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Fantasy Basketball Value Picks: Top DraftKings NBA DFS Bargain Plays for December 22

Garion Thorne breaks down his top DraftKings value plays for Friday’s NBA slate.

Utah Jazz v Dallas Mavericks Photo by Sam Hodde/Getty Images

You know that saying about how the NBA doesn’t really start till Christmas? Well, we’re getting pretty close to the NBA starting. Still, for a league that isn’t underway, there sure are a lot of games taking place on Friday evening — six to be exact.

Let’s sort through and find some values.

Set your DraftKings fantasy basketball lineups here: NBA $300K Fadeaway [$100K to 1st]

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PG/SG Jaden Hardy, Dallas Mavericks at Houston Rockets, $4,300

This isn’t a sneaky play by any means. In fact, there’s a reasonable chance that Hardy ends up as this slate’s highest-owned asset. Well, Hardy or Tim Hardaway Jr. ($6,100). Just take a quick peek at the Mavericks’ lengthy injury report to figure out why that is. Luka Doncic (quad), Kyrie Irving (heel) and Dante Exum (leg) have all already been ruled out, leaving a massive void in Dallas’ backcourt. Doncic alone is averaging a team-high 32.7 points per game with a 35.3% usage rate. That’s a lot to account for. Hardy’s logged 187 possessions with both Doncic and Irving off the court in 2023-24. In that opportunity, the former second-round pick is producing 1.32 DKFP per minute with a gargantuan 31.0% usage rate. Derrick Jones Jr. ($5,300) and Seth Curry ($3,700) are also viable, but Hardy possesses the best combination of ceiling and price tag.

PG/SG Josh Richardson, Miami Heat vs. Atlanta Hawks, $4,500

I’m not sure what’s going on with Richardson’s salary, but I’ll take it. Allow me to go back to Wednesday. With Jimmy Butler (calf) sidelined, Richardson logged 33.5 minutes for the Heat in their win against the Magic. The veteran wing hit four threes, dished out four assists and finished with 26.5 DKFP. Richardson’s season-high in DKFP? 35.75 against Milwaukee on November 28 — a game where Butler was also not available. You might see where I’m going with this. Butler has been ruled out on Friday in a matchup with the Hawks, yet somehow Richardson’s price tag has dropped $700 in the last 48 hours. It doesn’t make sense, especially with an opponent as uptempo as Atlanta. The Hawks sit fifth in pace for the season as a whole (102.4). In December, they’re surrendering 123.3 points per 100 possessions. Miami is going to be able to put the ball in the hoop.

PF/C Trayce Jackson-Davis, Golden State Warriors vs. Washington Wizards, $4,600

Are there safer assets on the Warriors’ roster? Sure. Jonathan Kuminga ($5,600) looks pretty appealing in the mid-tier, just to single out one specific player. However, after back-to-back games with at least 30.0 DKFP, Jackson-Davis is starting to create a reputation for himself. The rookie has taken advantage of the opportunity opened up by Draymond Green’s indefinite suspension, outplaying both Kevon Looney ($4,800) and Dario Saric ($4,700) in recent contests. The result? How about a career-high in minutes (28.3) and rebounds (13) in Golden State’s upset victory over the Celtics on Tuesday? The Wizards are conceding the most DKFP per game to opposing centers so far this season. On Friday, Washington will also be on the second night of a back-to-back. Look for Jackson-Davis to dominate the glass.

Set your DraftKings fantasy basketball lineups here: NBA $300K Fadeaway [$100K to 1st]

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theglt13) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.