This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
We have a mid-sized slate on tap Monday night, with a total of six games on the ledger. Depending on your style of DFS play, a 12-team pool of players might be just about ideal for having enough flexibility without getting too overwhelmed with choices. This particular group of games also seems to land in a happy medium as far as projected totals are concerned, because even though we don't have any astronomically high figures, we are looking at three tallies of 220 points or more as of Monday morning.
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.
Here's a closer look at the three games with the highest elevated totals on Monday's slate:
Phoenix Suns at Charlotte Hornets (Projected total: 223.5 points)
The Suns will bring a nice bump in pace to the Hornets, as Phoenix's 106.4 possessions per game is a notable step up from the 102.3 per contest that Charlotte generates. This contest could thus represent an enhanced opportunity for fantasy production for key Hornets such as Terry Rozier and Devonte' Graham, considering the Suns are allowing 112.9 points per game. The main Suns are in an even slightly better position on paper, as Charlotte comes in surrendering 114.6 points per home contest.
Golden State Warriors at Atlanta Hawks (Projected total: 223.0 points)
The Warriors are on the second game of a back-to-back set and are already allowing 117.6 points per road contest, while the Hawks are now yielding the second-most points per game (119.1) after a strong start defensively this season. Atlanta also plays at a top-10 pace (107.4 possessions per game, eighth most), and while Golden State isn't getting up and down the floor as quickly as it does when the likes of Stephen Curry (hand), Klay Thompson (knee) and D'Angelo Russell (thumb) are healthy, they're still averaging a brisk 106.1 possessions per road contest. Given the defensive deficiencies at play here, the total could arguably be higher and multiple pieces from both teams are especially appealing.
New York Knicks at Milwaukee Bucks (Projected total: 222.0 points)
This is one of those high-total games that still carries a bit of risk associated with it, as the expected offense here lies much more on the side of the Bucks. As of Monday morning, Milwaukee is favored by 17.5 points, so the possibility of the likes of Eric Bledsoe and Giannis Antetokounmpo taking an early seat is there. Milwaukee is just a tenth of a point behind the Rockets for most points scored per game (120.2), but they're averaging an NBA-high 122.8 per home tilt. The Knicks allow 112.3 points per road game as well, making them an easy target for the Bucks' high-octane, fast-paced (108.9 possessions per game, second most in NBA) attack.
PG: Two of the most exciting young point guards in the game in De'Aaron Fox (ankle) and Ja Morant (back) are out of action, but the position is otherwise well-stocked from the high end (Trae Young, Ben Simmons) to the value level (Tyus Jones, Emmanuel Mudiay).
SG: D'Angelo Russell (thumb) remains sidelined, but Donovan Mitchell, Devin Booker and Zach LaVine make for an explosive top trio at the position. Josh Richardson (hamstring) and Bogdan Bogdanovic (hamstring) are both iffy to play, but there's still solid mid-tier and bargain selections all the way down into the high $3K range.
SF: Small forward is in rock-solid condition, although the previously cited blowout risk associated with Antetokounmpo should be kept in mind if you're going to spring for his $12,200 salary. There's a big drop after him down to Bojan Bogdanovic at $7,200 but plenty of strong mid-tier and value options into the high $3K range, even with a trio of bargains in Miles Bridges (quadriceps), Cameron Johnson (illness) and Cam Reddish (wrist) sporting questionable tags.
PF: You don't have to break the bank to secure a high-upside option at the four, with Domantas Sabonis ($8,300) and Julius Randle ($7,500) serving as options that could outpace their costs. Draymond Green will be rested Monday, which eliminates one mid-tier option, but this is another spot where there's potential value down into the $3,600 level (Marvin Williams).
C: We have injuries mucking up the picture a bit at center, as Jonas Valanciunas (illness), Brook Lopez (back) and Aron Baynes (calf) are all sporting injury designations of varying severity. Joel Embiid is the one true elite option up top, but there's potential value all the way down to minimum salary in the form of Robin Lopez if he draws another start in place of his brother.
Notable Injury Situations to Monitor
Josh Richardson, PHI
Richardson is considered doubtful due to a hamstring injury. Furkan Korkmaz would make his third straight start at shooting guard in Richardson's likely absence.
Aron Baynes, PHO
Baynes is considered probable with a calf strain. Frank Kaminsky would be in for extended minutes if Baynes were to sit, although an absence seems unlikely.
Draymond Green, GSW
Jonas Valanciunas, MEM
Valanciunas is questionable due to an illness that cost him Sunday's game versus the Timberwolves. Bruno Caboclo, who generated a double-double in Valanciunas' absence Sunday, would be in line for a potential start if Brandon Clarke (hip) also sits.
Marcus Morris, NYK
Morris will likely be considered questionable at best due to the neck spasms that cost him Sunday's contest against the Celtics. Kevin Knox would be in line for another start in Morris' stead should the latter sit.
Brook Lopez, MIL
Lopez is tagged as doubtful due to back soreness. Robin Lopez would be set for a second straight start should his brother sit out as expected.
Frank Ntilikina, NYK
Ntilikina is considered questionable due to the back soreness that caused him to exit Sunday's loss to the Celtics early. With Elfrid Payton (hamstring) likely to remain out as well, Dennis Smith could be in for a start at point guard.
