Happy Holidays to everyone on this fine weekend! In what has become an NBA tradition, there will be five featured games on Christmas Day with staggered start times for maximum viewing pleasure. Be sure to keep close tabs on the news (download the DK Live App!) in the event anyone is sick or there are any late breaking surprises.
If you have any questions, you can reach out to me on Twitter @EmacDFS.
Russell Westbrook – OKC vs MIN – $12,500 – While Westbrook only played 28 minutes in the first meeting between these squads this season, he still tallied 54.5 DraftKings points. It is hard to envision anyone on the T-Wolves slowing him down, and he may get extra run on the national stage Sunday. It will not be easy to work him into lineups, but it is definitely possible if we look at the discounted Los Angeles Clippers guards and the New York Knicks BIGs.
Other Options – Isaiah Thomas ($8,100), Stephen Curry ($8,500)
Derrick Rose – NYK vs BOS – $6,100 – Rose has been all over the place with his results this season, so I think he is best utilized as a tournament option. Now that we have that caveat in place, just look at his game log, with seven of his last ten outings resulting in 30+ DraftKings point performances. The Knicks last played on Thursday night, so Rose will have had additional time for his back spasm issues to receive treatment.
Rajon Rondo – CHI at SAS – $5,700 – This edition of the San Antonio defense is not really close to the same Spurs’ defense the last few seasons, even with an aging Tim Duncan patrolling the paint. In the first meeting between these two teams, Rondo missed a triple double by one assist and he finished with 41.5 DraftKings points. That is a reasonable outcome in Sunday’s rematch which makes him a fine tournament option at his current price tag.
Other Options – Ricky Rubio ($5,900), Austin Rivers ($4,400), Tony Parker ($3,700)
Zach LaVine – MIN at OKC – $6,400 – Over his last ten games, Zach Attack is averaging an insane forty minutes per game as new head coach Tom Thibodeau is back to his insane ways of riding a few of his guys into the ground every night. That is nice for those of us playing daily fantasy basketball, because these minutes loads ensures that LaVine will not have too many dud games. He is fairly priced for this matchup and his recent production.
Other Options – Klay Thompson ($6,500)
Jordan Clarkson – LAL vs LAC – $4,800 – Clarkson gets the nod over teammate Lou Williams – $5,800 for the $1,000 discount. Though he has not been as steady as Sweet Lou, he is a solid contributor off the bench, and he has upside at this current price point. He is also an adequate discount option with his point guard eligibility.
Shabazz Muhammad – MIN at OKC – $3,000 – This is an EXTREME punt play option for the large field tournaments. Shabazz has tallied double digit fantasy point totals in three of his last four games and is averaging 18 minutes per outing during that stretch. There is a lot of downside to this play, but he does offer salary flexibility at the bare minimum.
Other Options – J.J. Redick ($5,300), Raymond Felton ($3,500), Jamal Crawford ($4,000)
LeBron James – CLE vs GSW – $10,300 – A rematch of one of the most epic NBA Finals, we know that both teams have had this game circled on their calendars for months. LeBron does his best work on the main stage and all eyes will definitely be on him on Christmas Day.
Kawhi Leonard – SAS vs CHI – $7,800 – The Bulls did a good job of neutralizing Kawhi’s lockdown defense by looking to other options besides Jimmy Butler the last time these two teams met. While that won’t affect Leonard’s offensive production, it will be interesting to see what sort of counter-move Coach Gregg Popovich comes up with for the rematch. At his sub-$8,000 price tag, I think the reigning Defensive Player of the Year is going to be very popular in all formats.
Other Options – Carmelo Anthony ($7,600)
Nikola Mirotic – CHI at SAS – $3,600 – If he can keep his head in the game, Mirotic should be able to approach his season average of 20.6 DraftKings points. He sometimes gets distracted and disappears for entire quarters at a time, but at this price point, with just a ten team player pool, we cannot be overly picky in our quest for value options.
