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Daily Fantasy Basketball Strategy: December 28, 2015

CJ f-ing McCollum, you guys! What a night that kid had, huh? The Blazers have enjoyed drafting those mid-major guards in the mid-lottery rounds. Not sure about you guys, but my lineup that had Westbrook, Cousins and McCollum cashed in really nicely. Meyers Leonard was a nice value hit, too. Hope everyone else ended the night in the green as well. Now, let’s waste no more time looking back, let’s look forward to this massive Monday night slate.

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Vegas lines and totals

LA Lakers (+12.5) @ Charlotte — projected total of 201.5
Atlanta (+2) @ Indiana — 206.5
LA Clippers (+1.5) @ Washington — 206.5
New Orleans (+2.5) @ Orlando — 203.5
Brooklyn (+9.5) @ Miami — 194
Toronto (+2) @ Chicago — 196
Milwaukee (+6.5) @ Dallas — 198.5
Minnesota (+15) @ San Antonio — 195
Philadelphia (+10.5) @ Utah — 195.5
Cleveland (-8.5) @ Phoenix — 201.5
Sacramento (+12.5) @ Golden State — 222.5

Man, games involving Sacramento always stick out, don’t they? There’s absolutely a blowout threat in that game, shown by the spread and knowing the Kings just played last night against the Blazers, but there’s no way you’re being totally scared off of the top dollar guys just because of that. The Wolves/Spurs game on the other hand, I am skittish of. Brooklyn and Miami face off again and with the Heat playing at one of the slowest paces in the league, plus both teams averaging less than 97 points per game, I’m shying mostly away from it with so many other options tonight. Let’s now move on to my top plays and values on the slate.

POINT GUARD

Chris Paul ($9,000) – CP3 is going to have to cary a lot more weight with Blake Griffin sidelined for a couple of weeks, and with that comes a nice gift to DFS players. This matchup between Paul and John Wall is going to be fun to watch, as they’re both strong defenders and obviously dynamic on the other end as well. Of the top dollar players tonight, I am leaning to CP3 due to the money savings and being projected just eight fantasy points (FPs) less than Curry.

Brandon Knight ($7,600) – Devastating news for the Suns that they’ll be without one half of their sensational guard duo in Eric Bledsoe until at least the All-Star break. With that though comes added usage and opportunity for Knight. I am a little concerned that the Suns amid dramatics with assistant coaches being fired and Markieff Morris being suspended, that they may get wiped off the floor, but either way, I think Knight cashes in for about 35 FPs.

J.J. Barea ($5,000) – Mavs beat writer Dwain Price tweeted this last night “In the last 2 games, Barea has 58 points and 16 assists. He also is 22-of-34 from the field and an astonishing 12-of-15 from 3-point range.” So, yeah, he’s for sure in play tonight at this lower mid-level price and with Deron Williams doubtful once again. The Bucks have done well against opposing PGs and no, I wouldn’t be looking for 40+ FPs from Barea tonight, but I think a projection around 30 FPs is more than fair. Ish Smith is another lower mid-level PG that I like tonight in this same price range, but it’s a bit riskier because we’re not sure how many minutes he’ll be given in just his second game with his new team and Kendall Marshall active. Still, near 30 minutes, he could hit value.

Cheap risk option: Trey Burke ($4,000) is a great bet to hit above value tonight for the Jazz with Alec Burks injury keeping him out an extended period of time. The Jazz may also be without Favors again, so they’re going to need their scorers to step it up. Same game, Raul Neto ($3,200) makes for an interesting punt play since he’ll see 30+ minutes, even though he’s not much of a fantasy force usually. Neto could get you over 20 FPs and that’s nice with huge savings to boost up elsewhere if so.

SHOOTING GUARD

Dwyane Wade ($6,800) – I am not going heavy on this game at all as mentioned above, but Wade is an absolutely tremendous value tonight against the Nets who are terrible at defending opposing SGs. Wade torched this same Nets team a little over a week ago for 42 FPs in 30 minutes, look for him to do similar tonight.

Tyreke Evans ($7,800) – Tyreke is playing massive minutes starting at point guard for the Pelicans right now. The Magic are middle of the pack defensively against PGs, but Evans poses a bigger (literally) threat than your typical PG, and he’ll use that size advantage against Elfrid Payton and crew plenty tonight. Last game out for the Pels, Tyreke showed that even on a poor shooting night (3/13), he can still deliver in DFS due to his big assist numbers (he put up 41.5 DK points last game). While I like the savings that Wade gives tonight, I am still really high on Tyreke.

Cheap risk option: Look for Devin Booker ($3,500) to see an uptick in playing time with Eric Bledsoe out for Phoenix, and the young rookie has shown some real flashes of his potential this season when given added opportunity. Hard to say exactly how Phoenix does it’s rotation, but I would bet on Booker playing over 20 minutes tonight and having a shot to end with FPs in the low-20s.

SMALL FORWARD

Gordon Hayward ($7,200) – Hayward is my favorite play of the night IF, and only if, Derrick Favors is out as expected. With Favors, Burks and Gobert out, the Jazz will basically be Gordon’s team to lead against the soft defensive Sixers. Look for another 40+ FP night from Gordon if all lines up right.

