The goal of the NBA Injury Report is to set the stage for the slate as news comes out on late scratches, rest days, and other scenarios, and often there is little time to react. With this article, the work of the other staff members, and the amazing NBA DFS projections, those scenarios can be handled much more easily. That allows for pivoting at the drop of a hat, and the NBA Starting Lineup page is an extremely important tool as well. Last night was an easy first night but there are 11 games on the NBA DFS slate tonight so let’s get to work.
NBA Injury Report & Starting Lineups Today | Oct. 20
Remember to always place players from the later games in guard, forward, and utility slots on DraftKings. Allow maximum flexibility to react to the news that comes out after lock, which will happen in NBA. Additionally, take advantage of the wealth of Awesemo NBA content to get ready for these slates.
Pacers – T.J. Warren, Caris LeVert – Out
Jeremy Lamb, Justin Holiday – Questionable
Malcolm Brogdon – Probable
The Holiday and Lamb designations would have a ripple effect because they should be in line to start in place of Warren and LeVert. The main beneficiaries are already in the lineup with Brogdon and Domantas Sabonis. Both see a small bump in usage by at least 1% and the per-minute rate is mostly stagnant, but it is always good to have the ball in your hand more. Charlotte was only 19th in rebounding last season and Sabonis was fourth in rebounding chances, giving him a little bit of a boost in that facet. It is also interesting to note that Myles Turner led the league in blocks last year and the Hornets were ninth at attempts within five feet of the basket. Turner also saw a minimal bump in usage and fantasy points per minute and could be a cheaper source of blocks, which is especially valuable on FanDuel. If Lamb and Holiday cannot make the lineup, T.J. McConnell and possibly Torrey Craig could be in line for additional minutes.
Hornets – Terry Rozier, Miles Bridges – Probable
As of right now, there is no reason to suspect the Hornets would not be full strength tonight.
Bulls – Coby White – Out
The only injury of note for the Bulls is White as he recovers from an offseason shoulder surgery. However, do not expect much of a fantasy impact here. Chicago has changed their team drastically since the trade deadline last year. They have added Nikola Vucevic, DeMar DeRozan, and Lonzo Ball to a sating unit that already has Zach LaVine and Patrick Williams. White was only going to be in a backup role and that should fall on another newcomer in Alex Caruso. Expect Caruso to be one of the first players off the bench in a reserve role, but it could be a difficult lineup to rack up fantasy points. There was a sample of around 295 minutes with Vucevic, LaVine, and Williams on the floor last year, and two players (Vucevic and LaVine) had a usage rate over 27% and a per-minute rate over 1 point. Now they will be adding in DeRozan and Ball.
Pistons – Cade Cunningham – Out
The number one pick in this past draft has missed a lot of preseason action with an ankle injury and that will hold him out of the first game of the year. Jerami Grant figures to still be near the top in usage rate since he was over 28% last season. However, Josh Jackson was second at 26.9% and that should not be the same this season. Second-year players Saddiq Bey and Killian Hayes both were over 19% in usage and over 0.80 fantasy points per minute. There is plenty of room for Cunningham to have a significant role immediately when he gets in the lineup. Jackson could enter the starting lineup, but the team has changed and Hayes is healthy, which is a shift from last season.
Celtics – Al Horford – Out
Jaylen Brown – Questionable
Horford is officially out and Brown could still miss, both due to COVID protocols. Jason Tatum becomes the star of the team with a bullet point if Brown misses since he had a 36.7% usage and 1.40 fantasy points per minute when Brown and Kemba Walker (now a Knick) are off the court. The Knicks had the fourth-highest defensive rating last season so it may not be the most appealing matchup but Tatum playing alongside Dennis Schroeder is on the radar.
Update – Brown is active tonight and in the starting lineup.
Horford’s absence should lock in a role for Robert Williams. In the same sample as Tatum, he had 1.24 fantasy points per minute last year on just a 15.3% usage rate. New York was top 12 in paint points and rebounds allowed last year while Williams had 6.6 paint touches per game. Much like Tatum, the matchup is not great but with no Horford to threaten a larger share of the minutes, Williams is on the table.
Knicks – Nerlens Noel – Questionable
It is not a bad place to be when the only injury news for an NBA Injury Report is the backup center. If Noel misses, the odds would be Taj Gibson could see a few extra minutes. Mitchell Robinson will still start and this is a larger slate to try and get Gibson right. He only managed 0.82 fantasy points per minute in 918 minutes with Noel off the court last season.
Wizards – Rui Hachimura, Thomas Bryant – Out
Hachimura will not be in the lineup to start since he has to get his conditioning up to game standards. The guess would be that new Wizard Kyle Kuzma steps into that role and it was not exactly special last year. Hachimura had an 18.3% usage rate overall but when Russell Westbrook was off the court, the usage jumped up to 20.4% and the per-minute rate was 0.89 points. If Kuzma steps into that, he could be viable at the salary if starting. Bryant missing does not have a giant impact as he only played 10 games last year but Daniel Gafford closed the season strong to earn an extension.
