I hope everyone is having a nice Christmas with their families and stayed off Santa’s naughty list.  It wouldn’t be Christmas without the NBA.  We have a nice five game slate and since I am pressed for time let’s get on with it.

New Orleans Pelicans (8-19) at Miami Heat (16-11)  Spread: Mia  -6 O/U 200

Chicago Bulls (15-11) at Oklahoma City Thunder (19-9)   Spread: OKC -8 O/U 206

Cleveland Cavaliers (18-7) at Golden St. Warriors (26-1)  Spread: GSW -8 O/U 212

San Antonio Spurs (24-50) at Houston Rockets (15 -14)  Spread: SAS -8 O/U 204

L.A. Clippers (16-13) at L.A. Lakers (5-23)   Spread: LAC -11 O/U 207 ½

 

Point Guard

Steph Curry (10,700) and Russell Westbrook (10,400) are the top options at PG.  If I had to pick between the two studs I would choose Steph Curry.  It’s really hard to fit either one of these players in cash games due to the fact that there are so many salary relief options on the day.

Chris Paul (8,600) started the season slow which drove his salary down.  Now he is back to the same level we are accustomed too.  CP3 is averaging 48.2 DK points in his last 5 games.  He gets a Laker team that ranks 30th and gives up the most assists to PG’s.  He should be a staple in your cash game lineup.

If you want to save some salary at PG then take a look at Tony Parker (5,100).  He gets a paced up game and a closer point spread than normal.  This could lead to a few more minutes for Parker.

 

Shooting Guard

James Harden (10,400) is normally a plug and play.  But against the Spurs he isn’t.  San Antonio is the best defensive team in the league and ranked #1 vs. SG’s on the year.  On a day with so many high priced stud players, I would play it safe and spend elsewhere.  

Dwyane Wade (6,900) One thing I don’t hear around the industry is Wade’s home/road splits.  He averages 3.8 pts, 1 assist, and FT% is a tenth higher at home than on the road.  Which translates to 5 more DK points at home.  Now add the fact he gets a horrible Pelicans defense, playing up in pace and a team total of 103 which is 6.4 more than their average on the year.

Kobe Bryant (6,400) doesn’t have a tough matchup by the numbers.  If you look at his stats you’re probably going to say “why the hell am I recommending him”?   The eye test says he is just playing better right now than earlier in the season.  Also, it’s his last Christmas Day game of his career.  I’m sure he wants to make it a good one.

 

Small Forward

LeBron James and Kevin Durant are the top options at SF and both are (10,000).   Both rate about the same as far as floor and ceiling in the projections I use at Fantasy Labs.   LBJ does get to play up in pace and should have revenge in his eyes.  KD did have 33-6-5 vs. the Bulls earlier this year.  So both are excellent options but tough to fit both in with the lack of value.

Kawhi Leonard (8,400) doesn’t have as high of a ceiling as the top options, but carries a high floor and saves you 1,600 in salary.  Leonard gets a awesome matchup vs. a Houston team that has a DVP of 28 vs. SF’s.  With the Spurs on such a roll it hurts the value of their players.  I expect a closer game with the Spurs on the road which should increase Leonard’s minutes.

 

Power Forward

Anthony Davis (10,300) isn’t safe enough for me in cash games.  Yes he can go off at anytime but also be out of the game with some lame ass excuse just as fast.  I like Blake Griffin (9,000) in a plus matchup vs. the Lakers if you’re spending up.  

LaMarcus Aldridge (6,900) has the best matchup on paper.  Houston has a DVP of 30th against PF’s on the season.  

Taj Gibson (4,400) should draw the start and get more run with Joakim Noah out.  It’s a tough matchup against OKC which has the top rebounding rate in the league.  The other issue that is concerning for the Bulls is Nikola Mirotic SF because he won’t be able to guard Kevin Durant.  With that said you’re going to have to take a cheap guy somewhere.

 

Center

What do you –  Hassan Whiteside (7,100) got to play 30 or more minutes in the last four games and his production sure reflected that.  Now he gets a Pelicans team that ranks 29th DEF and tied for 24th in REBR.  Also, Whiteside averages 4 blocks per game.

DeAndre Jordan (6,700) shouldn’t have a hard time hitting his cash game value of 33 DK points.  He is a little undervalued because I think his floor/ceiling is higher with such a good matchup.

My guess is Andrew Bogut (4,000) will be needed more than usual to match up against physical frontcourt of the Cavs.  Last game he played 27 minutes and don’t really think he plays much more than that.  If he gets the same run as last game he should be able to reach the double/double bonus on DK.

 
Don’t forget to check twitter for any late scratches and player news.  As always you can catch me on twitter @realdaddybigs or leave a comment below. Good luck this weekend in your games.