Merry Christmas Karma Nation! This Christmas slate should be a fun one. Draftkings is arguably being a little too nice with their pricing. I’m typically more of a fan when pricing is tight and tough decisions are required when building my lineups. However, let’s break this slate down and try to find the best plays!
Bucks AT Knicks +10, 228
Ersan Ilyasova OUT, Malcolm Brogdon Probable.
Allonzo Trier IN, Mitchell Robinson OUT.
The Knicks have increased their overall pace of play significantly over the past month. Back in November, the Knicks ranked towards the bottom of the league in number of possessions per game. I tend to worry a bit about that first 11am game. These players aren’t use to playing so early in the morning, so I always wonder if that will affect pace a bit. The Knicks lost to the 76ers 105 to 98 in the 11am game last Christmas. Enes Kanter broke the slate early putting up a 31pt/22reb game against Embiid. However, the Bucks have been excellent against opposing centers all season. Opposing centers average -4.5 fantasy points relative to their season average vs this Bucks team. We can really attack this Knicks team at any position. My preference would be to target who ever has the highest usage and fantasy point per minute average.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF/PF, 10,700-> Elite play. I get the feeling Giannis may set the ton early on Christmas day. We haven’t seen a big number from him in a few games, but he feels prime to blow up soon.
Khris Middleton, SG/SF, 6,500 -> Fine play. Middleton appears to be getting his form back. I wouldn’t prioritize my build around him. However, if I had the salary left over, I’d feel perfectly fine plugging him in.
Brook Lopez, C, 4,300 -> Solid value. Lopez has been averaging close to 1 fantasy point per minute on 25 minutes per game. His price makes him a solid value play. Eric Bledsoe, PG/SG, 6,800 -> Fine GPP. Knicks have struggled against opposing guards all season.
Malcolm Brogdon, PG/SG, 5,000 -> Solid GPP value.
Tim Hardaway Jr, SG/SF, 6,600 -> Solid GPP. THJ has been struggling with plantar fasciitis for the past few weeks. He has still been logging big minutes and my favorite way to attack the bucks is with opposing shooting guards.
Enes Kanter, C, 6,200 -> GPP. Kanter went nuts last year on Christmas day, surely he can do it again. The Knicks will need to play big against this Bucks team. Kanter has played 32 and 27 minutes against them this year. I could also see Vonleh getting himself into foul trouble. All of these things make the case for Kanter interesting.
Kevin Knox, SF/PF, 5,600-> Solid GPP. It is possible that the young rookie is the one who blows up on Christmas. Knox has been playing incredibly well and he has already put up a big number on this Bucks team once.
Thunder AT Rockets -1.5, 221.5
Terrance Ferguson and James Ennis are questionable.
If you haven’t heard by now, James Harden owns a 45% usage and 1.84 fantasy point per minute average through 460 minutes this season with Chris Paul off the court. This number is absolutely insane. Given this, James Harden (in my opinion) is easily the top overall play on this slate. Russell Westbrook and Paul George both own elite usage and fantasy point per minute rates. On the season, Westbrook averages 0.18 more fantasy points per minute than George. If they are priced similarly, I’d side with targeting Westbrook.
James Harden, PG/SG, 10,900 -> Top play on this slate.
Eric Gordon, SG/SF, 5,800 -> Solid to Elite. He’s probably going to play 38+ minutes and easily take 20+ shots in this game. PJ Tucker, SF/PF, 4,300 -> Elite Value in all formats. Tucker should play 35+ minutes in this game.
Russell Westbrook, PG, 10,300 -> Elite. What isn’t elite about Russ priced just barely over 10k?
Paul George, SF/PF, 9,700 -> Elite.
Dennis Schroder, PG/SG, 4,900 -> Solid GPP value. If Ferguson misses, I wonder if we could see a slight uptick in court time from Schroder. Either way, given his current role, he’s a great play at his current price.
76ers AT Celtics -4, 224
Wilson Chandler Questionable.
Boston picked up a much needed win over the Hornets last night. They put up 119 points but only one player on their team ended up hitting value; Terry Rozier. I guess the Boston side is easy… Do you really want to pay 8.1k for Kyrie Iriving over Damian Lillard who is absolutely misspriced on Draftkings at 7,800? No, you really don’t.
