We tip off this evening with a nine game slate and plenty of options to choose from. Let’s jump right into some of tonight’s targets.

Guards

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Chris Paul ($8,100) – Paul has topped 40 fantasy points in six of his last seven games, including two 50+ fantasy point performances. In that span he has recorded five double-doubles. Tonight he faces off against the Thunder in what should be a paced up game. This game has an over/under of 208 points and the Clippers have an implied point total of 103 points. Opposing point guards are averaging 50.7 fantasy points per game against Oklahoma. Paul has exceeded value in six of his last 10 games by an average of 2.27 points, per Fantasy Labs. This is another good spot for him to continue to play at a high level.

Isaiah Thomas ($7,700) – Thomas offers plenty of upside tonight in a plus matchup. The Timberwolves allow the fourth most fantasy points per game to point guards (52.3). In their last five games, they’ve surrendered the second most fantasy points per game to point guards (57.2). Thomas has scored 40 or more fantasy points in four of his last five games. At this price he won’t break the bank, but can post up elite numbers. Thomas has exceeded value 71 percent of the time by an average of 4.66 points this season, per Fantasy Labs. The Celtics have an implied point total of 107 points, which is currently the second highest of the evening.

Jeremy Lin ($5,200) – Injuries have opened up some playing time for Lin and he’s capitalized on the opportunity. In his last five games, Lin is averaging 34.2 minutes, 17.6 points, 4.4 boards, 3.8 assists, 1.4 blocks, and 31.7 fantasy points per game. In that span he’s drained seven three and has attempted 64 shots, while shooting .484 from the court. While the Hornets usually play a slower paced game, they face off against the Rockets who play a fast paced style and score plenty of points. This matchup has the second highest point total of the night at 209 points and the Hornets have an implied point total of 103 points. Opposing point guards average 50.5 fantasy points per game against the Rockets. Lin can cool off at any moment, but he’s also very capable of scoring 6X or 7X his salary which is what we hope for from a player in tournaments.


Forwards

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Blake Griffin ($8,900) – Griffin has been up and as of late, but he is pretty much a lock for 40 fantasy points, while offering 50+ fantasy point upside. He makes a lot of sense at this price in a potential high scoring and paced up game. The Clippers/Thunder game has an over/under of 208 points and both teams are projected to score over 100 points. Griffin has exceeded value 59 percent of the time by an average of 2.52 points, per Fantasy Labs. The Thunder allow 20.5 points and nine rebounds to opposing power forwards, while yielding 42.9 fantasy points per game. He’s an elite talent and won’t cost you five figures to roster, but still offers a very high ceiling.

Nicolas Batum ($7,500) – Batum was expected to play limited minutes in his last game due to an illness, but logged in 32 minutes and scored 40 fantasy points. He has really stepped up his game in the last month as he’s exceeded value 67 percent of the time by an average of 4.34 fantasy points, per Fantasy Labs. For the season, Batum is averaging 35.1 fantasy points per game, but has topped 36 fantasy points in five of his last eight games, including four 40+ fantasy point games. The Rockets surrender the third most fantasy points per game to small forwards (43.5) and give up 2.4 three pointers per game. This matchup has the second highest point total of the night at 209 points and the Hornets have an implied point total of 103 points. There’s no reason why Batum should slow down tonight.

Jae Crowder ($5,600) – What I like about Crowder is that he offers a safe floor, is almost a lock to hit value, and plays plenty of minutes, yet he doesn’t hurt your pocket. He averages 26.5 fantasy points per game for the season, but at home he’s averaging 29.4 fantasy points per game. He has topped 32 fantasy points in two of his last three home games and has exceeded value 71 percent of the time this season by an average of three points, per Fantasy Labs. At this price, Crowder needs 33.6 fantasy points to 6X his salary, which is something he has done on multiple occasions this season. The Celtics have the second highest implied point total of the evening at 107 points. The Timberwolves have surrendered 41.6 fantasy points per game to opposing small forwards in their last five games. There are plenty of things lining up for a potential good game out of Crowder this evening.


Centers

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Dwight Howard ($7,200)- Howards has posted a double-double in two consecutive games and topped 41 fantasy points in each of those games. Tonight he faces a Hornets team that has struggled in the front court with Al Jefferson out. In their last 10 game, they’re allowing 55.7 fantasy points per game to centers which is the seventh highest in that span. I can’t see Howard getting into foul trouble this evening as he will face off against Cody Zeller. There’s a good chance he has another big night and he records his third consecutive double-double.

Brook Lopez ($6,700) – Lopez’s priced topped at $7,700 at one point in the month of December and is now $1,000 cheaper than that in a very good matchup. The Bulls surrender the sixth most fantasy points per game (50.8) and the seventh most rebounds per game (15.2) to opposing centers. In fact, they allow the most rebounds per game to opposing teams (48.2). Despite some subpar performance in the last several games, Lopez remains one of the league’s most consistent big men. He has exceeded value 68 percent of the time by an average of 4.12 points, per Fantasy Labs. He’s coming off of a big game here he scored 20 points, grabbed 12 boards, and dished out five dimes. That was good for 48 fantasy points. The last time he played against the Bulls, Lopez scored 38.3 fantasy points.

Nikola Vucevic ($7,100) – Vucevic has topped 42 fantasy points in four of his last 10 games. He has recorded six double-doubles in that span and now has a double-double in back-to-back games. He faces the Knicks who he had a huge game against the last time he faced them. In that game, he scored 22 points and grabbed 12 boards, while scoring 46.5 fantasy points. The Knicks are allowing 55.8 fantasy points per game to centers in their last five games. Vucevic has been hot in the month of December and could continue that streak tonight. He offers a safe floor and high ceiling.