UPDATE: LeBron James and Anthony Davis are available to play vs. the Clippers, per coach Frank Vogel. Regardless, I still like Rondo in this spot.
As is tradition on Christmas Day in the NBA, we’ve got five games on the slate. Usually we don’t have to worry too much about big injuries on X-Mas, but this time around it seems the status of LeBron James (back) is up in the air.
James missed his first game of the season on Sunday due to a back injury and we don’t know whether he’ll suit up against the Clippers. Joel Embiid is also dealing with an illness for the Sixers and could be held out vs. the Bucks. Honestly though, chances are both players will be good to go. You can’t miss primetime Christmas Day basketball, especially if you’re a top 10 player in the League. But if they are held out, we’ll get some value opening up. Let’s go over some value plays to save you some salary for the five-game slate on DraftKings.
UPDATE: LeBron James and Anthony Davis are expected to play vs. the Clippers. Regardless, I still like Rondo in this spot.
Rajon Rondo, PG, LAL vs. LAC ($4,700)
Even if LeBron ends up playing, this is nationally televised Rajon Rondo. Everybody who’s anybody knows that that’s a must-play spot for Rondo. Ridiculous narrative aside, if James does by some act of God get ruled out, Rondo would likely start at PG again. He played 28 minutes Sunday vs. the Nuggets and had a decent outing with 27.5 DKFP. If Rondo is going to get around 30 minutes in a competitive game, at this price he’s almost a must-play.
JJ Redick, SG/SF, NOP at DEN ($4,400)
This is a pretty low price for one of the best 3-point shooters in the NBA. Redick is playing north of 30 minutes per game, and while this isn’t a great matchup, I still think it’s a spot we can get some savings with a player who has upside. Redick is shooting 56% from downtown the past four games and I think there’s some contrarian value here. Denver boasts the League’s top defense — plus they allow around 30% 3-point shooting to opponents, which isn’t good for Redick. Low ownership isn’t a bad thing, though.
Danuel House Jr., SF/PF, HOU at GSW ($3,600)
Of all the games on Christmas Day, the Rockets-Warriors one seems like the most likely to be over before halftime. If that’s the case, we should see a lot of garbage time for House. He’s got double-digit points in back-to-back games and is averaging 31.5 minutes per game the past five games. One of his better games of the season came vs. Golden State, when House scored 17 points on 5-of-6 shooting from long range. A similar performance is possible and House is dirt cheap.
Chris Boucher, PF/C, TOR vs. BOS ($4,800)
I absolutely love Boucher on this Raptors team. It sucks that Toronto is dealing with injuries, but it’s nice to see Boucher get playing time again. When Serge Ibaka was out earlier on in the season, Boucher was filling in nicely and now he’s doing it again with Marc Gasol and Pascal Siakam out. In a close win over the Mavericks on Sunday, Boucher posted 21 points with seven rebounds and four blocks for 41.25 DKFP. If he plays like this more often, coach Nick Nurse is going to have to give Boucher playing time. I think this is a spot where Boucher can use his length an athleticism to his advantage vs. a Celtics team that lacks athletic bigs.
UPDATE: The Raptors will roll with the same starting five of Lowry, VanVleet, McCaw, Anunoby and Ibaka vs. the Celtics.