After an off-day for the whole NBA on Monday, there has been plenty of fantasy basketball goodness this week with five games on Christmas and 10 games Wednesday to get all 30 teams back in action. This Thursday, nine of the 10 teams that played on Christmas are back in action along with the Kings, who are playing for the second night in a row. They’ll host the Lakers, who will be without LeBron James (groin) in one of the three late games after the Celtics visiting the Rockets and the Bucks and Knicks meeting for the second game in a row tip things off in the early time slot. The other two late games feature the Warriors trying to right the ship as they host the Blazers and the Jazz welcoming in the 76ers.
As you search through the five matchups on Thursday’s slate, take a look at my top studs and values at each position. It’s also a good idea to check back on the DK Live app or live.draftkings.com for any late-breaking news about injuries or other availability concerns that should impact your lineup.
StudKyrie Irving, BOS at HOU, $8,400 — Irving lit up the Sixers on Christmas Day for a jolly and bright 40 points to go with his 10 rebounds, three assists and a steal. His 62 DKFP gave him more than 45 DKFP in five of his past seven contests. He clearly has established himself as the lead option in Boston and will try to continue to carry his team on a tough road trip to the West. He starts tonight in Houston, where he should be able to attack the defense of either James Harden ($11,300; calf, questionable) or whoever replaces him in the lineup. The Rockets rank well against PGs, but that’s mostly due to Chris Paul (hamstring), who remains sidelined. Irving should be able to keep rolling. Other Options — De’Aaron Fox ($8,000), Ricky Rubio ($6,300)
ValueLonzo Ball, LAL at SAC, $5,500 — Ball is one of several Lakers that has definite fantasy appeal as they take on the Kings and try to fill in the production of James. Ball also will get more run with Rajon Rondo (finger) hurt. Ball has played limited minutes the past three games with Rondo active and produced less than 22 DKFP in each outing. However, he’ll need to step up and take a much more active role in the offense, so he could return to his form from before Rondo’s return, when he had three straight games over 30 DKFP highlighted by his 60 DKFP triple-double in Charlotte.
Other Options — Marcus Smart ($4,400), T.J. McConnell ($3,600)
StudBuddy Hield, SAC vs. LAL, $6,900 — Hield had an uncharacteristically cold shooting night Wednesday, going 0-for-6 on 3-pointers. On the season, he’s shooting 43 percent from long range and should be ready to bounce back as the Kings come home to host the Lakers. He only managed 20.5 DKFP Wednesday after posting at least 39 DKFP in three straight home games before Christmas. Hield is averaging more than 20 points and five rebounds a game, so he should be able to bounce back and offer solid value against the Lakers. Other Options — James Harden ($11,300), Donovan Mitchell ($6,700)
ValueBrandon Ingram, LAL at SAC, $5,800 — While Ball will absorb the workload of Rondo, Ingram likely will take a lot of LeBron’s vacated usage. Ingram has looked sharp in his three games since returning from his ankle injury and has shot 47 percent (18-for-38) from the field and averaged 17.3 points and 26.3 DKFP per game. He should get a nice usage bump and hopefully will create in multiple categories.
Other Options — Malcolm Brogdon ($5,300), Andre Iguodala ($4,100)
StudGiannis Antetokounmpo, MIL vs. NY, $11,100 — The Greek Freak had a smooth 30 points to go with 14 rebounds on his way to 64.5 DKFP in New York on Christmas. He and the Bucks get another matchup with the Knicks Thursday to close out their season series. Antetokounmpo has averaged 66.8 DKFP in his three games against New York on 31.3 points, 16.0 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 2.3 steals and 2.0 blocks per game. He fills the whole stat sheet like few others in the NBA and has at least 50 DKFP in five of his past six overall. Other Options — Kyle Kuzma ($7,400), Marcus Morris ($6,000)
ValueKevin Knox, NY at MIL, $5,900 — Knox continues to be very involved in the Knicks’ offense and has taken at least 15 shots in eight straight games. Over that span, he has averaged 20.4 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 33 DKFP per contest. The rookie had 21 points, six rebounds and 32 DKFP against the Bucks on Tuesday and remains a solid mid-range play with limited risk due to his high volume and ability to add good rebounding to his scoring.
Other Options — Joe Ingles ($5,700), Gerald Green ($3,700)
StudJayson Tatum, BOS at HOU, $6,200 — Tatum has been held under 30 DKFP only once in his past eight games and has continued to be a solid contributor on a nightly basis for Boston. The second-year forward has remained the Celtics’ best scoring option aside from Kyrie and is averaging 18.8 points, 7.0 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 1.1 steals, 1.3 blocks and 33.6 DKFP in those eight games. Tatum had a solid 23 points and 45 DKFP against the Sixers on Tuesday and should be able to take advantage of a good matchup against Houston’s iffy defense. Other Options — Kevin Durant ($9,300), Draymond Green ($6,100)
ValueWilson Chandler, PHI at UTA, $4,000 — Chandler has continued to grow into his role in the Sixers’ starting lineup and appears to be getting back to full health. The veteran played a massive 40 minutes Christmas Day after sitting out Saturday with a quad issue. He had one of his best games of the season against Boston, producing 27.5 DKFP on 15 points, six boards and three assists. He has at least 24 DKFP in three of his past four games and makes a nice value option if he’s ready for another heavy workload against the Jazz in Utah.
Other Options — Al-Farouq Aminu ($4,500), P.J. Tucker ($4,500)
StudClint Capela, HOU vs. BOS, $7,700 — Capela has pulled in 23 rebounds in each of his past two games and is averaging 12.5 boards to go with his 17.1 points per game. The Celtics just got smashed by Joel Embiid ($10,100), and Capela will try to produce a similar line. He has at least 42 DKFP in five of his past seven games and is coming off back-to-back games with more than 53 DKFP. Capela has been excellent throughout the season for the struggling Rockets and should be in a matchup to keep the fantasy goodness flowing Thursday. Other Options — Joel Embiid ($10,100), Willie Cauley-Stein ($6,600)
ValueIvica Zubac, LAL at SAC, $5,400 — With Tyson Chandler ($3,600; back) limited and JaVale McGee ($4,700; illness) sidelined, Zubac has stepped up and produced excellent numbers in three straight starts. Chandler returned Tuesday and McGee is questionable for Thursday, but Zubac’s play potentially has earned him more time and usage while LeBron is out. The big 21-year-old from Bosnia has posted 38.75, 33 and 39.75 DKFP in his three starts to become one of the hottest sleepers on the board. He had 18 points, 11 rebounds and 39.75 DKFP against the Warriors on Christmas Day and makes a lot of sense if he keeps starting Thursday against the Kings. However, if McGee returns and Zubac is sent back to the bench, he becomes high risk since his role before this explosion was minimal.
Other Options — Noah Vonleh ($5,600), Kevon Looney ($3,600)
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.