This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
This is my first Sunday article without real football! That leaves us with six games on the main slate, which is one of the biggest schedules we've had. While that number will surely sink next week with the big game going on, more games will be commonplace for the rest of the season without any NFL competition. With that in mind, let's get into this slate.
ATL vs. WSH: This game could be wild. We have the two worst defenses in the NBA playing against each other in what's expected to be a close game. That's evident by this 240-point total and 1.5-point spread in favor of Atlanta.
NOP vs. BOS: It's strange to see a 17-28 team as a favorite against a 30-14 team, but that has a lot to do with the injuries. That hasn't been confirmed yet, but I anticipate this spread being extremely tight. We'll go over the injury situation more later, but it should be interesting to see a 28th-ranked Pelicans' defense play against a top-5 Celtics' D.
NYK vs. BRK: In the battle of New York, we have Brooklyn entering this matchup as a 1.5-point road favorite with a 222-point total. This also represents two poor offenses, with NY sitting 27th in offensive efficiency and Brooklyn ranked 25th.
ORL vs. LAC: The contrast of styles is interesting in this game, with Orlando ranked 28th in pace and Los Angeles in eighth. With that said, they both rank top-8 in defensive efficiency, likely making for a low-scoring game.
MEM vs. PHX: This should be another high-scoring affair, with both ranked top-10 in pace. That would be one thing, but they also sit bottom-10 in points allowed. That's why we have a 236-point total with Memphis entering this matchup as a 2.5-point favorite.
POR vs. IND: Portland is really struggling right now, which is scary considering Indiana has won seven of their last eight games. We have a Portland side ranked 25th in both points allowed and defensive efficiency facing Indiana and their top-10 marks in both categories. With that said, this is anticipated to be a close game based on the minimal spread.
PG: Trae Young and Damian Lillard are two of the best plays on the board just shy of $10,000. Kyrie Irving is next at $8,700 while Lonzo Ball, Kemba Walker and Ja Morant all sit right around $7,000. Ricky Rubio, Elfrid Payton and Markelle Fultz all represent good values below $6,000, while T.J. McConnell, Aaron Holiday and Landry Shamet are good punt plays below $5,000.
SG: Devin Booker and Bradley Beal come in as the cream of the crop and we'll go over that more later. Jrue Holiday and C.J. McCollum follow up, but both are tough to trust in difficult matchups. Lou Williams is in play at $6,100 with Paul George out again. If you're looking for someone cheaper, pivot to Evan Fournier, Dillon Brooks or Kevin Huerter.
SF: This is the shallowest position, with Brandon Ingram up top at $8,400. Kelly Oubre and Carmelo Anthony follow him below $7,000. Gordon Hayward and T.J. Warren make nice values right around $6,000, while Trevor Ariza is one of the best values at $4,100.
PF: Kawhi Leonard enters as the highest-priced player on the slate at $10,200 and rightfully so. Domantas Sabonis, Jayson Tatum, Julius Randle and John Collins are all intriguing between $7,500 and $8,300. Jarrett Allen is a great value at $6,000 and so is Derrick Favors at $5,200.
C: The six-highest priced players at center are all separated by $700 or $800. It goes as follows: Hassan Whiteside, Nikola Vucevic, Deandre Ayton, Jonas Valanciunas, Montrezl Harrell and Ian Mahinmi. Myles Turner is also worth a shot at $5,000.
Injuries to Monitor
DeAndre Jordan/Nicolas Claxton (BRK): Both of these big men could sit here. If that's the case, Jarrett Allen would be guaranteed about 30 minutes of play. Claxton actually looks likely to suit up, but that shouldn't alter Allen's minutes as much as Jordan.
D.J. Augustin/Jonathan Isaac (ORL): Both of these guys are out with long-term leg injuries. Markelle Fultz has been averaging over 30 minutes a game in the absence of Augustin, while Khem Birch has been starting for Isaac.
Paul George/Patrick Beverley (LAC): There's a chance both of these guys could play with hamstring injuries. But if they don't, Kawhi Leonard should be a monster after recording his first-triple-double on Friday. (NOTE: Since this was submitted, George has been ruled out!)
C.J. McCollum (POR): McCollum is questionable with an ankle sprain. While Anfernee Simons and Gary Trent have been covering his minutes, Damian Lillard has been the highest scoring player in fantasy since McCollum went down.
These guys are priced just $100 apart at point guard and picking between the two is going to be key. While Lillard is arguably the hottest player in the league right now, we're going to go with Young. The reason for that is because of the matchups. Dame has to face a seventh-ranked Pacers' defense while Young squares off against a club who ranks last in both points allowed and defensive efficiency. Young has actually been the more productive player and the spread/total makes him the more intriguing option. He's actually one of the best plays on the board and will be in every single one of my lineups.
Choosing between these two shooting guards is tough. They both boast great matchups and both have been going off recently. But we're going to go with is Beal. The reason for that is because he's $500 cheaper and gets a slightly better matchup. Beal faces an Atlanta club who sits 29th in total defense while surrendering the most fantasy points in the league to opposing shooting guards. That doesn't even take into consideration Beal averaging 2.96 more FD points per game than Booker.
Damian Lillard, POR ($9,700)
How is Lillard not going to be chalky? Over the last two games, Lillard has collected 108 points, 16 rebounds and 15 assists while playing 87 minutes and taking 65 shots. That's about two weeks of production for many players and it's clear people are going to keep riding him in the midst of this absurd stretch. If McCollum is out again, don't be surprised to see Lillard at 50 percent ownership or higher. Even if he does play, Lillard is still looking at monster coverage and that makes him an even bigger fade.
Trevor Ariza, POR ($4,100)
People will surely take notice of the trade and DFS owners are smart enough to know this price is ridiclous. We're talking about someone who played 35 minutes in his debut and dropped 37 fantasy points. Those 35 minutes may be the floor for Ariza considering just how thin Portland's wing rotation is right now. That will make him highly-owned and I can't necessarily argue with swallowing that chalk.
Elfrid Payton, NYK ($5,800)
Payton enters this matchup scoring at least 33 FanDuel points in four straight and that directly correlates with RJ Barrett getting injured. To put it simply, Payton has been handling the ball much more with the rookie off the floor. That's big news in a matchup like this, with Brooklyn surrendering the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing point guards this season. Ricky Rubio is also a fantastic value at just $100 more against an awful Grizzlies' defense.
Jarrett Allen, BRK ($6,000)
If you look at games where Jordan has sat, Allen has been one of the best big men in the NBA. In fact, The Fro is averaging 39 FanDuel points per game in the seven games Jordan's missed. If he can do that at this price, Allen would be one of the best values on the board. Not to mention, he gets to face a 25th-ranked Knicks' defense.