This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
We have a seven-game slate the tips off at 8:00 p.m. ET, so it's a slightly later go time for today's games. Remember to use this column as a guide in this variance-filled climate, but nothing beats checking in with RotoWire before game lock to find out about potential COVID-related issues.
(odds provided by FanDuel Sportsbook and are subject to change)
Games/Teams to target in BOLD
Games/Teams to Fade in ITALIC
NOR @ MIN (+8) O/U: 223
PHI @ DET (+8.5) O/U:218
MIA @ BKN (-8) O/U: 231
GSW @ UTA (-6.5) O/U: 225
LAL @ CHI (+9) O/U: 228
DEN @ PHO (+2.5) O/U: 217.5
HOU @ DAL (-10.5) O/U: 218
Be sure to refer back to this section after reading the article. The injury scenarios here will play a massive role in lineup construction on this slate!
MIA Jimmy Butler (COVID-19) - QUESTIONABLE
MIA Tyler Herro (neck) - OUT
With Herro out, our interest should shift immediately to either Goran Dragic ($5,700) or Kendrick Nunn ($6,500). The sharp increase of Nunn's price on FanDuel makes Dragic a more appealing play, but both players will experience a slight downgrade if Butler can play. It's imperative to keep an eye on this situation, as it could provide one of the core plates in several of your lineups.
CHI Wendell Carter (thigh) -DOUBTFUL
Daniel Gafford ($3,500) was a public favorite in the wake of the Carter injury, and he generated close to 7x value with 21 FDFP. The more appealing option may be Thaddeus Young ($3,800), who effectively played the small-ball five against Charlotte. I would still lean to Gafford against the Lakers, as his size will be a necessary repellant against the Lakers.
HOU Christian Wood (ankle) - DOUBTFUL
HOU John Wall (knee) - OUT
HOU Danuel House (COVID-19) - OUT
I don't care if he's 100% owned - DeMarcus Cousins ($4,900) is your center play on Saturday. Cousins was able to scratch together 34 FDFP after going a horrific 2-of-16 from the floor against Detroit. That's almost unheard of from a center, and you've got to expect that number to increase. Despite what will undoubtedly be a sky-high roster percentage, Cousins' upside outduels every center on this slate.
DAL Josh Richardson (COVID-19) - QUESTIONABLE
DAL Dorian Finney-Smith (COVID-19) - QUESTIONABLE
DAL Maxi Kleber (COVID-19) - QUESTIONABLE
DAL Dwight Powell (COVID-19) - QUESTIONABLE
These tags could be listed any day now, so in general, this setup should be avoided, but if you're on the hunt for value, Jalen Brunson ($4,300) might be the most intriguing option at his salary point. He's averaging 30 minutes and almost 25 FDFP per game in the current injury situation. Although Tim Hardaway ($5,400) will the more popular pivot, he hasn't done nearly enough with the 33-minute average he's received over the past three games.
PHO Devin Booker (hamstring) - QUESTIONABLE
I'll mention some Phoenix value plays later that will benefit from Booker's absence, but Cameron Payne ($3,900) would probably start if Booker were to miss.
The chart-topper tonight is Nikola Jokic ($11,200), and I don't know that there's more to say about his two-way upside. Despite the high salary, he's a candidate to beat value at these prices on a nightly basis. I have a problem going here due to only one opportunity at center for the reasons I explained above. The public and most sharps have fallen to a general fade of the Nets to lessen variance and find more high-output alternatives. For that reason alone, Brooklyn could be a decent way to go. Of the group, Kyrie Irving ($9,400) is the most appealing in terms of cost, followed by James Harden ($10,200), whose salary is finally falling to a more achievable level. I'd exclude Kevin Durant at $10.7k based on lingering injury concerns, Irving and Durant deserve a reliable mention. For the money, Joel Embiid ($10,200) is as reliable as it gets versus the Pistons, but you'd have to be willing to fade the slate's most promising value (Cousins), meaning you'd have to make sacrifices elsewhere. At 10k or above, the final play is Luka Doncic ($10.800), who I think is an excellent call against Houston despite the back-to-back.
