Despite playing at home, the Toronto Raptors are slight underdogs to the Boston Celtics. The reason? Injuries. Toronto is currently missing Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol and Norman Powell. From a life perspective, this is bad for the Raptors. From a fantasy perspective, this is good for the Raptors’ fantasy value. The production is much more focused with so many core players out.
The Celtics have the opposite sort of situation going on. After their starters benefitted from the absence of Gordon Hayward ($7,600), he’s expected to return from a three-game hiatus. He missed time with a foot injury and is probable to play. Hayward figures to take shots away from the other Celtics’ starters.
UPDATE: Hayward (foot) will play and start vs. the Raptors, per coach Brad Stevens.
As the captain, it’s hard to pick anybody other than Kyle Lowry ($15,000). The Raptors’ leader has been killing it lately, stepping up with the team needing a boost. He’s scored at least 44 DKFP in four consecutive games and is playing a tremendous workload. Lowry has gone over 40 minutes in three straight games to help cover for Toronto’s lack of depth. For Boston, Jayson Tatum ($13,800) has been terrific lately, but it was in large part due to the injury to Gordon Hayward. Tatum sees a 2% usage bump with Hayward off the court, so some of his touches are going to go away assuming Hayward plays.
Marcus Smart ($7,000) is unlikely to play on Christmas according to Brad Stevens. If he’s out, the biggest boost goes to Kemba Walker ($9,400). Walker has had some lackluster performances as of late, but his total numbers for the season are solid without Smart. When Smart is off the court, Kemba has a 30.4% usage rating and scores 47.17 DKFP per 36 minutes. As a value play, we can look to Brad Wanamaker ($3,600) for cheap. There aren’t a ton of viable cheap options in this game and he’s averaging 15.97 DKFP in his last three games.
With the recent injuries, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson ($6,600) and Chris Boucher ($5,400) have played bigger roles although both are priced up. Between the two, I lean towards RHJ as the stronger play since the Raptors have been willing to play him bigger minutes. In the last two games, he’s scored exactly 34.25 DKFP. O.G. Anunoby ($6,800) is in the same price range and we can typically count on him to play well. He’s coming off a 38 DKFP performance and has at least 26 DKFP in seven of his last nine games.
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