The NBA heads into the last full week before its Christmas Spectacular with eight games on the fantasy basketball slate for this Monday, Dec. 17. Three of the 16 teams taking the floor tonight are finishing back-to-backs, so keep that in mind if you’re targeting players on the Knicks, Sixers or Kings. The action tonight starts with the Bucks and Pistons in an Eastern Conference clash, but most of the rest of the action is out West with some key Western Conference matchups including the Grizzlies visiting the Warriors and the Clippers hosting the Blazers.
There should be plenty of entertaining action on the hardwood from these eight games, so make sure to get your lineup locked in before tipoff. You can find my top studs and values at each position right here and all your pre-tip coverage of news and availability updates on the DK Live app or live.draftkings.com.
StudBen Simmons, PHI at SA, $8,900 — Simmons and the Sixers cruised past the Cavs in Cleveland on Sunday, and he was able to get some extra rest since he only needed to play 32 minutes to produce a massive 63.25 DKFP on a triple-double of 22 points, 14 assists and 11 rebounds. He has adjusted well to the arrival of Jimmy Butler ($7,400) and has more than 45 DKFP in four of his past five games. He is usually good for about 20 points and near a triple-double. He is more affordable than the elite-level PGs on the slate tonight, but he has a similar ceiling as the Sixers finish their back-to-back against the Spurs. Other Options — Russell Westbrook ($11,200), De’Aaron Fox ($7,300)
ValueRyan Arcidiacono, CHI at OKC, $4,200 — With Zach LaVine (ankle) out, Arcidiacono stayed in the Bulls’ starting lineup even with Kris Dunn ($6,200) rejoining the starting five. Arcidiacono played 39 minutes Saturday in Chicago’s comeback win over the Spurs and produced 32.0 DKFP on 12 points, six assists, four rebounds and three steals. The second-year guard from Villanova has shown he can produce in multiple categories when given extended run, and he should get at least one more start before joining the second unit behind LaVine and Dunn.
Other Options — De’Anthony Melton ($5,200), T.J. McConnell ($3,800)
StudDevin Booker, PHO at NY, $8,500 — Although he has battled multiple injuries this season, Booker has been excellent when healthy. He returned from a six-game absence due to a hamstring injury Saturday against the Timberwolves and led the Suns to a win with 28 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and 47.75 DKFP. He is the definite leader of the offense and leads the team with a 30.7 percent usage rate in his 20 games. He should be able to shine on the big stage of Madison Square Garden and offers elite upside under $9K against the Knicks in what projects to be one of the higher scoring games on the slate. Other Options — James Harden ($10,900), Derrick Rose ($6,300)
ValueBogdan Bogdanovic, SAC at MIN, $5,800 — Bogdanovic has played at least 30 minutes in each of his past five games and posted more than 30 DKFP in four of those contests and in seven of his past 10. Bogdanovic is still coming off the bench for the Kings but playing big enough minutes and getting involved enough to still make a solid play. He has averaged 14.8 points, 4.6 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 31.2 DKFP over those five games, and his best performance of that stretch came against the Timberwolves. He had 20 points, six assists, five rebounds and 36.25 DKFP in 31 minutes against the T-Wolves on Wednesday, and he’ll look for similar success in the rematch in Minnesota.
Other Options — Avery Bradley ($3,700)
StudPaul George, OKC vs. CHI, $9,500 — George has helped the Thunder to a fast start and has been shooting the ball very well lately. He has at least 30 points in three of his past four games and has shot at least 50 percent in each of those contests while adding his typical non-scoring production as well. He had more than 48 DKFP in three of those four games and in four of his past six. He struggled a bit when the Thunder lost to the Bulls earlier this month, so look for him and OKC to be fired up to avenge that loss as they host the Bulls in the rematch. Like Simmons and Booker, PG13 provides elite-level upside from under $10K and is part of a strong group of solid star players with elite upside on this slate. Other Options — Giannis Antetokounmpo ($11,300), Danilo Gallinari ($6,600)
ValueKevin Knox, NY vs. PHO, $5,700 — The Knicks have decided it’s time to give the 19-year-old Knox more run and have put in him the starting lineup for their past three contests. He has played at least 33 minutes and produced at least 25 DKFP in each of his past four games and had a massive 26-point, 15-rebound double-double, which led to 50.25 DKFP in his most recent game at the Garden. In a great matchup against the porous Phoenix defense, Knox is a great play with a high ceiling as long as he keeps getting the extended run in the ever-changing Knicks’ rotation.
Other Options — Al-Farouq Aminu ($4,700), Nemanja Bjelica ($4,400)
StudBlake Griffin, DET vs. MIL, $9,000 — Griffin has 45-55 DKFP in each of his past five games dating back to when he faced the Bucks in Milwaukee earlier this month. He had 31 points, seven rebounds, four assists and 46.25 DKFP in 30 minutes in that contest and has continued to post good numbers since then with more than 25 points in every game since to go with strong rebounding numbers. The Pistons will try to avenge their loss earlier this month, and Griffin will look to score at least 20 points for the ninth game in a row as he takes on a Bucks front line that has struggled with size at times this season. Other Options — LaMarcus Aldridge ($8,000), Lauri Markkanen ($6,500)
ValueMontrezl Harrell, LAC vs. POR, $5,700 — Harrell bounced back with a strong game in Oklahoma City after three straight stinkers. He had 21 points, six boards and 34.0 DKFP on Saturday after being held under 10 points and under 20 DKFP in each of those three previous contests. He should be set up for more success in this matchup since he had 37.0 and 37.5 DKFP in two previous matchups with the Blazers. He has been a little boom-or-bust this season but has flashed impressive upside for the surprising Clippers.
Other Options — Derrick Favors ($5,400), Mike Muscala ($3,500)
StudClint Capela, HOU vs. UTA, $7,800 — Capela goes head-to-head with Rudy Gobert ($7,400) in what should be a great battle to watch. The Rockets have relied on Capela for much bigger minutes this season, and the fifth-year center has stepped up with 17.7 points and 11.6 rebounds, leading to 39.7 DKFP per game. He had a great game in Memphis on Saturday with 26 points, 10 boards and 43 DKFP and has at least 40 DKFP in five of his past eight contests. He had a double-double in just 26 minutes against Utah earlier this month, and he should be able to produce bigger numbers if this game in Houston stays competitive. Other Options — Joel Embiid ($10,600), Willie Cauley-Stein ($6,400)
ValueRichaun Holmes, PHO at NY, $4,000 — Holmes has been one of the best bargain big men for about a month as he continues to contribute off the bench for the Suns. He is averaging less than 20 minutes a game in his past 14 contests but still has produced 10.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, 1.7 blocks and 0.8 steals to total 23.4 DKFP per game. He has played more than 20 minutes in three of his past four contests and produced games with 27.25 and 37.75 DKFP during that stretch. He seems to get involved in meaningful ways whenever the Suns’ second unit is productive and makes a good play in New York as the Suns try to win their third game in a row for the first time all season.
Other Options — Jaren Jackson Jr. ($5,900), Bobby Portis ($5,000)
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Z.Thompson) 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.