Raptors – Pascal Siakam, Yuta Watanabe – Out
Chris Boucher – Questionable
Siakam will not be back for a bit while Boucher popped up on the report on Tuesday. There are some changes in the Raptors lineup with the loss of Kyle Lowry and the addition of Goran Dragic, among others. Rookie Scottie Barnes should enter the starting five and he can do a little bit of everything, appealing in DFS. If he starts, he is barely above the minimum on DraftKings which could leave him as a fantastic salary saver. Fred VanVleet should be the lead offensive player in the lineup and last year with Lowry and Siakam off the court, he had a team-leading 34.1% usage rate with 1.15 fantasy points per minute. He is still under $8,000 on DraftKings, and Washington played at warp speed last year in pace and were bottom 10 in defensive rating. Khem Birch would have more solidified minutes if Boucher ends up being out, although the price is up there.
Cavaliers – Dean Wade – Questionable
As of now, the Cavaliers do not have any injuries of note. It is a rare respite for NBA.
Grizzlies – Dillon Brooks – Out
With Brooks out, that now leaves the Grizzlies without him, Jonas Valanciunas, and Grayson Allen as main contributors from last year. De’Anthony Melton should get the first chance to enter the starting lineup and in a 431-minute sample last year, he produced for fantasy in this scenario. The 22.5% usage rate was fourth behind Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Kyle Anderson but the 1.18 fantasy points per minute were third. The rue shooting rate of 61.1% was a little high but even still, the salary on DraftKings is more than affordable for a starter.
Rockets – John Wall – Out
The team and Wall have agreed for him to not play while they search for a trade partner (good luck) so he will be out for the foreseeable future. While it was a revolving door in the Rockets lineups last year, Christian Wood is still here and should be heavily utilized. He led the team with 1.20 fantasy points per minute without Wall and others now on different teams last season in about 379 minutes. The usage leaders were Eric Gordon and Kevin Porter at over 28% each although it is fair to wonder what role Gordon will have on a rebuilding team. Overall, the absence of Wall spreads the wealth throughout the main cogs of the lineup as opposed to really catapulting one player. Gordon saw a 6.1% usage boost but that only change the per-minute rate by 0.22 points.
Timberwolves – Patrick Beverly – Out
Jaylen Nowell, Jordan McLaughlin – Questionable
Beverly is the only player even listed on the second string, and with the trio of D’Angelo Russel, Anthony Edwards, and Karl-Anthony Towns all healthy, his absence will not open up very much production.
76ers – Ben Simmons, Shake Milton – Out
This team is one of the lynchpins of the NBA Injury Report. The Philly drama continues to turn, resulting in Simmons being suspended. That leaves Joel Embiid as the premier play on the slate as far as the high salaried options go. He is expensive, but when with Simmons and Milton off the floor, Embiid had an absurd 42.4% usage rate and 1.97 fantasy points per minute. Just for context, in the seasonal data from last year Embiid and Luka Doncic lead the league at about 35% for usage rate. It is near impossible to explain how high 42.4% is. On the cheaper side, Tobias Harris saw a bump of 2.9% in his usage, and second-year player Tyrese Maxey ticked up by 4.1% and both players were over 1.1 fantasy points per minute. Assuming he jumps into the starting lineup, Maxey could help make Embiid much more affordable. New Orleans was just average guarding the paint last year, ranking 13th in points allowed.
Pelicans – Zion Williamson – Out
One of the reasons the Pelicans will be more vulnerable in the pain is the loss of Williamson after foot surgery. A lot of the load will fall onto Brandon Ingram, who was at a 33.4% usage without Williamson, Steven Adams, and Eric Bledsoe on the floor. The latter two are on different teams now while they brought in Jonas Valanciunas. The veteran big man is going to need to be on the floor as much as he can against Embiid, but foul trouble always looms. Embiid led the league in free throw attempts last year so be aware of that. Nickell Alexander-Walker is on the table as well with a 27% usage rate and 1.14 fantasy points per minute in the scenario the Pelicans are in, but he is not cheap. Naji Marshall could draw a start with Williamson out but would be the clear fifth option in the offense among starters.
Magic – Michael Carter-Williams, Markelle Fultz, Chuma Okeke – Out
The Magic are going to be a group of young guys trying to rebuild the franchise and the two players at the forefront in this scenario are Cole Anthony and Terrence Ross. Both players were over a 28% usage rate and over 1 fantasy point per minute. Rookie Franz Wagner could take the spot of Okeke in the starting lineup, but this game will not be very popular for DFS.
Spurs – None
Thunder – None
Jazz – Rudy Gay – Out
Gay is not ready to go after foot surgery in the offseason but that is not exactly an Earth-shattering fantasy news tidbit. The Jazz are deep, and his absence does not change much for the NBA Injury Report.
Nuggets – Jamal Murray – Out
Murray will continue to rehab from his ACL tear for a while, leaving Monte Morris in the starting lineup. He has shown to be a solid contributor with a 19% usage rate and 0.92 fantasy points per minute, but that is nothing crazy. Nikola Jokic has a 32.9% usage rate and 1.66 fantasy points per minute without Murray. Just remember the stats that Embiid features when comparing these two centers tonight. The Suns also had the sixth-highest defensive rating last year compared to 23rd for the Pelicans.
Suns – Dario Saric – Out
Saric tore his ACL in the Finals last season but is not a primary contributor, so this does not change all that much for the NBA Injury Report.
Kings – None
Trail Blazers – None
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