Sunday features a six-game NBA main slate, and the action gets underway at 6:00 p.m. ET. Let’s go over the stud and value targets and break down everything you’ll need to know to set your lineups.
LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers vs. Minnesota Timberwolves, $12,000 — Guessing about rotations is not necessary because he’ll be on the court all game long (36 projected minutes). A key DFS NBA statistical category is points per minute (FPPM), and he’s near the top of the slate in that category — 1.5 FPPM. On a normal night, James is a monster based on his minutes and per minute production. On a night without Anthony Davis, he is a nightmare. On a night without Davis and playing against another fast paced team, James is a night terror.
Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks at Oklahoma City Thunder, $10,800 — The projection sites have Doncic at 36 minutes, so it appears his ankle is healed, and the only thing that was holding him out were the health and safety protocols. Now that he is cleared to play and Kristaps Porzingis ($9,400) is likely to be out, Doncic should be set for a big night. The Thunder will be thin this evening (as is every team), and their best defender, Luguentz Dort ($6,000), is questionable. Doncic produces 1.6 FPPM with a 35.7% usage rate on regular nights. On Sunday, he gets a soft matchup and will carry more of the load than usual.
Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat at Sacramento Kings, $10,000 — His minutes projection is through the roof, now he just has to do something with the minutes (34 projected minutes). In his third game back from injury, Butler scored 37 points against the Rockets’ weak defense. In the game before that, he dropped 67 DKFP against the Wizards in 35 minutes. The Heat draw a favorable matchup on Sunday night against another weak defensive team in the Kings (110.3 defensive efficiency).
Russell Westbrook, Los Angeles Lakers vs. Minnesota Timberwolves, $10,300 — This season has been disappointing for Westbrook, but Anthony Davis’ misfortune has worked out for Westbrook. The Lakers offense is starting to adapt to life without AD and have won two of the last three games. Over that span, they have the second-best offense in the league. A big part of the offensive surge has been Westbrook’s production. He’s scored 60, 49.5 and 55.8 DKFP in the last three games. He should continue the trend of 50 or more fantasy points in an up-tempo game against an average defense on Sunday night.
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Ty Jerome, Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Dallas Mavericks, $4,200 — The Thunder-Mavs game is where the value is to be found. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (health protocols) will miss only his second game of the season. In SGA’s only absence on Dec. 29, Jerome got the start and scored 47 DKFP in 35 minutes of action. That performance earned him more playing time in his next game on Dec. 31, and Jerome scored 28.3 DKPF in 27 minutes playing alongside SGA.
Maxi Kleber, Dallas Mavericks at Oklahoma City Thunder, $3,700 — In the four games before entering the NBA’s health and safety protocols, Kleber was averaging 30 minutes and 24.5 DKFP per contest. That will work tonight, but there is a good chance he’ll exceed that output. It is likely that Kristaps Porzingis misses this game and on the other side, the Thunder are short-handed due to health and safety protocols.
Cameron Payne, Phoenix Suns at Charlotte Hornets, $4,400 — It won’t take much for Payne to hit 5x at this price point, given his 27% usage rate and 23 projected minutes. The most fantasy points come from the highest scoring games, and this game projects to be one of the highest scoring games on the slate (231.5 — that’s an enormous line for a season where scoring is down due to rules changes). The Suns should produce plenty of fantasy points in a favorable fantasy matchup with the Hornets (third-worst defensive efficiency rating and second-fastest pace).
Isaiah Roby, Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Dallas Mavericks, $3,800 — With the expected lineup adjustments due to health and safety protocols, he should receive one of the largest increases in minutes. This will be Roby’s fourth consecutive start and he’s played well in his new role. Shot volume is great, but we need players that make shots and take high percentage shots, and he does that (62.4% True Shooting). The replacement big man is too cheap tonight, and he should easily return value against a Mavericks team that is below-average against opposing centers.
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