This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
Tonight's nine-game slate on FanDuel is awash with several interesting injury pivots, so before we do anything, I want to address those situations, as one or more of these scenarios will inevitably play a part in your lineup builds.
Russell Westbrook (suspension) OUT: The NBA certainly took its time to levy this suspension, but tonight Westbrook will sit due to committing his 16th technical foul of the season, which results in a one-game suspension and ponying up a little coin as well. While Miami's defense is strong, you need to focus on opportunity here and utilize Paul George ($11,200), and Dennis Schroder ($6,000) should also play a vital role in the Thunder offense.
Luka Doncic (knee) QUESTIONABLE: Doncic's status is up in the air this morning, but if he misses his second-straight game, Jalen Brunson ($6,100) should see a bump as per usual, with Trey Burke ($3,500) showing up as a great must-drop candidate. Dorian Finney-Smith ($4,600) usually sees a decent bump in usage when Doncic is out as well.
Kevin Durant (ankle) QUESTIONABLE; DeMarcus Cousins (ankle) QUESTIONABLE: Cousins' potential absence adds an additional wrinkle to the Durant-less situation we've already experienced. Is it time to unveil Andrew Bogut ($3,500) tonight? That all depends on how valuable you view the center position, but he'll probably get a look in a couple of my GPP lineups. The remaining starters will all see an appreciable bump, while Kevon Looney ($3,500) should also see time. I'd wait to see on Looney/Bogut until we have a bit more information.
Kyle Lowry (ankle) QUESTIONABLE: It looks like the Raptors will again have Fred VanVleet ($4,600), so he should get some run of Lowry can't play. I doubt the team will tank this game and rest Kawhi Leonard ($9,500) so he should be considered in this excellent matchup against the Knicks.
C.J. McCollum (knee) OUT: I think you approach McCollum's absence similarly to Westbrook's scratch, which is to pivot for opportunity. Damian Lillard ($10,000) immediately comes into focus as do many of Portland's starters, but I see Rodney Hood ($4,100) getting the most significant usage bump in the value category. I will utilize these pivots scarcely against the tough Indiana defense.
Larry Nance (ribs) QUESTIONABLE: We may see Nance back in the lineup tonight, but if he sits you can confidently start Kevin Love ($8,100), and Marquese Chriss ($3,500) should also see time in his return from suspension and is another excellent must-drop if Nance is out.
Dennis Smith Jr. (back) QUESTIONABLE: On a slate this heavy I am inclined to stay away from the volatile Knicks backcourt, as there's no telling what David Fizdale will do. If you must go here, Damyean Dotson ($5,900) for cash and Emmanuel Mudiay ($4,900) for GPPs.
Whew. As I said, there's a lot of ground to cover. Before this article breaks our servers, I'll dispense with discussing the games I like and don't like and get to the picks at each position. As usual, keep ALL of the recommendations mentioned above in mind.
Elfrid Payton, NO at DAL ($9,300): As long as Holiday is out, you almost have to keep running with Payton after he's put up four consecutive triple-doubles in comfortable fashion. We have no history for Payton against the Mavs this season, but combine his remarkable streak with the potential absence of Doncic, and the guard immediately qualifies as an unexpected core of most lineups tonight.
Darren Collison, IND at POR ($6,700): Portland will be a bit out of sorts without McCollum, so I like Collison's relatively stable floor in this spot. He dished out fewer assists than usual over the past couple of weeks, so Ideally I'd like to see those numbers improve, but I think he's a safe lock for 30 FDFP and possibly more tonight.
Devin Booker, PHO vs. CHI ($9,800): While Bradley Beal remains the gold standard at this position, Utah's stubborn defense excels against the two spot, and the generous 227 O/U in the CHI/PHO matchup leads me to Booker, who I think could light it up against the Bulls tonight. His price on FanDuel is a little higher than I would like, and he comes at a lower price on other platforms. He suffered from an ice-cold night from long range in their previous matchup but his stuffed stat lines over the past two weeks make him a very effective play.
Klay Thompson, GS at SA ($8,400): This position is incredibly top-heavy, which may force me to spend up. As I said above, all of the Warriors should see a bump with the potential absences of Durant and Cousins. I might ease off Thompson if we see Durant suit up and pivot to DeMar DeRozan ($8,800) or elsewhere, but his history against the Spurs is decent, and he should see a full complement of minutes as San Antonio will fight to keep things close.
Kelly Oubre Jr., PHO vs. CHI ($6,900): Oubre continues to impress for the Suns, and I have to admit he's one of the biggest surprises of the second half. I didn't like the trade initially, but that's why I don't work in the front office. The Bulls are a bit stingy against the three, but I think this game could result in a shootout where we'll see Oubre launch 8-to-10 times from beyond the arc. He's also usually good for a few rebounds and assists, so if he gets enough looks, we should see Oubre with another stuffed stat line tonight.
Bojan Bogdanovic, IND at POR ($6,400): My only knock on Bojan is that he doesn't take enough chances and tends to wait for high percentage shots. His long-range numbers have suffered as a result. This pick is opportunity-based as I think McCollum's absence presents an exploitable spot for the Pacers, leaving Bojan open early and often.
I know that Anthony Davis ($8,000) can be frustrating, but if he plays, I think it's hard to ignore the value against Dallas tonight. He deserves special mention at this position since you're going to have to wait to find out his status, but his price has dropped low enough where even his minutes restrictions aren't sufficient to fade him.
Derrick Favors, UTA at WAS ($6,800): Favors is currently on an excellent, three-game tear. We don't have any recent history for him against the Wizards, but I think Rudy Gobert will give Bobby Portis all that he can handle, leaving the underbelly of Washington's frontcourt open for Favors to capitalize.
Josh Jackson, PHO vs. CHI ($5,300): It's hard to ignore Jackson's upward trend, especially at this reasonable price. Although I like him more as a GPP pick, I can make an argument for putting him into cash as well. Jackson's big advantage is his balanced stat line, giving him the opportunity to come up with a big score even if he suffers in another category. I see how people would be afraid to invest in him, though.
Also consider: Domantas Sabonis, IND at POR ($6,200)
Rudy Gobert, UTA at WAS ($9,600): The big man is playing some inspired ball recently, and he could be in line for another big score tonight. The Wizards have given up lots of points to opposing centers recently, and although Gobert faltered a bit against Towns, he's demonstrated a pretty solid floor. His price makes it a bit harder to meet value than I'd like, but I like him better than Drummond (on a back-to-back) and Jokic (in the midst of a mediocre-for-Jokic four-game stretch).
Jusuf Nurkic, POR vs. IND ($8,900): This is a night where Nurkic's skills will be sorely needed.The Pacers are incredibly tough defensively, and without McCollum on the floor, Portland will need to dish it to the big man as often as possible. He only played 17 minutes against Indy in their last matchup so that metric isn't very reliable, and I think he's likely to see 35 minutes in this one.