FanDuel NBA: Sunday Value Plays

FanDuel NBA: Sunday Value Plays

This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.

We have another five-game slate on tap Sunday night and it promises to be interesting for DFS roster construction with some notable names on the injury report. There's a combination of resting players, confirmed absences and questionable statuses that have things up in the air in terms of projected totals, with none being listed on FanDuel Sportsbook as of early Sunday morning.

Slate Overview

With no projected totals yet available early Sunday, here's a look at three games that could be most competitive: 

Oklahoma City Thunder at Toronto Raptors 

The Thunder are an ugly 20-36 and seem to only have an outside shot at a play-in game while the Raptors are in a similar position in the Eastern Conference with a 23-34 mark. However, Toronto is actually in a bit better position at just four games back of current seeding-game leader Indiana. While the records are ugly, this could actually be a highly competitive matchup, especially if Toronto is able to get at least one of Fred VanVleet or Gary Trent on the floor. OKC won the first matchup by 10 points on Mar. 31, but Toronto does have 13 of its 23 wins on its home floor. 

Portland Trail Blazers at Charlotte Hornets

Damian Lillard will miss Sunday's game with a hamstring injury, which should automatically make things a lot more even in this interconference clash. Both teams have plenty to play for at this stage, with the Blazers looking to hold on to the No. 6 seed at minimum in the West and the Hornets trying to keep the Pacers at bay for No. 8 in the East. Portland did notch a 123-111 win over Charlotte in their first meeting this season out west, a game Lillard did play in, but CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic did not.

Minnesota Timberwolves at Los Angeles Clippers 

Kawhi Leonard is questionable for Sunday with his foot injury, while the Timberwolves remain without Malik Beasley due to his hamstring injury. There's a 24-win difference between 15-42 Minnesota and 39-19 Los Angeles, but Minnesota nearly pulled an upset when the teams last met. If Leonard plays, this could well get away from the Wolves. But if the star wing misses another contest, it's worth noting Karl-Anthony Towns and teammates have played multiple contending teams very tough of late and have also grabbed wins over the Blazers, Suns, Knicks and Heat since the All-Star break. 

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. 

Kawhi Leonard, LAC (foot)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE   

If Leonard misses a fifth consecutive game, Paul George should see extremely elevated usage once again while the likes of Reggie Jackson, Luke Kennard and Marcus Morris should also benefit.

Damian Lillard, POR (hamstring)/ Status: OUT 

With Lillard out a second straight contest, Derrick Jones should remain in the starting five while Norman Powell and CJ McCollum should enjoy elevated usage.

John Wall, HOU (rest)/ Status: OUT

In Wall's absence, Kevin Porter could shift over to point guard while Avery Bradley is likely to draw a start at two-guard.

Fred VanVleet, TOR (undisclosed)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

If VanVleet were to sit out, Paul Watson - who's coming off a 30-point performance - should get another run with the first unit at two-guard. 

Gary Trent, TOR (ankle)/ Status: GTD 

If Trent is unable to suit up, Rodney Hood and DeAndre' Bembry should see extra run. 

P.J. Washington, CHA (ankle)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

If Washington misses a fourth straight game, Vernon Carey should get another run with the first unit after scoring a career-high 21 points Friday. 

Devonte' Graham, CHA (quadriceps)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

If Graham misses a second straight matchup, Terry Rozier will likely shift over to point guard again while Caleb Martin could remain in the starting five at two-guard. 

Other notable injuries: 

Gordon Hayward, CHA (foot)/ Status: OUT 

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, OKC (foot)/ Status: OUT 

Richaun Holmes, SAC (hamstring)/ Status: OUT 

Malik Beasley, MIN (hamstring)/ Status: OUT 

Malik Monk, CHA (ankle)/ Status: OUT 

Michael Carter-Williams, ORL (ankle)/ Status: OUT 

Aleksej Pokusevski, OKC (arm)/ Status: OUT 

Mo Bamba, ORL (hip)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE 

Serge Ibaka, LAC (back)/ Status: OUT 

Otto Porter, ORL (foot)/ Status: OUT 

Eric Gordon, HOU (groin)/ Status: OUT 

Danuel House, HOU (ankle)/  Status: OUT

Elite Players

We have three players with five-figure salaries on Sunday's slate: Karl-Anthony Towns ($11,000), Luka Doncic ($10,400) and Kawhi Leonard ($10,000)

Towns had what looks like a down game on the surface Friday against the Heat, but the fact he posted 37.5 FD points over 25 minutes belies that notion. He should once again log an outsized role if he can avoid fouling out, as he did versus Miami. Doncic faces an excellent matchup versus a Kings team that's been a defensive sieve all season, while Leonard's status is very much up in the air as alluded to earlier. 

