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FanDuel NBA Picks – December 21st

Last night was another slate that was heavily impacted by late injury news. A few of my value plays were taken out of the equation and whether or not you liked my NBA DFS picks, you were probably forced to make some changes.

Russell Westbrook (57 fantasy points) was still a fine enough stud to rally around, although he had his night cut short due to the Utah Jazz getting completely waxed. Kevin Durant looked like a must on this slate, too, but he got just 38 fantasy points and was quite the disappointment.

Jeff Teague was fine and Lou Williams put up 18 actual points, but this team was held back by some weak value plays and a severely underwhelming KD. It wasn’t a hit, and on a crazy 12-game slate, you were going to need a borderline perfect team to compete in most GPPs.

Tonight’s slate calms things down considerably, as there are just 5 games on the docket. There is already quite a bit of injury news, too, as J.J. Redick and C.J. Miles are for sure out. Joel Embiid, Kristaps Porzingis, Trevor Booker and others will need to be monitored heading into lineup locks, as well.

If you haven’t already, consider taking advantage of the new late swap GPPs at FanDuel. My team wasn’t good enough last night, but I still entered one just in case some random news popped up. With that, let’s dive into my favorite NBA DFS picks for Thursday night:

PG: Kyle Lowry – Toronto Raptors ($8.5k)

Point guard is garbage tonight. Ricky Rubio burned me last night and I won’t go back to him until he figures things out, while T.J. McConnell ($4.4k) is the only viable cheap option I’m considering.

I really just want stability and upside here, though, and I think that’s going to have me paying up at both PG spots. Kris Dunn could shave some cash off either Lowry or Irving, but his game has a bad -10.5 spread and it’s quite possible playing in Cleveland against the Cavs finally ends Chicago’s insane winning streak.

Lowry isn’t a bad play by any means, either. He’s probably a little pricier than I’d prefer, but he put up over 32 fantasy points against Philly earlier this year and the Sixers rank just 23rd against the position. He feels like a safe play and it’s possible he could return some value in this spot, too.

PG: Kyrie Irving – Boston Celtics ($8.7k)

Ditto for Irving, who has been wrecking as a scorer lately (30+ actual points in 4 of 5) and now heads to the historic MSG. I think he could have a gem in him here as he takes on the Knicks, who happen to rank 28th against opposing point guards.

The peripherals haven’t always been there, but Irving is scoring like a fiend right now and has a great matchup. I’m all for paying at point guard tonight and it starts with Irving and Lowry.

SG: Justin Holiday – Chicago Bulls ($4.9k)

I do not want much exposure to this Bulls game in Cleveland. As awesome as both teams have been, Cleveland is still the better team and they tend to take care of business at home. It’s not crazy to think this is a housing.

That being said, some exposure is fine, especially if it’s of the cheap variety. Holiday has put up a cool 34+ fantasy points across two meetings with the Cavs and Cleveland doesn’t defend the wings that well (26th vs SG, 17th vs SF). I like Holiday to pop off a bit here and if he can net me 30 fantasy points, I’ll consider it a huge win.

SG: Tyreke Evans – Memphis Grizzlies ($7.8k)

DeMar DeRozan is the big ticket at shooting guard tonight, but I think Reke can return similar production for $1k cheaper. DMR is still a great play at a horrifyingly bad position tonight, but provided Evans doesn’t get rested ahead of game two on a b2b set, his date with the Suns (27th vs PG, 30th vs SG) looks sublime.

SF: O.G. Anunoby – Toronto Raptors ($4k)

C.J. Miles is out tonight, so O.G. should be looking at a nice role with the Raptors. He logged 30 minutes in his last game, too, and he offers upside as an outside shooter and defensive specialist. He may be tasked with covering Ben Simmons tonight and if so, he could be looking at 35+ minutes.

SF: Jaylen Brown – Boston Celtics ($5.7k)

If you want LeBron James at $12.3k tonight in a possible home blowout, go for it. He’s been a DFS god lately and I can’t fault you for paying for what seems to be a 50+ lock each time he hits the court. However, on a 5-game slate, he better crush it if you’re going to work to fit him in.

The reality is there is some solid value at SF and the value isn’t nearly as enticing elsewhere. I think I can get away with flat out fading King James tonight and a more balanced approach may be the way to go.

Brown could be a big part of that. He’s a good price and may see his role expand with Jayson Tatum (finger) not quite 100%. He’s locked into a solid starting role, regardless, while he was able to drop 23 actual points on the Knicks earlier this year. Madison Square Garden tends to bring out the best in people, too, so there’s always the idea of chasing that historic upside.

PF: Dario Saric – Philadelphia 76ers ($6.4k)

Saric doesn’t have an amazing individual matchup tonight, but he’s at home and could see an expanded role with Redick out and Embiid possibly sidelined. Saric has maintained a strong role for quite some time, but with the injuries, he’s locked into 30+ minutes tonight.

I’m playing the minutes and talent card here. Saric could see a lot of Serge Ibaka, but if he can get hot from outside and rack up some rebounds, it won’t really matter. Ben Simmons, Zinger and Ridge are all in play, but they all have their own question marks, while the latter two have arguably inflated price tags.

Simmons just hasn’t been that elite lately, while the Unicorn is fresh off of a knee injury and gets the top defense in the NBA. Ridge gets the Jazz and is less potent with a healthy Kawhi Leonard soaking up volume, too. This all has me diving at PF and I think Saric can be part of a winner.

PF: Serge Ibaka – Toronto Raptors ($6.4k)

The same goes for Ibaka, as the Raptors tend to let opponents stay close on the road and this game comes in with a nice -3.5 spread and 219 Total. On paper it’s one of the best games to target tonight, and as you can see, I’m not being shy about it.

Ibaka should be part of the process here, as he’s actually been killing it lately (15+ actual points in 8 straight games) as a scorer. His matchup looks good as long as Joel Embiid isn’t around, and that could help him with rebounds and blocks, as well.

C: Al Horford – Boston Celtics ($7.6k)

Center looks strong tonight, but Joel Embiid is potentially out again, Marc Gasol could be tired after playing last night and Kevin Love’s contest has blowout risk. All of those guys are still viable if active, but I’ll save a little cash and help piece this lineup together by dropping down to Horfy.

Horford is far from a consolation prize when you look at the position, as he has a solid individual matchup with Enes Kanter and put up 40 fantasy points against New York earlier this year. Horford has been steady of late as well, posting 40+ fantasy points in 3 of his last 6 outings. I’d take anything from 35-40 in this price range and I think he can get me there tonight.

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