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I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas and is ready for a full slate of NBA action tonight! We have 8 game on tap this evening and it looks like most of them should be fairly close. There isn't a single game with a line over 210 at the moment, although a couple are offline at the time of me writing this, and for once it looks like we aren't inundated with injuries. We will need to keep an eye on the status of players going on in the Miami and Orlando game but other than that it should be fairly quiet. There is only one superstar on tonight's slate, which means we will see some interesting lineup construction options as we go through things. There is a lot of apparent value out there, so going a balanced route is a great tournament option.

Andre Drummond, C, Detroit Pistons

Projected Minutes

Team Total

DvP

FPPG Allowed

Usage Rate

DK Projection

FD Projection

31 104.75 29 54.5 21.42 39.99 40.61

DK Salary: $9,300 / FD Salary: $9,300

It has been a disappointing stretch of games for anyone that is an Andre Drummond truther, like myself, but that should end tonight as Drummond and the Pistons take on the Indiana Pacers. Over his last four games, Drummond has been a roller coaster, putting up 49.75 against this same Pacers team, then 28.5, 31.25, and then another solid 44.75-point outing against the Knicks. This will be the fourth and final time that we can use Drummond against the Pacers, and he is averaging 47.3 fantasy points per game against them in the previous three outings. Drummond leads the NBA in post touches per game, 11.2, he is eighth in the NBA in paint points at 10.9, and he also leads the NBA with 23.4 rebound chances per game, and as we will soon find out, those are three areas where the Pacers struggle this season.

The Pacers are giving up the 2nd most fantasy points per game to opposing centers, 54.5, and rank 28th in the NBA in defensive efficiency to centers, giving up 22.9 points and 14.8 rebounds to the position. They give up 43 rebounds per game, which is shockingly the same amount as the Pistons, but they are giving up 13.4 second-chance points and 46.8 points in the paint per game. Opponents are shooting 65.1 percent at the rim against them on the season and 34 percent of opponent's attempts are coming at the rim. This is such an amazing spot for Drummond, and a good spot for Tobias Harris, as well, and I have a feeling people will be afraid of paying up for him here.

Marc Gasol, C, Memphis Grizzlies

Projected Minutes

Team Total

DvP

FPPG Allowed

Usage Rate

DK Projection

FD Projection

35

109.5

22

50.3

27.09

40.44

40.11

DK Salary: $8,700 / FD Salary: $8,600

As I mentioned above, there is only one star on tonight's slate so we have to adjust our strategy a little bit when it comes to lineup construction. Sometimes, especially on slates like tonight, we have to consider taking guys who have the ability to put up the most raw fantasy points and sometimes have to overlook a player's potential value. Gasol is priced up after several solid outings, and returning value on his price will be tough, but Gasol has 45-50 fantasy point upside in this matchup and that could end up being one of the highest scores on the night. Gasol has 40 or more fantasy points in four consecutive games, including one over 50 fantasy points, and put up 41 fantasy points against these Suns two games ago. Gasol shot only 31.6 percent in that matchup, well below his 41.7 percent season average, which leads me to think he can outperform the 41 fantasy points he put up against them already. Gasol's 27.09 percent usage rate is appealing in this spot, and he averages 15.4 rebounds chances and 6.7 points in the paint per game.

The Suns are obviously an appealing matchup for every position but they are especially appealing for big men like Gasol who can not only post up but can also stretch the floor and hit from beyond-the-arc. They are giving up 48.5 points in the paint, 46 rebounds, 14.5 second-chance points, and 113.3 points per game to opponents. They rank 22nd in the NBA in fantasy points allowed to centers, surrendering 50.3 fantasy points per game, and they have allowed opposing centers to shoot 41.7 percent from three over the last 10 games. Gasol has at least 15 field goal attempts in five of his last six games and has attempted five or more threes in four of those six contests. He should demolish the Suns down low tonight and building around Drummond and Gasol on DraftKings, or picking one of the two bigs on FanDuel, is an excellent strategy.

Kyle Lowry, PG, Toronto Raptors

Projected Minutes

Team Total

DvP

FPPG Allowed

Usage Rate

DK Projection

FD Projection

35

-

14

47.5

21.05

38.5

37.10

DK Salary: $5,600 / FD Salary: $5,700

Tonight's matchup between the Mavericks and Raptors has all the makings of a slower-paced, slug-fest, but that doesn't mean we won't get some fantasy goodness out of it. Normally, we target big men against the Mavericks but with Jonas Valanciunas' playing time being unpredictable, I am setting my sights on the backcourt and Kyle Lowry. Lowry's up and down season is going to keep his ownership suppressed tonight, as game log watchers are going to see two duds over his last four games, and a total of four games in the mid-20s over his last 10 games. That being said, we have seen him flash triple-double upside, as he recently posted one against the Nets, and he has notched at least 40 fantasy points in five of his last 10 games. Lowry's struggles have stemmed, at times, from poor shooting, as he is connecting on only 43 percent of his attempts, but 39 percent of his threes, this season. His rebounding and assists numbers are at career-highs, so he has at least been helping himself there.

