Sorry about my absence from the Index Monday, I literally fell asleep with my laptop on my belly around 9 p.m. Sunday night.

I had family in town last weekend and I guess my mind was zapped.

But now I am refreshed and ready to get back to the grind.

Tonight’s NBA slate is 10 games and we already have some injury news that impacts the slate:

Stephen Curry and Tim Hardaway, Jr., Nikola Jokic and Willie Cauley-Stein are out, Anthony Davis is doubtful, Gallinari is questionable, Porzingis is probable. There are a few more names to monitor throughout the day and there’s always the chance that news breaks closer to lock that we weren’t expecting.

Let’s get to my favorite plays outside of Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins, who clearly benefit with usage bumps due to Curry and Davis (doubtful) no in the lineup.

Rajon Rondo – PG – New Orleans Pelicans – $5,500

Analysis: Point guard is pretty weak tonight with Curry out, but there are some very solid, high-usage options. The first is Rondo, who is playing close to 30 minutes a game. With Anthony Davis out, that frees up Rondo to snag extra rebounds and his triple-double upside (which also secures his floor) is massive at a $5,500 price tag. He’s never been a high-scoring threat, but he gets a lot of assists, snags rebounds, can block a shot or two, and collect steals. He has a lot of ways to score, plus this will be a high-paced game as the Pelicans are 7th in pace and the Nuggets are 13th. Denver has been chewed up and spit out lately against PGs, allowing 78.3 DK points in their past 10 games, which is 12 more per game than their season average.

Jonathon Simmons – SG/SF – Orlando Magic – $5,200

Analysis: I really like what Simmons has brought to the table this season. He was a cheap, high-usage guy off the bench to start, but now he’s a starter who is playing anywhere between 33 and 39 minutes per game and is 4th on the team in usage rate of 21.9%. The Magic are hosting the Hawks, who are 3rd overall in fantasy points allowed to SFs this season. Simmons is chucking double-digit shot attempts in each of the games he has started. He can snag rebounds to raise his floor.

Jamal Murray – PG/SG – Denver Nuggets – $5,100

Analysis: The biggest beneficiary to the absence of Paul Millsap and Nikola Jokic is Jamal Murray, who has a wonderful spot tonight. I’ve already mentioned the pace of this game should be up due to the high pace of both teams, meaning extra possessions, which means extra shot attempts and extra opportunities for rebounds, assists, etc. Murray owns a 30% usage rate with Jokic and Millsap gone, and he’s chucked 30 shot attempts over the past two games while playing about 30 minutes in each game that Jokic has been out. Rondo is one of the worst defensive players t in the league the Pelicans are sixth in overall fantasy points allowed to PGs as well.

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