Andre Iguodala – GSW at CLE – $3,400 – Iguodala has been productive against the Cavaliers over the last two seasons both in the regular season and in the playoffs. He should see more minutes than normal, and I think he is a tremendous option since many will likely not consider his history against Cleveland and just look at recent game logs.
Brandon Ingram – LAL vs LAC – $3,800 – If Larry Nance Jr. is out again, Ingram is in play on the full-slate. If Nance does play, then we can still give Ingram consideration on the two later game sets as we will be searching for value, and he does have 30 DraftKings point upside if everything goes his way.
Other Options – Marcus Smart ($4,000), Luol Deng ($4,900)
Karl-Anthony Towns MIN at OKC – $8,300 – In his last three meetings with the Thunder (two last season and one so far this year), KAT is averaging 34.5mpg, 23.0ppg, 10.3rpg, 1.7apg and 2.6 combined blocks/steals for a healthy 43.9 DraftKings points. Considering those numbers are just under his current averages for this season, he has some nice upside at his current price point.
Draymond Green – GSW at CLE – $8,000 – Green has the ability to contribute across the entire box score and rarely has “off games” as a result. With the addition of Kevin Durant, he has not needed to take nearly as many shots this season, so that has capped his upside. We will likely see a pretty tightened up rotation by both teams, keeping Green in play with his safe floor.
Other Options – Kevin Love ($8,200)
Gorgui Dieng – MIN at OKC – $5,500 – Because both of these teams usually have two bigs on the floor at any given time, it boosts the safety/opportunity level for all of them. This is the kind of matchup were Dieng can reach a double double (which is worth 1.5 bonus points on DraftKings), and he has the potential to flirt with the forty fantasy point plateau.
Enes Kanter – OKC vs MIN – $4,300 – On the flipside, I think Kanter is a fantastic option, and he has been phenomenal in his last three meetings against the Timberwolves with 38.0, 34.5 and 40.0 DraftKings points. Both he and Steven Adams can co-exist on the court in this matchup without cannibalizing each other.
Other Options – Marreese Speights ($4,000), Kelly Olynyk ($3,500)
DeAndre Jordan – LAC at LAL – $7,400 – Jordan is a fine option, who turns into a tremendous option if Chris Paul is able to recover from his hamstring issue in time for this game. The Lakers simply do not have anyone equipped to deal with DAJ, and he definitely has the ability to reach 5x his current price tag with 40 fantasy point upside.
Pau Gasol – SAS vs CHI – $6,000 – Boom Boom Pau against his former team on Christmas with three full days of rest? Sign me up! He’s been over 30 DraftKings points in his last 4 games, and he went for 50.25 against the Celtics in one of those, so the upside and consistency is there.
Other Options – Al Horford ($6,500), Karl-Anthony Towns ($8,300), Draymond Green ($8,000), Kevin Love ($8,200)
Steven Adams – OKC vs MIN – $5,000 – Adams has had two solid outings the last two times these teams have met, with 30+ DraftKings point performances. With Minnesota generally employing a lineup with two bigs, this is a good matchup for both Adams and Enes Kanter since they have been able to simultaneously share the court and be productive against the Timberwolves.
NYK BIGS vs BOS – Here is one place where we can get a little creative, though there has been an ever changing minutes distribution over the last few nights. Joakim Noah – $3,900 will likely draw the Christmas Day start as the veteran, and he should be in line for as many minutes as he wants to play on the national stage in this tremendous matchup. However, we need to remember that this is not the same Noah who had some monster years in Chicago and he has topped 27 DraftKings points just twice in the last ten games.
Kyle O’Quinn – $4,200 – KOQ is a foul magnet and always a risk of a single fantasy point game; however, he has 40 DraftKings point upside, and he has 30+ DraftKings points in five of his last ten games. Guillermo Hernangomez – $3,600 is the rookie wildcard with 20+ DraftKings points in five of his last six outings, though keep in mind the two previously mentioned options were dealing with fouls, rest or minor injuries in some of those games and in that sixth game (just five days ago) Hernangomez only played two minutes.
Other Options – Robin Lopez ($4,500)
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is emac) 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.