• Well it is Friday, December 29 and I am back from my much-needed vacation. Tonight there are nine games on the slate and I am here to help decipher the best plays for less than 7k. There are plenty of studs in great matchups and some may look to even load up on two of them, but tonight’s slate does not offer a ton of value between 3k-4k. I focused primarily on the value under 7k to help fit a stud or two and still feel comfortable about your lineup.

    Point Guard

    Darren Collison $5,800– No Victor Oladipo means Collison will see increased usage of 2.4 percent and more of an opportunity to handle the ball. The matchup versus the Bulls is tasty and we have seen point guards smash them before. I do not know if I would play Collison and Stephenson in the same lineup, as they both gain value from assists, but Collison will surely be less owned.

    Jordan Clarkson $6,300– Clarkson is still too cheap. He has hit value the past two games Lonzo Ball has missed and draws a great matchup versus the Clippers guards. Kyle Kuzma is also questionable, if forced to sit out Clarkson’s usage skyrockets to 34.1 percent and would likely lead the team in shot attempts on the night. Clarkson will carry some ownership, but if we hear Kuzma is sitting he seems pretty much like a plug and play option.

    Goran Dragic $6,300– Dragic returned from injury and has played 30 minutes the past two games. While he said he is playing through pain, tonight the Heat draw a superb matchup versus the Nets and Dragic cannot see a better matchup. He should see at least 30 minutes and the game will be paced up for the Heat and the injury will drive down his ownership. Dion Waiters has been ruled out for the game already and although we haven’t seen signs of the increase since his return from injury, Dragic averages 1.13 DK points per minute and boasts a 31.3 usage percentage with Waiters and James Johnson off of the floor.

    Shooting Guard

    Wayne Ellington $4,700-No Waiters equals minutes for Ellington.  Ellington has played at least 34 minutes and is averaging 29.8 DK points over the past 3 games. There is also a little revenge narrative for Ellington as he played with the Nets two seasons ago. I don’t love the price, but at $4,700 is leaves the door open for Ellington to hit 6x-7x value. Again, a GPP type of play.

    Nicolas Batum $5,300– Batum has not looked like his normal-self since returning from injury, but this matchup and price is too good. It will be a pace-up game for the Hornets and Batum tends to accumulate his counting stats in these types of games. He offers plenty of upside at this price with a safe floor of around 25 DK points.

    Austin Rivers $6,300– Throw last game out where the Clippers were involved in a blowout and Rivers is averaging 46 DK points over his last three games. The important stat to notice is he is taking 20 shots per game to get there. Blake Griffin is entering the game questionable and if he plays the situation changes slightly, but if Blake misses again and we see the same lineup we have been seeing for the Clippers Rivers is a great play. I like Lou Williams a lot in this spot as well, but the price is hard to swallow and Rivers provides a $1,100 discount. The potential return of Griffin may drive down the ownership of these guys slightly and odds are he will face some limitations or minute restrictions so we should still see these guys chucking shots.

    Small Forward

    Larry Nance $4,300– Nance is in play if Kuzma is forced to sit. Without Brook Lopez and Kuzma, the Lakers will be forced to run a ton of Nance and Randle. While both are in play, I would not recommend playing both in the same lineup and Nance offers a cheaper option at small forward.

    Lance Stephenson $5,600– Lance was the chalk you could not fade the other night and dropped 46 DK points. Tonight he looks at an even better matchup versus the Bulls and should be heavy chalk once again. He got a little price bump of $1,300, but there is still plenty of value to be had in Stephenson’s price. There is no secret in this play, you need to give Lance a look.

    Brandon Ingram $6,600– As you can tell, I like a lot of Lakers. It is a late game with loads of value, but most of it hinders on the availability of Kuzma. If he is forced to sit we can look for Ingram and Clarkson to absorb to majority of the usage, while Nance and Randle see his minutes. Ingram came back from injury and played 44 minutes and took 20 shots, so it is safe to say he is feeling better.

    Rondae Hollis-Jefferson $6,300– RHJ is a per minute producer. The question we face is how many minutes will he receive. The Heat have been running larger lineups and it should continue. The Nets do not have a lot of bigs, so we should see a lot of RHJ playing the four and guarding guys like Kelly Olynk. He is one of the only players on the Nets side of the ball I have interest in.

    Power Forward

    Julius Randle $5,100– Just like with Nance, he is a strong option if Kuzma sits. It is going to be hard to not throw two Lakers in each lineup tonight, but it is a wait and see approach if Kuzma is playing or not. Randle provides a bigger body to bang down low with DeAndre Jordan. I would not play in cash, but Randle is the perfect GPP play.

    Markieff Morris $4,800– This game comes in with one of the highest totals of the night and it will be a pace-up spot for the Wizards. Mike Scott has already been ruled out due to the birth of his child, so Morris’ minutes should be safe and he may even see a few extra. Clint Capela has also been ruled out for already and we have seen the Rockets go with smaller lineups, rather than playing Nene for big minutes. This means we should see Morris get some time at center as well, most likely when Ryan Anderson does. The potential to bust is always there for Morris, but with this price tag and the factors involved I believe his floor is pretty safe tonight and offers 30+ DK point upside.

    Willie Cauley-Stein $6,300– Nothing seems to be safe in Sacramento, but WCS minutes have been steady. A King is never a cash play, but his GPP upside is there. While the Suns tend to rest a big on any given night, they still run a rotation involving four, which helps us figure out whether or not WCS will see 28+ minutes.

    Center

    Salah Mejri $3,000– A GPP dart throw, Mejri may be forced into minutes against the Pelicans bigs. In this mathcup earlier in the year, Mejri played scored seven points, grabbed 13 rebounds and blocked five shots in 22 minutes. While this line cannot be expected again, he is not a bad option a min salary punt play to load your lineup with studs.

    Steven Adams $6,300– The Bucks are one of the worst teams in the league when it comes to allowing DK points to opposing centers. So it is one of the first things I look at when they are on the slate and tonight Adams draws the card. His price is more than fair and it is hard to imagine him not grabbing a double-double tonight.

    Myles Turner $6,800– The Bulls cannot rebound worth a lick. Turner has not had a double digit rebound game in a while, but if he is looking to get us that bonus tonight is the night. Oladipo being ruled out increases his usage as well. All bodes well for Turner to make value at $6,800.

    *Keep a close eye on the Hoop-Ball updates throughout the day. Kyle Kuzma and Chris Paul’s health will have a big impact on the way this slate shakes out.  As always good luck and go take down a GPP. I can be reached @MikeApotria for any questions or comments.

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