This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
FanDuel offers up a four-game main slate Sunday night, one that is headlined by a Pacers-Clippers late matchup. Although there are some notable names already ruled out, there are still plenty of big names taking the floor and enough to help us build balanced rosters for both cash games and tournaments.
As of early Sunday morning, three of the four games list spreads of 3.5 points or less. That predicts the type of competitive games we always prefer to see for DFS purposes, considering they tend to keep star players on the floor for hefty minutes.
Here's a further look at the two games with the projected totals on the board at FanDuel Sportsbook as of Sunday morning:
New Orleans Pelicans at Sacramento Kings (Projected total: 229.0 points)
The Kings come in allowing an NBA-high 123.2 points per game and are tied with the Spurs for highest three-point percentage allowed (39.8), making them a natural fit to be part of the night's potential highest-scoring contest. Sacramento is also ranked in the top half of the league with their average of 113.6 points per game. And while the Pelicans will be down Lonzo Ball (knee) once again, there should still be enough skilled scorers on both sides to potentially see this matchup live up to expectation.
Utah Jazz at Denver Nuggets (Projected total: 220.0 points)
Oddsmakers expect some points to be scored here despite the fact the Jazz are allowing the fourth-fewest points per game (105.4), including an NBA-low 88.3 over the last three. However, Denver is surrendering 115.1 points per home game, and the Nuggets are also scoring the fifth-most points per contest (116.2). Donovan Mitchell, Bojan Bogdanovic, Rudy Gobert, Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic are just some of the talented pieces that could help the points pile up.
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.
Joel Embiid, PHI (knee)/ Status: OUT
Al Horford, OKC (personal)/ Status: OUT
Horford's third straight absence will afford Isaiah Roby another start at center.
Lonzo Ball, NOP (knee)/ Status: OUT
Ball's ongoing injury should allow Nickeil Alexander-Walker another start at point guard.
Michael Porter (COVID-19 protocol)/ Status: OUT
Porter's ongoing absence will continue affording Will Barton a starting small forward role.
Caris LeVert, IND (kidney)/ Status: OUT
LeVert is out for the foreseeable future due to the kidney mass that was discovered during his recent intake physical.
Joe Ingles, UTA (Achilles)/ Status: OUT
Marvin Bagley, SAC (wrist)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
If Bagley is forced to sit out Sunday, Nemanja Bjelica is likely to draw a spot start at power forward.
Seth Curry, PHI (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: OUT
Lou Williams, LAC (hip)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Hassan Whiteside, SAC (hip)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
There's only one five-figure salary on Sunday's slate, which belongs to Nikola Jokic ($11,200). The Joker is in a theoretically tough matchup against Rudy Gobert, but remains very much under consideration due to his unique skill set and ability to contribute across the stat sheet.
Some four-figure salary players that also have the ability to produce at an elite level include Domantas Sabonis ($9,600), Kawhi Leonard ($9,400), Malcolm Brogdon ($8,800) and Paul George ($8,700). All four are part of a Pacers-Clippers game that should be competitive. And in terms of positional matchups, Brogdon and George find themselves in the best scenarios.
All the names mentioned in Elite Players section are naturally going to be very popular on Sunday's slate. And with only eight teams in action, all could see even more elevated rostering rates than usual.
There are only a handful of key injuries, but those should lead to making some value plays especially popular. Examples - some of which are covered in the next section - include Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Dwight Howard and Shake Milton.
Jordan Clarkson, UTA at DEN ($5,200)
Clarkson's salary makes him quite the bargain, considering he's provided greater than a 5x return in four of the last five games and five of the last seven overall. The veteran guard has seen at least 25 minutes in four consecutive contests, and he'll be set up for success on paper. The Nuggets rank last in offensive efficiency allowed to point guards, a byproduct of surrendering the most points (32.3), second-most rebounds (7.8), second-most assists (10.2), fourth-most steals (2.4) and highest shooting percentage (51.1) to the position.
Nickeil Alexander-Walker, NO at SAC ($5,100)
Alexander-Walker may see his popularity take a bit of a hit Sunday after he burned plenty Friday with only 13.6 FD points across 20 minutes against the Lakers. However, there were a couple of extenuating circumstances at play, with him getting into serious foul trouble and also committing five turnovers. NAW's salary has come down $400 as a result, and he faces a much more palatable defense on Sunday in another spot start for Lonzo Ball (knee). Sacramento checks in allowing the third-highest offensive efficiency to point guards (31.9), along with an elevated 47.3 percent shooting to the position. Additionally, the Kings are tied with the Spurs for highest three-point shooting percentage surrendered (39.8 percent), and bring a bump in pace for the Pelicans by currently averaging three more possessions per game than New Orleans.
Dwight Howard, PHI at OKC ($4,400)
Joel Embiid will miss a second straight game Sunday due to his knee issues, which should thrust Howard into the starting center role again. The veteran was excellent in that capacity against the Grizzlies on Saturday, posting 40.1 FD points on the strength of an 18-rebound effort. While there's a bit of concern with Howard playing in the second game of a back-to-back set, he hasn't been overly taxed thus far this season and also offers an extremely reasonable salary and keeping him very appealing versus a Thunder squad giving up an NBA-high 62.1 percent shooting to centers. It's also worth noting OKC is allowing the sixth-most points in the paint per contest (49.5), while over 70.0 percent of Howard's scoring comes from that part of the floor.
Other value plays to consider: Shake Milton, PHI at OKC ($6,000); Harrison Barnes, SAC vs.NO ($5,800); Steven Adams, NO at SAC ($5,800); Nicolas Batum, LAC vs. IND ($5,300); Buddy Hield, SAC vs. NO ($5,100); Isaiah Roby, OKC vs. PHI ($4,200)