Anthony Davis (calf) - QUESTIONABLE
LeBron James (ankle) - QUESTIONABLE
I anticipate that Davis will play after missing the first half of the back-to-back, but James is another story. The Lakers may give LeBron a night off and slot Davis in, or they may rest both of them. It's too soon to tell, and unfortunately, it's the latest start time on the slate. I think the question marks and the late hour could render them less popular options, so if this is a route you'd like to take, you can prop up the UTIL spot with a high-priced player for the Nuggets, Rockets or Trail Blazers and swap once the news is more precise.
Kevin Durant (rest) - QUESTIONABLE
Spencer Dinwiddie (knee) - QUESTIONABLE
Let's not forget the severity of Durant's injury that cost him an entire season. The Nets won't take any chances here, which is why there is speculation that he'll sit on the tail end of this back-to-back. Like the Lakers, you'll need to wait and see about this situation. Since this will be a recurring theme this year, it will be interesting to see where they go if Durant does sit I'd expect Taurean Prince ($3,900) to get the call, but it's also possible that the Nets could go tall and employ DeAndre Jordan ($4,500) and Jarrett Allen ($5,700) together. A Dinwiddie absence will be a green light to fire up Caris LeVert ($6,300).
John Wall (COVID-19) - OUT
DeMarcus Cousins (COVID-19) - OUT
Eric Gordon (COVID-19) - OUT
Ben McLemore (illness) - OUT
The Rockets went with Danuel House ($4,100) and David Nwaba ($4,100) as replacements in their starting lineup last time, and I expect the same this evening. To no one's surprise, Christian Wood ($8,100) and James Harden ($11,200) led the way, but newcomer Jae'Sean Tate ($4,200) played 37 minutes and could be a great value during this quarantine period.
Blake Griffin (rest) OUT
Derrick Rose (rest) OUT
With Griffin resting, I expect both Jerami Grant ($5,700) and Josh Jackson ($4,300) to see more time in his absence. As a second-unit player, Rose's minutes should go to Delon Wright ($4,200) and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk ($3,700).
ELITE PLAYERS ($9,000-plus)
The aforementioned James Harden ($11,200) tops our slate, and the only other 10k-plus players are James and AD. We've already explained the conundrum there, and as we know, the Rockets are playing short-handed. I like Harden on this slate a lot more than I usually would, but a big night from him is an absolute necessity for Houston. It'll be tough to hit 5x value with his salary, but he hit 6.7x value at 11k against Portland, so it's definitely doable.
Further down in this category, Nikola Jokic ($10,000) looks to be a lock against the Rockets, as he should have no problem against Wood and a depleted roster. The Hawks are also heavy favorites against Detroit, so it's a perfect night to target Trae Young ($9,800). Lastly, Damian Lillard($9,400) always seems to turn on the heat when he comes to the Staples Center, so he warrants a heavy endorsement.
Ja Morant, MEM ($8,500) @ BKN
There should be a massive movement towards Morant to save money, with people opting to fade Young and Lillard. It's not a bad strategy, as he's failed to disappoint in the first week of the season. His fantasy totals of 43 and 67 FDFP haven't resulted in wins for the Grizzlies, but they may hit paydirt against the Nets if Brooklyn sits Durant.
Jamal Murray, DEN ($7,100) vs. HOU
I continue to hammer this matchup, and I'm keen to use Murray and Jokic as my premier stack of the night. Although a blowout is certainly possible, the duo should put up sufficient numbers in three quarters. Murray hasn't met projections so far this season, but I think it's time for him to break out tonight.
John Collins, ATL ($7,000) vs. DET
He continues to be cheap because he hasn't played up to expectations yet. Foul trouble and poor shooting have been culprits, but I think that's a trend that ends tonight. The Pistons will be without Griffin, and Trae should be able to get the ball past Killian Hayes and feed Collins the rock. The Hawks will also have Clint Capela available again, which should free up Collins to score.
Jonas Valanciunas, MEM ($7,200) @ BKN
I'm staying true to my word and targeting this game. I will use this paragraph also to endorse Dillon Brooks ($3,700) and Brandon Clarke ($4,200), even though they belong in the value bin. Despite their 0-2 record, I think the Grizzlies have a legit shot to pull off a win here, especially if Durant sits. I have no issue with Jordan and Allen down low, but this team has probably gotten used to Durant bailing them out inside, and Valanciunas is not a guy you want getting comfortable against you. He's one of the best per-minute scorers in the league, and he's notoriously fast out of the gate. If I don't go with Jokic, I'm perfectly fine with Jonas.
Also consider: Rudy Gobert, UTA ($7,700) @ OKC
VALUE PLAYS ($6,667 and below)
Dennis Schroder, LAL ($6,500) vs. POR
I like this play a lot more if the Lakers sit James tonight, but I don't think it matters either way. The team has shifted from James to Schroder as its primary facilitator, and his assist and rebound numbers should offset any scoring deficiencies he might have at this salary point. Even on poor shooting nights, double-digit assists are almost a given.
George Hill, OKC ($5,400) vs. UTA
Hill finally has a chance to shine again in a starting role. People have forgotten the George Hill of earlier in the decade when he decimated defenses with the Pacers. Although he's getting up there in age (34), he brings a veteran presence to a team that's been gutted for a rebuild project. Although Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ($7,800) is the core of this team and a suitable selection, Hill's numbers are encouraging. However, it's only a matter of time before the Thunder tinkers with rookie Theo Maledon in this spot.
Luguentz Dort, OKC ($4,700) vs. UTA
While we're on the Thunder, Dort is a guy who excelled in the bubble, and it looks like he's found a home in Oklahoma City. Dort has the goods to play at the two or three, so he isn't in immediate danger of losing minutes to guys like Hamidou Diallo, who looks to be a contender for one of those spots. Dort is one of the best defenders on the squad, so as long as he matches that with sufficient offensive output, he should be an everyday fixture in the starting five. In his first game against the Hornets, he logged a whopping 35 minutes, and that's gold at this salary.
Jordan Clarkson, UTA ($4,500) @ OKC
I've said it many times - you sleep on Clarkson at your peril. He has a photo of the Sixth Man of the Year trophy on the door of his locker. He's never going to break into the starting five unless there's an injury, and that's just how the Jazz like it. He was the team's leading scorer despite coming off the bench against the Timberwolves, and it probably won't be the last time he outscores the starters. The salary is just too good to pass up.
Finally, some parting shots in the bargain bin:
De'Andre Hunter ($4,500) showed up with a huge 39 FDFP performance against the Grizzlies and is averaging 30 minutes per game with the Hawks. Cam Reddish is challenging him for minutes, but Hunter is the hotter player of the two right now.
Let's not sleep on some of the budget options like Tate, Brooks, Clarke, House and Princetonight, but be wary of 'bad chalk.' Injury and replacements are great ways to reap value, but it's essential not to overdo it. Solid players will almost always trump spot starters, so be aware of what you're trying to afford before spending down. To get the latest information on starting lineups tonight, visit our Advanced Lineups Tool before games lock.