This may well be the Christmas that lives in infamy for the NBA. There have been a lot of calls to shut down the league, as fans and players alike are in shock at the disemboweled rosters teams are trying to squeeze 48 minutes out of. However, commissioner Adam Silver has been adamant that the NBA will not shut down. The NBA’s Christmas day gams are iconic across the sports world, and a huge revenue source for the league. This year, we probably shouldn’t expect one of those Kobe Bryant vs LeBron James level Christmas classics this year. This Christmas will be riddled with injuries, and frankly will not be that much fun for anyone not looking to make money on DFS. The Atlanta Hawks and Brooklyn Nets will be our biggest sources of value here as they are missing the most guys, but there is a lot going on throughout the slate.
|Point Guard||J. Harden||$11,300|
As of now it looks like this Christmas is going to belong to James Harden. Harden is going to be playing with Patty Mills, Blake Griffin, a few G-leaguers, and the guy who usually pours the popcorn at the arena. With the recent news that Kevin Durant will not be able to play, we must expect Harden to do everything. He is averaging 49.4 FPTS on the season, and that average reflects his production sharing the court with Durant. Harden should take a ton of shots and do all of the playmaking for this team here, so he is a lock for us. Harden is our favorite spend up option, and one of our favorite options on the slate.
The Atlanta Hawks are probably gutted worse than any other team tonight, as most of their core rotation is sidelined in the health and safety protocols. Trae Young and Clint Capela are among the Hawks in protocols, which has led to some massive opportunities for Onyeka Okongwu. Okongwu is usually somewhat limited as Capela’s backup, but he has been playing a nice run with this recent opportunity. Okongwu was particularly effective last time out when he scored 35 FPTS in 34 minutes. We expect some Okongwu continues to see nice floor time tonight, so he brings very little risk at $3,300.
Here’s a Fade DFS Basketball 12/24/21 (using DraftKings Values)
The flip side to having so many injuries this season is we also have a lot of cases when guys are coming back on the court. Typically, when a guy returns after a few weeks out we see the rest priced up from the usage they saw in the player’s absence. That is the case on the Boston Celtics right now, where a few guys are too expensive with Jaylen Brown back in the mix. At the top end, Jayson Tatum is a fade for us tonight, as he is way too expensive at $10,400. Tatum has seen lower usage since Brown returned, and he is yet to hit value at this price point. Tatum takes a cut to his upside with Brown back, and we were already paying top dollar to roster him.
Now, what do you get if you sign up now for $99?
• A star guard who is too cheap.
• One cheap value option who has been seeing a ton of minutes.
• A superstar priority for us tonight.
• Some cheap forward who will see extra opportunity in this spot.
Kemba Walker – PG ($6,100 DK) This season has been something of a roller coaster for Walker. He struggled to gel with the grit and grind style of last year’s Knicks team, and it took a while for coach Tom Thibodeau to learn the adjustments he needed to make. As a result, Walker was deactivated from the Knicks rotation for a little while. When the team started to get hit by Covid and other injuries they brought Walker back in. In the three games since his return, Walker has been playing around 40 minutes a night with a ton of usage. He dropped 43 and 41 FPTS respectively in the first two and went for a whopping 70.75 FPTS last time out. Walker should be over $8,000 right now, so he is a no-brainer at $6,100.
Gary Payton II – ($4,300 DK) The Warriors are another team that is missing the meat of there core right now, so role players like Payton have seen a significant boost. Last time out Payton saw one of his biggest opportunities of the season, as he put up 16 shot attempts in 33.2 minutes. The Warriors have the exact same injuries here, so we expect similar floor time from Payton if things stay close.
LeBron James – ($10,800 DK) Anthony Davis has been sidelined for about a week, and we have seen some dominance from the King. James has taken on massive usage for the Lakers, which has led to his going for 60 FPTS in two of the last three outings. The Brooklyn Nets are a weak defensive squad, and some of there best defenders are sidelined here. James looks great here, and we know he likes to put on a show for Christmas.
Otto Porter Jr. – ($3,900 DK) We mentioned how the warriors are missing a lot of guys here, so Porter should continue to see some great run. Porter played 30 minutes last time out after Damion Lee was sidelined, and we saw him go for 32.75 FPTS. That was his second game in a row over 30 FPTS, so he is very intriguing at this price point. Porter has been a solid DFS producer in the past, and we have seen him at $2,000 more on other teams. With all the injuries for the Warriors tonight, he has a ton of upside where he is currently priced.
Blake Griffin – ($5,600 DK) The Nets have a few guys coming back here, but they are also missing a few more bodies. We expect Griffin continues to see a ton of opportunity for this squad, and he is too cheap for the role he has been playing. Griffin has played over 30 minutes in three straight games, in which he scored 32.75, 31.75, and 38.75 FPTS. Griffin has been seeing massive usage, so there is upside for him to have a bigger performance then what we have seen. Regardless, he is way too cheap in this spot.
There is a lot to like here for DFS, but we do not have as many choices as some of the bigger slates we have seen recently. We know for Cash games here we are locking in Harden next to a bunch of value from the Atlanta Hawks, Golden State Warriors, and Brooklyn Nets. There are a few directions to go for tournaments, but Harden will remain a priority for us if he is not on any minute limit. Good luck with this one and Merry Christmas.
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