Every Thursday I’ll be bringing you my favorite FanDuel NBA targets.
Today, we have a great five-game Christmas slate for all of the huge tournaments at FanDuel: Washington at New York (+5, 192), Oklahoma City at San Antonio (-5, off), Cleveland at Miami (+5.5, 196.5), Los Angeles Lakers at Chicago Bulls (-10.5, 207) and Golden State at Los Angeles Clippers (-2, 217.5).
Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $300,000 Fantasy Basketball league for Christmas Day's NBA games. It's $25 to join and first prize is $30,000. Starts at 12pm ET on Thursday. Here's the FanDuel link.
Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers, $10,400 - At 9:30 on Christmas night, the only thing you’ll be wishing you got for Christmas was some player minutes remaining, as this Warriors/Clippers contest should be loaded with fantasy points. The Warriors have been very good defensively this year, but are a different defensive team without their anchor, Andrew Bogut. This should be a great matchup between CP3 and Stephen Curry, and I’m expecting big games from both. I prefer CP3, but think Curry makes for a fine play as well, as the Warriors were embarrassed by the Kobe Bryant-less Lakers on Tuesday, so I think we get a great bounce-back effort out of them. I lean CP3 in this matchup since Curry is a below average defender, while CP3 is one of the best. On the season, the Warriors are 23rd in DVP against PGs, while the Clippers are 1st. In the first matchup between these two teams, CP3 had 15 points, 12 assists, 4 steals and 2 rebounds, while Curry had 28 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists. However, that was with Bogut on the floor, so I’m expecting increased offense from the Clippers in this one. In four regular season meetings with the Warriors last year, CP3 averaged 28 points, 4 rebounds, 12.7 assists and 3.7 steals, and in the playoffs averaged he put up 17 points, 5 rebounds, 9 assists and 3 steals per contest.
Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls, $7,100 - Truth be told, I haven’t rostered Rose once this year on FanDuel, but I’m ready to jump on board. He’s squared off with Kyle Lowry and John Wall in his last two games, and has responded by averaging 27 real points per game over that stretch. Rose is playing great ball right now, and if Wall or Lowry can’t contain him, I don’t think Ronnie Price or Jeremy Lin stand much of a chance. He only needs around 35 FD points to hit value and should have no problem hitting that mark against the Lakers, who are dead last in DVP against PGs.
Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder, $11,300 – I’m writing up a third PG, as news just broke that Kevin Durant will miss another game. With Kevin Durant playing, I had CP3 as my number one PG, as Westbrook is more expensive and in a tougher matchup than CP3. However with Durant out, Westbrook’s insane usage boosts him to number one if you can afford him. With Durant out of the lineup the past three games, Westbrook FD points read 53, 47 and 65, and his shot attempts read 22, 27 and 34. That kind of usage is tough to beat, even against the Spurs. Also, the Spurs defense has suffered without Kawhi Leonard on the floor, so Westbrook should get his no matter the outcome of the game.
Jamal Crawford, Los Angeles Clippers, $5,000 - Crawford is a guy that you ride when he gets hot, and avoid when he is cold, since he is very streaky. He was ice cold during the early part of December and his price is low due to those struggles. However, he has picked it up over his last four games, having averaged 26 FD points in that stretch. He accounted for 30 FD points in the first meeting between these two teams, and the Warriors are 20th in DVP against SGs. Fire up him as a cheap SG in a game that is projected to be the highest scoring of the night.
Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards, $6,500 - He’s coming off of a productive 29 FD point game in a tough matchup with Jimmy Butler, but gets a much softer landing spot on Christmas. The Knicks are 22nd in DVP against SGs and are missing their best wing defender in Iman Shumpert. Last year, he had a lot of success against a much better Knicks defense, as he averaged 22 points and 6 rebounds in three meetings. The Knicks are next to last in the NBA in 3-point field goals allowed per game and are last in 3-point percentage allowed, which sets up nicely for a great shooter like Beal.
Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors, $7,700 - I don’t mind paying up for LeBron, and I’ll have him in a lineup or two, but I prefer to spend up for at least one of the top PGs. I’m expecting a big bounce back game from the Warriors, especially Draymond, who is coming off his worst game of the year. He threw up a total dud against the Lakers and David Lee also returned to the lineup, so a lot of people might stay away, which makes him a great tournament play. I’m not expecting Lee to eat into his time too much right away, especially against Blake Griffin, as David Lee simply can’t guard him. Draymond dropped 24 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists on the Clips the first time these teams met, so the upside is definitely there. This game is the one to target on the night, and the Clippers have not defended the PF position well, as they are 20th in DVP against PFs.
Luol Deng, Miami Heat, $5,900 - Chris Bosh is expected to be out once again, which should mean more minutes and usage for Deng. With Bosh out of the lineup, Deng has played at least 32 minutes in each of the past six games, and scored 30 FD points in four of the those six games. His shots attempts have been up with Bosh out - he has double-digit shot attempts in every game but one. The matchup with LeBron is not ideal, but this position is weak and his shot attempts and minutes look to be very stable. He also comes at a solid price.
Tristan Thompson, Cleveland Cavaliers, $4,800 - On a slate filled with superstars, I think Tristan Thompson is the first guy that you should plug into your lineups. Anderson Varejao was unfortunately injured last game, and is out for the year. Thompson should draw the start at a bargain price, just in time for Miami’s soft interior defense that is 27th in DVP against centers. Varejao has missed one other game this year, and Thompson played 39 minutes and rang up 13 points, 11 rebounds, one assist and one block (30.25 FD points), which is 6x salary. Miami is dead last in rebounding differential and Tristan Thompson is 6th in the NBA in total offensive rebounds.
Pau Gasol, Chicago Bulls, $8,700 - Due to LeBron returning to Cleveland, there is another revenge game that is getting overlooked, and it’s Pau against the Lakers. Unlike LeBron, Pau did not leave the Lakers on the best terms and actually was underappreciated during his time in L.A. Look for him to remind the Lakers how good he really is. His price has finally dropped back down to below 9K and is at playable levels once again against a terrible Lakers interior defense that is 23rd in DVP against PF.
Marcin Gortat, Washington Wizards, $6,600 - Gortat is your gamble pick at center. He has really been slumping, but that has also resulted in him being underpriced relative to his normal valuation. For some reason, his minutes have been way down in December. Some of those games can be explained by early foul trouble, but overall his minutes are a concern. However, last game he finally played over 30 minutes and promptly produced 35.7 FD points. This all comes down to the minutes he plays, and if he sees over 30 like he did in his last game, he should pay off his salary against an embarrassing Knicks team.
DeAndre Jordan, Los Angeles Clippers, $8,000 - You can go ahead and ignore that top ranked DVP mark against centers that the Warriors are currently sporting, as that is due to Andrew Bogut. Jordan is leading the league in rebounding and is coming off of a monster 22-rebound effort against the Hawks. He should dominate the duo of Festus Ezeli and Marreese Speights on the boards, and then chip in his blocks and dunks. In the first meeting between these two teams, he had 17 points and 13 rebounds with Andrew Bogut in the lineup.