This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
We have a light four-game slate on Monday, and to be honest, tonight's offering isn't going to wow you with oodles of DFS potential. None of the games eclipse a 230 O/U, and one of the games (PHO/UTA) has blowout written all over it, as Vegas has delivered a 15-point spread in favor of the Jazz. Our list of elites is surprisingly extensive, however. I will likely use a variety of tandems among Paul George ($10,400), Russell Westbrook ($12,000), Damian Lillard ($10,600), Joel Embiid ($11,900) and Nikola Vucevic ($10,000) as my core. At first glance, I favor Embiid and Lillard in terms of opportunity and history, but I imagine a Thunder stack of Russ and PG13 will be another popular, highly-owned play. Let's begin by running down the current injury situations on the docket tonight.
C.J. McCollum (knee) OUT: We should take a look at the latest beneficiaries of McCollum's absence. Last game it was Al-Farouq Aminu ($4,900) who busted through with 33 FDFP against the Pistons. I think he makes slightly better sense than Seth Curry ($4,100), although the veteran guard has hit value often in the current game script.
Kelly Oubre (thumb) OUT FOR SEASON: The Kelly Oubre renaissance was short-lived, and now the Suns will scramble to fill the realized value at the wing. I'd expect Mikal Bridges ($5,100) to get the heaviest load, as he is essentially their forward of the future. And with Josh Jackson (ankle) questionable tonight, Bridges should provide even more value.
Grizzlies scenarios: With Avery Bradley (shin), Jaren Jackson (thigh) and Kyle Anderson (shoulder) all out for an extended period, the rotation in Memphis varies from night-to-night. Our biggest question is at the two, where both Delon Wright ($5,700) and Tyler Dorsey ($4,300) performed well last week. I would be willing to pivot to whoever draws the start. With Joakim Noah doubtful tonight, you also can start Jonas Valanciunas ($8,100) with a good degree of confidence.
Ricky Rubio, UTA vs. PHO ($6,500): While the Jazz are running hot, this team needs to get playoff-ready if they want to come out of the gate strong like they did in last year's postseason. Rubio was the linchpin of that effort in the 2018 playoffs, and while he'll usually help you out with assists, it's his long-range shot that's been woefully missing from his stat lines lately. Luckily for Rubio, Phoenix ranks dead-last in efficiency against the three. So, hopefully, we'll see the veteran drill a few on the way to a full stat line.
D.J. Augustin, ORL vs. PHI ($5,800): Things start to get a bit desolate as we slide down this position, but you could do a lot worse than Augustin in one of the fastest-paced games of the night. His history against Philly is deceiving, as two early-season duds make the season averages look underwhelming. A failure to realize this could result in some low ownership for Augustin tonight.
Also consider: Mike Conley, MEM vs. OKC ($9,200)
The low end of this position is chock-full of the guys I mentioned above, so the value spots here have already been identified. For the two spot I'm going to give you two higher-priced guys that I favor heavily.
D'Angelo Russell, BKN at POR ($9,100): With Portland short-handed in the backcourt, I think Russell's game sets up well tonight. Over the past four games, he's averaged a blistering 23.9 points and 9.8 rebounds per game. Russell will show up with a dud every once in a while, but his recent history indicates a favorable outcome tonight.
Evan Fournier, ORL vs. PHI ($6,000): Fournier's numbers have steadily trended up over the past four games, capped by a 27-point effort against the Grizzlies last Friday. His rebounding totals against the Sixers leave a bit to be desired, but he's averaged 21.7 points per game across three contests against Philly. All he'll need is a decent rebound total with a few assists and steals to reach value at this price.
Also consider: Jimmy Butler, PHI at ORL ($8,800)
Joe Ingles, UTA vs. PHO ($6,100): Ingles' splits against the Suns are very positive, and their weakness against the three has already been illustrated in the Rubio endorsement. I favor Ingles a little bit less in GPPs, but at this price, he should work out to be a solid cash anchor opposite an elite play like Paul George.
Jonathan Isaac, ORL vs. PHI ($5,900): Isaac's averages against Philly suffer from the same ailment as Augustin's. One poor game occurred in late October, and another happened in his first game back from injury, so we can't really rely on this metric when considering him. While my endorsements seem to indicate an Orlando stack, it's unintentional (although I wouldn't rule it out in a $1 GPP punt).
Also consider: J.J. Redick, PHI at ORL ($6,300)
As previously stated, I think Aminu is a superb value play at a reasonable price tonight, and he'll likely find a spot in many of my lineups tonight.
Derrick Favors, UT vs. PHO ($6,800): Favors is one guy I like in a lopsided game, as he can provide relief at so many positions and can inflict swift damage off the glass. We can account for several situations where the Jazz are in control, and they send Favors out for 25-28 minutes of action, and the favorable stat lines follow.
Richaun Holmes, PHO at UTA ($4,400): While Holmes could be considered a borderline must-drop (see below), he's played reasonably well since returning from a quad injury and shows the most value whenever DeAndre Ayton finds his way into foul trouble. When you consider Ayton averages around three fouls per game, this can happen fairly often. A good way of predicting the likelihood of Ayton's foul trouble is looking at who he might foul, and then look at their corresponding average free-throw attempts since this is a decent metric to determine their ability to draw a foul. Among the likely candidates, Rudy Gobert ranks 15th in the league with an average of 6.3 free-throw attempts per game. Derrick Favors only averages three attempts per game, but if you divide minutes played by this amount, he compares well with Gobert in a per-minute average. So, all that statistical minutiae tells me that Holmes Is a decent GPP option with hopes of some foul trouble for Ayton.
Also consider: Aaron Gordon, ORL vs. PHI ($7,700)
I'm inclined to tell you that your choices are Embiid, Vucevic and Valaciunas, and just stop there, but that would be a cop-out. With only four games on the slate, your options are indeed limited, and FanDuel's roster structure only allows for one big man to play. That leaves you eight starting centers to choose from, and I do feel that these three are the picks to gravitate towards. That being said-
You also can never do poorly when you play the opposing center versus the Nets, so Jusuf Nurkic ($8,400) could also come through with a very nice game. He managed to put up 27 points and 12 rebounds in his single game versus Brooklyn.
As long as you keep track of late scratches, the must-drop option is a valuable tool to use to get the best results. After all, there's no point in spending $4,500 on a guy that might underperform when you could use an extra $1,000 elsewhere. Here are five low-cost options that I recommend as must-drop targets tonight.
Jake Layman, POR ($3,500)
Markieff Morris, OKC ($3,500)
Troy Daniels, PHO ($3,500)
Mike Scott, PHI ($3,600)
Khem Birch, ORL ($3,700)