This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
We have an unusually large slate for a Sunday, as nine games are on tap in the evening portion of the ledger. This is excellent news from a DFS perspective, considering it offers no shortage of lineup options at every part of the salary scale. However, there is an extensive injury report that lists several notable names and therefore figures to thin out the player pool.
The slight downgrade to the overall landscape caused by some of those confirmed and likely absences is partly offset by the expectation of several high-scoring games, with four of the five boasting over/unders as of early Sunday with projected totals north of 220 points.
Here's a closer look at the three games with the highest projected totals on Sunday evening's slate:
Portland Trail Blazers at Dallas Mavericks (Projected total: 237.5 points)
The Blazers are both scoring and allowing plenty of points, as they check into Sunday with averages of 115.2 points per game on offense while allowing 115.1 points. The Mavs aren't far behind in either category by posting 112.7 and 114.4 marks. Neither squad is shooting very efficiently, but each arrives with a multi-game winning streak in tow and an elite scorer apiece in Damian Lillard and Luka Doncic. Both teams' pace rank in the bottom half of the league, but it's worth noting Dallas has put up between 127 and 143 points in three of the last four games.
Minnesota Timberwolves at Toronto Raptors (Projected total: 229.5 points)
The Timberwolves have scored a respectable 112 and 114 points in their first two games with Karl-Anthony Towns back in the fold, but those two have come against a couple of solid defensive squads in the Clippers and Hornets. The Raptors might be more yielding, considering they allow 111.9 points per game - including 116.0 over the last three. Toronto also offers plenty of offensive firepower with which to attack Minnesota's defensive deficiencies, with the Raps managing 114.0 points per game and the T-Wolves allowing 115.8.
San Antonio Spurs at Charlotte Hornets (Projected total: 229.0 points)
This total seems somewhat elevated for a pair of teams both ranked just inside the top half of the league in points allowed (San Antonio-111.5 PPG/ Charlotte-111.3 PPG). The Hornets have been even tougher at home, surrendering just 109.1 per Spectrum Center contest. And the Spurs have been at their best on defense when traveling by only giving up 109.5 points per game. San Antonio will also still be missing LaMarcus Aldridge, although Jakob Poeltl has notched a trio of double-digit scoring tallies in his five starts in Aldridge's stead thus far.
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.
LeBron James, LAL (ankle)/ Status: PROBABLE
James is expected to continue playing through his probable designation Sunday and would benefit from a bump in usage if Anthony Davis (Achilles) were to sit out.
Anthony Davis, LAL (Achilles)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Davis played through his Achilles issue Friday and scored 35 points in 35 minutes, so there appears to be a good chance he plays without restrictions Sunday. If he sits, Kyle Kuzma is likely to start in his place and LeBron James should particularly see a boost in usage.
Paul George, LAC (toe)/ Status: OUT
George's ongoing absence Sunday should afford Reggie Jackson another start at shooting guard.
De'Aaron Fox, SAC (knee)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
If Fox sits out a second straight game Sunday, Tyrese Haliburton would likely see another start at point guard.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, OKC (knee)/ Status: OUT
Gilgeous-Alexander's ongoing absence Sunday should afford Hamidou Diallo a fourth straight start after averaging 17.0 points, 9.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.0 block over his last three contests.
Jamal Murray, DEN (ankle)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Murray suffered a sprained ankle in Friday's win over the Thunder, If he's forced to sit out Sunday, Monte Morris would presumably enter the starting five at point guard.
Jrue Holiday, MIL (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: OUT
Mason Plumlee, DET (elbow)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
If Plumlee's absence extends to three games, Isaiah Stewart is slated to see another start at center.
D'Angelo Russell, MIN (quadriceps)/ Status: OUT
LaMarcus Aldridge, SAN (hip) Status: OUT
Jakob Poeltl will continue to start in Aldridge's absence Sunday, while the remainder of the Spurs' first unit should see increased responsibility to varying degree.
