This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
Following a couple of relatively subdued slates Sunday and Monday, we have a big 11-game ledger Tuesday as the final spots for the play-in round and postseason are sorted out. There are several big names dotting the injury report and some non-contending teams are also starting to sit out players, so there are a number of salaries that don't' quite match current roles, which can often be to our advantage as DFS players. The assortment of games with meaningful stakes attached and those involving teams just playing out the string makes for an interesting mix of projected blowouts and likely competitive matchups.
Here's a closer look at the three games with the highest projected totals on Tuesday's slate:
Philadelphia 76ers at Indiana Pacers (Projected total: 234.0 points)
Each team could be down an important piece with respect to offense, as Joel Embiid is questionable with an illness while Malcolm Brogdon could miss yet another game with a hamstring injury. The elevated total here is a bit surprising even if both teams are at full health. The Pacers do allow 115.2 points per home game and put up 112.5 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, but the Sixers give up just 107.8 per road contest and are a much less prolific scoring team when traveling (110.8) than at home (117.0). The one hint this could match oddsmakers' expectations is the prior history between the teams this season – the first two games have finished with totals of 229 and 244 points.
Brooklyn Nets at Chicago Bulls (Projected total: 232.0 points)
The Nets are giving up a healthy 117.1 points per road game and putting up an NBA-high 119.5 when traveling, while the Bulls are yielding 111.3 per home contest. Brooklyn should bring a slight bump in pace for Chicago, as they're averaging a bit more than one additional possession per game than the Bulls in the home/road splits that apply. The first game between the two squads, a Bulls victory, finished with 222 total points, but both James Harden and Kevin Durant were out for the Nets.
Phoenix Suns at Golden State Warriors (Projected total: 230.0 points)
These two teams are still playing for final playoff positioning, so both squads should be pushing hard for a win. The first two games between these teams have also fallen notably short of Tuesday's scoring expectations, as Phoenix has comfortably exerted its defensive will on Golden State and held the Dubs under 100 points both times. The Suns check in allowing 111.0 points per road game, making them slightly more generous than at home (107.3), while the Warriors are yielding 111.0 per home contest. Golden State is a very good offensive team on its home floor (116.1 PPG), while Phoenix is putting up 112.9 per road game.
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.
LeBron James, LAL (ankle)/ Status: OUT
James practiced Monday, and despite being listed as out, reports are he's expected to start and play Tuesday. If that indeed comes to pass, Anthony Davis' usage would take a hit.
Anthony Davis, LAL (calf)/ Status: PROBABLE
Davis' usage would certainly be affected if James' "out" designation is as misleading as it's being reported to be.
Joel Embiid, PHI (illness)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
If Embiid were to sit out, the usage of the remainder of the starting five would naturally bump up, while Dwight Howard would potentially draw a spot start at center.
James Harden, BKN (hamstring)/ Status: OUT
Pascal Siakam, TOR (shoulder)/ Status: OUT
Yuta Watanabe should be in line for a spot start at power forward in Siakam's absence, while the usage of the remainder of the starting five should see a bump.
Fred VanVleet, TOR (hip)/ Status: OUT
In VanVleet's absence, Gary Trent should draw a start at shooting guard.
Kyle Lowry, TOR (rest)/ Status: OUT
Malachi Flynn is likely to draw a start at point guard in Lowry's absence.
Jaylen Brown, BOS (wrist)/ Status: OUT
Malcolm Brogdon, IND (hamstring)/ Status: GTD
If Brogdon were to sit out again Tuesday, Edmond Sumner would likely remain in the starting five while both Caris LeVert and Domantas Sabonis would continue as the biggest beneficiaries in terms of increased usage.
De'Aaron Fox, SAC (COVD-19 protocols)/ Status: OUT
Kristaps Porzingis, DAL (knee)/ Status: OUT
Other notable injuries:
Myles Turner, IND (toe)/ Status: OUT
Jerami Grant, DET (knee)/ Status: OUT
Mason Plumlee, DET (rest)/ Status: OUT
Kelly Oubre, GSW (wrist)/ Status: OUT
Dennis Schroder, LAL (COVID-19 protocol)/ Status OUT
Kyle Kuzma, LAL (back)/ Status: PROBABLE
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, LAL (ankle)/ Status: PROBABLE
OG Anunoby, TOR (calf)/ Status: OUT
Will Barton, DEN (hamstring)/ Status: OUT
Aaron Gordon, DEN (calf)/ Status: PROBABLE
Buddy Hield, SAC (ankle)/ Status: PROBABLE
Tyrese Haliburton, SAC (knee)/ Status: OUT
Daniel Theis, CHI (hip)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Miles Bridges, CHA (COVID-19 protocol)/ Status: OUT
Gordon Hayward, CHA (foot)/ Status: OUT
Devonte' Graham, CHA (knee)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Harrison Barnes, SAC (groin)/ Status: DOUBTFUL
Cory Joseph, DET (ankle)/ Status: OUT
Chris Boucher, TOR (knee)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Wendell Carter, ORL (eye)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Josh Jackson, DET (tooth)/ Status: GTD
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, OKC (foot)/ Status: OUT
Hamidou Diallo, DET (COVID-19 protocols)/ Status: OUT
We have eight players with five-figure salaries on Tuesday night's slate: Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,200), Nikola Jokic ($11,000), Anthony Davis ($10,800), Kevin Durant ($10,600), Luka Doncic ($10,300), Stephen Curry ($10,300), Kyrie Irving ($10,200) and Domantas Sabonis ($10,200).
