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Fantasy Basketball Picks: Top DraftKings NBA DFS Targets, Values for December 23

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

Thursday’s NBA slate is the final taste of action before Christmas, and there are 11 games to choose from. The action on DraftKings gets underway at 7 p.m. ET, so let’s dive into some of the top studs and values at each position.

Set your DraftKings fantasy basketball lineups here: NBA $333K Fadeaway [$100K to 1st]

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Point Guard


Jalen Brunson, Dallas Mavericks vs. Milwaukee Bucks ($8,500) – Brunson has been priced up to $8,500, which feels a bit ridiculous on the surface. However, it’s more than justified given his recent play. He’s racked up at least 38.2 minutes in three straight games, and he’s scored at least 37.0 DKFP in each of those contests. He was at his best in his last game, finishing with 48.0 DKFP, and he should be asked to carry a similar workload on Thursday. Not only is Luka Doncic still out of the lineup, but Tim Hardaway Jr. and Trey Burke have also entered health and safety protocols. Brunson has averaged 1.13 DKFP per minute with Doncic and THJ off the court this season.

Other Options – Derrick White ($6,700), Terry Rozier ($6,100)


Kemba Walker, New York Knicks vs. Washington Wizards ($5,900) – Things are dire for the Knicks’ backcourt at the moment. Derrick Rose will miss at least the next eight weeks after undergoing ankle surgery, while Immanuel Quickley, Quentin Grimes and Miles McBride are all in health and safety protocols.

That’s forced Tom Thibodeau to dust off Walker. Walker has logged at least 37.4 minutes in back-to-back games, and he’s racked up at least 41.0 DKFP in both contests. Walker has averaged 0.94 DKFP per minute this season, so there’s no reason to expect much of a decline on Thursday.

Other Options – Devonte’ Graham ($5,500), Delon Wright ($4,200)

Shooting Guard


D’Angelo Russell, Minnesota Timberwolves @ Utah Jazz ($8,000) – The Timberwolves have a tough matchup vs. the Jazz, but they have the potential to be pretty short-handed in the backcourt. Anthony Edwards and Patrick Beverley have already been ruled out, while Jaylen Nowell is questionable with a thumb injury.

That should mean plenty of minutes for Russell. He’s increased his usage rate by +2.1% and his assist rate by +15.4% with Edwards and Beverley off the court this season, resulting in an average of 1.11 DKFP per minute. He’s also shot the ball dreadfully in that situation – he owns an effective field goal percentage of just 42.6% – so he can improve on that mark moving forward.

Other Options – Brandon Ingram ($9,600), Donovan Mitchell ($9,500)


Cam Reddish, Atlanta Hawks @ Philadelphia 76ers ($4,600) – Reddish stands out as another elite source of value for the short-handed Hawks. He led the team with 42.4 minutes and a 29.2% usage rate on Wednesday, and he responded with 51.5 DKFP. He’s a bit more expensive on Thursday, but he’s still massively underpriced given his current role.

Other Options – Evan Fournier ($5,800), Grayson Allen ($4,500)

Small Forward


LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers vs. San Antonio Spurs ($11,300) – James has gotten very expensive across the industry, and he’s failed to return value in three of his past four games. However, he should continue to see a slight boost in production with Anthony Davis out of the lineup. James has increased his production to 1.40 DKFP per minute with AD off the floor, and he’s expected to see around 37 minutes on Thursday. He also owns a solid matchup vs. the Spurs, who have played at the seventh-fastest pace this season.

Other Options – Khris Middleton ($8,000), Miles Bridges ($7,700)


Hamidou Diallo, Detroit Pistons @ Miami Heat ($4,400) – Diallo has gotten plenty of burn for the Pistons recently. He’s logged at least 29.5 minutes in back-to-back games, and Diallo is an excellent per-minute producer for his price tag. He’s averaged 0.85 DKFP per minute this season, so he’s unsurprisingly returned value in each of his past two games. He’s a good bet to do it again on Thursday.

Other Options – Talen Horton-Tucker ($5,200), Otto Porter Jr. ($4,800)

Power Forward


John Collins, Atlanta Hawks @ Philadelphia 76ers ($7,300) – Collins should be able to provide stud-like production at a slight discount on Thursday. He played nearly 41 minutes in the Hawks’ last game, and he’s seen a slight boost in production with Trae Young and Clint Capela off the court this season. Both players remain out of the lineup on Thursday, so Collins has the potential for another big game.

Other Options – Jaren Jackson Jr. ($6,900)


Josh Hart, New Orleans Pelicans @ Orlando Magic ($6,200) – Hart has carried a massive workload for the Pelicans recently, logging at least 40.8 minutes in back-to-back games. He’s responded with at least 40.75 DKFP in both contests, and his role doesn’t figure to decrease on Thursday. The team will be without Jonas Valanciunas and Nickeil Alexander-Walker, and Hart has averaged 1.18 DraftKings points per minute with both players off the court.

Other Options – Trey Lyles ($3,600), Matisse Thybulle ($3,500)



Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets vs. Charlotte Hornets ($12,200) – Jokic is coming off his worst game in ages on Wednesday, finishing with just 29.25 DKFP vs. the Thunder. He only played 24.9 minutes in a blowout loss, but that’s still nowhere near the per-minute production we’ve come to expect from Jokic.

Still, there’s no reason to doubt Jokic at this point. He’s been the best fantasy player in the league this season, and he’s averaged an elite 1.82 DKFP per minute. He also draws one of the best matchups in fantasy Thursday vs. the Hornets. They rank third in pace and dead last in defensive efficiency, and the Nuggets’ implied team total of 116.75 ranks second on the slate. In other words, Jokic could have a field day in this matchup.

Other Options – Joel Embiid ($12,000), Karl-Anthony Towns ($10,600)


Guillermo Hernangomez, New Orleans Pelicans @ Orlando Magic ($3,800) – Hernangomez has been one of the best per-minute producers in fantasy this season. He’s averaged 1.38 DraftKings points per minute, and he should see a nice spike in playing time on Thursday. He’s a candidate to replace Valanciunas in the starting lineup, giving him a massive ceiling at his current price tag.

Other Options – DeMarcus Cousins ($4,700), Robin Lopez ($4,500)

Set your DraftKings fantasy basketball lineups here: NBA $333K 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.

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