This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
We're set for a particularly large slate for a Sunday night with eight games on tap. It shapes up as an exciting evening on the hardwood, as there are some defensively deficient teams hitting the floor and some narrow spreads that should promise highly competitive matchups. There is also plenty of star power, as the likes of Bradley Beal, Jayson Tatum, Zach LaVine, Stephen Curry and LeBron James are in action, the latter two in a premium matchup against each other.
Here's a closer look at the two games with the highest projected totals on Sunday's slate as of early Sunday:
Phoenix Suns at Minnesota Timberwolves (Projected total: 226.0 points)
While this represents an appealing total, the Suns are the team that by far carries the higher offensive expectations. The Timberwolves are now down both D'Angelo Russell (quadriceps) and Malik Beasley (suspension) and playing the second game of a back-to-back set. Minnesota also entered Saturday allowing the fourth-most points per game (116.1) before allowing 128 points to the Wizards while giving up a league third-highest 47.8 percent shooting. Meanwhile, the Suns are now averaging a solid 113.2 points per game and boasting the sixth-highest shooting percentage in the league at 48.3. Phoenix players are naturally in a very appealing matchup, but there is realistically a blowout risk here.
Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles Lakers (Projected total: 224.5 points)
The Warriors are an ultra-fast-paced team that also carry some defensive issues, which sets the foundation for this elevated total. Golden State is allowing 115.6 points per road game while also averaging 114.7 per contest overall, and their 107.1 possessions per road game is the league-high. The Lakers are still without Anthony Davis (Achilles), but are still averaging 114.5 points per home game. LA is also shooting a blistering 48.8 percent at Staples Center and the two clubs combined for 228 points during their first meeting, so there's not much reason to doubt this is a total that could be matched or exceeded.
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.
Potential Load Management Day: Russell Westbrook, WAS
LeBron James, LAL (ankle)/ Status: PROBABLE
James is fully expected to continue playing through his perpetual probable designation and should enjoy increased usage once again with Anthony Davis (Achilles) still out.
Trae Young, ATL (groin/foot)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Young played through the groin issue Friday and said he expects to play Sunday. But if he were to sit out, Rajon Rondo and Brandon Goodwin would likely see the majority of point guard minutes. Additionally, the usage of the remaining healthy members of the Hawks' starting five would naturally see a sizable boost.
Pascal Siakam, TOR (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: OUT
Bam Adebayo, MIA (knee)/ Status: PROBABLE
Adebayo should fill his usual role and play a normal allotment of minutes against the Hawks.
Malik Beasley, MIN (suspension)/ Status: OUT
Jaylen Brown, BOS (knee)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Victor Oladipo, HOU (rest)/ Status: OUT
Gordon Hayward, CHA (hand)/ Status: PROBABLE
Hayward is expected to continue playing through his hand bruise.
Delon Wright, DET (groin)/ Status: OUT
Wright's ongoing absence will lead to Dennis Smith drawing another start at point guard, a role in which he's averaged 14.0 points on 52.9 percent shooting over the last three games.
Devonte' Graham, CHA (kneecap/ Status: OUT
Graham's ongoing absence will keep LaMelo Ball in the starting five.
Other notable injuries:
Tyrese Haliburton, SAC (calf)/ Status: OUT
Tyler Herro, MIA (hip)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Marcus Smart, BOS (calf)/ Status: OUT
Danilo Gallinari, ATL (forearm)/ Status: PROBABLE
Lauri Markkanen, CHI (shoulder)/ Status: OUT
Cody Zeller, CHA (hip)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Hassan Whiteside, SAC (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: OUT
Raul Neto, WAS (knee)/ Status: GTD
Grayson Allen, MEM (concussion)/ Stats: OUT
Cam Reddish, ATL (Achilles)/ Status: DOUBTFUL
Otto Porter, WAS (back)/ Status: OUT
Blake Griffin, DET (team decision)/ Status: OUT
Dario Saric, PHO (ankle)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
All three are in particularly strong positions Sunday. James and Curry will be matched up against each other in a game that should be a solid wire-to-wire battle. Meanwhile, Towns will be in for another night of even higher usage than usual with the Timberwolves missing both Russell and Beasley.
