This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
This Valentine's Day brings us an intriguing nine-game NBA slate on DraftKings.
Nearly every team is dealing with some sort of injury situation, so monitoring news ahead of lock will be crucial to a successful DFS day. If you've got a date and aren't going to be able to make late swaps, it might be best to sit this one out.
San Antonio and Charlotte tip things off at 7 p.m. EST, but I'm most looking to target a few of the later games. The Mavericks and Trail Blazers play each other in what is the highest over/under on the slate, so I definitely want pieces from that contest. I also want to target Denver, the Lakers, Oklahoma City, Milwaukee and Orlando because of their respective injury situations.
There's a lot to process and many ways to go on this Sunday, so let's go ahead and get into the breakdown.
Injury Situations to Monitor
LaMarcus Aldridge, SAN (hip) – Status: OUT
Aldridge is set to miss his sixth consecutive game due to a hip injury. Jakob Poeltl has been starting in place of Aldridge and scored 14 points (7-7 FG) to go with 12 rebounds, three blocks and three steals in Friday's 125-114 victory against Atlanta.
PJ Washington, CHA (COVID-19 protocols) – Status: DOUBTFUL
D'Angelo Russell, MIN (leg) – Status: OUT
Russell did not travel with the Timberwolves on their two-game road trip so will be unavailable Sunday. Ricky Rubio will start in his place at point guard, while Anthony Edwards and Malik Beasley could see more opportunities.
OG Anunoby, TOR (calf) – Status: QUESTIONABLE
Anunoby hasn't played since Jan. 25, but he was able to practice Saturday. He will likely be on a minutes restriction if he returns and eat into Norman Powell's minutes.
Mason Plumlee, DET (elbow) – Status: QUESTIONABLE
Plumlee missed the Pistons' past two games with an elbow injury. Rookie Isaiah Stewart started in his place and could be a value option at his salary of $3,600 should Plumlee sit again.
Josh Hart, NO (back) – Status: QUESTIONABLE
Hart is questionable for Sunday's game against Detroit due to back spasms. He comes off the bench, but plays about 25 minutes consistently. If he is held out, JJ Redick could see more time.
CJ McCollum, POR (foot) – Status: OUT
McCollum has been out since mid-January after suffering a hairline fracture in his left foot. Since he has been out, Gary Trent Jr. has emerged as another scoring option for Portland, while Damian Lillard, Rodney Hood and Anfernee Simons have also benefitted.
Jusuf Nurkic, POR (wrist) – Status: OUT
The Trail Blazers are also missing Nurkic, who had surgery on his wrist this past month. Enes Kanter has been the primary beneficiary, starting at center in Nurkic's stead.
Rodney Hood, POR (foot) – Status: QUESTIONABLE
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, OKC (knee) – Status: OUT
Gilgeous-Alexander will miss his third straight game with a knee injury. Hamidou Diallo should continue to start in his place, while Kenrich Williams should also keep seeing minutes in the high 30s. Theo Maledon (COVID-19 protocols) and George Hill (thumb) are also still sidelined for OKC.
Jrue Holiday, MIL (COVID-19 protocols) – Status: OUT
Evan Fournier, ORL (back) – Status: QUESTIONABLE
Fournier has been out the past four games with this back injury. Aaron Gordon (ankle) is already out, while Cole Anthony (shoulder) and James Ennis (groin) are also questionable. With so much up in the air, monitoring the Magic's injury situation could be a big key to winning the slate.
Anthony Davis, LAL (Achilles) – Status: QUESTIONABLE
Davis missed two games with this Achilles injury before returning Friday against Memphis. He is now questionable again, and Kyle Kuzma will probably see another start if he sits.
Jamal Murray, DEN (ankle) – Status: QUESTIONABLE
Murray suffered a sprained ankle in Friday's victory against Oklahoma City and is now questionable. Monte Morris and R.J. Hampton are in line to see more time should Murray have to sit. Will Barton (personal) and Gary Harris (thigh) have already been ruled out for Denver.
Paul George, LAC (toe) – Status: OUT
De'Aaron Fox, SAC (knee) – Status: QUESTIONABLE
Fox missed Friday's matchup, but has a chance to return Sunday. If he is unable, Tyrese Haliburton should start in his place. If Fox goes, you could likely get him in a spot where not many people will play him.
Brandon Clarke, MEM (calf) – Status: QUESTIONABLE
Guard: Damian Lillard ($9,600)
Lillard had a somewhat disappointing outing in Portland's game against Cleveland, scoring just 20 points (7-16 FG, 0-6 3PT, 6-6 FT) to go with nine assists, three rebounds and a steal. I expect him to bounce back here, and he should continue to carry the load offensively. This game also has the highest over/under of any on the slate, so there is potential for a shootout.
I like pairing Lillard with Luka Doncic ($11,100) if you are able to make salaries work. Like Lillard, Doncic commands most of the usage in Dallas' offense and can break any slate. Most recently, he went for 80.5 fantasy points against New Orleans. Playing both of these players could prove difficult though, so if you're making a choice I'd go with the cheaper Lillard.
Forward: Kawhi Leonard ($9,700)
With no Paul George, I love Leonard in this matchup. Cleveland isn't going to throw anyone at him defensively that could be that much of a threat to slow him down. The only concern to me is that the game blows out and Leonard doesn't get enough minutes to reach value. If it stays close, however, we can expect to see the fire symbol by his name. For this reason, it might make sense to pair Leonard with Collin Sexton ($6,700) or someone else on the Cavaliers.
Center: Giannis Antetokounmpo ($10,900)
If you don't like any of the above options, you might consider paying up for Antetokounmpo.
He is playable at both forward and center, and gives you upside of 60 or even 70 fantasy points. I don't see many players on this depleted Thunder squad that will be able to stop the Greek Freak. Much like with Leonard, the only concern is that Milwaukee pulls away early. However, if the game stays close, look for Antetokounpo to get his normal minutes and crush.
I think Lillard will be a popular option because of his matchup and reasonable salary.
Injuries on the Thunder will also cause Kenrich Williams ($5,400) and Hamidou Diallo ($7,100) to find their way into a lot of lineups. If Mason Plumlee misses, then Isaiah Stewart ($3,600) will also be chalk.
R.J. Hampton, DEN ($3,400)
We already know that Will Barton and Gary Harris won't play, which alone opens up more usage for Hampton. However, Jamal Murray is also questionable. If he is ruled out, I am going to find it hard to avoid Hampton on this slate. The Nuggets' rookie has already played at least 15 minutes in each of his past four games.
Bryn Forbes, MIL ($3,700)
Forbes has started the past three games for Milwaukee with Jrue Holiday out, yet still his salary is under $4,000. He is going to play upward of 20 minutes, and has already shown an ability to get hot from 3-point range this season. I love him in this spot against a Thunder defense that is giving up 113.4 points per game.
Grayson Allen, MEM ($4,300)
There is no De'Anthony Melton (shoulder) for the Grizzlies, and that has meant more minutes for Allen lately. He scored 23 points (8-13 FG, 6-10 3PT, 1-1 FT) in addition to three rebounds, one assists and two steals in 35 minutes in their most recent game. He should easily pay off his salary if he sees another 30 minutes.
Michael Porter Jr., DEN ($5,900)
Porter Jr. will probably start due to the absence of Will Barton and Gary Harris. If Murray also misses, the forward becomes a very interesting play. He is averaging 1.17 DraftKings points per minute when all three players are off the court. We saw his potential in the bubble last season, and his ceiling can be as high as 40-50 fantasy points.