Paul George ($8,900) – He dropped below $9K after being over $10K a couple of weeks back, and I am going to definitely have some shares of PG-13 tonight due to the matchup and elite upside. While he’s been a bit amiss recently, not posting over 45 FPs in the last nine games, George is still a super stud and this matchup against the Hawks is a favorable one with added motivation going at another top team in the East. It’s a bit risky I suppose to pay up with good value options at this spot and LeBron James being less than $1K more, but I’m sticking my neck out and saying he’ll near 50 DK points tonight. George may make for a better contrarian GPP play, but I’ll mix him into both contest types myself.

Chandler Parsons ($5,200) – Milwaukee has been bottom-3 against the small forward position on the season, and Chandler is starting to come into his true form after a slow self-admitted frustrating start to the season. Parsons has put up 33+ FPs in three of the last four games, playing over 30 minutes in each of those contests, and this looks to be another game for him to hit that level at a really good price. I love players who can go 15pts – 5rebs – 5asts – 1stl, and that’s what Parsons going at full strength brings you every night. Use him quick before his price skyrockets into the $7K range within a week.

Cheap risk option: P.J. Tucker ($4,000) is yet another guy who will see more minutes with Bledsoe out of the picture. Tucker played 38 minutes (13 more than his recent average) in Saturday night’s game after Bledsoe left the game. Tonight he will have the tough task of defending LeBron, so don’t expect anything world shattering, but at this price, he could easily hit value (20 FPs would be value for this price). Also, Paul Pierce ($3,500) saw a big jump in playing time with Griffin out on Saturday. While I’m not sure this continues, I do like Pierce tonight at this punt-level price going against his former team who also doesn’t contain opposing wings well.

POWER FORWARD

Anthony Davis ($10,500) – I went and saw the Magic play the Pelicans this preseason and I tweeted out that I thought Davis would score 50 points a few times this season, and at least one of those times would be against the Magic. While that may not quite happen with the Pels at basically full strength, the Magic simply have nobody who can defend Davis, he just had an off shooting night earlier this season when they faced off. Davis may not score 50 points, but I do think he surpasses 50 FPs in this one. It is really tough though to play Davis over DeMarcus Cousins when Boogie is the cheaper of the two and in a game with a 222.5 projected total, admittedly.

Nerlens Noel ($5,600) – If I don’t go with one of the top-3 guys at PF tonight, I am going the cheaper route, and that cheaper route is led by Mr. Noel and the next guy I will talk about. With Jahlil Okafor again out, Noel will draw the start at center and play over 30 minutes for the Sixers, and with Utah without Gobert and likely Favors as well, Noel should be in line for a nice game. The price and matchup (if Favors is out) are all I need to be sure to get Nerlens in a few lineups.

Taj Gibson ($5,300) – With Noah out, I am a big believer in Taj producing. I know he was already seeing solid minutes, but now they are a sure thing every night. At this price point, you just need him to hit over 25 FPs to beat value, and in 30+ minutes I think he does just that eight out of ten times. The Raptors will throw a combo of Luis Scola and Pat Patterson at Taj tonight, I’ll take my shot there.

Cheap risk option: Mike Scott ($3,300), Carl Landry ($3,200) and Trey Lyles ($3,200) are the punt poisons that I am choosing from here tonight. All should see around 20 minutes of play, and have upsides with that time to at least get you 15 FPs. Of the three, I will probably use Landry the most with Scott right behind him.

CENTER

Nikola Vucevic ($7,400) – Vucci Mane is looking back to his all-star level form for the Magic recently. With a game log that shows 52 – 34.5 – 42 – 43 – 47 FPs over his last five games, he will be a highly attractive play again tonight at this undervalued price. He put up 47 FPs the last time they faced off with the Pelicans, and this time he gets them at home.

Hassan Whiteside ($7,100) – With the top seven centers tonight within $700 of each other, it’s tough choosing between them, but Whiteside is the next guy that I am using with a nice matchup against the Nets. Whiteside struggled in the last game the Heat played and will be looking to bounce back against Brook Lopez who has been kind to opposing centers box score numbers. Whiteside managed 39 FPs in 29 minutes the last time these teams faced off.

Cheap risk option: If Favors is out (yes, I know I’ve mentioned like five Utah players, but most ring in as cheap value options due to all the injuries. I am not saying to stack them in a lineup, just to plug one or two in here and there), Jeff Withey ($3,300) should be in line to start again for the Jazz. In the last two games, Withey has put up 21 and 19 FPs despite only playing 19 and 13 minutes. It will be tough to punt at center tonight with so many top options sitting there with non-elite price tags, but if you do, Withey may be the risk to take.

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) Chris Paul
2) Brandon Knight
3) J.J. Barea
4) John Wall
5) Kemba Walker
6) Stephen Curry
7) Trey Burke
8) Goran Dragic
9) Raul Neto
10) Ish Smith

SG
1) Dwyane Wade
2) Tyreke Evans
3) Klay Thompson
4) Devin Booker
5) Jimmy Butler
6) Rodney Hood
7) Kobe Bryant
8) Eric Gordon

SF
1) Gordon Hayward (if Favors is out)
2) Chandler Parsons
3) Paul George
4) Nicolas Batum
5) LeBron James
6) Giannis Antetokounmpo
7) Paul Pierce
8) Omri Casspi

PF
1) Anthony Davis
2) DeMarcus Cousins
3) Draymond Green
4) Nerlens Noel
5) Taj Gibson
6) Paul Millsap
7) Carl Landry
8) Larry Nance Jr.

C
1) Nikola Vucevic
2) Hassan Whiteside
3) Pau Gasol
4) Karl-Anthony Towns
5) 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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