Christmas is finally here and with it the traditionally exciting slate of binge-worthy games for us all to figuratively unwrap around our DraftKings Christmas tree.
But, today’s five-game smorgasbord isn’t the only thing worth getting excited about. My present to all of you that read this column is the 2.0 version, which I am going to launch today. Don’t worry, you don’t have to get me anything.
I wanted to remodel how you read this piece each day for one simple reason: access of information. The new format of this article aims to make getting the information you need to finish your lineup quicker and perhaps give you different insights than the previous version of this column was providing.
As I said at the beginning of the season, this piece will undergo several evolutions, and while I don’t anticipate another one this year, I am always looking to streamline this piece into a great source of DFS information without being bogged down by any unnecessary bells and whistles. As such, I am constantly reevaluating the effectiveness of the piece. Stay tuned.
Let’s jump right in:
Games to Target
Cleveland at Golden State (Over/Under 212): This is the game that projects to be one of the most competitive of the slate. It just seems like a “LeBron” game to me, but any of the studs can be targeted here.
L.A. Clippers at L.A. Lakers (O/U 207.5): The Clippers are “road” favorites of 11, but I don’t really think the Clippers have been all that dominant this season. Also, the Lakers have been better in Los Angeles than on the road; their net rating is about 6 points better at home. This could be a closer game than people think.
News and Notes
- Goran Dragic (wrist, thumb) is reportedly probable to take on the Pelicans. Beno Udrih is a must-have value if Dragic sits, but I don’t know if you can trust a guy who has issues with both of his hands in Dragic, should he play. Tyler Johnson (shoulder) might be able to play versus New Orleans as well, which could throw a wrench into this situation.
- Joakim Noah (shoulder) is out against the Thunder. Taj Gibson, Pau Gasol, and even Bobby Portis get a boost here. I don’t know how much this will help out Nikola Mirotic, but he could be a good tournament play if the rotation gets shuffled.
- Harrison Barnes (ankle) has been upgraded to doubtful versus the Cavaliers. I wouldn’t expect him to play, and Andre Iguodala won’t be joining the starting lineup to check LeBron, so there isn’t a ton of value at this position for the Warriors.
- Austin Rivers (ankle) is questionable to take on the Lakers. You don’t want to use him anyway, but if he sits, Jamal Crawford is slightly interesting for me in GPPs.
- Julius Randle (ankle) is probable against the Clippers. I don’t love him in cash games, but his health would kill the value of Brandon Bass.
Stud to Target
Russell Westbrook, OKC ($10,400): Many people are going to want a piece of the CLE-GS game, and by virtue of that they will pay the extra $300 for Steph Curry. I love the spot for Westbrook – more so than Curry, even – in a matchup with still-kinda-blind Derrick Rose and the Bulls.
Others to consider: Stephen Curry, GS ($10,700) – Chris Paul, LAC ($8,600)
Tony Parker, SA ($5,100): If the Rockets can show up to play in primetime at home, Parker could see slight minutes increase. That would be the cherry on top of his already fantastic matchup, and he is one of the better cheap plays on this slate.
Stud to Target
Klay Thompson, GS ($7,400): The shooting guard pool is surprisingly deep on this slate, but Thompson is a good value despite his increased price tag on DraftKings. If the Cavaliers continue to start Kyrie Irving and J.R. Smith, they are going to get cooked by the Splash Bros.
Others to consider: Jimmy Butler, CHI ($7,500) – Kobe Bryant, LAL ($6,400)
Jordan Clarkson, LAL ($5,500): The Clippers aren’t exactly a great defensive team, and Clarkson’s minutes are pretty stable on an otherwise unstable team. Even if this matchup goes south, Clarkson should be able to rake in 30+ minutes and accumulate at least 20 DraftKings points.
Stud to Target
LeBron James, CLE ($10,000): This just feels like a game where LeBron shows up and puts up a massive triple-double; kind of like the last time these two squads met sometime in June. In this huge spot, you want the best players, and LeBron’s price is phenomenal for what he should be able to put up.
Others to consider: Kevin Durant, OKC ($10,000) – Kawhi Leonard, SA ($8,400)
Luol Deng, MIA ($5,000): This is more by default than anything because value at this position is not something to be found on this slate. The Pelicans have been decent against small forwards, but are awful at defense overall, so taking the steady workload of Deng isn’t a bad option.
Stud to Target
Blake Griffin, LAC ($9,000): The power forward pool is not appealing for this holiday slate, but Griffin is a good play if you can afford him. The matchup with the Lakers gives him a pretty high floor, and he should look to attack from the start with Larry Nance, Jr. on him.
Others to consider: Draymond Green, GS ($9,200)
Taj Gibson, CHI ($4,400): Gibson is where I find myself landing in most of my lineups, even if I hate the matchup. The Thunder have been elite against opposing bigs this season, but Gibson has the potential to see 30+ minutes, making him a great value on this slate.
Stud to Target
Hassan Whiteside, MIA ($7,100): The Pelicans have been atrocious against centers this season, and Whiteside is beginning to flash the form that we saw in the middle of last year. With the coaching staff seemingly investing more trust into the kid, his workload is up, and his production is going to be unrivaled at the position if he continues to see big minutes.
Others to consider: DeAndre Jordan, LAC ($6,700)
Steven Adams, OKC ($4,000): Adams doesn’t have much upside, but he has a good floor for the price, assuming his workload remains constant to what we have seen over the last week or so. The Bulls are getting torn apart by opposing centers, and the Thunder will need him to shut down Pau Gasol. I prefer to pay up at the position, but Adams is a decent punt.