FanDuel NBA: Sunday Value Plays

FanDuel NBA: Sunday Value Plays

This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.

The NBA offers up a four-game Easter Sunday evening slate. And despite the modest number of games, there's some buzz due to injury question marks attached to some of the biggest names on the ledger. Joel Embiid returned in fine fashion from his knee injury Saturday against the Timberwolves, but it remains to be seen if he'll play the second game of the back-to-back set. Meanwhile, the Pelicans' Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson could also sit out once again while Trae Young is also questionable due to his knee issue. The uncertainty has led to all projected totals remaining off the board as of late Saturday night, but it's also contributing to narrow spreads across the board.

Slate Overview

With a complete absence of projected totals on the board as of early Sunday morning, here's a look at the two games I feel are likeliest to eventually carry the highest projected totals: 

Golden State Warriors at Atlanta Hawks

The overall offensive ceiling for this game will naturally be dependent on the availability of Trae Young (knee) for the Hawks and - to a lesser extent - Draymond Green (finger) for the Warriors. Golden State does continue to play at a top-5 pace and is allowing the fifth-most points per game (116.2), while Atlanta is averaging a solid 112.6 points per home contest. The Hawks are playing solid home defense with 109.4 points per home game surrendered, so this should be an interesting matchup against two clubs that aren't overly familiar with one another.

New Orleans Pelicans at Houston Rockets

This shapes up as another fluid game environment, considering the number of key injuries on the Pelicans and the fact the Rockets are poor enough on defense to help offset some of those. We'll start with the walking wounded for New Orleans as Brandon Ingram, Zion Williamson and Lonzo Ball are all questionable (details in next section). The three players sat out the last two and the Pels were only able to muster a combined 213 points, but Houston allows 113.7 points per game. New Orleans has yielded 115.4 points per away contest, so there could still be some decent offense here even with John Wall already declared out for the Rockets. 

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. 

Zion Williamson, NOP (thumb)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

If Williamson misses a third straight game, James Johnson could draw another start at power forward while the remaining healthy members of the starting five would see elevated usage. 

Trae Young, ATL (knee)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

If Young were to miss a second straight game, Lou Williams and Brandon Goodwin would likely handle the majority of the point guard minutes, while the remaining members of the starting five would see more usage. 

John Wall, HOU (knee)/ Status: OUT 

Wall's third straight absence should lead to Kevin Porter once again logging a start at point guard. 

Brandon Ingram, NOP (toe)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

If Ingram misses a third straight game, Wes Iwundu is likely to start at small forward. 

John Collins, ATL (ankle)/ Status: OUT 

Collins' ongoing absence should lead to a start at power forward for either Danilo Gallinari (Achilles) if he's able to suit up or Solomon Hill if Gallinari sits out.

Draymond Green, GSW (finger)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

If Green sits for a second straight game, Juan Toscano-Anderson is likely to draw a start at power forward. 

Other notable injuries: 

Terrence Ross, ORL (ankle)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

Michael Carter-Williams, ORL (illness)/ Status: GTD 

De'Andre Hunter, ATL (knee)/ Status: OUT 

Danilo Gallinari, ATL (Achilles)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

Cam Reddish, ATL (Achilles)/ Status: OUT 

Otto Porter, ORL (foot)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

Khem Birch, ORL (illness)/ Status: GTD 

Josh Hart, NOP (thumb)/ Status: OUT 

Kira Lewis, NOP (calf)/ Statis: DOUBTFUL 

Elite Players

We have just two players on Sunday's slate carrying five-figure salaries: Nikola Jokic ($10,800) and Joel Embiid ($10,700). 

Jokic is an interesting case Sunday, as he's underdelivered - relative to salary - over the last three games with 49, 34.5 and 31.9 FD points. The positional matchup against the Magic is also tough on paper, although those numbers were largely generated when Nikola Vucevic was still patrolling the post for Orlando. Embiid also carries some question marks, as he was excellent in his return against the T-Wolves on Saturday (41.6 FD points over 28 minutes) but could sit out the second game of the back-to-back set.