A cursory glance at the DVP numbers and it looks like the Mavericks are fairly solid at limiting opposing point guards but that number is rather deceiving. Dallas is coming off a stretch of games where they faced either backup point guards or had to face guards who weren't classified as point guards, but they still rank in the bottom-10 of the NBA in defensive efficiency to point guards on the season. Over their last five games, which aligns with the return of Dennis Smith Jr., the Mavericks rank 27th in defensive efficiency to the position and have allowed 26.4 points, 6.2 rebounds, and eight assists. In addition to those numbers, the most surprising part is that opposing point guards are shooting 57 percent from the floor and 46.2 percent from beyond-the-arc against them. This is a great spot for Lowry to get back on track tonight.

Buddy Hield, SG/SF, Sacramento Kings

Projected Minutes

Team Total

DvP

FPPG Allowed

Usage Rate

DK Projection

FD Projection

28

100.75

30

46.68

26.33

26.60

25.48

DK Salary: $4,700 / FD Salary: $5,100

I always get excited when I get to talk about Buddy Hield because he is someone that most people absolutely hate to target, which makes him one of my favorite GPP players. Yes, Buddy can be frustrating at times, but when he starts to get hot you have to ride the train until the wheels fall off. Well, I am here to tell you that Buddy is heating up and this is a train we want to be riding, especially facing the Clippers tonight. Hield is coming off a game where he torched the Spurs with 24 points, 8 rebounds, an assist and a block in 32 minutes, marking his second outing over the last three games in which he scored 24 points. He has now scored in double figures in eight of his last 10 games and has eclipsed 30 fantasy points in five of those games. Buddy gets the added benefit of not having De'Aaron Fox on the floor for an extended period of time, and he sports a 29.2 percent usage rate when Fox is off the floor. He has double-digit field goal attempts in seven of the last 10 games and, overall, has been thriving in his bench role this season.

Because the Clippers have been decimated by injuries this season, their defense has taken a turn for the worse, and they are allowing opponents to score, on average, 105 points per game against them. They rank 30th in the NBA in fantasy points allowed to shooting guards and have allowed 46.68 fantasy points per game to the position, and they 24th in the NBA in defensive efficiency to shooting guards. They have allowed 23.3 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 4.5 assists to the position on the season, and opposing shooting guards have shot 43 percent from the floor and 38.4 percent from beyond-the-arc against them. Spot-up shooters have absolutely torched them this season and they are allowing a massive 1.06 points per spot-up possession with a 55.8 percent effective field-goal rate. Hield, as expected, is one of the top spot-up shooters in the NBA and is spotting up on nearly 20 percent of his possessions this season. He ranks in the 82nd percentile among all players in spot-up efficiency and is connecting on 60.4 percent of his attempts this season. Hield went off against the Clippers the last time these teams faced off, as he shot 10-for-18 on his way to 27 points, and he could do that again tonight. George Hill, interestingly enough, is also an excellent spot-up shooter this season and could take advantage of them here, as well.

Milos Teodosic, PG/SG, Los Angeles Clippers

Projected Minutes

Team Total

DvP

FPPG Allowed

Usage Rate

DK Projection

FD Projection

31

105.75

12

44.4

20.24

28.83

28.21

DK Salary: $4,600 / FD Salary: $5,900

It has been tough for Milos to stay on the court as of late, as the Clippers continue to rest him off and on, but he has managed to stay fairly productive since returning from injury, when given the chance to. He has seen his minutes steadily increase and finally eclipsed 30 minutes on Friday against the Grizzlies. He predictably had a bad outing against them, but prior to that game, he had been over 24 fantasy points in three of the six games he played in since returning. He has been contributing in multiple categories, notching double-digit points in two of those six games and at least five assists or rebounds in five of those six games, and is in a prime spot against the Kings tonight.

While the Kings do rank around league average in fantasy points allowed to point guards, they do rank 19th in defensive efficiency to the position. They have allowed point guards to rack up 22.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 9 assists against them. Point guards have also connected on 45.5 percent of their field-goal attempts against them, including 37 percent from three-point range. The 9 assists allowed per game is the eighth most per game, and the 45.5 percent opponent field-goal percentage ranks the seventh highest in the NBA. They are giving up .95 points per possession to the pick-and-roll ball handler, and while Teodosic isn't extremely efficient in the pick-and-roll, he is operating as the ball handler on 44,2 percent of his possessions this season. I expect that once he starts seeing more playtime, his efficiency will increase, and that could start tonight. In addition to Teodosic being a great GPP play, Lou Williams, Austin Rivers, and DeAndre Jordan are all top options against the Kings.



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