We have a really solid five game slate on tap for NBA DFS action on Christmas Day. Whether you are celebrating at home or with family somewhere else, be sure to set your lineups before partaking in too much eggnog and other holiday spirits. Here are some of the top options available on this slate in order to help you build a winner.
Chris Paul ($8600) – Chris Paul has one of the best matchups we can ask for in the LA Lakers. The Lakers have been horrible at slowing down opposing guards all season. Paul has been playing much better and looks to be over his earlier season injury concerns. He has gone 5X or better in 7 of his last 8 games. He has double-doubled in six of those and has multiple steals in all but one. His price is climbing, but still well below the highs we have seen it at. He will need a big game to pay it off, but that is not a tall order in a great matchup with him putting up those kind of numbers for two weeks straight.
Russell Westbrook ($10400) – Westbrook is the best bet to be the top overall point scorer on Christmas day. It is actually a slight tick down in pace for them against the Bulls, but he should have no problem getting his against Chicago’s weak point guard defense. He is a triple double threat every time he steps on the floor and is routinely putting up 50+ fantasy points on the back of 20+ real life points, 7-8 assists, and a handful of rebounds, steals, and blocks. Westbrook is expensive, but he is also one of the more explosive players in the entire association. It would not surprise me in the least if he puts up a huge number in a game where he should get four full quarters of work.
Tony Parker ($5100) – Parker is now very cheap and putting up 5X or better on a consistent basis at this price. He has a very solid floor for cash and a good matchup here. Many are scared of Beverley defense. While he is a great defender, the high pace the Rockets play still helps PGs outperform. With Parker being this cheap in this good a paced up matchup, it is tough to avoid him as a solid cash game play.
Jrue Holiday ($5600) – As far as salary saving options go, Holiday has been one of the cheaper plays that has still managed to reach value consistently. He has returned at least 5.5 times his salary in 7 of the last 8 games with six of those returning 6X or better. He is still only playing about half the game right now, but you can not argue with the across the board production he has given you.The matchup with Miami is not ideal, but Miami may be without starting point guard Goran Dragic in this one as well. Holiday is reasonably priced and putting up numbers, so he makes a lot of sense to roll out there in this one.
Tyreke Evans ($7800) – This is not the greatest slate for overall shooting guard upside, which is why Tyreke is an interesting play. He has tons of upside regardless of the matchup due to his skill set. Evans has returned 5 times salary or better in 9 of his last 12 games, with a few reaching into the 6 and 7 times value strosphere. He can score, rebound, and rack up assists. That across the board production is what makes him a great upside play in tournaments on Christmas day.
Klay Thompson ($7400) – After a slow start, Klay has really picked it up. His resurgence has coincided with the uptick we see in his shots and scoring when Harrison Barnes went down. In 7 of his last 9 games Klay has reached the 5 times value or better mark and that has included a few recent games where he went 6-9 times value for a huge return. The total is huge in this game against Cleveland and the Warriors are favored by 7. JR Smith defense is not something that I would shy away from, so I think Klay is in a great spot and has been underowned often in recent contests.
Kobe Bryant ($6400) – Kobe has started to play a lot better over the last three weeks. Since announcing his early retirement, he has become a very useful fantasy option. He has gone 5.5X or better in 8 of his last 12 starts. Kobe can still knock down shots and we have seen him do that lately. He has 20+ points in 5 of his last 8 games and has added 5+ rebounds and 5+ assists to that number routinely. Those stats have been good enough to give him 30-40 fantasy points consistently and pay off his price tag.
Jordan Clarkson ($5500) – Kobe’s teammate Clarkson has also been returning good value at his discounted price. He has had between 23-37 fantasy points in each of the last five games. While the upside is capped with the plethora of guard options seeing minutes, he has been a solid cash game play at 4.5-6 times value every game. Clarkson is another guy who does a little bit of everything and that stuffing of the stat sheet makes him an interesting play on Christmas day.
Kawhi Leonard ($8400) – Leonard is my top play for a lot of reasons. For starters, I think you need to pay up at the SF spot on Christmas day. There is not a lot of quality cheap value to get away with punting it, so you want to look at one of the top guys. Kawhi has a great matchup as wings preform well against the Rockets. The rockets play at a fast pace which helps Kawhi as a high usage player and someone who thrives in the open court. He has been one of the best small forward options all season anyway, but the plum matchup and discount vs. the household names make him the guy I want under my tree on Christmas day.
LeBron James ($10000) – I really like Lebron in this matchup. It’s a big stage on national TV. He faces the team everyone is talking about in the Warriors. It feels like one of those games that Lebron is going to have to go nuts if the Cavs are going to win. Lebron really wants to win this game and prove to the league and the Warriors that his Cavs are the top team in the association. Lebron is a true five category monster. He can score, assist, rebound, and get you defensive stats as well. I do not see him deferring to his teammates in this one and we should get max effort, minutes, and usage out of the superstar here. He will likely see some Draymond defense, but I would not be scared away from that. Lebron is an unstoppable force, so he is going to get his. When he has extra motivation, he is scary good and that is how I see this game for him.