Other notable injuries:
Evan Fournier, ORL (back)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Cole Anthony, ORL (shoulder)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Marvin Bagley, SAC (calf)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Brandon Clarke, MEM (calf)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
OG Anunoby, TOR (calf)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Will Barton, DEN (personal)/ Status: OUT
Josh Hart, NOP (back)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
James Ennis, ORL (groin)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Rodney Hood, POR (foot)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
PJ Washington, CHA (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: DOUBTFUL
Theo Maledon, OKC (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: OUT
Frank Mason, ORL (groin)/ Status: OUT
Desmond Bane, MEM (personal)/ Status: OUT
De'Anthony Melton, MEM (shoulder)/ Status: OUT
Jarrett Culver, MIN (ankle)/ Status: OUT
Gary Harris, DEN (thigh)/ Status: OUT
Nickeil Alexander-Walker (ankle)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
There are five players with five-figure salaries on Sunday's slate, beginning with Luka Doncic ($11,300) and continuing with Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,200), Nikola Jokic ($10,600), LeBron James ($10,400) and Kawhi Leonard ($10,200). While all five are naturally excellent options, it's particularly worth noting Doncic is involved in the game with the highest projected total of the slate and offers an excellent positional matchup while Leonard will once again be taking the floor without Paul George (foot). James could be in a similar situation if Anthony Davis sits out and his usage could be especially high in what projects as a highly competitive contest versus the Nuggets.
There are also several players with salaries in the high four-figures that offer the ability to deliver elite scores, including Nikola Vucevic ($9,900), Anthony Davis ($9,800), Karl-Anthony Towns ($9,500), Damian Lillard ($9,500), Pascal Siakam ($8,800), Fred VanVleet ($8,500) and Zion Williamson ($8,300). From that group, Vucevic is coming off a tally of 63.8 FD points against the Kings, while Towns looks like he hasn't missed a beat in his first two back from his 13-game absence. Lillard, Siakam and VanVleet are all in very good positional matchups and game environments, giving them a chance to outperform their robust salaries.
All of the names mentioned in Elite Players section are naturally going to be very popular Sunday, but there should be little trouble differentiating sufficiently in tournaments with 18 teams in action. In terms of other injury-influenced chalk, Malik Beasley, DeMar DeRozan, Hamidou Diallo and Khris Middleton should all see some additional clicks on their names due to the absences of Russell, Aldridge, Gilgeous-Alexander and Holiday, respectively. Monte Morris should also be a popular value option if Jamal Murray sits out for the Nuggets.
Kyle Anderson, MEM at SAC ($5,900)
Anderson has scored 30.8 to 40.8 FD points in the last four games and has exceeded 30 FD points on three other occasions over the last 10. The versatile veteran is averaging a very well-rounded 13.2 points on 51.0 percent shooting, 5.3 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.3 steals across 26.5 minutes over the latter span, offering a glimpse of his ability to consistently stuff the stat sheet. Sunday's matchup against the Kings bodes well for an extension of that success, considering Sacramento is allowing 49.0 percent shooting on its home floor, a Western Conference-high 118.4 points per contest and 52.1 FD points per game to small forwards.
Jakob Poeltl, SA at CHA ($5,800)
Poeltl is set for another start at center Sunday with LaMarcus Aldridge (hip) out once again and the young big will have a chance to continue what has been a solid five-game starting stint. He's averaging 10.6 points, 9.4 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per contest across 28.2 minutes over that span while scoring 38.2 to 45.9 FD points in three of those appearances. Poeltl has also produced multiple blocks in four of those games, while the opposing Hornets come in allowing the fourth-most FD points per game (45.9) and the most blocks per contest (2.2) over the last 10.
Gary Trent, POR at DAL ($5,800)
Speaking of players thriving in the absence of injured teammates, Trent certainly qualifies as he's enjoyed a successful 10-game starting role in place of CJ McCollum (foot). Trent is averaging 20.0 points - including 47.3 percent shooting from three-point range - 3.0 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.1 steals across 36.4 minutes over that span, eclipsing 30 FD points in five of them. That body of work makes his salary Sunday somewhat surprising and it makes him even more appealing when also factoring in he'll be part of a game with a projected total of nearly 240 points. The Mavericks are also giving up 56.3 percent shooting and 49.3 FD points per game to two-guards over the last five contests, furthering Trent's case.
Other value plays to consider: Tyrese Haliburton, SAC vs. MEM ($6,100); Montrezl Harrell, LAC at DEN ($5,900); Josh Jackson, DET vs. NO ($5,700); Serge Ibaka, LAC vs. CLE ($5,500); Miles Bridges, CHA vs. SA ($5,400); Dario Saric, PHO vs. ORL ($3,800)