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DraftKings Preview: Best Value Plays 12/23

Cody Taylor lists his top value players of the day to help you fill out your DraftKings lineup.

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With a day off tomorrow ahead of the Christmas holiday, most teams will be in action this evening. There are 13 games on the schedule tonight, leaving you with plenty of options to choose from when building your DraftKings lineups.

Each Wednesday, we’re helping you pick out some of the cheaper options that are poised to perform well. Odds are, you’ll want players like Steph Curry, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant in your lineup, so you’ll need some of these lower-priced players so you can afford those top names. These weekly articles are designed to highlight those players who will cost you less than $6,000.

If you haven’t done so already, be sure to enter our DraftKings league before 7 p.m. ET tonight. It is $3 (or free for new users) and it has a $30,000 first-place prize. Here are six cheap plays to keep an eye on tonight:

PG: Jrue Holiday, New Orleans Pelicans – $5,600

Holiday should be considered a must-start tonight. As we previously mentioned, you’ll likely want to have Steph Curry in your lineup somewhere, but it’s strongly advised that you find a place for Holiday. If you took our advice last week, Holiday came through big for you. He was priced at just $4,700 last Wednesday and contributed 31.8 fantasy points after recording 15 points, four assists, three rebounds, two steals and a block against the Utah Jazz.

Tonight, Holiday matches up against a Portland Trail Blazers team without starting point guard Damian Lillard. Holiday and the Pelicans just played the Blazers last Monday and Holiday put up 34.8 fantasy points with Lillard in the lineup. So without Lillard, Holiday should be in for a good night. Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry has lifted the minutes restriction on Holiday and has cleared him to play in back-to-back games. Given his increase in minutes, Holiday’s price will continue to rise in DraftKings, so jump on him now while his price is still low.

SG: Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks – $5,900

Middleton could be an option for you tonight with so few shooting guards playing. He’s performed very well as of late, and is coming off of a 26-point outing against the Phoenix Suns on Sunday. He’s posted at least 20 fantasy points in each of his last eight games and has three performances with at least 30 fantasy points during that stretch.

Middleton ranks inside the top 20 in the league in minutes played, which means he’ll have plenty of chances to do damage. He’s also a player who will do a little bit of everything and can rack up fantasy points in a variety of ways. Back on Dec. 12 against the Golden State Warriors, Middleton finished 3-of-12 from the field for just seven points, but added six rebounds, five assists, two steals and a block to salvage 27.5 fantasy points. He’s proven that he can still be a viable option even when his shooting is off.

Honorable Mention: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope – $5,400

SF: Kent Bazemore, Atlanta Hawks – $5,700

Bazemore is quietly putting together a solid campaign this season for the Hawks, and could be a dark horse candidate for Most Improved Player. On the season, he’s averaged 25.4 fantasy points per game and is also another player who can fill up the stat sheet. He’s averaging 12.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.4 steals per game.

Since returning from an ankle injury on Nov. 27, Bazemore has posted less than 20 fantasy points just three times. He’s been very consistent over his last five outings, posting at least 22.8 fantasy points in each game, which includes a 41.8 fantasy point performance last Monday against the Miami HEAT. Bazemore could be a viable small forward option if you don’t want to overspend on some of the top small forwards like Kevin Durant, LeBron James or Paul George.

Honorable Mention: Evan Fournier – $4,700

PF: Ryan Anderson, New Orleans Pelicans – $5,900

We’ve leaned on Ryan Anderson heavily this season, and he has usually come through for us. It was likely the two games he missed earlier this month with a stomach bug that dropped his price tag below $6,000, but Anderson should be somebody you consider.

On the season, he’s averaging just under 30 fantasy points per game. He’s shooting 38 percent from three-point range and considering that he can get hot from deep, he’s a prime candidate to earn those bonus points DraftKings hands out for three-pointers. He has a great matchup tonight against the Blazers as they currently rank 27th against opposing power forwards.

Honorable Mention: Marvin Williams – $5,700

C: Mason Plumlee, Portland Trail Blazers – $5,200

Plumlee has been playing some of his best basketball of the season over the course of his last five games. Plumlee has turned in three outings with at least 30 fantasy points and is averaging 29.8 fantasy points over this five-game stretch. He’s coming off of a 37-fantasy point performance on Monday against the Hawks after recording 11 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, one block and one steal.

DraftKings rewards bonus points for double-doubles, and Plumlee has three double-doubles during this stretch as well. On the season, he’s tied for 25th with nine double-doubles. Plumlee also faces a favorable matchup tonight as the Pelicans rank 27th against opposing centers.

Honorable Mention: Zaza Pachulia – $5,700

UTIL: Jameer Nelson, Denver Nuggets – $5,600

Nelson managed nearly 20 fantasy points last night against the Los Angeles Lakers after struggling from the field – knocking down only 2-of-9 shots. But prior to that outing, Nelson had strung together six-straight games with at least 23 fantasy points. Nelson has proved to be a reliable fantasy option in place of the injured Emmanuel Mudiay. He had been shooting well before last night’s outing: 47 percent from the field and 45 percent from three-point range during that six-game stretch. As a starter, he’s averaging 11 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game.

If you are taking our advice tonight, let me know how your team did by reaching out to me on Twitter, @CodyTaylorNBA.


We encourage you to give these players a look as you build your starting lineups for tonight. Here are three contests you can enter now:

300K Sharpshooter: This league is $3 (or free for new users) and it has $300,000 in total prizes, including a $30,000 first-place prize. Over 23,000 teams will win a cash prize.

Giant $5 Double Up: Finish in the top half of the field and you’ll double their $5 entry to win a $10 prize. There aren’t any big prizes in a double up contest, but it’s a great way to earn smaller chunks of money.

350K Wednesday Shootaround: This is a $20 league that has $350,000 in prizes (including a $50,000 first-place prize). Over 4,000 teams will be paid, and the prizes are large.

Cody Taylor is an NBA writer in his fourth season with Basketball Insiders, covering the NBA and NCAA out of Orlando and Miami.

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