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Daily Fantasy Basketball Strategy: December 21, 2015

Ahhhh, I feel so revitalized after a few nights off from writing, and I also took those days off from DFS in general. Saturday was my 32nd birthday, so I enjoyed my long weekend without the stresses of creating lineups, late scratches and that late night tilt on if you’re going to finish well in the green, break even or burn your wallet. It was nice to feel free from that, but I now have the itch to play again, and conveniently, it was my turn to write-up this nine-game NBA DFS slate on DraftKings. So, let’s get to work.

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Vegas lines and totals

Sacramento (+2.5) @ Washington — total of 215
Minnesota (+8.5) @ Boston — 205.5
Orlando (+1.5) @ New York — 196
Brooklyn (+10) @ Chicago — 197
Portland (+6) @ Atlanta — 204.5
Charlotte (+2.5) @ Houston — 209
Indiana (+8.5) @ San Antonio — 196
Phoenix (+4.5) @ Utah — 200.5
Oklahoma City (-1.5) @ LA Clippers — 208

That is a healthy slate of matchups right there. The Kings/Wizards, Wolves/Celtics, Hornets/Rockets and Thunder/Clippers games stand out the most as games you’re going to want parts of for their high scoring. There’s no games you should totally shy away from, you obviously see the few games that didn’t get 200+ totals, but they’re not so low that you can’t find some plays in them. Let’s get to my top plays and values of the night.

POINT GUARD

John Wall ($9,500) – I love Russell Westbrook tonight also, but I am leaning to Wall if I have to choose one of them tonight. Wall has been so money, is going against the Kings who are on the backside of a road back-to-back and while CP3 can’t shut Russ down, he can slow him enough for me to lean to Wall in this case. I’ll still have shares of both though, certainly.

Isaiah Thomas ($7,700) – Another point man that I like tonight especially against a weak defensive opponent who is on a back-to-back, is Thomas. Thomas has been a man on a mission lately, it’s like his key misses in the game against Golden State made him re-focus and he’s been incredible. Rubio will have his hands full trying to slow down IT tonight.

Cheap risk option: Trey Burke ($4,300) and Ramon Sessions ($4,100) are the two cheap PG plays that I am looking at tonight. They both have fantasy friendly opponents and should each get minutes in the mid-20s and I’ll be hoping for fantasy points in that range as well.

SHOOTING GUARD

James Harden ($10,600) – There’s a handful of great shooting guards going tonight but only a couple of them have ideal matchups, one of which being Harden. The Beard has not been unstoppable lately, coming up short of value more often that you’d like to see from a top-tier money guy. Tonight though, Harden will find a combo of PJ Hairston, Jeremy Lin, Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lamb attempting to guard him and that’s just not going to end well for Charlotte, and the high projected game total thinks the same.

Jimmy Butler ($7,400) – If you want to save some money at shooting guard tonight and fade Harden, go with Jimmy Butler. He’s got a great matchup against the Nets inferior wings and while he struggled in his last game, it came a night after playing 56 minutes against Detroit, so I think fatigue was more the culprit. Look for Butler to serve up around 40 fantasy points (FPs) tonight.

Jamal Crawford ($4,500) – Crawford should draw in added minutes tonight with Austin Rivers sidelined, and the Clippers are going to need a scoring spark from their bench scoring ninja to beat the Thunder. I like Crawford to hit above value tonight in what should be a high scoring game where he logs close to 30 minutes.

Cheap risk option: I’d be lying if I told you that I knew Garrett Temple ($4,000) was for sure going to get a starters load of minutes again tonight after his big showing Saturday, but I will say that I’d be a bit surprised if they dropped him back to around 12 minutes. Look for him to play minutes in the mid-20s and if so, he can easily hit value. Also, Allen Crabbe ($3,900) remains in play if you want around 20 FPs for cheap.

SMALL FORWARD

Kevin Durant ($10,100) – I think the ownership on KD will be surprisingly low tonight despite the big game total and the fact that he’s a beast due to his not so awe inspiring recent game log. A few of those games that he didn’t kill it in were due to lack of minutes in blowout games, but this one isn’t likely to go that way. I have Durant projected at 50 FPs tonight while I’ll steer clear of Paul George tonight completely due to Kawhi Leonard locking in on him defensively.