Brandon Clarke, MEM
Clarke will likely be considered questionable due to the hip soreness that caused him to leave Sunday's game versus the Timberwolves early. Caboclo and Solomon Hill would be candidates for additional minutes behind Jaren Jackson should Clarke sit.
Kyle Anderson, MEM
DeAndre' Bembry, ATL
Bembry is considered probable due to a hip injury.
Cam Reddish, ATL
Reddish is questionable due to the wrist injury that's already cost him three of the last six games. The likes of Allen Crabbe, DeAndre' Bembry (hip) and Evan Turner would be set for extra minutes should Reddish sit.
Bogdan Bogdanovic, SAC
Bogdanovic is considered probable due to a hamstring injury.
Trevor Ariza, SAC
Ariza will likely be considered questionable at best to return from his groin injury Monday. Justin James will likely be in for some extra run should Ariza sit.
Mikal Bridges, PHO
Bridges is questionable with a quadriceps bruise. Cameron Johnson (illness) would potentially be in for some extra minutes.
Cameron Johnson, PHO
Johnson is considered questionable due to illness.
Cheick Diallo, PHO
Diallo is out due to illness. The big man's absence could lead to a slight uptick in minutes for Kaminsky behind Baynes (calf).
Sterling Brown, MIL
Notable Long-Term Injuries/Absences: D'Angelo Russell, GSW; Stephen Curry, GSW; Klay Thompson, GSW; Ja Morant, MEM; Marvin Bagley, SAC; Kevin Huerter, ATL; John Collins, ATL; Victor Oladipo, IND; Edmond Sumner, IND; Otto Porter Jr., CHI; Chandler Hutchison, CHI; Elfrid Payton, NYK; Reggie Bullock, NYK; Deandre Ayton, PHO; Damion Lee, GSW
We have a trio of five-figure salaries on the slate, with Giannis Antetokounmpo ($12,200), Joel Embiid ($10,900) and Trae Young ($10,000) constituting the top shelf of choices. Surprisingly, there aren't any players in the $9K range, as our next option below Young is Ben Simmons at $8,900.
As mentioned earlier, center might be the position where it makes the most sense to pay up for an elite player. Additionally, Antetokounmpo presents a bit of a dilemma, as he's in an excellent matchup but could play less minutes than usual should the Bucks take a large lead on the Knicks.
We have enough players available for 12 teams in action to spread out ownership a fair amount, although Antetokounmpo and Embiid could be particularly popular among the elite due to the reasons stated above. There's also a good chance the likes of Donovan Mitchell ($8,500), Devin Booker ($8,300) and T.J. Warren ($6,000) get plenty of attention due to a combination of matchup and reasonable price relative to upside.
Where there could be a good bit more chalk is in the value portion of the player pool, with injuries setting the stage for expanded minutes for several low-cost players. Robin Lopez ($3,500) should especially be popular if Brook Lopez misses another game with back soreness, while Kevin Knox ($3,700) should also see plenty of clicks on his name if Marcus Morris (neck) sits out again.
Key and Likely Underowned Values
Kris Dunn, CHI at SAC ($4,700)
Dunn continues to enjoy a steady bench role that's affording him minutes in the low 20s on many nights. The one-time starter undeniably has some volatility attached to his production, as he just snapped a three-game streak of 11.1 FanDuel points or less by compiling 21.4 versus the Trail Blazers on Friday night. However, Dunn has also outpaced his current price on multiple occasions this season, scoring 22.1 FanDuel points or more in eight games overall, including a trio of tallies over 30. The Kings also come in allowing 50.5 FanDuel points per game to point guards, furthering Dunn's case at what should be low ownership overall.
Frank Kaminsky, PHO at CHA ($4,100)
Kaminsky should see relatively modest ownership as long as Aron Baynes (calf) overcomes his probable designation and starts at center. However, Kaminsky still presents as a solid large-field tournament option if you need to pay down at one power forward spot, as his former Hornets squad has been vulnerable to bigs all season. Charlotte checks in allowing the highest offensive efficiency rating to opposing frontcourts (89.7), as well as the highest (48.3) to opposing second units as well. The Hornets are also second-to-last in defensive efficiency rating (1.115) and this game projects as the highest scoring of the night, two other factors enhancing Kaminsky's appeal.
Marvin Williams, CHA vs. PHO ($3,600)
Staying with the Hornets-Suns tilt, Williams' price remains surprisingly $100 away from minimum despite the fact he's eclipsed 20 FanDuel points in two of his last five games, and on four occasions overall this season. The volatility attached to his production should help keep his ownership relatively low. Nevertheless, Williams is also a part of the highest projected scoring game of the slate and is actually shooting a career-best 49.1 percent, including a career-high 40.6 percent from three-point range. In turn, the Suns are allowing the second-most FanDuel points per game to power forwards (51.5), the second-highest offensive efficiency rating to opposing benches (47.6) and 44.2 percent shooting from behind the arc over the last three games, all factors that further Williams' case at a price that carries the smallest of risks.
Other likely higher-owned value plays to consider:
T.J. Warren ($6,000); Eric Paschall ($5,900); Miles Bridges ($5,700); Nemanja Bjelica ($5,500); Dario Saric ($5,400); Cody Zeller ($5,300); Tomas Satoransky ($5,100); Jae Crowder ($5,000); Dillon Brooks ($4,900); Tyus Jones ($4,000): Robin Lopez ($3,500)