There are also several players with salaries in the high four-figures who have the ability to deliver elite scores, including Zion Williamson ($9,700), Clint Capela ($9,000) and Stephen Curry ($9,000). As mentioned earlier, Williamson has a questionable tag due to a thumb injury and must be monitored carefully. If he does play, he'll be in an excellent positional matchup versus the Rockets. Capela could also have even more value than usual considering his advantageous matchup against a fast-paced Warriors team and the fact he'll play without John Collins and potentially Trae Young. Curry is returning from a one-game absence due to his tailbone issue and could be at an advantage if Young misses. 

Expected Chalk

In addition to the names detailed in the Elite Players section, other likely chalk plays include: healthy members of the Pelicans' starting five including Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Eric Bledsoe if Ball, Ingram and Williamson, or some combination, are both out. Kevin Porter, Jae'Sean Tate and Christian Wood due to Wall's absence; and Bogdan Bogdanovic in particular, whether or not Trae Young plays, after three straight tallies of more than 45 FD points.

Key Values 

Chuma Okeke, ORL at DEN ($6,300)

Okeke should have a bit of extra juice going up against his old teammate in Aaron Gordon down low Sunday, with the young big coming into the contest having scored 26.7 to 40.2 FD points over his last four as the new starting power forward. The second-year pro's efficiency is off the charts shooting 52.2 percent - including 47.1 percent from distance - over that span. It's worth noting part of the reason Orlando is allowing the sixth-highest offensive efficiency to power forwards (26.5 percent) is because of Gordon's suspect defense for most of the season while Denver already checks in allowing the highest offensive efficiency to fours (28.3 percent). With Okeke logging a secure load of playing time and already having delivered over 5x return on his current salary in two of his first four starts, he's a viable salary-saving play on the small slate.

Kevin Porter, HOU vs. NO ($6,000)

Porter will once again handle starting point guard duties with John Wall already ruled out with his knee injury. The second-year guard has scored 29.8 to 35.0 FD points in three of the last four contests and is averaging 28.7 FD points in his last 10 games, even when factoring in a pair of contests where he headed back to the second unit and only logged a total of 30 minutes. The Pelicans should make for excellent targets, as they're allowing the second-highest offensive efficiency to point guards (30.4 percent), along with the 10th-most FD points per game to the position on the season (43.2). Porter also has a 27.1 percent usage rate and averages 37.6 FD points per 36 minutes without Wall and Eric Gordon (groin) on the court, furthering his already strong case.

Steven Adams, NO at HOU ($5,000) 

Adams and his prowess on the glass make for an excellent value play on the other side of the Peiicans-Rockets matchup, considering Houston allows the most rebounds per game (57.4). The Rockets are also surrendering the seventh-highest offensive efficiency to centers (33.3 percent), along with the fourth-most FD points per game to the position over the last five (52.9). It's also noteworthy the Rockets surrendering the ninth-most points in the paint per game (48.8), an area of the floor where just under 87.0 percent of Adams' scoring originates. Finally, consider Adams could be operating without all three of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson on Sunday due to their various injuries, which would increase the chances of him delivering over 5x return on his current salary for the 24th time this season.   

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Juan Carlos Blanco plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: jcblanco22, FanDuel: jc_blanco22, DraftPot: jc_blanco22, FantasyDraft: jc_blanco22, OwnThePlay: jcblanco22.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Juan Carlos Blanco
Winner of the FSWA 2016 Newcomer of the Year Award, Juan Carlos Blanco has been playing fantasy sports for over 20 years and covers NBA, MLB, NFL, CFL and Arena Football for Rotowire.com, including serving as the beat writer for teams in multiple sports. He has previously written for KFFL.com and remains an avid season-long and daily fantasy player in multiple sports as well.
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