Ben Simmons, PG/SF, 8,400 -> GPP. Simmons will surely be low owned, with so many players underpriced on this slate. He has triple double upside. However, the matchup isn’t easy. . .
Jimmy Butler, SG/SF, 7,000 -> GPP. I like playing Butler in prime time matchups. A game against Boston is surely that. He is the cheapest stud on this Philly team.
Joel Embiid, C, 9,500 -> Elite. Embiid under 10k? Not too concerned about the matchup when this guy is priced under 10k. That is just too low.
Gordon Hayward, SF/PF, 5,000 -> Solid to Elite GPP Value. Hayward is another guy to target in an elite matchup. If he gets his shot to fall he could easily smash value.
Al Horford, PF/C, 5,700 -> TBD. This depends on if Horford has a minutes limit tomorrow.
Lakers AT Warriors -9, 235
Chandler & McGee Questionable
LeBron against the Warriors. Of course they would have this game in the prime time spot on Christmas day. In doing this writeup, I’m starting to notice that DraftKings has priced this out for the masses to just ‘plug in their favorite players’. Or in other words, pricing is fairly loose for tomorrows slate. I tend to prefer when pricing is tight and people are forced to make difficult decisions. I believe that gives me a nice edge over the field. However, I do like how they have priced the players in this game. One way I might get leverage on this slate is to avoid the players in this game. I’d be essentially betting on this game blowing out. It’s also possible that we could see LeBron slow the pace down on the Lakers side of this game. I’d think the last thing he would want to do is get involved in a shootout against Klay, Curry and Durant.
The play: GPP Fade IF we think this game will be a popular one to target.
Jonas Jerebko, PF/C, 4,100 -> Solid Value.
Draymond Green, PF/C, 6,300 -> He makes for a fine one off. His price is just way too low.
Stephen Curry-> I’d rather take the 1,200 in savings and play Lillard.
Kevin Durant, SF/PF, 9,300 -> He also makes for a fine individual play. His price is too low. If this game stays close, pairing him with LeBron is interesting. LeBron James, SF/PF, 10,100-> Fine individual play. If this game stays close it will most likely be due to him having a big game.
Brandon Ingram -> Fine cheaper way to get exposure to this game.
*Game note* Since this will be a fun game to watch, I don’t hate a LeBron + Draymond/Durant or Draymond/Curry combo. Or you could try to do a full game stack. On any other slate, all of these studs would be elite plays due to being underpriced.
Blazers AT Jazz -6, 214.5
No new injuries.
So will this be the game everyone forgets about? For those of us playing this DFS slate, probably not. Damian Lillard is grossly underpriced on Draftkings. Dame was over 10k earlier this month in a matchup against the Suns. Let’s look at Lillards last few games against the Jazz (DK pts); 37, 58, 35, 46, 65, 82, and 24. Sure, there is chance he could underwhelm in this matchup. However, it is pretty rare that we have the opportunity to lock in a player priced under 8k with legit 60 point upside. This, in my opinion, is just one of those spots not to overthink. I’ll be making Lillard a priority play for tomorrows slate.
Damian Lillard, PG, 7,800 -> Elite play. Priority in all formats.
CJ McCollum, PG/SG, 5,900 -> GPP. His history isn’t great vs the Jazz but his price puts him in play.
Jusuf Nurkic, C, 6,100 -> GPP. I don’t like playing centers vs Gobert but Nurkic should see more minutes to mathc up with Goberts size.
Al-Farouq Aminu, SF/PF, 3,900 -> Elite Value. I think Aminu could actually go overlooked despite being priced under 4k. He just posted a dud against the Jazz. However, I like that he had the opportunity to put up a bunch of shots.
Ricky Rubio, PG, 5,400 -> Solid to Elite GPP. Over his last six games against the Blazers he has put up over 36 DK points four times. He is in excellent form right now posting b2b 40+ games.
Donovan Mitchell, PG/SG, 7,100 -> GPP only. Mitchell has been volatile all season. He is going to put up a ton of shots. However, for just 700 more I can play Lillard. That’s the route I’ll be taking.
James Harden & Damian Lillard
GPP -> Harden + Lillard + Rubio + Balanced approach
Higher Floor Approach -> Harden + Lillard + Another stud (Embiid or Russ)