Christmas Day brings five NBA games and an influx of new users trying their hand at FanDuel NBA DFS games. To reap the benefits of that competition -- and maybe make a few bucks during the holiday season -- we’ve put together a special edition of cash game picks, complete with value sleepers to target and a potential bust to avoid.
Chris Paul (hamstring) being out for the Rockets presents some openings for his teammates to step up, and we’ll analyze which sleepers to target and other smart picks from around the slate. The game with the highest expected point total is Lakers vs. Warriors. Los Angeles has allowed at least 100 points in seven straight games, while the Warriors have done it in three straight. Each team gives up more than 110 points per contest. As a result, you’ll want to have some exposure to this marquee matchup.
As part of our multi-step lineup approach, we used Fantasy Alarm’s premium features to analyze points allowed by position and projected point values. Below are the conclusions of that research.
Christmas Day FanDuel NBA DFS: Pick advice, lineup sleepers for cash games
FAVORITE VALUE — SG Gerald Green, Rockets vs. Thunder ($3,600). In order to fit as much top-end talent into your lineup as possible, you’ll need at least two bargain-bin options. Green, listed just a hair over the minimum FanDuel price, seems perfectly suited to take one of those slots. Without Paul available and with Eric Gordon entrenched in the starting lineup, the Rockets have few scoring options in the minutes where James Harden needs a breather. Green provides instant offense and can single-handedly carry Houston’s bench when he’s locked in. Three times this year he’s scored at least 15 actual points, including in his last outing. Look for him to savor the Christmas Day spotlight and cruise to the 18 FD points you’ll need for him to hit his 5X points-per-dollar value. Another Rockets reserve to consider for similar reasons is small forward Danuel House, though we prefer Green due to his track record.
STUD TO STICK WITH — SF Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks @ Knicks ($11,500). In FanDuel cash games, Antetokounmpo is as close to a must-play as you can get. Having your big money spent up in the first game of the slate means there’s no risk of a surprise post-lock injury, which has happened just in the past couple of weeks with guys like Josh Richardson, Nikola Mirotic and Devin Booker. This is particularly important when the slate locks at noon Eastern Time and the last game doesn’t begin until 10:30 p.m. Beyond that, though, the Greek Freak is primed to go off after being held to his season low in FD points by the Heat. New York has little rim protection, and in his only other game against the Knicks this year, Antetokounmpo posted 75 FD points. Play the man.
STAR TO AVOID: PG Damian Lillard, Trail Blazers @ Jazz ($9,300). While Lillard is probably safe from being an unexpected scratch (he hasn’t missed time lately and seemingly loves these kinds of games), this isn’t the best matchup for him. Just two games ago, the Jazz held Lillard to 37.8 FD points. That was in Portland, where the Trail Blazers have been great this year. It’ll be difficult to for him do much better in Utah given the team’s 6-9 road record.
TAKE A CHANCE ON ME: PG Stephen Curry, Warriors vs. Lakers ($9,700). Because the now-healthy Warriors have so many scoring options, it’s generally difficult to predict who might perform on any given night. Sometimes all of them play well, but sometimes just one guy carries the load. Despite that inherent risk when selecting Warriors players for cash games, Curry could outscore everyone else on the slate against the Lakers. As we mentioned before, this will likely be the highest-scoring Christmas Day game, and Curry is coming off a 42-actual-point showing against the Clippers. Don’t be afraid to bet on the greatest shooter in the history of the sport at a time he’s locked in, even though it’s possible we see the KD or Klay Thompson show instead.