FanDuel NBA: Sunday Value Plays

FanDuel NBA: Sunday Value Plays

This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.

Sunday's main slate brings us a solid tally of six games, which is typically enough to help us sufficiently differentiate in tournaments. But, there are plenty of intriguing health questions leading to tip-off this evening, particularly on the Celtics where the team's COVID issues endanger the statuses of both Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, among others. We could also see the Nets potentially get back to full strength after missing both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving the last while.

The good news for DFS purposes despite the uncertain status of some of the biggest names on the ledger is that there is plenty of offense expected. As of Sunday morning, four games have projected totals of 225 points or higher.

With plenty of injury news, value plays and other developments to break down, let's dive into Sunday's six-game main slate!

Slate Overview

Here's a further look at the three games with the highest projected totals:

Toronto Raptors at Golden State Warriors (Projected total: 233.5 points) 

It's no surprise to see a game involving these squads as the highest-projected scoring contest of the slate, considering the Raptors check in allowing 113.4 points per contest while the Warriors are even more generous with 117.9 per game allowed. The Dubs are also playing at the league's second-fastest pace at 108.8 possessions per game, which represents a nice bump for Toronto with their 105.2 average. There's also a solid number of healthy scorers available on either side, even if Andrew Wiggins (quadriceps) is forced to sit out for Golden State. 

San Antonio Spurs at Minnesota Timberwolves (Projected total: 233.0 points) 

This is an interesting total from the standpoint that each squad's legs could be a bit fatigued after going five quarters Saturday in a 125-122 win for San Antonio. Nevertheless, oddsmakers are clearly expecting that potential sluggishness to simply lead to another healthy allotment of points. And with Karl-Anthony Towns coming back for Minnesota and showing no rust, the T-Wolves certainly offer enhanced offensive upside. The fact each squad also ranks in the bottom-10 in points allowed - Minnesota at 122.2 per contest and San Antonio at 115.0 - certainly helps make the case for this number. 

Oklahoma City Thunder at Brooklyn Nets (Projected total: 225.0 points) 

Kevin Durant is probable to return for the Nets on Sunday while Kyrie Irving is at least questionable. The likely presence of at least Durant naturally ups offensive expectations for the Nets, while the Thunder have been playing surprisingly well and features one of the best up-and-coming scorers in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander - who's thriving as a centerpiece this season. Both teams have actually played solid defense, but oddsmakers are likely counting on at least Durant to help boost offensive production. This game will also bring a big boost in pace for the OKC, as the Nets are averaging the third-most possessions per game at 108.3.

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, 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. 

Key Injuries

Kevin Durant, BKN (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: PROBABLE 

Durant has tested negative for COVID-19 and is expected to play. His already robust usage would go to another level should Kyrie Irving (personal) sit out.

LeBron James, LAL (ankle)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

James has continued playing through this injury designation and is expected to do so again Sunday.

Kyrie Irving, BKN (personal)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

Irving has been upgraded to questionable after missing the last two games, with a final word on his status expected closer to tip-off. 

Anthony Davis, LAL (hip)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

Davis missed Friday's game against the Bulls and is legitimately questionable for Sunday. Markieff Morris and Montrezl Harrell would likely be the biggest beneficiaries if he sits out again. 

Jayson Tatum, BOS (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: DOUBTFUL 

It was reported Saturday Tatum would quarantine for 10-to-14 days, but the Celtics have momentarily clouded the issue by listing him as doubtful and not out. If Tatum misses as expected, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart would likely be the two players with the biggest boosts in overall usage - although other players such as Jeff Teague and Daniel Theis would also likely see increased offensive responsibility.

Jaylen Brown, BOS (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

Brown apparently offers a better chance to suit up than Tatum and would be in line for an even bigger role than usual if he does play and Tatum sits out as expected. 

Michael Porter, DEN (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: OUT 

Porter remains in quarantine and will not play, continuing to afford Will Barton expanded opportunity.

Andrew Wiggins, GSW (quadriceps)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

If Wiggins sits out, Jordan Poole and Damion Lee would be the likeliest beneficiaries in terms of playing time, while the remaining members of the starting five would enjoy a slight usage bump. 

Tristan Thompson, BOS (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: OUT 

Thompson's expected ongoing absence should continue affording both Daniel Theis and Tacko Fall extra run.

Other injuries of note 

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (ankle)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

Ben McLemore, HOU (ankle)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE

Danuel House, HOU (back)/ Status: OUT

Meyers Leonard, MIA (shoulder)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE

Josh Okogie, MIN (hamstring)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE

Tyler Johnson, BKN (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: OUT 

Robert Williams, BOS (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: OUT

Grant Williams, BOS (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: OUT

Kevon Looney, GSW (hip)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

Kevin Knox, NYK (knee)/ Status: PROBABLE

Frank Ntilikina, NYK (knee)/ Status: OUT

Taj Gibson, NYK (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: OUT  

Obi Toppin, NYK (calf)/ Status: OUT

Javonte Green, BOS (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE  

Semi Ojeleye, BOS (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

Ty Jerome, OKC (ankle)/ Status: OUT

NOTABLE LONG-TERM INJURIES: Kemba Walker, BOS (knee); Derrick White, SAN (foot); Alec Burks, NYK (ankle); Nicolas Claxton, BKN (knee); Trevor Ariza, OKC (personal); Cody Zeller, CHA (hand); Romeo Langford, BOS (wrist); Patrick McCaw, TOR (knee)

