This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
We have a seven-game slate on tap Monday night, one that features an injury report that reads like a who's who of elite players. A couple, Karl-Anthony Towns and Joel Embiid, are already ruled out, while Anthony Davis and multiple others could be in line for absences. The good news is that a 14-team ledger still leaves us with solid choices at all price tiers, including at the value level, where numerous players are benefiting from expanded roles.
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:
New Orleans Pelicans at Detroit Pistons (Projected total: 224.5 points)
The Pelicans continue to give up plenty of points (118.0 PPG allowed on road) and the Pistons have been a much better offensive team at home (111.3 PPG), setting this game up as one with the highest projected total of the night. However, it's worth noting the Pelicans could be down multiple players (Jrue Holiday, Brandon Ingram, JJ Redick, Derrick Favors), meaning this number, which has already come down since earlier in the day, could continue to plummet.
Cleveland Cavaliers at Los Angeles Lakers (Projected total: 221.0 points)
In turn, this number has been on the rise a bit throughout the early part of the day, vaulting from 219.5 to its current 221 as of early Monday afternoon. LeBron James is fully expected to play after an illness caused him to miss Saturday's game, while Kyle Kuzma certainly proved a capable fill-in for Anthony Davis (back) in that contest, keeping scoring expectations strong should Davis sit again. The Cavs have also allowed a robust 114.1 points per road game, making more of a case for a higher-scoring affair.
The point guard spot is in solid shape overall, and the good news is the most expensive option, Damian Lillard, will only set you back $8.5K, a reasonable cost for his upside. Malcolm Brogdon's potential absence due to an illness is the one injury of concern, but otherwise, there's viable options all the way into the high $3K range. Shooting guard is in similarly good shape, with Jrue Holiday (elbow) the biggest name in danger of sitting, but the position otherwise in fairly solid shape until the sub-$5K range, where JJ Redick (hamstring) could sit and Bogdan Bogdanovic (ankle) is already ruled out.
Small forward is as strong as any spot Monday, as LeBron James is expected to return from a one-game absence due to illness and there are appealing prices on Brandon Ingram ($9.1K), Tobias Harris ($6.7K), Gordon Hayward ($6.6K), Carmelo Anthony ($6.6K), Danilo Gallinari ($6.1K) and Jaylen Brown ($6.1K) in the mid-tier. Power forward is in rougher shape however, with Anthony Davis (back) in danger of sitting again and Domantas Sabonis (knee) also questionable. Absences by both would leave Jayson Tatum ($8K) as the most expensive option at the position, and there are also either confirmed (Richaun Holmes, Daniel Theis) or potential (Derrick Favors, Aaron Gordon, Marvin Bagley III) absences in the mid-tier/value range in addition to the probable designations sported by Lauri Markkanen and Nemanja Bjelica.
Finally, at center, the confirmed absences of Karl-Anthony Towns (knee/illness) and Joel Embiid (finger) naturally thin out the top tier, but the rest of the player pool is in good shape. Hassan Whiteside (illness) and Bismack Biyombo (nose) both carry injury designations but are considered probable.
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.
Anthony Davis, LAL
Davis is questionable for Monday's game with a back injury that's cost him the last two contests. Kyle Kuzma, who compiled a season-high 36 points against the Thunder on Saturday in Davis' stead, would be in for another start at power forward in the event of another absence.
LeBron James, LAL
James is probable with the illness that caused him to miss Saturday's game.
Brandon Ingram, NOP
Ingram is now questionable as of early Monday afternoon due to a knee injury. The Pelicans could be down to Nicolo Melli as the starter at power forward with Kenrich Williams (back) already ruled out.
Hassan Whiteside, POR
Whiteside is probable due to an illness.
Karl-Anthony Towns, MIN
Towns has been ruled out with a knee injury and an illness. Gorgui Dieng will draw another start at center.
Malcolm Brogdon, IND
Brogdon is questionable with an illness. Aaron Holiday would likely be in for a spot start at point guard should Brogdon sit.
Domantas Sabonis, IND
Sabonis is questionable with a knee injury. T.J. Warren could potentially slide over to power forward in Sabonis' stead if the latter sits.
Aaron Gordon, ORL
Gordon is questionable with a calf injury. Wes Iwundu is likely to draw a start at power forward if Gordon is out.
D.J. Augustin, ORL
Lauri Markkanen, CHI
Markkanen is probable with an ankle injury.
Daniel Gafford, CHI
Gafford is probable with an ankle injury.
Chandler Hutchison, CHI
Hutchison is probable with a shoulder injury.
Arcidiacono is probable with an elbow injury.
Daniel Theis, BOS
Theis is out due to a knee injury. Enes Kanter projects for a spot start at center and potentially big minutes.
Carter-Williams is questionable with the shoulder strain that's cost him the last 10 games. He could be in for a solid backup role at point guard if he's able to return Monday, considering Augustin is also questionable.
Bogdan Bogdanovic, SAC
Bogdanovic is out with an ankle injury. Trevor Ariza should continue to be the primary beneficiary of Bogdanovic's absence.
Marvin Bagley III, SAC
Bagley is considered questionable with the foot injury that's already cost him eight games. If he's able to play, he could step into a sizable role at center with Richaun Holmes (shoulder) out of action.
Nemanja Bjelica, SAC
Bjelica is probable with an ankle injury.
