There are nine games on the NBA schedule for tonight’s DraftKings’ contests as we inch ever-closer to the Christmas Day showcase.
With five games featuring a total of over 200 points, there are plenty of attractive options to choose from. Of the bunch, I like the Kings-Wizards game the most, as both teams are mediocre at defense on their best days. However, the Clippers-Thunder game is going to be the one to offer the most star power on this slate.
Today’s news and notes:
- Otto Porter (thigh) is a game-time decision, but Kelly Oubre expects to start again tonight, meaning Porter is likely out. Oubre is a decent punt option.
- Amir Johnson (foot) is a game-time decision, but I don’t advise trying to find value in the Celtics frontcourt outside of Jae Crowder.
- Damian Lillard (foot) and J. McCollum (ankle) are both out tonight. That spells a blowout in the Blazers-Hawks game, but there may be some value there. Read on for my thoughts.
- Austin Rivers (ankle) is doubtful tonight. That means an uptick in value for Jamal Crawford and potentially, even more, minutes for Chris Paul.
Remember to check the news up until tip-off:
BUILDING BLOCKS – Studs and Must-Have Values to Build Your Core Lineup
Chris Paul, PG, LAC ($8,100): I am going to keep targeting Paul until his price returns to match his elite level of play. Since his return to health, we have seen a steady stream of 40 DK point performances and flashes of his 50 DK point upside. At a notch above $8k, he is the perfect intersection of safety, upside, and savings.
Brook Lopez, C, BKN ($6,700): Lopez has been up and down lately, but his price is simply too out of whack for me not to target him in this spot. The Bulls struggle against opposing centers, and his price has dropped $1k over the last few weeks. We saw Lopez’s upside yesterday versus Minnesota when he dropped 48 DK points, and a matchup with the Bulls could provide another big output. The only concern here is that his team is traveling on the second night of a back-to-back.
More studs to consider: John Wall, PG, WAS ($9,500) – Kevin Durant, SF, OKC ($10,100) – Blake Griffin, PF, LAC ($8,900)
BARGAINS – Complementary Players & Punt Plays
Tim Frazier, PG, POR ($3,000): Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum have been ruled out tonight versus Atlanta, so it will be worth monitoring the Portland situation to figure out where the value is going to be. One candidate is Frazier, who should man the point for the Trail Blazers. Clearly, we wouldn’t have a handle on his minutes, but if he starts, he is a value at the minimum price.
Allan Crabbe, SG, POR ($3,900): Crabbe is a candidate to see an extended workload with the two guards out for Portland. However, it could be that the coaching staff wants to keep him in the sixth-man role in which he has been thriving. In either case, he is worth a look. Note: If Crabbe stays on the bench, Gerald Henderson could be worth considering if he is the starter.
Rodney Hood, SG, UTA ($4,300): Hood has been featured in this space plenty of times, and makes a return appearance with a matchup against the Suns on the horizon. The Suns give up gobs of points to opposing guards, and Hood has shown the ability to take advantage of such matchups this season. At only $4.3k, he is a potential value.
Al-Farouq Aminu, SF, POR ($5,100): Aminu is a somewhat under-the-radar pick for tonight’s slate who I was taking a hard look at even before the injuries to Lillard and McCollum. The Hawks allow a good amount of fantasy points to small forwards, and Aminu could see an uptick in usage without the star guards in the lineup.
Nicolas Batum, SF, CHA ($7,500): Batum will likely draw the defense of Trevor Ariza in this game, but the Rockets’ defense has been so poor this season that it’s tough to fade the Hornets’ versatile swingman. His ability to rack up a ton of stats and his increased involvement offensively makes him a great play tonight in this matchup.
Thaddeus Young, PF, BKN ($7,000): Young continues to be one of my favorite plays in the mid-tier, even though he has been playing more to his floor than his ceiling as of late. He should hit at least 25 DK points in this one, with a ceiling of 40+ DK points, so he is a worthwhile investment at his price.
Marvin Williams, PF, CHA ($5,700): The Rockets are abysmal at defending both the power forward and center positions, so Williams could be a solid play tonight for the Hornets. While most eyes will be on Cody Zeller, Frank Kaminsky, and even Spencer Hawes, Williams is the most stable of any of the Charlotte bigs.
Marcin Gortat, C, WAS ($6,400): A matchup with DeMarcus Cousins is always terrifying, but the Kings are bad against centers, and Gortat is the second option on this team behind John Wall. At his cheap price, we could be looking at a big night from the big guy.
LOTTERY TICKETS – Five Tournament Plays
Jeff Teague, PG, ATL ($6,100): Portland is awful against guards, and plenty of people will avoid this situation due to blowout possibilities. Teague’s price makes it a worthwhile gamble in tournaments.
Garrett Temple, SG, WAS ($4,000): Temple has been good in his last few games, but there is always the chance that he cedes minutes to Gary Neal in any given game. Still, the Kings struggle against shooting guards, so there is upside here at the price.
Gordon Hayward, SF, UTA ($7,200): I like Hayward in cash games too, against a Suns team that should pose as a good matchup for the Jazz forward.
Kristaps Porzingis, PF, NY ($7,400): A big Porzingis game is coming, and he will win somebody some money when it happens. I like the chances of a good game against a rather unathletic Magic frontcourt.
Karl-Anthony Towns, C, MIN ($6,900): Plenty of people are going to be on the cheaper Gorgui Dieng, which makes Towns a nice pivot play in GPPs. I like the matchup against the Boston bigs for a super-athletic guy like Towns.
BUYER’S REMORSE – Reasons for Skepticism
Andrew Wiggins, SG, MIN ($7,000): A scoring-dependent guy against Avery Bradley? Nope.
Derrick Favors, PF, UTA ($7,800): I understand playing Favors – he’s awesome and probably underpriced – but the Suns have been successful at muting the value of opposing bigs this year.