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The NBA tradition continues as we have a great five game slate on Christmas Day, thankfully without the Knicks for once! It is LOADED with star power as the NBA are no fools when they create the schedule. Luka Doncic, LeBron James, Jayson Tatum, Steph Curry, Nikola Jokic…the list goes on and on. We’re going to go through each position and figure out who we’re locking into our cash games in the NBA Cash Game Breakdown 12/25!
Luka Doncic ($10,700 DK/$11,300 FD) – Luka is the perfect fit for the floor that I talked about. He shot poorly from the floor to start in the first game of the season. At one point, he was 2-9 and finished just 11-26. Still, he scored right about 50 DK points and still rocked a 40.7% usage rate. He might be a hair tougher to fit since we’re lacking a ton of value, but there’s no doubt of the extremely high floor Luka has without Kristaps Porzingis in the lineup.
Kyrie Irving ($8,900 DK/$8,900 FD) – Whew, did Kyrie look phenomenal in game one. It’s not just the hot shooting, he looked like he was engaged and at full strength. We get the narrative of heading back to Boston and there’s no fans to heckle him, which honestly helps in my eyes. Irving has a 24.7% usage rate and a 1.52 FPPM in the first game, which will more than pay the bills in this spot. I lean Kyrie>Luka just because of the price difference. Kyrie getting you 45-50 will be more valuable than 65-70 from Luka with the $2,000 spread out across the lineup.
Jrue Holiday ($7,500 DK/$7,000 FD) – The Milwaukee Bucks have sacrificed depth for star power and the first game might show a pattern. All of Holiday, Giannis and Khris Middleton played at least 36 minutes and Holiday played 38. Minutes equals production when we’re talking players of Holiday’s caliber. The blowout concern is real, but if the Bucks are up big Holiday will help them get there. He had a 22.8% usage rate in the first game and that’s plenty with so many minutes.
Jeff Teague ($4,200 DK/$5,800 FD) – The biggest lock on the slate for DK is none other than Teauge since he has an actual role. In playing 25 minutes off the bench, Teague went nuts for 19 points and kicked in three boards and four dimes. For those of you new to NBA, being the leader off the bench is a lot of times better than being the fifth starter. Teague had a 27.1% usage rate, second to only Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown in game one. He gets a pace up spot and should shine once again. If he doesn’t he’s likely to be the highest-owned player in cash so it won’t kill you.
Honorable Mention – Steph Curry – He’s much easier to fit on FD and I do worry he doesn’t see enough minutes to pay off the DK price. However, the Bucks have yielded three-point attempts at the highest rate in the league going back to last year. They gave up 40 in the first game. If they let Steph shoot, we know what will eventually happen.
Paul George ($8,700 DK/$7,600 FD) – I greatly prefer PG13 on FD, where I have to have two shooting guards. George went bonkers for 33 points on Wednesday with a 28% usage rate. It’s not the best game to target overall, but he wouldn’t kill you on FD even if his real points go back to around 24.
Khris Middleton ($7,400 DK/$7,400 FD) – This is pretty much a copy and paste from Holiday. Middleton will be tasked with big minutes if the game stays close and he should be asked to elevate his game. If the Bucks continue to log big minutes, even players not named Giannis have a higher floor than in year’s past. His 1.56 FPPM was almost identical to Greek for at least one night, though he was red-hot from the floor.
Eric Bledsoe ($5,600 DK/$5,600 FD) – This is a play that I like better on DK since he’s the bigger bargain. Bledsoe can be a little frustrating at some points, but he looked right at home with the Pelicans in his debut. He played 34 minutes, scored 18 points and tacked on six assists. His FPPM wasn’t crazy high at 0.97 but the 21.7% usage rate would be fine in big minutes. He’s sharing the floor with Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson, and should be able to get some easier dimes on a nightly basis.
Dennis Schroder ($6,300 DK/$5,000) – Schroder had a ceiling game which has him a hair expensive on DK but an absolute lock on FD. His price didn’t move on that site, for whatever reason. Both LeBron and Anthony Davis scuffled Wednesday, and Schroeder picked up the slack and flirted with a triple-double. That’s not going to happen often but he’s the starting point guard with Bron and AD. He’s going to fall into production and be a scoring threat with or without them on the floor.
Donte DiVincenzo ($4,700 DK/$4,500 FD) – He played 28 minutes and is cheap, and should be carrying a little more of the load with the depth pillaged away for Milwaukee. The good news is if the game gets out of hand, it think he stays on the court longer than the big three. I’m not totally in love with him for cash, but if he’s the last man in I would get behind it if you love everything else.
*Note* Tyler Herro is only PG/SG on DK, and we’ll get to him in the SF portion since that’s how he’s listed on FD.
