This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
We've got nine games for Monday's slate and, as always, James Harden begins our conversation. This time, it's for an entirely different reason as we look at tonight's injuries.
James Harden (shoulder) PROBABLE: If you're building your lineups around Harden, you should keep tabs on this situation, but all reports suggest that Harden will be good to go for Monday's game against the Mavericks. Although Harden is essentially matchup-proof, this intrastate rivalry game is a plum spot for the All-Star. He's sporting a 67 DKFP average across two contests against Dallas.
I have some additional thoughts about Harden and this injury designation. With so many elites taking the floor tonight, I expect Harden's ownership to take a bit of a dive, and a slight uptick in Chris Paul's ownership. Could you actually consider Harden a contrarian pick? Harden killed us against the Thunder with a complete lack of ancillary stats, and when you couple that game with the injury tag, people should flock away from Harden in droves. I won't be in that number. Paul is still cheap enough to lock in if you want insurance, and I think stacking them is a prudent play if you're going to take advantage of this game. I'll be covering this area, but I won't hesitate to go in other directions with other elites.
MINNESOTA BACKCOURT: There's some good news to report. Both Rose and Teague are probable to return tonight, which should relegate Isaiah Canaan and Josh Okogie back to the bench. If Bayless, who is questionable, is able to play, I'd expect all three to share the load, but I think it's too soon to depend on them wholly. If I were forced to go here, Teague ($5,600) would be my first choice, as he managed 17 minutes in limited action on Thursday.
Jerami Grant (hip) OUT: Grant's hip injury leaves a gaping hole in an already thin Thunder frontcourt, and it's hard to give the green light to any of the motley assortment behind Grant on the depth chart. It's almost a certainty that Paul George and Steven Adams will carry the load inside, but you could use Patrick Patterson ($3,500) as a potential must-drop flier.
By all means, Chris Paul ($7,800) is dirt cheap against the Mavs, and I can find a spot for him along with a host of other elites. Let's look at two other spots here, though.
Dennis Smith Jr, NY at CLE ($6,900): DSJ has slid right into things with the Knicks, and coach Fizdale has turned off the fickle meter where Smith is concerned, as he's enjoyed almost 30 percent usage since joining the team. Collin Sexton and Jordan Clarkson should play him hard, but I think Smith will prevail with an excellent stat line.
Darren Collison, IND vs. CHA ($6,700): Collison has proven to be one of the primary beneficiaries of Victor Oladipo's absence. Since his departure, Collison is averaging 14.3 points, 6.7 assists, 2.4 rebounds and 1.2 steals, which is usually good enough to get him into 30 FDFP territory. Although his two-game average against the Hornets looks a bit bleak, he had a poor outlier game against them earlier in the season that wrecked that metric. His second game yielded a much better outcome, with 19 points and nine assists.
Additional point guard to consider: Kyle Lowry, TOR vs. BKN ($8,200)
Andrew Wiggins, MIN vs. LAC ($6,500): While the potential return of a host of point guards gives me a bit of hesitation with this pick, I think Wiggins is in a great position against the Clippers at home. He's coming off a double-double on Thursday and has averaged 17 points and 7.5 rebounds over the past four games. The Clippers are now injury-free, but their defensive struggles against opposing backcourts is still a soft spot. Despite the potential return of Rose and Teague, Wiggins will have ample opportunity to put up another good outing.
Tim Hardaway Jr, DAL at HOU ($5,800): When the Mavs sent half of their starting five packing, they expected THJ to be the second-starting option behind Luka Doncic, and he hasn't disappointed. His usage is through the roof, and we all know his ability to take over the game on any given night. Doncic's excellent play caps that frequency, but he's still entirely capable of posting 30 FDFP or more based on court time alone.
Additional shooting guard to consider: C.J. McCollum, POR at OKC ($7,600)
Paul George, OKC vs. POR ($11,600): The O/U here is a smoking 231, and it's hard to deny how impressive George has been on both ends of the floor. He also appears to have Portland's number, averaging 36.5 points and eight rebounds over two games against the Trail Blazers this season. As far as elite plays go, George rates ahead of Harden for me tonight, and also ahead of practically everyone else.
Jabari Parker, WAS at DET ($3,900): There's no way that you'll find a guy in the 3K range with this kind of upside. While our sample size is still small, it appears that they are going to give Parker as many minutes as he can handle. He logged 34 minutes against his former team and put up 20 points, six assists and five rebounds. The potential return of Jeff Green and the excellent play of Bobby Portis cuts into his overall value, but he is priced well below the industry average right now and is an excellent complement to the high price we're paying for George in the other SF spot.
Additional small forward to consider: Josh Richardson, MIA at DEN ($6,700)
Larry Nance, CLE ($7,100): I think it's safe to ride Nance for a few more games while Kevin Love slowly returns from injury, and I think he sets up well versus the Knicks tonight. You essentially have to throw a host of measurables out the window here, as Nance is on a roll, the Knicks look entirely different up front and, well, it's the Cavs we're talking about. It was a while ago in an entirely different game script, but he had 11 rebounds and seven assists against the Knicks when they last met. While we're on the Cavs, there's another guy we have to pay attention to in the current game script, and that's recent arrival Marquese Chriss ($3,600). In case you missed it, he started at the four in the team's last game and wasn't half bad. He's another must-drop candidate worth considering.
Trey Lyles, DEN vs. MIA ($4,700): With Mason Plumlee designated as a center on FanDuel, Lyles emerges as an intriguing play if Paul Millsap sits again. Over his past five games, he's averaged 14 points, four rebounds and two assists. That's nothing to write home about, but it certainly isn't bad for this price point. He possesses a great perimeter shot and can definitely keep defenders guessing.
Andre Drummond, DET vs. WAS ($10,600): Drummond is on an upward trend of four straight games, and seven consecutive double-doubles, and I don't see any Wizard matching his rebound totals. This excellent matchup gives Drummond an edge over guys like Jokic and Towns in my book. I don't think you can go wrong with them either, but you might miss out on a 20-20 game from Detroit's big man tonight.
DeAndre Jordan, NY at CLE ($6,600): With Enes Kanter out of New York, only Jordan and Mitchell Robinson ($4,800) remain as viable candidates under center. I actually don't have a problem with either play tonight against the Cavs, although I think Jordan is a far safer call to make. Since joining the team, Jordan has averaged 11 points and 12.3 rebounds, and I think he's a safe candidate for another double-double tonight.
If you want a winning lineup, you simply have to take advantage of this feature. There will be an odd day here or there where the low score will save you, but the money you save by diving deep into the bargain bin and punting a position far outweighs the potential for an off-day. I've already mentioned Chriss, Lyles and Patterson as potential punts. Here are a few more to consider: