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Fantasy Basketball Cheat Sheet: Top DraftKings NBA DFS Lineup Strategy for December 23

Julian Edlow gives his top lineup advice at each position for Wednesday’s fantasy basketball slate on DraftKings, which starts at 7:00 p.m. ET.

Tuesday’s two-game appetizer was nice, but now we get into the real slates. The other 26 teams get their season underway on Wednesday, which adds up to a 13-gamer. Here are some plays that jump out on DraftKings for this monster 13-game slate.

Set your DraftKings fantasy basketball lineups here: NBA $1M Fadeaway Special [$200K to 1st]

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Rockets-Thunder game scheduled for December 23 was officially postponed by the NBA and removed from Wednesday night’s DraftKings slate.

Big Trey Payday

Opt-in and if a player hits a 3-pointer in the last minute of the fourth quarter in tonight’s Milwaukee vs. Boston game or tonight’s Dallas vs. Phoenix game, you get an entry to an exclusive $100K contest on 12/29! See the DraftKings Big Trey Payday page for more details!

Point Guard

Worth Paying Up For: Luka Doncic, DAL at PHO ($10,000)

Nothing new here — Doncic is arguably the top overall fantasy option entering this season, and gets things going in a great spot. Doncic ended last season at $11,200, so we’re getting a discount to start the year, especially with Kristaps Porzingis (knee) still sidelined. Luka averaged 50 DKFP in four games against the Suns last season, but played just 28.3 minutes per game. A larger workload should lead to plenty of production.

Best Bang For Your Buck: Killian Hayes, DET at MIN ($3,900)

There’s plenty of value at every position on this slate, but I like the upside for Hayes. He’ll run the show for an awful Pistons squad this season, and should see plenty of run against Minnesota, which isn’t a difficult matchup to begin your career. The fact that the Pistons are already starting the rookie over Derrick Rose ($5,800) tells us they want to see what he can do.

Lineup Strategy

James Harden ($10,400) didn’t wait long to get himself in hot water. If a league investigation does wind up ruling him out, we’ll want to look at Houston for some backcourt value. But we don’t need any extra value to make this slate work. Darius Garland ($4,100) and Jeff Teague ($4,000) make for comparable plays to Hayes.

Shooting Guard

Worth Paying Up For: Zach LaVine, CHI vs. ATL ($7,900)

The young Bulls have some good talent that they’ll want to get a look at this season, but LaVine is still the cornerstone. While many believe the Hawks are an up-and-coming team this season, they are still without plenty of bodies to begin the year, and should struggle defensively. LaVine averaged 40 DKFP in this matchup last season, and we should see good pace between these two.

Best Bang For Your Buck: Donte DiVincenzo, MIL at BOS ($4,000)

The Bucks got penalized for trying to land Bogdan Bogdanovic before the free agency period got underway, which wound up with the SG landing in Atlanta. That left DiVincenzo as the starting SG for the Bucks. DiVincenzo averaged nearly a DKFP per minute last season, but played just over 20 minutes per game — 26.1 DKFP per game in 27.1 minutes in two contests versus Boston. If his new role lands him 30-32 minutes per game, we should see a more productive player.

Lineup Strategy

With the strength of the PG, PF and C positions, I’ll probably be looking for value on the wing. While LaVine is a cheaper stud play, the value should do us just fine. OKC offers some other cheap options if you want to pivot off Donte.

Small Forward

Worth Paying Up For: Jaylen Brown, BOS vs. MIL ($6,700)

There are some decent plays above Brown in terms of salary, but this isn’t a position to break the bank. Brown ended the postseason on a tear, dropping 43-plus DKFP in three of his last four games. The Celtics are thinner than most admit entering this season, as the loss of Gordon Hayward in free agency and Kemba Walker (knee) to begin the season means leaning on the young stars more. The lack of depth could mean a very large role for Jaylen, especially in the early going. Brown ended the season priced as high as $8,000 in the bubble.

Best Bang For Your Buck: Patrick Williams, CHI vs. ATL ($3,000)

The Bulls went somewhat off the grid with Williams at No. 4 overall in the draft. He was the youngest player on the board, and considered a project. But he played well in preseason, scoring double figures off the bench most games, and finishing with 13 points, seven rebounds and two blocks in 27 minutes when he got the start. He’s clearly going to factor into Chicago’s rotation for 25 or more minutes, and comes at minimum salary in a favorable matchup.

Lineup Strategy

SG/SF are not only the pay down spots because of lack of studs, but the positions are also filled with value — SF even more than SG. Jerami Grant ($4,700), Kyle Anderson ($4,200) and Dorian Finney-Smith ($4,100) are other names that jump out here.

Power Forward

Worth Paying Up For: Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL at BOS ($10,200)

We’ve seen Giannis priced up over $12,000 on plenty of occasions, and he ended bubble play at $11,500. This is a pretty sizable discount to begin the season. He averaged 63.5 DKFP in 33 minutes per game in the three matchups between these teams last season, and should be revitalized to start the season strong after committing long-term to the Bucks and the team’s new core. The bottom line is there’s a discount here on one of the top fantasy options in the league, and we also get Giannis with C-eligibility this season.

Best Bang For Your Buck: PJ Washington, CHA at CLE ($4,200)

The Hornets don’t have much up front, which will allow Washington to play a significant role. The team probably won’t be very good this season, but they are growing as favorites against an even more terrible Cavs squad that’ll be without Kevin Love (calf) to begin the year. We saw Washington heavily involved as the small-ball center in preseason, and he hasn’t been shy as a scorer. While he shot just 4-of-17 from the field in the final preseason game, he’s been an efficient player in his short career, and the role in the offense is extremely encouraging.

Lineup Strategy

Things get really flexible by the time you get to PF/C. A lot of players with multi-position eligibility, and a deep field of value. Lauri Markkanen ($4,800) jumps out as the other very strong value to pivot off Washington, or pair with him.


Worth Paying Up For: Karl-Anthony Towns, MIN vs. DET ($9,700)

I was split between going a couple of directions here, but I think the Pistons are in for a rude awakening here. They had a dreadful offseason, and have an ugly collection of mismatched bigs to try and slow KAT. I like Towns to take advantage of whoever Detroit throws at him throughout the game. There are cheaper options, but not with the ceiling Towns brings.

Best Bang For Your Buck: Wendell Carter Jr., CHI vs. ATL ($4,400)

A lot of Bulls are in very good spots against the Hawks on this one. Carter will be the starting center for the Bulls, and there isn’t much depth behind him. With Clint Capela still out for Atlanta, the matchup becomes much more manageable.

Lineup Strategy

Giannis and Washington can both be played at C, but I prefer them at PF because of how deep this position is. Deandre Ayton ($7,300), Andre Drummond ($8,000) and even Zion Williamson ($7,500) are names to consider paying up for. Mason Plumlee ($3,700), Hassan Whiteside ($3,800) and Nerlens Noel ($3,600) are other values to keep on your radar.

Injury Report


Kristaps Porzingis (knee)

Kemba Walker (knee)

Kevin Love (calf)

Jaren Jackson Jr. (knee)

Rui Hachimura (eye)

Trevor Ariza (personal)

Derrick White (toe)

Austin Rivers (groin)

Dario Saric (quad)

Rajon Rondo (personal)

James Ennis (hamstring)

Ben McLemore (self isolation)

Thaddeus Young (leg)

Jeremy Lamb (knee)

Kris Dunn (knee)

Zach Collins (ankle)

Kevin Porter Jr. (personal)

Matthew Dellavedova (concussion)

Tony Snell (foot)

JaMychal Green (calf)


Tristan Thompson (hamstring)

T.J. Warren (foot)

Norman Powell (undisclosed)

Tomas Satoransky (undisclosed)

Garrett Temple (illness)


Clint Capela (Achilles)

D.J. Augustine (calf)


Chris Paul (ankle)

Mitchell Robinson (ankle)

Kevin Huerter (elbow)

Derrick Favors (knee)

Maxi Kleber (knee)

Cam Reddish (ankle)

Dennis Smith Jr. (quad)

Set your DraftKings fantasy basketball lineups here: NBA $1M Fadeaway Special [$200K to 1st].

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is jedlow) 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 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.

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