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Fantasy Basketball Value Picks: Top DraftKings NBA DFS Bargain Plays for December 25

Zach Thompson breaks down his top DraftKings value plays for Saturday’s Christmas Day NBA slate.

The NBA has been going through an intense battle with COVID-19 over the past few weeks, but it looks like we’ll have some sort of professional basketball to enjoy along with our Christmas Day celebration on Saturday. There is a five-game, all-day slate scheduled, and DraftKings is bringing plenty of great opportunities to make your holidays even brighter with some DFS winnings. With so much roster upheaval and uncertainty, you’ll want to stay locked into @dklive on Twitter and have the DK Live app to keep up with the latest news.

Nothing beats a great holiday value, so here’s my early look at where you can get the most bang for your bargain bucks on this slate based on form, matchups and expected workloads. The four players listed below have a great chance to outproduce their bargain-basement salaries. Trying to project and predict things too far ahead is tricky in this environment, so I’ll be sure to provide updates on Twitter @ZT_Sports, and you can also find my four to play under $4K each day of the NBA season.

Set your DraftKings fantasy basketball lineups here: NBA $2.25M Holiday Basketball Millionaire [$1M to 1st + ToC Entry]


PF/C Onyeka Okongwu, Atlanta Hawks at New York Knicks, $3,300

Editor’s Note: Hawks PF/C Onyeka Okongwu (health protocols) has been ruled out for Saturday’s game vs. the Knicks.

Both the Hawks and Knicks have battled outbreaks recently, and Okongwu’s return may have been a little lost in the flurry of roster moves. Unlike many of the value options available, Okongwu isn’t a retread or a player summoned from the G League. Instead, he’s very much a part of the Hawks’ long-term plan after Atlanta took him with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2020 draft. He played a limited role in his rookie year, and his start to this season was delayed by right shoulder surgery.

He made his season debut on Dec. 17, scoring 10 quick points to produce 14 DKFP in 14 minutes. Clint Capela and Danilo Gallinari landed in the health and safety protocols before his next game, and he stepped in with 23.25 DKFP on eight points and seven rebounds in 19 minutes. On Thursday night, Okongwu was ready for a bigger workload and his first start of the season. He stepped up and produced 13 points, eight rebounds and 35.0 DKFP in 34 minutes while helping the short-handed Hawks knockoff the Sixers. If Capela and Gallinari remain out or limited, Okongwu should be in a great spot to produce against the Knicks in the early game on Christmas. His multi-category upside makes him a great play at barely more than the minimum. His teammate Skylar Mays ($3,400) would also make a good bargain play if Trae Young, Cam Reddish and Delon Wright remain sidelined. Mays posted a double-double with 14 points, 11 rebounds and 35.75 DKFP on Thursday.


PG/SG Gary Payton II, Golden State Warriors at Phoenix Suns, $3,300

The Warriors have been short-handed in the backcourt with Jordan Poole, Andrew Wiggins and Damion Lee all in the health and safety protocols, and Jonathan Kuminga ($3,400; back) is also dealing with an injury. Payton has been a nice find for the Warriors, and he made his second start of the season on Thursday in Memphis, where he finished with 30 DKFP on 19 points, matching his season high.

After that performance, The Mitten has double-digit points in three straight games with at least 25 DKFP in each contest. Payton can contribute across the box score in multiple categories and brings great energy whenever he’s on the floor. If he makes another start or is in line for another game with increased work, he should be poised for another big return at a very low salary.


SG/SF Sterling Brown, Dallas Mavericks at Utah Jazz, $3,900

Brown’s first year in Dallas didn’t get off to a great start, since the wing didn’t play 20 minutes in any of his first 20 games with the Mavericks and then missed six games with a sore left foot. Since returning, his season has turned around due to all the shortages in Dallas. He has played over 20 minutes in each of his three most recent contests, producing 9.5, 32.75 and 35.25 DKFP. In his two starts, he scored over 30 DKFP and played over 30 minutes with a double-double in each contest.

Brown could draw another start depending on exactly who the Mavericks have available. His multi-category production and ability to play the gritty kind of game the Jazz typically dictate, should allow him to return good value at this very affordable salary.


PG Payton Pritchard, Boston Celtics at Milwaukee Bucks, $3,500

The Celtics’ rotation is also very uncertain with so many players at different stages in the health and safety protocols. Pritchard has been good when called upon, and he comes at a great price in this matchup that should lend itself to the kind of small ball in which Pritchard thrives. In his past three games, Pritchard has shown he can knock down threes and contribute good non-scoring numbers while serving as a catalyst for the C’s second unit.

The second-year guard produced over 25 DKFP in back-to-back games against the Knicks and 76ers before slowing down a little bit against the Cavaliers with only 14.75 DKFP. He still logged over 20 minutes, and could have produced more if the game was closer at the end. Pritchard hadn’t played over 20 minutes in any game this season before this recent three-game stretch, and if he’s lined up for 20 minutes or more on Christmas, he should be a solid cheap guard option.

Set your DraftKings fantasy basketball lineups here: NBA $2.25M Holiday Basketball Millionaire [$1M to 1st + ToC Entry]


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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is z.thompson) 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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