Kyrie Irving, BKN (personal) - OUT
There is no timetable for his return, but he could return to the lineup on the fly. Caris LeVert($8,900) remains as the play here.
Anthony Davis, LAL (toe) - QUESTIONABLE
Injury designations for Davis and LeBron James have been a given lately, but there's now a direct injury that's of some concern, as his toe injury was bad enough to warrant X-rays. Fears about his absence could drive down his popularity, but he kind of sits at an island at $9,800, so there's no real pivot. Kyle Kuzma ($3,900) would be my choice on the roster for increased output, but Markieff Morris ($4,000) also sees a usage boost of 7.7 percent when Davis is off the floor.
Kristaps Porzingis, DAL (knee) - PROBABLE
Porzingis appears to be good to go, but he will likely be on some sort of minutes restriction. Based on that hypothesis, it's a situation that's best avoided for the time being. We can't depend on him or his usual replacements for reliable floors at the moment.
Lonzo Ball, NOR (knee) - OUT
Ball's absence should clear the way for Nickeil Alexander-Walker ($3,800) with Eric Bledsoe (eye) carrying a questionable designation tonight. If Bledsoe gets the green light, then he becomes the optimal play at this position.
Jusuf Nurkic, POR (quad) - QUESTIONABLE
Nurkic walked to the locker room under his own power with the injury, but his status is still in doubt. Enes Kanter ($5,300) would get this usage bump in his absence.
Other injuries of note and the inter-squad pivots:
ELITE PLAYERS ($9,000-plus)
I don't doubt that Luka Doncic ($11,300) will put up a good number against the Hornets, but his last game against Charlotte represented his worst outing of the year, and Kristaps Porzingis' return makes me less interested in spending up here. I far prefer Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,000) in this range, although you do run the risk of the Greek Freak disappearing after three quarters against the Pistons. Kevin Durant ($10,100) will be solid chalk all season, but if you're in a waiting mood, I think LeBron James ($9,900) is worth slotting in if we find out that Anthony Davis is absent.
As we slide into the 9k range, my favorite call is Kawhi Leonard ($9,200). His game against the Pelicans should be a fast-paced shotfest, so there's output to be had all across this matchup. Since they are in or close to our elite salaries, I'll go on ahead and endorse Brandon Ingram ($8,800) and Paul George ($9,000) here as well.
De'Aaron Fox, SAC ($7,300) vs. POR
I would throw out his last game against Portland because of his lingering hamstring injury, but he appears to be 100% after putting up 41 FDFP against the Pacers two days ago. Portland struggles defensively against opposing floor generals, so this is a plum spot for Fox.
Khris Middleton, MIL ($7,400) @ DET
If you play enough NBA DFS, some rules stick in your mind, and you don't even need to consult the numbers to confirm the value. Middleton has a solid history of sticking around in lopsided games for the Bucks, and so far, it's the same story. Milwaukee and Detroit have already played each other twice, and Middleton averaged 33 minutes across those two contests. He also averaged 21 points and seven rebounds in the two-game span, making him good enough for somewhere in the 40-FDFP range.
Also consider: Zion Williamson, NOR ($7,700) @ LAC
Mitchell Robinson, NYK ($6,000) vs. BKN
Julius Randle and Kevin Durant should keep each other busy, leaving Robinson to outduel Jarrett Allen in Wednesday's matchup. Robinson carries some variance, but he's turned up the gas against some excellent big men, hitting 7x value against the Jazz and 6x value against Indiana's Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner. If he finds enough baskets, he'll be a legitimate double-double threat in the Barclays Center tonight. I also like Elfrid Payton ($5,700) in this spot.
Buddy Hield, SAC ($5,000) vs. POR
Hield is expected to play despite carrying an injury designation. Assuming he suits up, he's an excellent value at this salary once again. Over his past five games, Hield's averaged 12.2 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists, all while dealing with an ankle injury. His salary is inflated on other sites, so I like this as a play strictly for FanDuel tonight.
Josh Hart, NOR ($4,400) @ LAC
I think there's room for Hart tonight with Eric Bledsoe's injury possibly in play. Hart's attractive salary makes him ready for value-beating numbers, and his 0.8 FPPM and 28-minute averages put him squarely in that range.