Nicolas Batum ($7,500) – I think more people will be on Carmelo Anthony and Gordon Hayward tonight, but I am really liking Batum against the Rockets who are giving up the most FPs in the league to opposing wings. The Hornets are going to need a big game from their Frenchman tonight to pull out a win on the road, and with his ability to fill the stat sheet, I think he makes for a nice play tonight.

Cheap risk option: P.J. Tucker ($3,800) is starting and playing right at 24 minutes right now it seems, and he’s got a really good chance at hitting above value at this price when he’s playing those kind of minutes.

POWER FORWARD

Paul Millsap ($8,000) – Last night was a typical fill the stat sheet up kind of night for Millsap, who went for 13 points, 13 boards, three assists, two steals and two blocks in 34 minutes against Orlando. Tonight Sap has an even better matchup against the Blazers who struggle against even average big men, never mind a guy like Sap. I have Trillsap projected at 40 DK points tonight.

Kristaps Porzingis ($7,400) – Warning that the last time I mentioned Porzingis in what seemed a great matchup, he had his worst game as a pro. Well, I’m not going to let that scare me off of him tonight in a game against the Orlando Magic who he put up 37 FPs in 32 minutes against earlier this season. Zinger seems pretty locked in at about 30 minutes a night, and the Magic really don’t have a power forward who matches up well with the rookie.

Cheap risk option: Trevor Booker ($4,300) continues to pick up quality minutes due to the absence of Rudy Gobert, and while that’s the case, Booker should be in play as a cheap punt guy for you. Kyle O’Quinn ($3,400) revenge game?? The former Magic big man has been getting right about 20 minutes a night the last few games and while he’s not dominating, he has been hitting above value for this price recently — five of the last six games.

CENTER

Brook Lopez ($6,700) – I love this price for Lopez tonight against the Bulls who have been very giving to opposing centers this season. Pau should be back for this game which if anything is good news for Lopez on the offensive end. Pending foul trouble or an injury, Lopez should easily surpass value tonight and land you near 40 FPs.

Joakim Noah ($5,400) – Pau or not, Noah has been playing great for the Bulls off the bench the past month and there’s no reason to feel that will change tonight against the Nets with his price still so low. I have Joakim projected at 29 FPs tonight in 27 minutes.

Gorgui Dieng ($5,300) – Oh my goodness, the Wolves finally realized that if they give their incredibly talented big man minutes, he will produce well for them. Dieng was a droppable season-long fantasy guy a few weeks back, but the Wolves now have began giving him the minutes he’s needed to be a fantasy asset once again. Dieng has hit value in three straight games and last night went off big for 20 points, 10 boards and 40 FPs against the Nets. I doubt we see a repeat of that tonight, but 30 FPs is definitely in play.

Cheap risk option: Andrea Bargnani ($3,400) is the punt option at center tonight, but this is only if you want to go super cheap here to go big elsewhere. Bargnani only plays about 20 minutes a night and will usually get you just shy of 20 FPs unless he were to get hot, but don’t count on it.

Cash game rankings:

This isn’t necessarily an order of who will score the most DraftKings points. Rather, the rankings are aimed to find the best price, value and production combo to help you win cash games, also taking into account potential ownership levels for each player.

PG
1) John Wall
2) Russell Westbrook
3) Isaiah Thomas
4) Chris Paul
5) Trey Burke
6) Kemba Walker

SG
1) James Harden
2) Jimmy Butler
3) Arron Afflalo
4) Jamal Crawford
5) Eric Bledsoe
6) Rodney Hood

SF
1) Kevin Durant
2) Nicolas Batum
3) Carmelo Anthony
4) Omri Casspi
5) Kent Bazemore
6) P.J. Tucker
7) Rudy Gay

PF
1) Paul Millsap
2) DeMarcus Cousins
3) Kristaps Porzingis
4) Thaddeus Young
5) Blake Griffin
6) Kyle O’Quinn
7) Trevor Booker

C
1) Brook Lopez
2) Gorgui Dieng
3) Pau Gasol
4) Joakim Noah
5) Marcin Gortat
6) Al Horford
7) DeAndre Jordan

As always, stay locked to Twitter and Rotoworld for any late-breaking news the hour before the first game tips at 7 p.m. EST. I’ll do my best to update this article as news breaks throughout the day, but the best way to get the latest is always to follow me on Twitter @BigZack44, where I’ll do my best to break down the implications of any late scratches or lineup changes.

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