I hope everyone enjoyed their holiday and hopefully made some cash on the five-game Christmas Day slate. The NBA’s right back at it with a six-game Thursday slate, but with so much star power on Christmas, you’ll notice there aren’t as many places to pay up on this slate. Here’s your cheat sheet by position:
Target worth paying up for: Damian Lillard ($8,500) at UTA (26th)Lillard’s been inconsistent lately but has tournament upside against Utah. It’s tough to find a spend up spot at PG, which could leave Lillard to go overlooked.
Best value: Jordan McRae ($3,200) at DET (8th)The Wizards injury report is pretty insane at this point and probably plays the biggest role in making WAS/DET the game to target on this slate. Isaiah Thomas has one game left on his suspension, and Ish Smith’s ($6,100) salary is getting far too expensive. If McRae returns from a finger injury, he should be great value for this cheap.
Positional StrategyI’m paying down at PG when it comes to cash games and just using the value. The story of the slate will be Luka Doncic ($11,800) since he’s expected to return from his ankle injury, but I don’t think we can sink that much salary in his first game back.
Target worth paying up for: Buddy Hield ($6,300) vs. MIN (24th)Hield is in the midst of a terrible shooting slump — shooting a combined 9-for-45 over his last three games. He was $8,400 less than two weeks ago, so a bounce-back game from the field should eventually make him a very valuable play.
Best value: Langston Galloway ($3,600) vs. WAS (23rd)The Pistons also have an extremely lengthy injury report, which led to Galloway playing 31 minutes in his last game. There’s a good chance he remains in that role, so pay attention to Detroit’s final list of active players. Galloway’s salary is down $500 over his last two games, and he shot just 2-of-8 last game. A better game against the Wizards would easily help him exceed value.
Positional StrategyNot much to pay up for here, as Bradley Beal’s ($9,900) salary jump feels a little too high. I’ll take the mid-priced plays like Hield, along with the WAS/DET value.
Target worth paying up for: DeMar DeRozan ($6,500) at DAL (4th)Again, no classic pay-up spot, but DeRozan’s price has come down $900 recently, despite playing well. He went for over 50 DKFP in his last game and did the same in his only matchup against the Mavs this season.
Best value: Svi Mykhailiuk ($3,700) vs. WAS (23rd)Luke Kennard’s knee injury opens up the most value on the Pistons, and Mykhailiuk profiles as the player to fill in. He went for 23.5 DKFP in 32 minutes in his last game and gets Wizards’ defense in this game to boost his value.
Positional StrategyI’m not paying up for Doncic, and there’s really a lack of options after that. So like SG, this is a balanced position, with plenty of value in WAS/DET.
Target worth paying up for: Kristaps Porzingis ($8,300) vs. SAS (28th)Porzingis is a great player to pay up for. KP’s averaging over 50 DKFP in the five games since Luka got hurt, and should continue to soak up extra usage for as long as he’s the go-to-guy. With Doncic expected to play, KP’s an interesting tournament play since he could lose some ownership.
Best value: Rudy Gay ($4,000) at DAL (28th)It was somewhat surprising to see how cheap Gay is, hitting $5,500 earlier in the month. His last few games haven’t been encouraging, but Gay still showed he has a ton of upside, scoring 37 DKFP in 21 minutes against the Rockets.
Positional StrategyIf Porzingis is no longer a cash play, there’s a lot of strong plays just under $7,000 to go to.
Target worth paying up for: Andre Drummond ($10,000) vs. WAS (26th)This is one of those matchups you almost have to pay-up for Drummond in. He went off for almost 60 DKFP the last time he faced the Wizards, and now Washington has even fewer bodies to throw at Drummond. With no must-play studs on this slate, Drummond is the obvious name to pay up for.
Best value: DeAndre Jordan ($5,100) vs. NYK (6th)DJ’s coming off a 20-rebound game against the Hawks, scoring 50 DKFP in just 26 minutes. He has to be a consideration against his former squad.
Positional StrategyThis is a slate where we easily can, and should, pay up for two centers. Hassan Whiteside ($7,700) is the other name the jumps out, with a declining salary in a matchup against Utah.
Key news to monitor on DK Live:
QUESTIONABLEKarl-Anthony Towns (knee)
Marcus Morris (Achilles)
Bogdan Bogdanovic (ankle)
Bruce Brown (calf)
Reggie Jackson (back)
Shabazz Napier (illness)
Jordan McRae (finger)
PROBABLELuka Doncic (ankle)
Jordan Clarkson (Jazz debut)
Blake Griffin (illness)
Christian Wood (knee)
Mitchell Robinson (illness)
DOUBTFULWayne Ellington (Achilles)
Dennis Smith Jr. (oblique)
OUTDanilo Gallinari (ankle)
Luke Kennard (knee)
Davis Bertans (quad)
Rui Hachimura (groin)
Mo Wagner (ankle)
Isaiah Thomas (suspension)
Mike Conley (hamstring)
Get all the news and analysis up to the minute on DK Live.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is jedlow) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.