Merry Christmas! The NBA celebrates the most wonderful time of the year by spreading out five games throughout the day. The first contest begins Monday at noon with the annual holiday tipoff in New York, and the slate ends in the opposite of the North Pole with a 10:30 p.m. ET game in the Phoenix desert. The major $750K contest on DraftKings features all five games with initial lock at 12 p.m. ET, but late swaps and pivots will be crucial on this slate with games starting every two hours on Christmas.
Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks at Phoenix Suns, $11,400 — This isn’t a Black Friday deal. Everything is more expensive the closer Christmas gets. Christmas is here and Doncic takes up most of the allotted salary at DraftKings. This gift is worth the price. This isn’t the hot toy. It’s the luxury car parked in the driveway on Christmas morning. Doncic scored 79 DKFP in 32 minutes on Saturday Dec. 23. That’s 2.5 Fantasy Points Per Minute. The rest of his game log is just as fantastic.
Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors at Denver Nuggets, $9,100 — Don’t worry about his game log. Steve Kerr was saving Curry’s 35-year-old legs for Christmas. The Warriors can make a statement in Denver. They’re not dead yet. Sure, they’re 10th in the West and barely above .500. That’s not good, but it’s not that bad. A 60-win team only receives an extra home game in each round of the playoffs. The punishment for barely making the playoffs is one fewer home game. The Warriors are alive and Curry is going to make the case on Christmas.
Brandin Podziemski, Golden State Warriors at Denver Nuggets, $5,300 — Podzilla has been mercurial. He doesn’t level cities every night. Since taking over a larger role with Draymond Green indefinitely suspended, Podz has scored over 25 DKFP in six of eight games with three games of 40 or more. He missed almost all of his 3-point attempts on Saturday, but he still scored 43 DKFP.
LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers vs. Boston Celtics, $10,000 — It’s not a fairy tale. Santa is real, and he is LeBron. Santa delivers gifts on Christmas Day and James delivers fantasy points. James holds the record for the most points (460) and assists (119) on Christmas Day. In his 17 holiday specials, he has tallied the second-most rebounds (130) and 3-pointers made (28).
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks at New York Knicks, $5,800 — The NBA Holiday Showcase always begins in The Garden. Every NBA player likes to turn up and show out in New York City. On Christmas Day, the stars take it to another level. Antetokounmpo scored 95.5 DKFP two weeks ago. Few on this slate can match his slate-breaking upside. And that says a lot because there is a ton of star power on this slate.
AJ Lawson, Dallas Mavericks at Phoenix Suns, $3,100 — No one wants to monitor lineups and injury reports on Christmas. Let the social media experts do it for you. Follow DK Network on X (formerly Twitter) @DKNetwork and get X-Mas lineup news on X. The important news is Kyrie Irving ($8,200). He’s missed the Mavericks’ last two games. Lawson inherited the available minutes and scored 18.5 DKFP on Friday Dec. 22. The next night, he scored 35.25 DKFP in 31 minutes (blowout win). Also, Lawson has guard and forward eligibility.
Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers at Miami Heat, $11,000 — A decision has to be made. When does that decision have to be made? That’s the real question. If NBA DFS players at DraftKings choose Nikola Jokic ($10,900), then their center position is locked in at 2:30 p.m. ET Christmas Day. If Embiid is the pick, DFS NBA contestants will have four and a half hours to tinker with $11,000 of salary. Besides, Embiid has been better lately. He’s scored 30 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in 13 consecutive games.
Isaiah Hartenstein, New York Knicks vs. Milwaukee Bucks, $5,800 — His minutes are stable. His production is stable. Hartenstein might lack upside, but he has a high floor that is safe and predictable. The Christmas Day opener is a rematch of Saturday’s afternoon special. Hartenstein played 33 minutes and scored 32.75 DKFP in that matinee. He has returned a value of 5x or more in seven of the last nine games.
Trayce Jackson-Davis, Golden State Warriors at Denver Nuggets, $5,300 — Will Steve Kerr be the Grinch? Triple Jack played 25 minutes on Dec. 19. He got 25 minutes of work on Dec. 22. On the second night of the back-to-back, TJD played four rotations but they were short — 17 minutes. In that limited work, he scored 24.75 DKFP. He scored over 33 DKFP in the three games prior. This has the makings of being the best gift ever or a straight lump of coal.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is greenflagradio2) 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.