We've got a compact five-game slate on tap Tuesday night, which gives us a much narrower player pool to work with and dictates that we look for creative ways to differentiate in tournaments even more than usual. I love 5 game slates bet big to night !
Philadelphia 76ers at New York Knicks (O/U: TBD)
Golden State Warriors at Oklahoma City Thunder (O/U: 224 points)
Houston Rockets at Dallas Mavericks (O/U: 220 points)
Los Angeles Lakers at San Antonio Spurs (O/U: TBD)
Denver Nuggets at Utah Jazz (O/U: 219.5 points)
Tuesday night's slate could feature a couple of lopsided results with both the Thunder and Rockets on the schedule, as well as a grindy, fantasy-unfriendly slugfest between the 76ers and Knicks. The three games between Philadelphia and New York last season finished with totals of 198, 195 and 201, even with the third one going into overtime. Additionally, Joel Embiid is once again carrying a questionable tag due to a knee injury, which is the reason why the total remains off the board.
The Lakers-Spurs and Nuggets-Jazz clashes would, on the surface, appear to have a solid chance at being competitive matchups that allow star players to log a full allotment of minutes. While the Spurs haven't been in L.A.'s class by any stretch in the last couple of seasons, they lost to LeBron and company by just six in one of three games last season and notched a nine-point victory in another installment.
The good news is that outside of Embiid, there are no other major injuries of note that would affect the offensive capabilities of any of the clubs taking the floor.
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.
Joel Embiid, PHI (knee)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
If Embiid were to sit out, Tobias Harris and the remainder of the first unit would see varying degrees of additional opportunity, while Andre Drummond would draw a start at center if he can play through his ankle injury.
LeBron James, LAL (ankle)/ Status: PROBABLE
James is fully expected to suit up and not have any restrictions against the Spurs.
Ben Simmons, PHI (team decision)/ Status: OUT
Other notable injuries:
Andre Drummond, PHI (ankle)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Nerlens Noel, NYK (knee)/ Status: QUESTIONABLE
Kendrick Nunn, LAL (knee)/ Status: OUT
Derrick Favors, OKC (rest)/ Status: OUT
Shake Milton, PHI (ankle)/ Status: OUT
James Wiseman, GSW (knee)/ Status: OUT
We have six players with five-figure salaries on Tuesday's slate: Nikola Jokic ($11,100), Luka Doncic ($10,900), Anthony Davis ($10,500), Stephen Curry ($10,400), LeBron James ($10,300) and Joel Embiid ($10,000).
Jokic is already laying the early foundation for an MVP candidacy, as he added a 24-point, 19-rebound double-double Monday night in a loss to the Cavaliers after averaging 29.5 points, 14.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.5 steals over the first pair of contests. He also thrived against the Jazz last season with averages of 35.3 points, 11.7 rebounds and 9.0 assists in three contests.
Doncic hasn't really gotten going by his lofty standards, but he's already averaging 46.8 FD points over his first two games despite shooting an inefficient 41.5 percent from the floor, including 23.5 percent from distance. He may be worth every penny Tuesday against a defensively challenged Rockets squad he lit up for 27.3 points, 10.0 rebounds and 8.0 assists across three games last year.
Davis is clocking 50.7 FD points per contest over his first three games, eclipsing the 50-mark in the first two. He appears to be back to his normal form after finishing the postseason last summer injured and underperforming.
Curry is shooting just 43.5 percent over his first three games, but he's easily eclipsed 50 FD points in each contest with the help of a pair of 10-assist and three-steal tallies. His matchup against an OKC team that's allowing the seventh-highest three-point percentage (38.1) thus far is helpful to his outlook.
James has been been mostly locked in early and has eclipsed 40 FD points twice in his first three games. The matchup against the Spurs was one James thrived in last season, posting between 48.0 and 56.2 FD points in three games versus San Antonio.
If Embiid's in the lineup, he'll be looking to add to an average of 48.4 FD points that he's amassed across just 29.7 minutes per contest this season.
In addition to the players just mentioned in the prior section, other likely chalk plays include:
Julius Randle, NYK ($9,700)
Randle arguably deserves a much higher salary after averaging 58.4 FD points in his first three games, including a pair of tallies over 60. The matchup against the Sixers is tough, particularly if Embiid plays, but Randle's production thus far will make him very popular on a five-game slate.
Russell Westbrook, LAL ($9,100)
Westbrook still isn't doing much scoring, but he's put up over 40 FD points in each of his last two games thanks to his excellent work in rebounds and assists. His name value and Lakers affiliation should help him get on plenty of rosters.
Donovan Mitchell, UTA ($8,600)
Mitchell is averaging 36.8 FD points in his first two games despite shooting just 35.7 percent thus far, and he should be plenty popular in a high-profile matchup against the Nuggets.
Keldon Johnson, SA vs. LAL ($5,600)
Johnson is off to an excellent start as the starting power forward for the Spurs, averaging 30 FD points over his first three games on the strength of 20.7 points (on 56.3 percent shooting), 3.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.3 steals. The third-year big looks ready to break out after a couple seasons mostly serving in a rotational role. Johnson is also averaging a robust 16 shots per game over 31.7 minutes per contest, and the Lakers come in allowing the third-most FD points per game to PFs, along with the 10th-highest offensive efficiency to the position (29.0 percent).
Tim Hardaway, DAL vs. HOU ($5,000)
Hardaway's salary is a potential steal considering he put up 34.6 FD points in his most recent contest on the strength of seven three-pointers. There's no question the veteran wing can get on some blistering heaters during which he comfortably exceeds 5x value on his current salary, a mark he reached on 32 occasions last season including twice against Houston. The Rockets are also deficient defensively to say the least, and they allowed 42.1 percent shooting from three-point range in their one road contest thus far. Meanwhile, Hardaway has averaged 8.5 three-point attempts over his first pair of games while shooting 52.9 percent from behind the arc.