As usual, we have some good teams playing on Christmas Day, but we also have some very good defensive teams playing this year. Take a look at the defensive efficiency rankings for the ten teams on this slate:
Milwaukee – 1st Toronto – 2nd Boston – 3rd Denver – 4th LA Lakers – 5th Philadelphia – 7th LA Clippers – 8th Houston – 16th Golden State – 22nd New Orleans – 24th
Seven of the top eight teams in defensive efficiency are among the ten teams playing on Christmas Day. In addition, a lot of these teams are star-laden, so there is a dearth of obvious value that we can feel comfortable with. There also aren’t a lot of injury situations that we will be able to take advantage of. The combination of all these factors will make it a bit of a challenge to build secure cash game DFS rosters.
UPDATE – Beverley, James, and Davis are all expected to play. It does not seem like we are waiting on a lot of slate changing injuries.
1) Russell Westbrook, Houston Rockets
FanDuel: $9,600, PG DraftKings: $8,900, PG Yahoo: $40, PG FantasyDraft: $16,200, G
If you need some background on why I am listing Westbrook here as opposed to Harden or Antetokounmpo, be sure to read the slate thoughts above. The salary savings with Westbrook provides a huge benefit. I’m very keen on starting lineup builds with someone from the Rockets, as they have one of the only favorable team matchups on this slate against a Golden State team that ranks well below average in most defensive metrics. They also rank 28th in our defense vs. archetype tool against combo guards. That makes this a fantastic spot for Harden and Westbrook to produce, and I’ll take the savings with Westbrook on this slate.
2) Montrezl Harrell, Los Angeles Clippers
FanDuel: $5,500, C DraftKings: $5,500, PF/C Yahoo: $24, C FantasyDraft: $10,700, F/C
I had to do a double take when I saw these price tags on Montrezl Harrell. I know this is a tough matchup against a very good Lakers team that is solid on the interior, but the matchup is most definitely priced in to Harrell’s DFS tags. He sits at a cheap $5,500 on both FanDuel and DraftKings, and that should be one of the first tags that catches your eye on this slate.
It feels like Harrell is getting completely ignored in the media these days given the presence of both Paul George and Kawhi Leonard on this team. That is easy to do, especially since Harrell does not start. However, he is still one of the leaders of this team in their second unit.