This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
We have a rare three-game slate Monday night, one that already has one major confirmed absence in Giannis Antetokounmpo (knee) and a couple of other names that are in danger of sitting out. It will be a night where successfully avoiding chalky plays that fall short may be the difference between cashing or coming up empty, so keeping up to date with the latest news throughout the day will be particularly important.
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 two games with the highest projected totals on Monday's slate (Note: the Bucks-Nuggets game's projected total is currently off the board as of early Monday morning):
Charlotte Hornets at Atlanta Hawks (Projected total: 224.5 points)
The Hawks continue to facilitate plenty of scoring, as they're allowing an Eastern Conference-high 116.1 points per home game. And, while the Hornets are the lowest-scoring road team in the league (100.4 PPG), the two teams combined for 229 points in their one prior meeting. Atlanta is also averaging a robust 113.2 points per contest at State Farm Arena, keeping offensive expectations for this game high.
Toronto Raptors at Utah Jazz (Projected total: 223.5 points)
The Raptors have Marc Gasol back in action and could also see Fred VanVleet (shoulder) return to the lineup Monday. Meanwhile, the Jazz are at full health, and while Utah certainly has a well-earned reputation for strong defense, Toronto put up 130 points against them in their first meeting this season. Both squads have been solid offensively in the home/road splits that apply Monday, with the Jazz scoring 111.5 points per home game and the Raptors putting up 110.4 points per road contest.
Point guard enjoys a clean bill of health Monday, and for such a small slate, it has some solid choices up top and in the mid-tier. That includes Trae Young heading up the player pool, and the likes of Kyle Lowry, Jamal Murray and Eric Bledsoe below him. Bledsoe particularly could be a rewarding play at just $6.2K, given his typical usage without Giannis Antetokounmpo (knee) in the lineup.
Shooting guard has one big injury-related question in Fred VanVleet (shoulder), who is questionable to return from his multi-game absence. Kevin Huerter is expected to play through his groin injury, and Donovan Mitchell checks in as the most expensive option at a very affordable $7.2K. Much like Bledsoe at point guard, Khris Middleton ($7K) could also end up as one of the best fantasy point-per-dollar values of the night.
Small forward will be missing Antetokounmpo, which leaves Pascal Siakam ($7.9K) as the most expensive option at the position. There's also some appealing values in the mid-tier below Siakam, with Bojan Bogdanovic, Miles Bridges, Will Barton and OG Anunoby all priced between $5.8 and $5.2K.
Power forward should also be at full strength assuming that John Collins, the most expensive option with $8.6K, plays through his probable designation due to a thigh injury. There's a big drop-off in price after Collins, as Serge Ibaka ($5.7K) is the second-priciest selection at the four. It's worth noting there's plenty of uncertainty below Paul Millsap at $4.8K, so the position is one of the thinnest of the night.
Finally, center actually has some solid depth for such a small slate. Clint Capela (heel) remains out, but Nikola Jokic, Rudy Gobert, Brook Lopez, Dewayne Dedmon, Marc Gasol and Cody Zeller make up a sold core, while the likes Willy Hernangomez and Mason Plumlee could make for viable large-field tournament plays.
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.
John Collins, ATL
Collins is probable with a thigh injury.
Kevin Huerter, ATL
Huerter is probable with a groin injury.
De'Andre Hunter, ATL
Hunter is questionable with a knee injury.
DeAndre' Bembry, ATL
Bembry is questionable with an abdomen injury.
Cam Reddish, ATL
Reddish is likely to be listed as questionable at best due to a lower-leg injury.
Jeff Teague, ATL
Teague is questionable with an illness.
Fred VanVleet, TOR
VanVleet is questionable with the shoulder injury that's cost him the last five games.
With Giannis Antetokounmpo out of action with a knee sprain, there are effectively no players with five-figure salaries on Monday's slate. Nikola Jokic ($9,700) checks in as the highest-priced player who's actually healthy, and the Hawks' Trae Young ($9,600) is right behind him as the only other player in the $9K range. John Collins ($8,600) and Rudy Gobert ($8,400) are the sole occupants of the $8K range and have the ability to outpace their salaries in their respective matchups.
One other player priced below those names who could offer excellent returns is Khris Middleton ($7,000), who went off for 43.4 FanDuel points without Antetokounmpo in the lineup Sunday against the Suns.
There will be heavy ownership in the all the places you'd expect Monday with such a small slate, with all of the names mentioned in the previous section certainly qualifying. Additionally, if Fred VanVleet (shoulder) misses another game, Norman Powell ($5,000) should be extremely popular at his salary after scoring between 40.4 and 50.6 FanDuel points over the last three games.
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
Dewayne Dedmon, ATL vs. CHA ($4,700)
Dedmon is two games into his return from an elbow injury, and he's produced 29.2 and 21.0 FanDuel points in those contests. Shooting struggles capped his numbers in the latter outing, but Dedmon has proven to be a good floor-spacing big man in seasons past with respective three-point percentages of 35.5 and 38.2 percent the last two campaigns. He's offered at least a 5x return on his current salary on 10 occasions this season, and he'll continue in his starting role Monday against a Hornets team that's allowed the fourth-most FanDuel points per game (37.1) to centers on the season and that has the fifth-lowest rebounding rate (48.0 percent) in the league. Dedmon's minutes, which are often in the low 20s, do create an element of risk, but on a small slate with centers particularly at a premium, he could make for a nice cost-savings pivot.
Jerami Grant, DEN vs. MIL ($3,700)
Grant came through as a low-owned value suggestion Saturday, and with a surprising $600 price drop, he's right back in play Monday. The veteran forward posted 23.6 FanDuel points in that contest against the Cavaliers, the fifth time in the last six games he's delivered more than 20 FanDuel points. Grant has offered at least a 5x return on his current salary in 35 games this season, and he racked up a season-high 42.8 FanDuel points versus this same Bucks squad Jan. 31. While Grant won't be drawing the start Monday like he did in that contest, he'll face a Bucks frontcourt dealing with the domino effect of Giannis Antetokounmpo's absence due to a knee sprain, and he could well provide a 6x-7x return if he matches his performances from the aforementioned six-game span.
Other likely lower-owned value play to consider: Willy Hernangomez, CHA at ATL ($4,000)
Other likely higher-owned value plays to consider: Terry Rozier, CHA ($5,900); Bojan Bogdanovic, UTA ($5,800); Miles Bridges, CHA ($5,700); Norman Powell, TOR ($5,500); Paul Millsap, DEN ($4,800); Cody Zeller, CHA ($4,300); Donte DiVincenzo, MIL ($4,200)