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Fantasy Basketball Picks: Top DraftKings NBA DFS Targets, Values for December 19

Matt LaMarca gives his top studs and value plays at each position for Monday’s fantasy basketball slate on DraftKings.

Charlotte Hornets v Denver Nuggets Photo by Justin Tafoya/Getty Images

The NBA is rolling into the new week with a nine-game DraftKings slate starting at 7 p.m. ET.

Let’s dive into some of my favorite plays at each position.

Set your DraftKings fantasy basketball lineups here: NBA $300K Fadeaway [$100K to 1st]


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Guard

Studs

LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets at Sacramento Kings ($8,400) – Monday’s matchup between the Hornets and Kings stands out as the clear top game for fantasy purposes. There is a smidge of blowout concern – the Kings are listed as 10-point home favorites – but this game has a 241-point total. Both teams rank in the bottom nine in defensive efficiency and play at an above-average pace, so there should be plenty of points scored.

Ball has played well since returning to the lineup three games ago, scoring at least 40.5 DKFP in each. He’s gotten up serious volume from 3-point range, attempting 35 total triples in those contests, and he’s knocked down 16 of them. Ball might be due for a bit of regression in that department, but he can easily overcome it with more work in the peripheral categories. Ball’s assist and rebound numbers are down over that stretch, but he’s averaged 7.0 assists and 6.2 rebounds per game for his career.

Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns vs. Los Angeles Lakers ($9,500) – Booker is officially questionable with a groin injury, but as long as he’s active, he stands out as a priority target against the Lakers. LA ranks eighth in pace this season, and while they have been solid defensively, their numbers are going to fall off a bit with Anthony Davis sidelined. The Suns are currently implied for 120.5 points in this matchup, which trails only the Kings’ mark of 125.5.

Booker went absolutely nuts in his last game, racking up 58 points, six rebounds and five assists en route to 75.0 DKFP. I wouldn’t expect a repeat performance vs. the Lakers, but he clearly has plenty of upside at his current price tag.

Booker would also see a bump if Deandre Ayton remains sidelined. He’s currently questionable, and Booker has increased his usage rate by 2.7% with Ayton off the floor this season.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Suns PG/SG Devin Booker (groin) has been ruled out tonight vs. the Lakers.

Other Options – De’Aaron Fox ($8,300), Kevin Porter Jr. ($7,200)

Value

Isaiah Joe, Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Portland Trail Blazers ($4,000) – Have the Thunder started to get sick for Vic? The race for Victor Wembanyama is one of the least-kept secrets in the NBA at the moment, so expect plenty of jockeying for ping-pong balls over the second half of the year. The Thunder have shut down Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in each of the past two years to try to get more ping pong balls, so expect them to do it again sooner rather than later.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Thunder PG Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (back) is now listed as questionable for tonight’s game vs. the Trail Blazers.

SGA and Josh Giddey have both been ruled out for the second straight game, leaving Joe as one of the team’s primary facilitators. He hasn’t played a ton this season, but he’s been tremendous when he’s seen the floor. He’s averaged 1.09 DKFP per minute, and he unsurprisingly racked up 30.25 DKFP in his first start of the year on Saturday. Tre Mann played 17.6 minutes off the bench in that contest, and he’s also going to be unavailable on Monday. That means Joe could see even more playing time vs. the Blazers, so he’s an incredibly difficult fade.

Other Options – Markelle Fultz ($5,100), Aaron Wiggins ($3,400)


Forward

Studs

LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers at Phoenix Suns ($10,000) – I’m actually starting to feel kind of bad for the Lakers. Just when it looked like they might be ready to turn the corner, Anthony Davis goes down with a foot injury that is expected to sideline him for at least a month.

That means that the Lakers’ playoff chances will once again rest on the broad shoulders of James. LeBron may not be able to carry a team the same way he did in the past, but he’s still one of the best fantasy producers in basketball. He’s averaged 1.42 DKFP per minute over the past month, and that figure increases to 1.47 with Davis off the floor. LeBron has racked up at least 50.75 DKFP in three straight games, so he’s simply too cheap at $10,000.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Lakers SF/PF LeBron James (ankle) has been ruled out tonight vs. the Suns.

Paolo Banchero, Orlando Magic at Atlanta Hawks ($7,700) – After LeBron, there’s a pretty significant drop-off at the forward spots. However, Banchero is worth some consideration at $7,700. He got off to a red-hot start this season, but he cooled off substantially over the following weeks. He had a stretch from late November into early December where he failed to return value in six straight games.

That said, Banchero looks like he might be heating up again. The Magic have quietly won six games in a row, and Banchero has scored at least 35.25 DKFP in each of them. That includes three games of at least 42.5 DKFP in his last four outings. He’s capable of doing a little bit of everything for fantasy purposes, and he’s averaged 1.09 DKFP per minute this season.

Other Options – Zion Williamson ($10,200), Anthony Edwards ($9,000)

Value

Aleksej Pokusevski, Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Portland Trail Blazers ($4,300) – The Thunder are the clear team to target for value on Monday. Grabbing Joe is the clear choice in the backcourt, but things get a bit messier in the frontcourt. They have a bunch of guys who all figure to play between 20 and 30 minutes, so you can go in a few different directions.

Pokusevski is the most intriguing in my eyes. His minutes are particularly volatile, playing as many as 34.5 minutes and as little as 8.1 minutes in his past five games, but he is an elite per-minute producer. He’s racked up 1.00 DKFP per minute this season, so he has massive upside on nights when he hits his minute ceiling. He’s priced at a point where he only needs around 20 minutes to potentially return value, so he provides an elite ceiling with minimal downside.

Other Options – Kyle Anderson ($5,900)


Center

Stud

Domantas Sabonis, Sacramento Kings vs. Charlotte Hornets ($9,600) – Nikola Jokic went ham and eggs against the Hornets on Sunday, posting a stat line of 40 points, 27 rebounds and 10 assists. That’s ridiculous production, even from someone who routinely posts eye-popping numbers.

Sabonis isn’t nearly the same caliber of player as Jokic, but he’s probably the closest facsimile in the league. He’s capable of scoring, rebounding and distributing the basketball at a high level, and he’s averaged 1.34 DKFP per minute this season. The Hornets have been the gift that keeps on giving against opposing centers all year, allowing the most DraftKings points per game to the position, so Sabonis should be able to do some serious damage in this spot.

Other Options – Joel Embiid ($11,500)

Value

Thomas Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers at Phoenix Suns ($4,200) – Bryant has not been priced up to reflect his new role in the wake of the Davis injury. He finished with 34.0 DKFP across 23.7 minutes in relief of Davis on Friday, and he followed that up with 33.0 DKFP in 32.8 minutes as a member of the starting unit on Sunday. Bryant has averaged 1.14 DKFP per minute this season, so there’s no reason to expect anything different on Monday. As long as this game doesn’t turn into a blowout – the Suns are listed as 10-point favorites – Bryant is a phenomenal bet to return value.

Other Options – Onyeka Okongwu ($5,200), Mo Bamba ($4,400)

Set your DraftKings fantasy basketball lineups here: NBA $300K Fadeaway [$100K to 1st]


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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is mlamarca) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.