Kevin Durant ($10000) – We spoke about how this is a position I do not think you can punt here and the guy who will likely go under the radar is Durant. He has been solid, but has not really flashed the big upside recently. It’s tough for a guy at $10000 to really go nuts and get way over value, but Durant has fallen short of it on numerous occasions. He is still putting up a respectable 40-50 fantasy points and he makes a nice swerve off Lebron for tournaments at the same price point.
Loul Deng ($5000) – The cheapest option I would consider at SF on this slate is Loul Deng. He gets a paced up matchup and is back to seeing big minutes. He has not been great, but he is still putting up 5 times value in most recent starts and probably has the highest value ceiling at the position due to the cheap price. Guys like Lebron and Durant are very unlikely to go 7-8 times value, which would require them to put up 75-80 fantasy points. At half their price, Deng has a better shot at 35-40 and a bigger multiplier. He also allows you the flexibility to pay up at other positions. Taking one of the top 3 pretty much limits you to one other stud on the day unless we get some extreme value situations that open up.
Blake Griffin ($9000) – I debated the Blake vs. Anthony Davis question for a long time and ultimately decided the $1500 Savings was too much to pass up. I expect both guys to put up just shy of 50 fantasy points, which makes Blake a much better value at only $9000. HE has been consistently around the 40 fantasy point mark in almost all his recent starts, so that kind of a return would make him a solid cash game play. His GPP upside is capped due to the other options on his team, but I have him in cash because he fits better than Davis with the savings he offers you.
Kevin Love ($7900) – This is not a popular pick among the pundits, but I really like the chances for Love here. Lebron is not going to beat this Warriors team by himself and Kyrie is not ready to take on the sidekick role just yet. That leaves Love as the guy they will need to get more out of in order to keep this close. If Draymond is tasked with guarding Lebron, Love would have a field day with slower and/or smaller players like Iggy trying to check him. His ability to post up will be on full display here if the Warriors decided they need Draymond to try to slow down Lebron. I expect Love to clean the glass and take some shots in this one. He is the X-factor in that game for me and I would love to see him do his thing here.
Larry Nance Jr. ($3600) – We need some dirt cheap plays to fit in some studs and Nance looks to be one of the better ones to look at. When we look for our cheap plays, we want to know there is reason to believe our guy will see increased minutes. Julius Randle was a late scratch on Wednesday and is now questionable for Friday too. Nance has been starting and spitting the game with him, so no Randle should mean a few more minutes for Nance. Nance has not gone big, but he can make value with enough court time. In this spot, at this price, he makes sense as a cheap flyer on Xmas day.
Taj Gibson ($4400) – The Frontcourt is crowded right now in Chicago, but Taj is seeing minutes and is super cheap. He has been up and down, so have his minutes. For that reason it is strictly a GPP play, but the guy have produced over 6 times value in two of his last three. He will likely see minutes in the mid to high 20s, but that is enough time for him to put up 20-30 fantasy points. He is so cheap that a return like that would be 6 or 7 times value and make him a top option on the day.
Hassan Whiteside ($7100) – Whiteside had a really slow start to the season. He was being benched in a lot of fourth quarters of the early games and it has been maddening for many of his owners. About five games ago, Spoelstra realized that if you let him play 30+ minutes he can produce elite numbers. He has now played 30+ minutes in four straight and produced elite numbers. Four straight games between 35-51 fantasy points has really helped put him back on the daily fantasy radar. Whiteside racks up a ton of blocks to go along with his high rebounding numbers and points scored cleaning up the garbage. At around $7K, he is a steal. He will be making a lot of my Christmas day rosters.
DeAndre Jordan ($6700) – Jordan is clearly well behind Whiteside at the center position for me on this slate. He is probably the other option I will have some exposure to at the high end though. Jordan gets a ton of rebounds and that is where most of his value comes from. He is also a solid shot blocker and rim protector. His scoring is erratic, but when he gets the ten points it usually means a double double will follow. A double double with some blocks is usually enough for him to return solid value. He makes thee swerve off Whiteside for tournaments here, but I have a ton more faith in Whiteside for cash.
Steven Adams ($4000) – The salary saver I will be looking at on Christmas day is likely to be Steven Adams at the Center spot. Adams is not sexy, does not have huge upside, but is consistent and cheap. He returns 20-30 fantasy points like clockwork by doing all the little things for this Thunder team. That is not elite upside, but it’s consistent enough to count on him if you need to save in order to roster a few studs. Adams should have another workman like line of 8 points, 8 rebounds, and a block, steal, or assist or two. Those things rolled together make for a really nice easy 5X value guy who allows you the cost savings to fit in those studs.