Moving down, I like LeBron James at $9,900, and to a greater extent, Anthony Davis ($9,800) against the Bulls. Although FanDuel's prices on the Lakers elites haven't fallen compared to other sites, Davis missed the last game against Chicago, and LeBron scored 43 FDFP without his assistance. Unlike Brooklyn, this duo excels when they are both healthy. And with a compromised interior in Chicago, both guys could be primed for a high total. Stephen Curry ($9,700) is not a spot I'm inclined to go to due to issues with a lower-than-usual floor, but Zach LaVine ($9,300) is hard to ignore at this price. LaVine has been lights out over the past couple of weeks (48,46 FDFP over the last five games), and he launched a 59-FDFP performance against the Lakers in their previous matchup. He might be the diamond in the rough at this salary level.
Bam Adebayo, MIA ($8,700) @ BKN
I realize that giving several center options dilutes my Cousins endorsement to a degree, but I can't avoid a chalky play in this section. This game will be a pace-up match for Miami, and Adebayo is set up for a good total. He underperformed against the big men in Toronto, but he lit it up against Detroit (51 FDFP over two games), and I think it's a better representation of his future production. The five is Brooklyn's singular deficiency, and with Kevin Durant slowed by injury, Bam should be able to find more room to maneuver.
Zion Williamson, NOR ($7,900) @ MIN
It's happened at a slow rate, but the focus of the offense has slowly shifted from Brandon Ingram to Zion over the course of the season, and we're now at a point where Ingram's salary is untenable unless you're banking on a bounce-back outing. Williamson is the more solid play at this juncture, and the spot against Minnesota is excellent. Granted, there's maybe a mini-revenge scenario where D'Angelo Russell ($8,100) gets to square up against his former teammate, but I still like Zion.
Tobias Harris, PHI ($7,500) @ DET
Harris is the easy way to get in on this soft matchup against Detroit. Over four games since returning to action, he's averaged 35 FDFP, and out RotoWire projections have him going slightly north of that number, which would help him hit 5x value. If this game gets out of hand, Harris stays consistent in such contests, so I don't think his value will be compromised if it's a blowout.
Mike Conley, UTA ($7,500) vs. GS
Donovan Mitchell ($8,500) has finally realized his ceiling, and that's good news for Utah fans but not relevant to DFS sharks. While he'll be lower-owned, his salary is just too high. Conversely, Conley's salary is appropriate and much more accessible. He put up an excellent 40-FDFP game two days ago against the Pelicans, and his ability to frequently break 40 makes him a potential value-beater against Stephen Curry and the Warriors.
Mikal Bridges, PHO ($5,500) vs. DEN
After a masterful 48-FDFP game against Denver on Friday, some would expect Bridges to have a down game on this back-to-back. Unfortunately for the Suns, Devin Booker will either sit or play with an injury, and Bridges will need to give his team another good outing. Even if we don't see another explosive outing, he only needs a little over 40 FDFP to meet value. I can also give a moderate endorsement to guys like Cameron Johnson ($4,400) and even Jae Crowder ($4,500) as candidates to beat value.
Since so many value spots exist in the injury section, I came across several players that work well enough as fill-in players. Rather than a fleshed-out summary of a few players, I'm going to construct a slightly larger list with their names, salaries and opponents.
Lonzo Ball, NO ($5,400) @ MIN
Eric Gordon, HOU ($5,200) @ DAL
Gary Harris, DEN ($4,800) @ PHO
P.J. Tucker, HOU ($4,400) @ DAL
Jae'Sean Tate, HOU ($4,000) @ DAL
Jarrett Culver, MIN ($3,900) vs. NO
Wayne Ellington, DET ($3,900) vs. PHI