Merry Christmas Eve Eve. With 11 games on the slate tonight, there will be plenty of fantasy presents to choose from to provide yourself. Don’t worry about re-gifting someone like Francisco Garcia if you used him the other night because a certain someone won’t be playing again tonight (I discuss later in the article). Also, don’t be afraid to get yourself something nice even if it is a little expensive. Yes, there are plenty of high priced players well-worth the cost including the one pictured above. So treat the “Players I Love” section like a bunch of unopened presents because tonight they are going to be one hell of a (money making) gift!
So without further ado, here are the guys I will have in my lineup tonight and ones I will be throwing out from my list of possibilities. All prices are based on my favorite daily site (Draftkings).
Players I Love:
Pau Gasol – $7,400 – Now that Kobe Bryant is once again out for an extended period of time, Gasol will be relied upon as the team’s #1 scoring option. Normally that would call for double teams and cause for worry but tonight Gasol gets the Phoenix Suns and their 21st ranked defense against opposing centers. In fact, over the past 15 days, the Suns are the 29th ranked defense against opposing centers allowing over 20 PPG and 15 REB to the position per game (only Utah is worse). Gasol gets the start at center tonight with Shawne Williams starting at power forward. Looking at the recent success against the Suns, I see no reason why one of the game’s most well-rounded big men can’t have success of his own.
JR Smith – $5,400 – Quietly, Smith is on a mini-tear. Having been horrible all season long, Smith has rebounded to the tune of 53 points in his last three games combined (17.7 per contest). Orlando has allowed the 2nd most fantasy points to opposing shooting guards over the past 15 days so the teams meet at the right time (as far as Smith is concerned). With the shooter hot and the defense cold, tonight makes a perfect night to plug and play Smith. Even if he goes off, don’t get used to him as a regular in your daily lineups. This is an anomaly if I’ve ever seen one.
Francisco Garcia – $3,100 – James Harden has yet again ruled out for tonight’s game, meaning Garcia gets the starting nod. Filling in for Harden in the last game, Garcia put up 16 PTS, 5 REB and 4 AST (31 overall Draftkings fantasy points). Houston goes from playing a team allowing 102 PPG to the Mavericks who allowed 102.3. Dallas also ranks in the bottom five in fantasy points allowed to opposing small forwards (as did Detroit). Therefore, Garcia is set up for another solid game and will only cost you $100 above the minimum. Playing ‘Cisco tonight is basically a no-brainer.
Players I Won’t Use:
Steph Curry – $10,200 – Obviously, this has nothing to do with the player here; Curry is an absolute beast. However, he is the second most expensive player on Draftkings tonight facing a top 10 defense against his position. Denver also allows about the league average worth of points per game so there is nothing special about the matchup screaming that you must play Curry. If you want to spend big tonight, I’d much prefer Carmelo or Dwight Howard.
Jeff Teague – $7,200 – Teague and the Hawks draw the Miami Heat tonight. Unfortunately for Teague, Miami is the #1 defense against opposing point guards. On most nights, Teague is a solid bet for production, but there are too many other solid point guard plays to waste your time with him tonight. Go with Isaiah Thomas for cheaper or spend a little bit more on the studs. If you use Teague, you will not get your money’s worth tonight.
If you have any further questions, feel free to hit me up on Twitter @RSandersFR.