Players with salaries in the high four-figures capable of also delivering elite scores include Paul George ($9,800), De'Aaron Fox ($9,700) and Pascal Siakam ($8,700). 

George has produced five straight 30-point efforts and will naturally be in an excellent position once again if Leonard misses another game. Fox may have a tough time delivering an optimal return on his salary against a Mavericks team that's been tough on point guards all season, while Siakam could be set for a massive game versus the Thunder, which are arguably the worst in the league at defending power forwards. Siakam could also take the floor without Fred VanVleet and/or Gary Trent, which would make him all the more appealing at his salary. 

Expected Chalk

In addition to the players just mentioned in the prior section, other likely chalk plays include:

Christian Wood, HOU 

Wall's absence will lead to more usage, and Wood has also exceeded 50 FD points in two of his last three games. 

CJ McCollum, POR

Rostering rate should be through the roof without Lillard.

Kevin Porter, HOU 

Wall's absence should afford Porter a start at point guard, a role where he's already delivered several impressive returns this season. 

Miles Bridges, CHA 

Bridges is coming off 51.8 FD points Friday and gets a favorable matchup versus the Trail Blazers. 

Vernon Carey, CHA 

Carey could be a very popular value play if P.J. Washington misses another game. 

Paul Watson, TOR 

Watson represents another likely highly-rostered bargain option if VanVleet sits.

Key Values 

Kelly Olynyk, HOU at ORL ($6,300)

Olynyk has been outstanding since arriving from the Heat via trade, averaging 35.0 FD points on the strength of 18.1 points (on 60.3 percent shooting, including 41.7 percent from three-point range), 7.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.0 steal across 30.1 minutes over 12 games. The floor-spacing big is also averaging 36.9 FD points per 36 minutes without John Wall (rest) on the floor and draws a good statistical matchup against a Magic squad allowing 35.7 FD points per game to centers over the last five contests. It's also worth noting Orlando is allowing elevated 37.4 percent three-point shooting - including 42.3 percent over the last three games - a weakness Olynyk is well equipped to exploit.

Norman Powell, POR at CHA ($6,300)

Damian Lillard's absence Sunday will create a significant usage vacuum and Powell is one of the players who will be in an excellent position to help fill it. The veteran wing put up 34.4 FD points over 38 minutes against the Spurs on Friday with Lillard absent and is averaging 28.2 FD points over his first 11 games in Portland. Powell has registered a 24.8 percent usage rate and is averaging 31.7 FD points per 36 minutes without Lillard on the floor, while the opposing Hornets have surrendered 39.4 FD points per contest to shooting guards for the season, along with 43.1 percent three-point shooting overall in the last three. That's perfect for Powell, who is shooting 38.5 percent from distance since arriving in Portland.

Cole Anthony, ORL vs. HOU ($5,000)

Anthony is set for another start at point guard with Michael Carter-Williams out with an ankle injury, and the rookie should be in good position to build on the 32.9 FD points he scored in Carter-Williams' stead on Friday versus the Raptors. Anthony has actually been playing similarly well since returning from an extended absence due to a rib injury by averaging 26.5 FD points across his first six games back. The Rockets make for a good target, as they've allowed the most FD points per game to point guards for the season (46.8), along with the fifth-highest offensive efficiency to ones (28.4 percent).

Other value plays to consider: Miles Bridges, CHA vs. POR ($6,600); Jae'Sean Tate, HOU at ORL ($5,900); Jalen McDaniels, CHA vs. POR ($5,700); Chuma Okeke, ORL vs. HOU ($5,500); Paul Watson, TOR vs. OKC ($4,500) 

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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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, including serving as the beat writer for teams in multiple sports. He has previously written for and remains an avid season-long and daily fantasy player in multiple sports as well.
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