Merry Christmas everyone! Alex here, and these are my DraftKings NBA Picks for December 25th. For the holiday, we get a solid five game slate. As always, if any of these picks help you win or if you need any advice, let me know on Twitter. Also, I recommend following me, because if anything changes with these plays below or if any injury news effects the slate, I try to address the situations I find important before tip off. @Hunta512.
PG/SG: James Harden: (10,900)
Harden would have been a great option at $12,000, but at $10,900, which is a large $700 price drop from his last game (66.5 DK points vs The Spurs), The Beard is a must play. In these last two with Chris Paul (hamstring) missing one game and only playing 12 minutes in the other, Harden has been putting up MVP type numbers. (67 DK PPG) He has played at least 41 minutes in each game, while also seeing a 39.5% usage rate. Overall, Harden is scoring a tremendous 1.76 DK PPM when Paul and Carmelo Anthony are off the floor this season.
With Houston only favored by 1.5 points over The Thunder (smallest spread of the slate), Harden should log 40+ minutes again, and have no issues topping 60 DK points, especially with this game being in Houston, where the reigning MVP is scoring 5.9 more DK PPG this year. Even at the highest price in the player pool, Harden is the best overall value of the slate, that needs to be in every lineup you make for Christmas day.
PG: Ricky Rubio: (5,400)
Rubio has brought his game up another level in his last two (45.13 DK PPG) and it’s all due to some expansion of his rates. His usage has only risen 0.3%, but his assist percentage has jumped a whopping 16%, helping him to produce 1.29 DK PPM. He is obviously do for some regression soon, but Rubio is still too cheap for his season average. At only $5,400, he needs 27 DK points to meet five times value, which is certainly obtainable, with him averaging 29.7 DK PPG in 2018.
Furthermore, Rubio will be on his home floor (2.8 more DK PPG), taking on The Blazers, who he just scored 42 DK points against in only 27 minutes this past Friday night. If he continues to dish out dimes like he has in his last two, we could be looking at 6-7 times value, but even if he doesn’t, Rubio should still outproduce this cheap salary.
PF/C: Draymond Green: (6,300)
It took a few games, but Green has looked like himself in his past two starts. (39.5 DK PPG) He has logged 34.5 MPG in his last four and he should be looking at 30+ minutes on Christmas Day, in this excellent matchup vs The Lakers, who are the 5th fastest team in The NBA. (1.45 opponent +/-) Green has been solid whenever he has seen a pace bump this season (34.8 DK PPG in seven games) and he has been a beast vs The Lakers, in their last two meetings. (45.3 DK PPG)
This contest has the highest O/U game total of this Holiday slate (235 points) and Green is producing 35.54 DK PPG when the total has been over 230 points this year. He is simply underpriced for being back to full health and Green is one of the better ways to gain exposure to this high scoring tilt.
SF/PF: P.J. Tucker: (4,300)
Tucker has been outstanding as of late. He has scored at least 22 DK points in five straight and is averaging 29 DK PPG during this span. Tucker has cracked double digit real points in four of his last five and has logged very high minutes in his last six. (36.1 MPG)
As I said above, this Houston and OKC matchup presents the tightest spread of the five Christmas day games, which should keep Tucker in a 35+ minute role. The matchup isn’t ideal (OKC is 1st in defensive efficiency), but just based off playing time, Tucker should be able to grind out 25+ DK points.
PG: Russell Westbrook: (10,300)
Like all of the studs in this slate, Westbrook has seen big price drop. (-$700) He is averaging 56.5 DK PPG in his last six and is scoring 64.8 DK PPG in the last 18 games he has gone against James Harden and The Rockets. All of the players priced over $10,000 are strong values, but I think the ceilings Westbrook and Harden have in the most competitive environment of the day, make them the best targets.
SF/PF: Paul George: (9,700)
PG13 has been looking like an MVP candidate (69.42 DK PPG in L3) and this is a solid spot, with The Rockets being the 9th worst defense in the league. But, no matter the matchup, George can’t be stopped right now, and we should see another 50+ DK point showing from him.
SF/PF: Kevin Durant: (9,300)
Durant is scoring 63.3 DK PPG in his last two and he is clearly too cheap for being on his home floor (51.9 DK PPG in GSW), while also seeing a pace increase. (51.4 DK PPG when seeing a pace bump this season)
PG: Damian Lillard: (7,800)
This is a massive $900 drop for Lillard, resulting him being priced at a season low $7,800. He is scoring 46.9 DK PPG in his last four and should have no issues returning five times value.
C: Rudy Gobert: (7,200)
Gobert is scoring 40.3 DK PPG in his last four and barring foul trouble, he should score 35+ DK points in this spot vs The Blazers.
C: Steven Adams: (6,700)
This is a plus matchup for centers (HOU is a 2.25 opponent +/-) and Adams already has a 40.5 DK point outing vs The Rockets this season.
C: Jusuf Nurkic: (6,100)
Nurkic has scored over 35 DK points in four of his last five, including a 35.5 DK point game vs The Jazz, this past Friday.
SG/SF: Eric Gordon: (5,800)
Gordon has been great without Paul this season. (35 DK PPG) The matchup is tough, but Gordon should score 30+ DK points.
C: Ivica Zubac: (4,400)
Big Z, as Magic Johnson likes to call him, has been a fantasy gem in these last two (35.9 DK PPG) with The Javale McGee (illness) out. McGee is listed as questionable and if he was unable to play again, Zubac would be an exceptional value target once again. UPDATE: McGee has been ruled out and Zubac should start for the third straight game. He is a very strong value play for all formats. He is scoring 1.06 DK PPM and averaging 26.8 DK PPG in the last five he has logged at least 20 minutes.
SF/PF: Al-Farouq Aminu: (3,900)
This is the cheapest Aminu has been all season. He has been shaky in his last three (14.42 DK PPG), but compared to his season average (23.1 DK PPG), this is just way too soft of a price.
*Please note some of these stats are from FantasyLabs.com