Cory Joseph, SAC
Joseph is questionable with an illness. Yogi Ferrell would likely be the beneficiary of extra backup minutes at point guard should Joseph sit.
Bismack Biyombo, CHA
Biyombo is probable with a nose injury.
Jrue Holiday, NOP
Holiday is doubtful with the elbow injury that's already cost him four games. E'Twaun Moore could be the leading candidate to draw the start at two guard, as he did Saturday versus the Celtics.
Derrick Favors, NOP
Favors is questionable at best with the hamstring injury that cost him Saturday's game against the Celtics. Jaxson Hayes projects to draw another star in Favors' stead should the latter sit.
Kenrich Williams, NOP
Williams will miss a fourth straight game with back spasms. Nicolo Melli could see some extra backup power forward minutes should Williams sit.
JJ Redick, NOP
Redick is questionable with a hamstring injury. Josh Hart should be the primary beneficiary if Redick is out.
Avery Bradley, LAL
Bradley is probable with an illness.
Rajon Rondo, LAL
Rondo is questionable with a finger injury. Alex Caruso would see some extra backup point guard minutes if Rondo sits.
Mario Hezonja, POR
Hezonja is questionable with a lower-back contusion. Nassir Little could enjoy some extra minutes in the forward rotation if Hezonja sits.
Dante Exum, CLE
Exum will not play due to illness. Matthew Dellavedova could see some extra run as a backup point guard as a result.
Nerlens Noel, OKC
Notable Longer-Term Injuries/Absences: Joel Embiid, PHI; Victor Oladipo, IND; Richaun Holmes, SAC; Otto Porter Jr., CHI; Wendell Carter Jr., CHI; Zion Williamson, NOP; Darius Miller, NOP; Jonathan Isaac, ORL; Al-Farouq Aminu, ORL; Luke Kennard, DET; Blake Griffin, DET; Reggie Jackson, DET; Jusuf Nurkic, POR; Zach Collins, POR; Skal Labissiere, POR; Robert Williams III, BOS; Larry Nance Jr., CLE; Kevin Porter Jr., CLE; Dylan Windler, CLE; Andre Roberson, OKC; Jake Layman, MIN
We have a quintet of five-figure players on the slate Monday, but four of them – Anthony Davis (back), LeBron James (illness), Karl-Anthony Towns (knee) and Hassan Whiteside (illness) – carry injury designations. The good news is both James and Whiteside are probable, so we're likely to have at least half of that group at our disposal. Meanwhile, Towns was ruled out early Monday afternoon. Andre Drummond ($10K) rounds out the five-figure club and should continue to see solid roster rates in the ongoing absence of Blake Griffin (knee).
It's also worth noting Brandon Ingram ($9.1K) is the only player in the $9K range and has seen a $600 price drop from his last game, yet he could well be playing without Jrue Holiday (elbow), J.J. Redick (hamstring) and Derrick Favors (hamstring) on Monday. However, as of early Monday afternoon, Ingram is now questionable himself due to a knee injury.
With 14 teams in action Monday, most of the chalk is going to stem from injury-related absences as opposed to positional scarcity. That would especially be true if Anthony Davis misses another game, which would intensify the ownership of LeBron James (probable, illness) and Kyle Kuzma. Meanwhile, Karl-Anthony Towns' confirmed absence is likely to keep the popularity of both Gorgui Dieng and Andrew Wiggins high. Then, the multiple absences on the Pelicans could certainly send the ownership of Lonzo Ball soaring.
Key and Likely Underowned Values
Edmond Sumner, IND vs. PHI ($3,600)
Malcolm Brogdon is already questionable with an illness for Monday's game, but even if Brogdon plays, Sumner is still an intriguing option at just $100 above minimum price. Sumner has logged 19 and 22 minutes in the last two games and scored 21.2 and 25.0 FanDuel points in those contests, seeing double-digit minutes in eight of his last 10 contests overall. The third-year guard's production hasn't exactly been consistent, however, so ownership is likely to remain very modest, especially with a decent-sized slate. It's also worth noting the 76ers have allowed the third-highest shooting percentage (46.8) to opposing second units, another factor in Sumner's favor.
Nicolo Melli, NO at DET ($3,600)
Melli has been a beneficiary of the recent absences of Kenrich Williams (back), who's already confirmed out. Now, starting power forward Brandon Ingram (knee) is also questionable as of Monday afternoon due to a knee issue, which could really expand Melli's minutes. The big man has totaled 13.5 and 21.0 FanDuel points in the last two games, and brings some nice floor-spacing ability as well. The Pistons are also ranked in the bottom 10 in offensive efficiency rating (45.5) allowed to opposing second units, and they've allowed the highest shooting percentage (50.8), including the highest three-point percentage (42.2 percent), to power forwards.
Other likely higher-owned value plays to consider: Buddy Hield, SAC($5,800); Evan Fournier, ORL ($5,600); Markelle Fultz, ORL ($5,500); Dennis Schroder, OKC ($5,400); Lauri Markkanen, CHI ($5,400); Enes Kanter, BOS ($5,100); T.J. Warren, IND ($5,100); Bruce Brown, DET ($4,900); Daniel Gafford, CHI ($4,800); Kyle Kuzma, LAL ($4,700); Harrison Barnes, SAC ($4,500); Gorgui Dieng, MIN ($4,500); Jaxson Hayes, NOP ($4,300); Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, DET ($4,100)