Antetokounmpo should see a heavy workload in a game in which the Bucks stand to catch the Nets for the No. 2 spot in the Eastern Conference if they can notch a win. The matchup against the Magic is also highly appealing. Jokic is also in an excellent positional matchup against the Hornets and has exceeded 60 FD points in three of the last seven games alone. Davis could have a difficult time offering an adequate return on his salary if James plays as expected, especially with the overall matchup against the Knicks a difficult one. Durant and Irving should continue enjoying the elevated usage that Harden's absence affords, while Doncic and Curry are still playing for something, and Doncic already has one 54.5 FD-point tally versus Memphis this season. Meanwhile, Curry has played in only one of the two previous Warriors-Suns games and was held to 33.8 FD points, but he's averaging 53.8 FD points in his last seven games. Finally, Sabonis arguably carries too inexpensive a salary if Brogdon is out again, considering he's averaging 49.2 FD points per 36 minutes without him on the floor this season and has scored over 70 FD points in three of the last five games.
Healthy players with salaries in the high four figures capable of also delivering elite scores include Nikola Vucevic ($9,800), Jayson Tatum ($9,700), Karl-Anthony Towns ($9,500), Jimmy Butler ($9,500) and Caris LeVert ($9,200).
From that group, it's particularly worth noting Vucevic has a very good positional matchup against the Nets, Tatum should see even more responsibility with Brown out and LeVert should be in a similar position to Sabonis to overdeliver on his salary if Brogdon remains out, as he's scored over 60 FD points in two of the last three games of his teammate's absence.
In addition to the players just mentioned in the prior section, other likely chalk plays include:
Both players have thrived in De'Aaron Fox's absence, and the star guard will remain out Tuesday.
Mo Bamba, ORL ($8,100)
Bamba has been excellent in the absence of Wendell Carter and should therefore be very popular if Carter is unable to overcome his questionable designation.
Julius Randle, NYK ($9,000)
Randle already put up 54.0 FD points against his old Lakers squad in one prior game.
Kawhi Leonard, LAC ($8,400)
Leonard has seen a significant salary drop from earlier in the season but is still capable of delivering an elite return, although there is blowout risk in the game against the short-handed Raptors.
P.J. Washington, CHA ($7,100)
Washington has averaged 36.1 FD points over his last nine games in what might be his best stretch of play this season.
Malachi Flynn, TOR ($5,000)
Gary Trent (see below) and Flynn should constitute Toronto's starting backcourt Tuesday and carry salaries that fall short of reflecting the amount of opportunities they should have.
Isaiah Stewart, DET ($6,200) vs. MIN
Stewart is fully expected to draw the start in place of the resting Mason Plumlee on Tuesday, and he's averaging 30.1 FD points over his last eight games while scoring 32.1 to 44.0 FD points in four of his six starts during that span. The Timberwolves check in allowing the sixth-highest offensive efficiency (34.0 percent) to centers, along with the ninth-most FD points per game (37.2) to the position for the season. Minnesota is also giving up the fourth-highest offensive efficiency in the paint (59.3 percent), the area of the floor where over 70.0 percent of Stewart's scoring emanates from.
Evan Fournier, BOS ($6,200) vs. MIA
Fournier comes in with a hot hand, as the aforementioned 38.5 FD points per game he's averaged over the last four contests have been garnered partly on the strength of blistering 66.7 percent shooting, including 63.0 percent from three-point range. Fournier is also averaging 32.5 FD points per 36 minutes without Jaylen Brown on the floor, and he just lit up the Heat for 48.6 FD points in 36 minutes Sunday. Fournier also tallied 38 FD points in a prior game against Miami when he was still with the Magic earlier this season, while the Heat checks in giving up the eighth-most FD points per game (51.9) to two-guards in the last 10.
Gary Trent, TOR ($4,900) vs. LAC
Trent should work as the starting shooting guard in Tuesday's game with Fred VanVleet resting, and he'll come in having scored 32.1 and 28.7 FD points in his first two games back from a lower leg injury. Trent has returned over 5x value on his current salary on 28 occasions overall this season, and despite Paul George's defense, the Clippers come in allowing 44.4 FD points per game to shooting guards on the season, including 49.2 over the last five games. Trent can certainly rack up fantasy production in a hurry when his three-point shot is cooking, and he's already sporting a 30.0 percent usage rate and averaging 43.5 FD points per 36 minutes with Lowry, VanVleet, Anunoby and Siakam off the floor this season.
Other value plays to consider: Marcus Smart, BOS ($6,000 vs. MIA; Saddiq Bey, DET ($6,000) vs. MIN; Tim Hardaway, DAL ($6,000) at MEM; Dwight Powell, DAL ($5,600) at MEM; Terence Davis, SAC ($5,300) vs. OKC