LeBron James ($10,000 DK/$11,000 FD) – It’s LeBron coming off an average game on Christmas Day against a team that is not great defensively. You don’t think he hears Luka is an MVP favorite in the preseason? LeBron will be looking to prove a point. Likely a little easier to fit on FD and a bit more needed with two SF to fill.
Jaylen Brown ($7,000 DK/$7,500 FD) – I’ll never tell you that you’re wrong if you go with Kawhi Leonard at this spot. However, Brown is $2,000 cheaper, in a pace up spot and is the sidekick to Tatum in Boston with Gordon Hayward in Charolette. Brown poured in 33 points in game one and had a 29.3% usage rate. Giddy up.
Brandon Ingram ($8,300 DK/$7,300 FD) – He’s easier to fit on FD but you can’t go wrong in either. Sure, you probably don’t get the near triple-double again but Ingram continues to improve by leaps and bounds. I think he’s still going to be the usage rate leader at the end of the year and the first game was 28.1%. If Jimmy Butler happens to sit, this matchup gets even juicier.
Caris LeVert – ($7,200 DK/$5,800 FD) – LeVert is a huge pricing difference and that means I probably can’t get there on DK. On FD however, he’s near a lock to my eyes. He ran off the bench all by himself with Kyrie or KD, which is a huge piece of information. I think they leave him alone on the second unit. For one, it helps the Nets as a team. They can rest both Kyrie and KD at the same time without sacrificing offensive capability. It also still elevates LeVert’s trade value if the Nets goes for a third star (not to diss LeVert). Either way, the 34.9% usage rate for LeVert is massively underpriced on FD.
Joe Harris ($5,300 DK/$4,300 FD) – This is about as low as I can go at the position and Harris did a little bit of everything. He chipped in 10 points, had seven rebounds and two assists. Ghost hit home on the point that with Kyrie and KD garnering all the defensive attention, Harris flies under the radar and is a sharpshooter. I don’t think you run both on Harris and LeVert, but you can use either or.
Tyler Herro ($5,600/$5,000 FD) – Herro is only a cash play if Butler is out. Fortunately, that’s the first game of the day and we’ll know what we need before the slate even gets going.
Giannis Antetokounmpo ($10,900 DK/$11,600 FD) – I’m more likely to get my Bucks exposure from other pieces, but there’s not really a safer bet to hit 50 fantasy points on any given slate than Greek.
Jayson Tatum ($9,300 DK/$9,800 FD) – He’s my favorite stud on the slate. The 40.4% usage rate is tantalizing to say the least, as is a 1.52 FPPM. That’s Luka-level usage and even if it drops a little bit, Tatum is underpriced. He’s in a run and gun spot and probably the most attractive game on the entire slate.
Kevin Durant ($9,800 DK/$8,500 FD) – Still massively underpriced on FD, Durant looked like he had never dealt with an injury in his life on Tuesday. He flirted with a 30% usage rate and scored a 1.64 FPPM. He’s just a smash play on FD and I’m not going to complain if you play him on DK.
Anthony Davis ($10,300 DK/$10,600 FD) – He deserves to be motioned, and you can play him for sure. However, just look at the PF position. We’re in love with KD and Tatum is my favorite. I can only play two, so AD won’t make the cut for me. I don’t think he plays that poorly again and who on the Dallas side could actually stop him?
Paul Millsap ($4,900 DK/$4,900 FD) – This is really DK-only but since we need value and don’t have a lot, we’ll take the minutes where we can. Even without the OT factored in, Millsap played over 30 minutes. When a player is under $5,000 we need to at least consider him.
Nikola Jokic ($10,100 DK/$9,700 FD) – Is there a better center than the Joker in the league? I don’t really think so when he’s engaged and he had a triple-double in the first game of the season. Denver rolls as Joker rolls, and he’s such an incredibly unique talent. The matchup is tougher than Wednesday with Serge Ibaka but it’s not enough to worry about. The 29.1% usage rate is what we chase and he’s a triple-double threat every time on the court.
Montrezl Harrell ($6,000 DK/$51,00 FD) – I don’t think he has the same type of game as he did the first night, but he’s coming in chalky. That’s fine for cash, even if we don’t think he replicates the results. I’m with Ghost that if AD is rolling, Trez likely won’t be doing a ton. I will say if the Lakers go 10 deep into the rotation, maybe that helps Trez a bit. He’s chalky and in cash that can be all that matters.
Ivaca Zubac ($5,300 DK/$4,700 FD) – Zubac played 26 minutes and scored 11/6/1. Nobody has ever accused Joker of being a lockdown defender and they really don’t have a true backup center in the traditional sense. Win Daily Poster Boy Mason Plumlee is in Detroit now. Zubac on the second unit approaching 30 minutes is more than enough to pay off.
Jayson Tatum/Jeff Teague/Eric Bledsoe/Kyrie Irving
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