Yahoo DFS Basketball: Christmas Day Picks
Yahoo DFS Basketball: Christmas Day Picks

This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Basketball series.

The NBA's traditional Christmas Day slate is loaded with some of the best teams in the league. This is not always an easy slate to navigate, though, with so many high priced stars to choose from. With only five games being played, there also aren't a ton of viable cheap options. Let's examine some players to target and avoid to hopefully end the night with a winning lineup.

GUARDS

James Harden, HOU vs. OKC ($51): The Rockets are surging right now, winning six of their last seven games to move into the eighth seed in the Western Conference. The loss of Chris Paul (hamstring) is huge, but it means Harden is going to have tremendous upside during his absence. He scored 61.8 Yahoo points with Paul out Saturday against the Spurs and is one of the top targets again Tuesday.

Eric Gordon, HOU vs. OKC ($13): The Rockets recently moved Gordon into the starting five, but his production still didn't take off. He excelled in a starting role last year, but he usually only started when either Harden or Paul was injured. Starting alongside both of them this season didn't leave him with a ton of scoring opportunities. However, with Paul now out, Gordon is thrust back into a prominent offensive role. He scored 30.4 Yahoo point Saturday and has averaged 31.7 points across the six games that Paul has missed this season.

Guard to Avoid

Rajon Rondo, LAL at GS ($18): Rondo faced the stout Grizzlies' defense Sunday and scored just 11.6 Yahoo points. The Warriors play at a much faster pace and don't have nearly the defensive prowess, but Rondo's limited playing time is the main reason why it might be best to avoid him for your entry. He's logged 22 minutes or fewer in both games since returning from a hand injury and will likely continue to see limited action as long as Lonzo Ball is healthy.

FORWARDS

Paul George, OKC at HOU ($43): There are few players in the league as hot as George is right now. His usage rate fell to 25.7 percent last year, but it's jumped up to 29 percent this season after the Thunder decided to move on from Carmelo Anthony. George is far from just an offensive powerhouse, too, averaging 8.2 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 2.2 steals per contest. Not only has he scored at least 41 Yahoo points in 11 straight games, but he's scored at least 50.7 Yahoo points six times during that stretch.

Joe Ingles, UTA vs. POR ($17): Ingles might not be flashy, but he's continued to build off of his breakout campaign last year. His 17.9 percent usage rate might not seem great, but it's actually two percentage points higher than his mark from last season. He's helped facilitate the Jazz's offense with 4.8 assists per game and has been a steady defensive contributor, as well, by averaging 1.6 steals a night. His overall upside might not be that high, but with at least 31.5 Yahoo points in four of his last five games, Ingles is worth considering in tournament play.

Forward to Avoid

Gordon Hayward, BOS vs. PHI ($18): There isn't much to get excited about with Hayward. He's still trying to regain his form after missing almost all of last season and is playing for a team who doesn't need to push him to log heavy minutes right away because of their stellar depth. The Celtics have limited him to 29 minutes or fewer in nine of their last 11 games, resulting in him scoring 28 Yahoo points or fewer in eight of those nine contests.

CENTERS

Clint Capela, HOU vs. OKC ($30): Capela destroyed the Spurs on Saturday, scoring 51.6 Yahoo points across 35 minutes. He's now scored at least 41.4 Yahoo points in five of his last six games and should be even more involved offensively moving forward without Paul. Across the six games that Paul has missed previously, Capela has averaged 41.8 Yahoo points.

Brook Lopez, MIL at NY ($14): Lopez has really transformed his career. He's never been a great rebounder for someone with his size, but he used to be a scoring machine during his tenure with the Nets. His offensive numbers have dropped off, but he's developed a three-point shot over the last few years, which is one of the key reasons why the Bucks brought him in during the offseason. He's averaging a career-high 2.4 three-pointers with his new team, providing valuable spacing for Giannis Antetokounmpo. Rebounding numbers continue to be hard to come by and he's only averaging 28 minutes a game, but he has still scored at least 29.3 Yahoo points in four of his last six games. The Knicks have had troubles with him this season, resulting in Lopez scoring exactly 31.3 Yahoo points in both of their previous two meetings.

Center to Avoid

Enes Kanter, NY vs. MIL ($19): The injury to Mitchell Robinson (ankle) has helped free up a few extra minutes for Kanter, who is a nightly threat for a double-double. However, even with added playing time, he provides virtually no defensive stats. This is also not a great matchup for him trying to guard Lopez out around the perimeter. After scoring 18.4 Yahoo points in his last meeting against the Bucks, Kanter is a risky option Tuesday.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Mike Barner plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: mbarner, DraftKings: mbarner51.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mike Barner
Mike started covering fantasy sports in 2007, joining RotoWire in 2010. He currently focuses on the NBA. Before RotoWire, Mike wrote for KFFL.com.
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