This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
The All-Star break was one of the best in recent memory, with spectacular performances across the board on Saturday and Sunday. That has us ready to roll for the final months of the season, so let's go ahead and get into it!
DEN vs. MIN: This is expected to be the most lopsided game on the slate, and rightfully so. The defenses are what separate these teams, with Denver sitting fifth in points allowed and Minnesota ranked 27th. That's why the Nuggets enter this matchup as a 12.5-point favorite with a 227-point total.
TOR vs. IND: This game features two of the best defenses in the NBA, with both clubs ranking top-10 in both points allowed and defensive efficiency. That's why we're looking at a 4.5-point spread in favor of Toronto and a 219-point total.
CHI vs. WSH: Any Washington game is intriguing, with the Wizards sitting last in both points allowed and defensive efficiency while ranked fifth in pace. That's why we have differing spreads with all of them being within a one-point margin and a 232-point total.
OKC vs. SAN: Oklahoma City enters this matchup as a 5.5-point favorite with a total of 221. These teams have already played twice, splitting both meetings in San Antonio.
GS vs. NOP: New Orleans is one of the hottest teams in the league, which is why they enter this matchup as a 7.5-point road favorite. It should be an offensive showcase, with the Pelicans ranked 28th in points allowed and Golden State sitting 25th in defensive efficiency. That's why this 238-point total represents the highest on the slate.
POR vs. DET: Portland just got blown out in their first game without Damian Lillard on Friday, but should be in a good spot here. In fact, they enter this matchup as a 5.5-point favorite with a 225-point total. Also, both teams rank outside the top-20 In defensive efficiency.
PG: It's rare to say this, but point guard is one of the weakest positions on the board. That's evident when you see that Jamal Murray, Chris Paul and Kyle Lowry are the highest ones below $8,000. Lonzo Ball, Dejounte Murray and Malcolm Brogdon all sit right around $6,000. If you want cheaper guys, look at Tomas Satoransky, Ish Smith, Derrick Rose and Coby White.
SG: Bradley Beal and Zach LaVine sit up top here, and we'll go more in-depth on that later. Jrue Holiday, DeMar DeRozan and C.J. McCollum all make good plays in the $7,000s. Fred VanVleet and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander are viable right below $7,000, while Malik Beasley, Bruce Brown and Jordan Poole make for solid cheap candidates.
SF: Pascal Siakam, Brandon Ingram and Andrew Wiggins are the cream of the crop here right around $8,000. The middle-tier consists of T.J. Warren, Danilo Gallinari and Will Barton. Carmelo Anthony, Trevor Ariza and Juancho Hernangomez are all in play around $5,000.
PF: This position is full of good plays. Domantas Sabonis is up top, with Zion Williamson, LaMarcus Aldridge and Christian Wood following him up in that order right around $8,000. Serge Ibaka and Thaddeus Young sit around $6,000, while Eric Paschall, Paul Millsap and Naz Reid make for promising cheap selections.
C: Nikola Jokic comes in as the highest-priced player on the slate at $10,500. Hassan Whiteside is next at $9,000, while Steven Adams follows up at $6,300. Marquese Chriss, Derrick Favors, Myles Turner and Thomas Bryant are all in play in terms of cheaper guys.
Injuries to Monitor
Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN): Towns will be out for at least two weeks because of a wrist injury. Naz Reid started in his absence on Friday and should continue to play 30 minutes, making him a great value.
Norman Powell/Marc Gasol (TOR): Both of these guys are returning soon, but both are still expected to sit here. Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, Serge Ibaka and Pascal Siakam have all boosted their usages with the duo sidelined.
Chicago: Pretty much the whole team is on the injury report. The guys we expect to sit are Chandler Hutchison, Wendell Carter Jr, Otto Porter, Kris Dunn and Lauri Markkanen. Look for Zach LaVine to take on the most usage and for Thaddeus Young and Tomas Satoransky to see a boost too.
Draymond Green/Marquese Chriss (GS): Green has already been ruled out with a pelvic injury while Chriss is questionable. That significantly increases the value of Andrew Wiggins, Jordan Poole and Eric Paschall.
Portland: This is another team with a boatload of injured players, with Damian Lillard, Jusuf Nurkic, Zach Collins and Rodney Hood all missing this game. That makes C.J. McCollum the focal point while asking big minutes from Carmelo Anthony, Trevor Ariza, Gary Trent Jr and Hassan Whiteside.
These are the two-highest priced players at the shooting guard position, separated by just $300. LaVine is actually the cheaper one at $9,200, and he's the one I prefer. The main reason for that is the matchup, with the Wizards sitting dead-last in both points allowed and defensive efficiency. That was evident when he scored 59 Dream11 points against them in the final game before the break and also when he scored 49 fantasy points during their prior meeting about a month ago. Over Beal's last two games against the Bulls, he's averaging fewer than 40 FanDuel points - in case you needed any more incentive to use LaVine.
C.J. McCollum, POR ($7,000)
McCollum might be looking at 50 percent ownership here and rightfully so. The reason for that is because Damian Lillard is out, making McCollum the primary ball-handler for the Blazers. With Dame off the floor, C.J. leads the team with a 31 percent usage rate and provided 27 points, six rebounds and 10 assists in the first game without him on Friday. It might be chalk that you have to swallow.
Nikola Jokic, DEN ($10,500)
With limited center options on this slate, Jokic will be highly owned with everyone rostering just one at the position. The reason for that is a combination between his form and matchup. Not only has the big man scored at least 41 FanDuel points in 13 straight, but he's also averaging 56.2 fantasy points per game over that span. That's bad news for a 27th-ranked T'Wolves defense without KAT.
Derrick Rose, DET ($5,300)
With Reggie Jackson and Markieff Morris being waived, there's simply not much in Rose's way. That doesn't even take into consideration Blake Griffin and Luke Kennard being injured while Andre Drummond is in Cleveland. That leaves a team full of nobodies and it's no surprise Rose leads this current roster with a 33 percent usage rate. That monster usage has also led to some great fantasy production recently, as he's averaged over 32 FanDuel points per game across his last 26 outings despite struggling in his last two. That looks even better when you consider Rose faces a 26th-ranked Portland defense.
Jordan Poole, GS ($4,400)
Poole has been asked to take over starting point guard duties in the absence of Stephen Curry and it's led to the best production of his career. In his last two starts, Poole is averaging 24 fantasy points while playing 32 minutes in both outings. That's no surprise when you see he's scored at least 21 FanDuel points in five straight overall, averaging 26 fantasy points per game during that stretch. All of that makes this price tag truly shocking and we can't overlook the fact he faces a New Orleans squad who sits third in pace, 23rd in defensive efficiency and 28th in points allowed.