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DraftKings Preview: Best Value Plays 12/30

Cody Taylor gives his top value plays on DraftKings for tonight’s slate of games.

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Each Wednesday, we’re helping you set your DraftKings lineups. The idea behind these articles is to highlight some cheap players that figure to perform well given their upcoming matchup. With 10 games set to tip off tonight, you’ll have plenty of options when building your rosters.

Having these lower-priced players on your squad will help you go after the top guys like Stephen Curry, Paul George, John Wall and others. These players listed below will all 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 $3.65 to play and it has a $25,000 first-place prize. Here are six cheap players to keep an eye on tonight:

PG: Ish Smith, Philadelphia 76ers – $5,600

After having a very successful opening month of the season for New Orleans, Smith was moved to the bench once the Pelicans’ started getting players back from injury. After averaging 12.4 points, 8.4 assists and 4.5 rebounds in November, Smith’s production fell to just 6.1 points, 2.7 assists and 2.2 rebounds per game in December. He eventually fell out of the rotation, and was subsequently dealt to Philadelphia.

Since arriving to the 76ers, Smith has already earned two starts and is averaging 18 points, eight assists, 2.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals. He’s coming off of a 22-point, 11-assist, three-rebound and two-steal performance on Monday against the Utah Jazz, which was good for 45.3 fantasy points. It’s highly likely that Smith’s value will continue to rise as he plays more for Philadelphia, so jump on him while he’s still relatively cheap.

Honorable Mention: Tony Parker – $5,000

SG: Monta Ellis, Indiana Pacers – $5,700

Ellis has been extremely hot over the past week or so. He’s turned in three-straight outings with at least 33 fantasy points and is averaging 23 points over that stretch. He’s shooting 54 percent from the field in those three games and 42 percent from three-point range.

Ellis has always been a player known to shoot at will, which is always good news for fantasy owners. In this case, it’s great that he’s averaging 16 attempts in the past week and that he’s knocking down a good percentage of those shots. It’s highly recommended to ride with Ellis until he cools off.

Honorable Mention: J.J. Redick – $5,200

SF: Evan Fournier, Orlando Magic – $5,500

Fournier should be back on your DraftKings radar after going through a slump earlier this month. During a seven-game stretch at the beginning of December, Fournier averaged just seven points per game on 31 percent shooting from the field. Since that stretch, he’s turned in five consecutive outings with at least 26.8 fantasy points.

Fournier is playing with the same confidence we saw from him earlier this season when he was averaging around 17 points per game. He’s shooting much better, and has become extremely clutch for the Magic in big-time moments this season. Orlando is squaring off against a Brooklyn Nets team that ranks 25th in defense, so look for Fournier to continue his hot streak.

Honorable Mention: DeMarre Carroll – $5,100

PF: Nerlens Noel, Philadelphia 76ers – $5,900

Noel has been extremely productive over the past two games for the Sixers with Jahlil Okafor out of the lineup with a sore knee. With Okafor out of the lineup, Noel put up 39 and 37.3 fantasy points, respectively.

Noel had shown signs of inconsistent play over the course of the first month of the season, but seems to have figured things out a little bit. He’s turned in only one performance below 20 fantasy points and has averaged 28 fantasy points per game during the rest of December’s games. Okafor is being listed as questionable for tonight’s game, but Noel should still be worth a spot in your lineup even if Okafor does play.

Honorable Mention: Taj Gibson – $5,500

C: Zaza Pachulia, Dallas Mavericks – $5,600

Pachulia has been perhaps one of our favorite players to go with. He’s a guy that will contribute a solid 28 points or so to your lineup, and he’s shown that he’s capable of putting together a couple of 30+ point performances as well.

He’s playing pretty well as of late, as he’s turned in back-to-back 34 fantasy point outings. Pachulia is tied for fifth in the league in double-doubles, and is a prime candidate to earn those bonus points DraftKings hands out for double-doubles. There are only a few top options available tonight at center, so Pachulia could be a guy to target if you don’t want to overpay for a player like Pau Gasol or DeAndre Jordan.

Honorable Mention: Mason Plumlee – $5,400

UTIL: Chandler Parsons, Dallas Mavericks – $5,600

After undergoing surgery over the offseason, it seems as though Parsons is as healthy as he’s been in quite some time. His minutes were fairly limited over the course of the first month or so, but it seems like he’s getting the green light to play more as he’s averaging 35 minutes over his last three games. It’s no coincidence that he’s averaging 33 fantasy points over that stretch.

Head coach Rick Carlisle recently moved Parsons back to the starting lineup, so that should be another great sign for fantasy owners. He’s another player whose price tag will likely rise the more he plays, so take advantage while you can.

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

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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:

$500K Year End Special: This is a HUGE contest with $500,000 in prizes up for grabs, including $100,000 to the top team. The top 300 teams will win enormous cash prizes, so it costs $365 to enter.

$400K Mini Year End Special: This is a contest with $400,000 in total prizes, including a $25,000 first-place prize. It costs $3.65 to enter and the top 28,500 teams win a cash prize.

$300K Medium Year End Special: This is a contest with $300,000 in total prizes, including a $30,000 first-place prize. It costs $36.50 to enter and the prizes are larger than most DraftKings contests.

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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