This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
Monday's six-game slate doesn't get going until 8:00 p.m. EST, so we have a bit more time to lock in our lineups, although late swap duties will linger far into the evening. Let's begin with the Vegas numbers.
CHI @ HOU (-1) O/U: 227.5
MEM @ DAL (-5) O/U: 229.5
POR @ PHO (-6) O/U: 230
CHA @ UTA (-12) O/U: 228.5
MIA @ OKC (+5) O/U: 213.5
WAS @ LAL (-7) O/U: 228.5
(odds provided by FanDuel Sportsbook and are subject to change)
Games/Teams to Target in BOLD
Games/Teams to Fade in ITALIC
BACK-TO-BACK TEAMS: Thunder
CHI Lauri Markkanen (shoulder) - OUT
This injury scenario is ongoing, but Wendell Carter's return does present another option. Thaddeus Young ($6,600) is getting a little expensive, but Patrick Williams ($4,800) is at a more reasonable level and worth considering against the Rockets as a GPP play.
HOU Christian Wood (ankle) - OUT
HOU Victor Oladipo (foot) - OUT
HOU DeMarcus Cousins (heel) - QUESTIONABLE
Obviously, John Wall ($8,500) gets a nice boost in Oladipo's absence, but Eric Gordon ($5,300) has a much more attractive salary. He's my favorite Oladipo pivot. The real quandary for Houston is how the team will approach Cousins. We can trust the front office's statement and confirm that he is on his way out. The question is - do they play him as a showcase for suitors, or do they take a path similar to what's happening with Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond, and sit him until he's moved? This is an important bit of news to watch, but due to Wood's absence, I suspect that they'll use him if he's healthy. His most likely landing spot is with the Lakers - they need someone to spell Anthony Davis, and he knows their system, but they may not make that move until the All-Star break.
MIA Tyler Herro (hip) - QUESTIONABLE
MIA Goran Dragic (ankle) - OUT
Let's assume that Herro is out or limited by the hip injury. Kendrick Nunn ($5,600) becomes a top-flight value option in either scenario, and the team sets up well against the Thunder. Nunn is also coming off an excellent 27-point outing against the Lakers.
OKC Al Horford (possible rest) - QUESTIONABLE
There's no tag on Horford currently, but the big man has a history of sitting out back-to-backs. Keep Isaiah Roby ($4,600) on standby. His PF eligibility offers us a lot more flexibility if we get this news.
CHA Devonte' Graham (knee) - DOUBTFUL
We'll touch on Charlotte's options a bit later in the article.
LAL Anthony Davis (Achilles) - OUT
LAL Dennis Schroder (COVID-19) - OUT
LAL LeBron James (ankle) - PROBABLE
LAL Kyle Kuzma (back) - PROBABLE
We'll discuss James in a moment, but work on the assumption that Kyle Kuzma starts.
We have three players above 10k tonight. Of the group, I think LeBron James ($10,400) has the best matchup against the Wizards, and I think he'll prove to be slightly less popular than Luka Doncic ($11,200) or Damian Lillard ($10,500). Although James hasn't played like we thought he would in Davis' absence, the Lakers have lost three of its last four and could use a team like the Wizards to beat up on to regain some confidence. All three of these players have 70 FDFP upside, but the mid-range is plentiful tonight, and you're probably going to have to choose one and balance out with 7-8k players. My choice is James.
Moving down into the 9k range, we have several very playable options. Zach LaVine ($9,800) might be my favorite play of the group against Houston. LaVine is quietly one of the best DFS options in the league currently. His nightly numbers are monstrous, and it's a wonder that he hasn't risen into 10k territory yet. Bradley Beal ($9,800) and Russell Westbrook ($9,400) should also fare well, but I'm less likely to lock them in against the Lakers, who will be fired up to get back in the win column. We round things out with Miami's elites, Jimmy Butler ($9,200) and Bam Adebayo ($8,900). They don't strike me as must-plays, but they will be popular due to their recent stat-stuffing ways. There's some potential blowout risk against the Thunder, which is another reason to give them less exposure today.
Rudy Gobert, UTA ($8,100) vs. CHA
This is an excellent salary for Gobert in an exploitable matchup against the Hornets. We all know what he's capable of, and he took the Hornets to task in their last matchup with a 12/15 double-double and four blocks. That isn't quite enough to meet value at this price, but he also only attempted four shots in that matchup, which is one of his most meager totals of the season.
CHARLOTTE VALUE @ UTA
Since there are so many options here, the Hornets get their own category. They face a very tough Utah team, but I like Gordon Hayward ($7,100) in a mini-revenge game against his old team. LaMelo Ball ($7,600) is priced very well again this evening, and his enormous upside is in play whenever he's on the slate. I prefer Terry Rozier ($7,300) a bit more, as he's scored 40 or more FDFP in four consecutive games.
Robert Covington, POR ($7,000) @ PHO
It's a tough matchup against the Suns, but Covington has crushed value in three consecutive games. He's destroying Carmelo Anthony's value in the process. Covington isn't the most exciting pick, but the numbers don't lie. Three games in a row with 42-plus FDFP is hard to ignore.
Enes Kanter, POR ($6,900) @ PHO
Oddly, these two teams haven't met yet, and I wish I had some reliable data on a Kanter vs. Ayton matchup. We can't even go back to his numbers in 2019 against Phoenix, as he was hurt more often than not as a Celtic. There's value on both sides of this matchup, and Deandre Ayton ($6,400) is a little cheaper. I think diversity is essential at the center position, as no one center sticks out. I will aim to play a different center in every multi-lineup build, and both of these guys will receive exposure.
As per usual, go back to the injury section for some of the best values available tonight.
Mike Conley, UTA ($5,600) @ CHA
The Jazz have welcomed Conley back to the starting lineup. Jordan Clarkson takes a minor hit here. I think they'll loosen up the minute restriction and give Conley more than the 25 minutes he received against the Clippers.
David Nwaba, HOU ($5,100) vs. CHI
Nwaba is the forgotten man in Oladipo's absence, and he could definitely pop a nice line in a fast-paced matchup. He notched a recent double-double against the Wizards and almost got there against the Sixers in their last game. While we are on value for Houston, Jae'Sean Tate ($6,600) deserves a mention. If the Rockets elect to rest Cousins rather than showcase him, we will see increased rebound numbers from Tate. It isn't necessary to pull the trigger on him until we have a better idea of how they plan to employ Boogie moving forward.
Derrick Jones, POR ($4,100) @ PHO
I almost bunched Jones in with Covington, but I felt he deserved his own line. Amazingly, there is no apparent correlation between Covington and Jones, even though they play the same position. Jones is the bigger draw at this salary, however. As he hovers in the low 4K range, he's consistently exceeding the 20 or so FDFP he needs to meet value. He faces a tough defense in the Suns, but I still like him as a value play.
De'Anthony Melton, MEM ($4,100) @ DAL
Melton is back, and he's going to get his minutes. He'll definitely get them if he starts, which is what he did Saturday. In his second game back, he generated 23 FDFP, which is above 5x value at his current salary. I think his upside is capped to a degree, but a 7x-value number isn't out of the question here, especially if he gets off to a hot start.