Chandler Hutchison, CHI; Jusuf Nurkic, POR; Zach Collins, POR; Justise Winslow, MEM; Jaren Jackson, MEM; Brandon Clarke, MEM; Grayson Allen, MEM; Dante Exum, CLE; Skal Labissiere, ATL; Al-Farouq Aminu, ORL; Dante Exum, CLE; Al-Farouq Aminu, ORL; Jalen Brunson, DAL; Jakob Poeltl, SAN

Elite Players

The five-figure-salary club has four members Monday, as Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,500), James Harden ($10,800), Russell Westbrook ($10,700) and Luka Doncic ($10,400) qualify. Antetokounmpo could be especially valuable despite checking in as the most expensive option on the whole slate, considering what should be a wire-to-wire battle against the Heat and the possibility Khris Middleton (neck) misses another game. Harden and Westbrook present a blowout risk while facing the Knicks, although both players provided handsome returns in their first game against New York on Feb. 24, which had a closer-than-expected 123-112 score.

Outside of the five-figure range, other players capable of providing elite-level returns include Trae Young ($9,900), Hassan Whiteside ($9,500), Kristaps Porzingis ($8,900) (now ruled out), CJ McCollum ($8,800) and John Collins ($8,600).

Expected Chalk

Injuries will play a significant role in creating chalk Monday, with the confirmed absence of Damian Lillard (groin) sure to drive up the ownership on CJ McCollum and Hassan Whiteside in particular, and the likely one for LaMarcus Aldridge (shoulder) spiking the popularity of DeMar DeRozan as well. Then, if Luka Doncic (thumb) is declared out for a second straight game, you can bet on Kristaps Porzingis becoming one of the highest-owned players of the night (Update: Porzingis has now been ruled out for rest) Finally, another Khris Middleton absence will bump up Giannis Antetokounmpo's clicks even further than usual.

As customary, I've also put together a specific list of sub-$6K value plays that should find themselves in plenty of lineups – some due to injury situations on their respective teams – and have included those below the next section.

Key and Likely Underowned Values

Maxi Kleber, DAL at CHI ($4,500)

Kleber saw a downturn to 15.6 FanDuel points in Sunday's win over the Timberwolves, playing just 16 minutes. However, he'd scored 23.0 to 35.6 FanDuel points in the five games prior, and he's eclipsed 20 FanDuel points on 30 occasions thus far this season. A matchup against a weak frontcourt such as Chicago's could lead to a resurgent performance for Kleber, as the Bulls check in with the second-lowest rebounding rate (48.0 percent) and allowing the fourth-highest offensive efficiency rating (83.6) to frontcourts. Kleber's playing time has regularly been over 20 minutes despite the exception Sunday, so he should have plenty of opportunity to capitalize on the favorable matchup.

Kyle Anderson, MEM at ATL ($4,300)

Anderson shouldn't have too many flocking to him in a 14-team player pool, as the defensively minded wing has scored under 20 FanDuel points in three of his last five games. However, we've seen Anderson provide strong returns on his current salary on multiple occasions this season due to his ability to stuff the stat sheet, and his recent tallies of 24.6 and 30.4 FanDuel points against the Clippers and Rockets, respectively, are just the latest example of such. Anderson has eclipsed 25 FanDuel points on 11 occasions overall this season, and Monday he'll draw a matchup against a Hawks squad that's allowed the highest offensive efficiency rating (27.7) to small forwards, along with the second-highest shooting percentage (47.1) and fourth-highest three-point percentage (40.3). Moreover, Atlanta is also allowing league-high or top-five figures to small forwards in points (25.0), rebounds (8.9), assists (4.5), steals (2.0) and blocks (1.1), all categories Anderson regularly checks off.

D.J. Augustin, ORL vs. POR ($3,700)

Augustin is five games into a return from a knee injury that cost him 15 games, and it appears he may finally be starting to regain his form. The veteran has back-to-back 12-point efforts, games against the T-Wolves and Spurs during which he's posted 18.9 and 21.5 FanDuel points, respectively. However, given he was out for so long and scuffled in his first three games back, ownership should not be an issue whatsoever Monday. That makes him a sneaky large-field tournament punt play against a Trail Blazers squad that's allowing the third-highest offensive efficiency rating (47.5) to opposing second units, along with the most points per game (40.8) to bench players. Augustin has blown away his current salary on multiple occasions this season as well, scoring over 20 FanDuel points on 22 occasions, with only two of those starts. 

Other likely lower-owned value play to consider: Joe Ingles, UTA at CLE ($4,300)

Other likely higher-owned value plays to consider: T.J. Warren, IND ($5,900); Dillon Brooks, MEM ($5,800); Myles Turner, IND ($5,800); Tim Hardaway, DAL ($5,700); Collin Sexton, CLE ($5,500); Victor Oladipo, IND ($5,400); Bojan Bogdanovic, UTA ($5,100); Markelle Fultz, ORL ($5,100); Jordan Clarkson, UTA ($5,000); Seth Curry, DAL ($5,000); Kevin Huerter, ATL ($5,000); RJ Barrett, NYK ($5,000); Rudy Gay, SA ($4,300); Derrick Jones, MIA ($4,300); Royce O'Neale, UTA ($4,300)

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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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, including serving as the beat writer for teams in multiple sports. He has previously written for and remains an avid season-long and daily fantasy player in multiple sports as well.
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