Elite Players

Despite only six games on the main slate, there are six players with five-figure salaries Sunday. Nikola Jokic ($11,500) sits up top, followed by James Harden ($11,200), LeBron James ($10,400), Karl-Anthony Towns ($10,200), Anthony Davis ($10,200) and Stephen Curry ($10,000). Of that group, James and Davis carry questionable tags as already explained, with a Davis absence seemingly more plausible considering he actually sat out Friday. In contrast, James has been listed as questionable many times this season with his ankle issue and played through. Meanwhile, Towns may prove to be an excellent fantasy-point-per-dollar play, considering he showed no rust or limitations while coming back from a six-game absence Saturday against the Spurs while posting a 25-point, 13-rebound double-double over 37 minutes.

There's also plenty of potential for elite production from a number of four-figure-salaried players, beginning with Kevin Durant ($9,900) and continuing with Jayson Tatum ($9,600), Kyrie Irving ($9,500), Julius Randle ($9,400) and Christian Wood ($8,800), just to name a few. There's a good deal of uncertainty in both Tatum's and Irving's cases, with the former listed as doubtful due to COVID-19 protocol and the latter a game-time decision after missing the last two contests due to personal reasons.  

Expected Chalk

All of the names mentioned in Elite Players section are naturally going to be very popular on Sunday's main slate. And with only 12 teams on the floor, there could be even more congregating on these big names than usual.

And if Irving and/or Durant are ruled out, remaining Nets' starters should enjoy an extra level of popularity as would either superstar if playing without their teammate. The same naturally applies to James and Davis on the Lakers, as both also sport injury designations.

Finally, with Jayson Tatum likely to sit out against the Heat, Jaylen Brown - if he's able to suit up due to COVID-19 protocols - would also be extremely popular.

Key Values   

Dejounte Murray, SA at MIN ($6,600) 

Murray excelled against this same Timberwolves squad Saturday by posting 48.8 FD points on the strength of a 22-point, 14-rebound double-double over 40 minutes. There's some concern about energy level with him having to come right back to play less than 24 hours later, but the combination of his youth, an equally fatigued T-Wolves team and the overall matchup is difficult to resist when also factoring in his reasonable salary. Murray has already exceeded 5x his current salary in five of nine outings, and he came very close by putting up 30.6 FD points two games ago versus the Lakers. What's more, the Timberwolves check in surrendering the fifth-highest offensive efficiency rating to backcourts at 56.4 - including an astronomical 49.7 percent overall shooting and league-high 44.7 percent shooting from three-point range.

Elfrid Payton, NYK vs. DEN ($5,500)

Payton is another player highly capable of outpacing his current salary and with a track record of already doing so this season on multiple occasions. As with Murray, Payton has generated more than 5x his current salary in five of nine games, and two of the four in which he didn't were the first pair of contests where he played just 22 and 18 minutes. Payton is more aggressive offensively this season so far than at any point in his career, leading to a slight downturn in assists but resulting in a career-best 14.8 points per game on a career-high 13.6 shot attempts. He's even draining a career-best 35.0 percent of his three-point attempts and Sunday faces a Nuggets squad allowing an NBA-high 37.2 percent offensive efficiency rating to point guards, along with the most points (32.9), second-most assists (11.0) and fifth-highest shooting percentage (50.2). 

Kelly Olynyk, MIA at BOS ($5,000) 

Olynyk is enjoying one of his best seasons by shooting a career-high 41.3 percent from three-point range while contributing across the stat sheet. The floor-spacing big man put up only 17.0 FD points two games ago in his first meeting with the Celtics, but he's scored 24.0 to 36.7 FD points in five of his other six this campaign. Olynyk's salary remains highly reasonable, and he's averaging a career-high 26.1 minutes per game while currently holding down the starting power forward spot. Boston is depleted at the moment with Jayson Tatum expected to miss Sunday's contest, while the Celtics also come in allowing elevated 37.4 percent three-point shooting to frontcourt players this season.

Other value plays to consider: Malik Beasley, MIN vs. SA ($5,500); Tyler Herro, MIA at BOS ($5,200); Eric Gordon, HOU vs. LAL ($5,200); Dennis Schroder, LAL at HOU ($5,100); Austin Rivers, NYK vs. DEN ($4,800): Duncan Robinson, MIA at BOS ($4,600); Gary Harris, DEN at NYK ($3,900) 

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Juan Carlos Blanco plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: jcblanco22, FanDuel: jc_blanco22, DraftPot: jc_blanco22, FantasyDraft: jc_blanco22, OwnThePlay: jcblanco22.
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Juan Carlos Blanco
Winner of the FSWA 2016 Newcomer of the Year Award, Juan Carlos Blanco has been playing fantasy sports for over 20 years and covers NBA, MLB, NFL, CFL and Arena Football for, including serving as the beat writer for teams in multiple sports. He has previously written for and remains an avid season-long and daily fantasy player in multiple sports as well.
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