The Christmas Day slate is always one of the most exciting of the year, but with some of the better teams in the NBA featured, we generally get less value. As games lock throughout the day, it’s also a different type of sweat. Here are some plays that jump out on DraftKings for this five-game slate.
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Worth Paying Up For: Luka Doncic, DAL at LAL ($10,700)
Doncic struggled shooting the ball in the opener against the Suns, but it sets up a bounce-back spot against the Lakers in primetime. LeBron James ($10,000) will be playing through an ankle issue, and the Clippers’ wing duo had no issues getting their numbers in this matchup in Tuesday’s opener. With Kristaps Porzingis out to start the season, now’s the time to get Luka at his highest usage.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Jeff Teague, BOS vs. BKN ($4,200)
Teague looked terrific in Boston’s opener on Wednesday. He not only gives the C’s a spark off the bench they were lacking last season, but he’s also going to be leaned on a lot more during Kemba Walker’s (knee) absence. Teague posted a 19-3-4 line for 36.75 DKFP in 25 minutes in his first game in green. Take the value while we have it. Teague’s salary should be a rapid riser this season.
PG is a deeper position on this slate, so you’ll likely be playing at least two of them. More likely, you’ll also be slotting another PG/SG play in at SG.
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Worth Paying Up For: Jaylen Brown, BOS vs. BKN ($7,000)
Brown was the co-superstar of the Celtics against the Bucks. It looks like Boston will really lean heavily on its young duo this season, especially until Kemba can return. Brown played a team-high 38 minutes and got up 24 shots in the opener, also leading the team with 52.75 DKFP. We might not expect a repeat of that performance, but Jaylen is clearly underpriced for his role.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Eric Bledsoe, NOP at MIA ($5,600)
Bledsoe might be the most popular player on this slate, having dual position eligibility and getting plenty of run in his debut as a Pelican. Bledsoe was good for just about a 1.00 DKFP per minute, scoring 33.5 in 34 minutes. His defense will keep him on the floor with Stan Van Gundy coaching.
Bledsoe is the ideal play at SG so that we can fit more PG only plays in lineups. If you’re playing Brown, it shouldn’t change your ability to fit him considering he has forward eligibility.
Worth Paying Up For: Jimmy Butler, MIA vs. NOP ($8,000)
There are a lot of places to pay up at SF, so I’ll go a little off the grid and save a couple bucks on a stud play in Butler. I mentioned LeBron is dealing with an ankle injury, and it kept him off the floor late in the loss to the Clippers. Butler was his usual self in the opener, scoring almost 45 DKFP in 36 minutes.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Dorian Finney-Smith, DAL at LAL ($4,800)
The Mavs are thin for the time being, and it means a lot of minutes for Finney-Smith at the wing. DFS played 36 minutes Wednesday against the Suns, finishing with 30 DKFP. He’s one of the safest values on the slate, playing huge starter minutes for under $5K.
SF is probably one of the least appealing positions on the slate. I’ll probably play it safe with a lot of DFS in lineups. Josh Richardson ($5,400) and J.J. Redick ($4,400) are other viable options.
Worth Paying Up For: Jayson Tatum, BOS vs. BKN ($9,300)
Tatum was the hero against the Bucks, and while the bank shot from downtown for the win might’ve been a little lucky, he clearly was getting his shot in that game. Tatum knocked down six triples on his way to almost 50 DKFP in 33 minutes. Look for him to rise to the occasion against the Nets’ duo. While the defense was sharp against the Warriors, this is a much tougher task for the Nets. Steph Curry ($10,200) was still able to play well in the blowout loss to Brooklyn.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Maxi Kleber, DAL at LAL ($3,500)
More Mavs value while the team is thin, especially filling all of KP’s minutes. While Kleber only had 15.75 DKFP in the season opener, he shot just 2-of-8 from the field and did play 27 minutes. There’s not any other comparable value in this price range with such a stable role.
PF is a weird position. There’s a lot of names that are solid plays, but stronger plays at other positions will keep me from playing them in cash or single entry. But the big names at the top of the board should make for good GPP plays. Ownership should be lower on them.
Worth Paying Up For: Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL vs. GSW ($10,900)
Giannis is bringing us center eligibility this holiday season, and it’s pretty helpful on some of these slates. After a slow start against Boston, Giannis found his way to 35 points and 57.75 DKFP, but the production wasn’t the important part. Giannis (and the other key starters) played 36 minutes! The Bucks might actually play their studs real minutes this season, and if that’s the case, Giannis will be in line for an even bigger year.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Paul Millsap, DEN vs. LAC ($4,900)
Millsap saw his role change a lot in Denver’s rotation last season, but it looks like he’s starting this year with a significant one. Millsap played 36 minutes in the opener — with a few even coming in overtime — which is an encouraging boost. He scored nearly 30 DKFP in the contest, yet his salary is down $100 for Christmas.
Center isn’t an issue with all the PF/C plays. You can fit up to four if you wanted to, but that probably won’t be where you go with all the PG options.
Kristaps Porzingis (knee)
Kemba Walker (knee)
Draymond Green (foot)
Marcus Morris (knee)
D.J. Augustine (calf)
JaMychal Green (calf)
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