There are also several players with salaries in the high four-figures that have the ability to deliver elite scores, including Zach LaVine ($9,800), Trae Young ($9,600), Bradley Beal ($9,600), Jimmy Butler ($9,500), Jayson Tatum ($9,400) and Russell Westbrook ($9,400).
From that group, Young's health should be particularly monitored given he's dealing with a pair of injuries. Meanwhile, Beal and Westbrook are an interesting duo, as it's likely Westbrook sits out on the second game of a back-to-back set. That naturally will make Beal even more valuable than usual if it comes to pass. Tatum could be in a similar situation in the same game if Jaylen Brown misses time with his knee soreness. Butler is also very reasonably valued for someone who's scored over 50 FD points in five of the last 10 games, including a pair of tallies over 60.
All the names mentioned in Elite Players section are naturally going to be very popular Sunday, although there should be a fair amount of differentiation across lineups with 16 teams in action.
In terms of other chalk, Chris Boucher and Jaylen Nowell should be popular due to their enhanced opportunities because of the absences of Siakam and Beasley, respectively. The same holds true for the likes of Eric Gordon, LaMelo Ball and Dennis Smith due to the respective absences of Oladipo, Graham and Wright. And finally, prominent healthy members of the Hawks such as John Collins and Clint Capela would see even more clicks on their names than usual if Young is forced to sit.
Richaun Holmes, SAC vs. CHA ($6,600)
Holmes could be a bit overlooked with the Raptors' Chris Boucher carrying the same salary, but the Kings' big man is in a very favorable matchup Sunday that makes him worthy of consideration. The Hornets are ranked in the bottom 10 in offensive efficiency allowed to centers (32.6 percent) and are also yielding the eighth-most FD points per game to centers on the season (39.1), including the third most over the last 10 (45.2). Meanwhile, Holmes has been thriving since returning from a three-game absence due to a knee injury by averaging 14.3 points on 72.7 percent shooting, 11.3 rebounds and 32.6 FD points per contest over his first four back. That includes a 45.9 FD-point tally in his most recent outing against the Pistons Friday. And given Charlotte's weakness in the frontcourt, Holmes could be set for another strong return on investment.
Goran Dragic, MIA vs. ATL ($5,500)
Dragic exploded for 33.6 FD points on Friday night versus the Jazz, encouragingly playing 33 minutes in only his second game back from a nine-game absence due to an ankle injury. The veteran point guard should be in for another solid workload against the Hawks even if he doesn't start, especially if Tyler Herro (hip) misses another contest. Atlanta is also ranked in the bottom 10 in offensive efficiency allowed to backcourt players on the season (51.6 percent) and is surrendering the third-most FD points per game to point guards over the last 10 contests (61.4).
Malik Monk, CHA at SAC ($4,900)
Monk has scored 27.2 to 38.9 FD points in four of the last five contests. The fourth-year guard is shooting a blistering career-high 47.1 percent from three-point range on the season and will be in prime position to continue overdelivering on his salary Sunday. The Kings are arguably the worst defensive team in the league, allowing an NBA-high 120.1 points per contest and NBA-high 49.1 percent shooting. Sacramento is also yielding co-NBA-high 40.3 percent shooting from behind the arc, with all of those numbers boding well for the sharpshooting Monk's chances of success. Finally, consider the Kings are giving up NBA-high 28.8 percent offensive efficiency to shooting guards along with a league-high 58.9 FD points per game to the position.
Other value plays to consider: Chris Boucher, TOR vs. CHI ($6,600); Montrezl Harrell, LAL vs. GS ($6,300); Norman Powell, TOR vs. CHI ($6,300); Kyle Kuzma, LAL vs. GS ($5,800); Eric Gordon, HOU vs. MEM ($5,300); Dennis Smith, DET vs. NY ($5,300); Robert Williams, BOS vs. WAS ($5,300); David Nwaba, HOU vs. MEM ($5,300); Jaylen Nowell, MIN vs. PHO ($3,700)