This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
Players from the following games will be excluded from this article as we focus on FanDuel's seven-game slate that begins at 3 PM ET:
This exclusion takes a lot of talent off of our plate, but there's still plenty to work with. To begin, I'll run the risk of sounding like a broken record and state that James Harden ($14,000), despite the inflated price, is still a chalk play despite facing a Philly team that ranks 4th in defensive efficiency versus his position. Harden is matchup-proof in his current game script, and it seems like Eric Gordon's ($5,500) return has only bolstered the team's firepower, leaving no trace of regression for the All-Star.
While we're on the subject of Harden, let's discuss this HOU/PHI matchup in a bit more detail. With a 234 O/U, we're going to find value on both sides of the ball, but the game also presents the most significant injury situation on the slate. Both Joel Embiid (back) and Jimmy Butler (wrist) are questionable, and the late start of this game might make a build with them a risky proposition. With their status up in the air, I think Ben Simmons ($10,000) becomes the obvious play on the Philly side, with Mike Muscala ($3,700) and Furkan Korkmaz ($3,500) emerging as value pivots for Embiid and Butler respectively. I think Houston's roster carries a lot of value as well – Gordon as mentioned earlier and P.J Tucker ($5,500) are both worthwhile places to find value tonight.
Anthony Davis (finger) will be OUT for the next couple of weeks, and I will mention more about that scenario in the core section of this column. Here are the remainder of today's injury situations – all other long-running scenarios remain static.
Lonzo Ball (ankle) OUT: While Josh Hart ($4,900) was the first guy off the bench when Ball went down, Lance Stephenson ($3,500) and Michael Beasley ($3,700) also saw a good bit of action. I wouldn't mind using any of these three as my potential must-drops tonight.
Aaron Gordon (back) QUESTIONABLE: While a lot of other questionable tags are probable, Gordon is one spot that is still up in the air. It is the first game on the slate, so we will have the advantage of learning about his status right before game lock. I can't give a full-throated endorsement for any pivot here, but I'd give a boost to Atlanta's frontcourt if he doesn't take the floor.
Stephen Curry, GS at LAL ($10,000): I already mentioned Simmons at this price point, and I like Curry just as much. Both Irving and Lillard face tough defenses, so I think the floor for Curry Is probably the most dependable among the quartet of elites. Curry's only night against the Lakers wasn't spectacular (15 points, five assists) and was an outlier game for most of the Warriors on Christmas Day. It was an embarrassing 26-point loss, and don't think for a second that the Warriors have forgotten about it. Add DeMarcus Cousins to the mix, and you've got a revenge game in the making, and the Warriors should prevail.
Spencer Dinwiddie, BKN vs. SAC ($5,900): I slid past Trae Young as I favor other spots for the Hawks, and I like Dinwiddie as an oft-overlooked option. It's always a risk between Dinwiddie and D'Angelo Russell, but I think there's plenty of opportunity for both of them. The Kings no doubt faced a horrific travel day to get to New York from Detroit this week, and I'd expect a sluggish start.
Jrue Holiday, NO at MEM ($9,000): With Davis out, Holiday will be under a lot of pressure to carry his team in this matchup. Holiday had a mediocre 37.8 FDFP game when they faced the Grizzlies two weeks ago, but in a Davis-less scenario, I think you can throw those results out the window and look for Holiday to shine. When Davis is out, almost everyone on the team sees a significant boost.
Kevin Huerter, ATL vs. ORL ($5,500): Huerter was a red-headed highlight reel in Saturday's game against the Celtics in a game that the Hawks almost pulled off. This looks to be a more evenly-matched contest, and I think this is an excellent value grab at this price. He's had two 40-plus FDFP performances over his last four games, and while his totals are dependent on his long-range shots, the Magic rank 24th in defensive efficiency versus the three.
Once again, I think a lot of Warriors will be looking to exact revenge on the Lakers tonight, and Kevin Durant ($10,200) is no exception. I think this is a bit too obvious to give any detail on, so I'll move to two other targets worth considering.
Nikola Mirotic, NO at MEM ($6,100): With Davis out, it's time for both Mirotic and Randle to step up, and I like Mirotic at this price based on potential usage alone. Now that he's healthy, the Pels have no choice but to give him 35 minutes or more. He's shown flashes of his old self since returning from injury, and he'll have every chance to do that again tonight.
Taurean Prince, ATL vs. ORL ($4,100): Hello? He's back, and I'm shocked at the price tag here. He has no minute restriction, and it's only a matter of time before we see a return to the nightly 30-plus FDFP totals we've seen from Prince in the past. His return comes at a perfect time when the Hawks are without Kent Bazemore, and breakout performers like John Collins and Kevin Huerter are popping all around him. The Hawks will give him all the minutes he can handle. Grab him on the cheap so you can get your hands on more spend-up players.
Kyle Kuzma, LAL vs. GS ($7,500): Kuzma is scary good, and he makes it look incredibly easy whenever he's on the court. Just when you think he's not hustling enough to get back on the defensive end, he suddenly streaks in for a rebound, block or the occasional steal. He only managed 26.7 FDFP on Christmas Day but the Lakers opted to sit their first unit for most of the fourth quarter, so I wouldn't put much stock in that matric.
Derrick Favors, UTA vs. POR ($5,800): Favors is coming off of two straight double-doubles. While I am prone to balk at a guy who's only seeing 20-25 minutes of court time, he seems to make good use of his time. He's only had one game below 20 FDFP in the past ten games, so he isn't at a huge risk of being an expensive must-drop.
Additional power forwards to consider: Jayson Tatum, BOS vs. MIA ($6,300)
Julius Randle, NO at MEM ($8,200): This is one of those times where you miss dual eligibility because I like a lot of big men on tonight's slate, but you have to go with Randle due to AD's absence. It also looks like Marc Gasol will be limited which is a big advantage for the Pels inside. WITH Davis, he's only seen one game below 30 FDFP in his past ten games, and half of those games have gone for 40 FDFP or more. There's no telling what kind of total we'll get in the Brow's absence.
DeMarcus Cousins, GS at LAL ($5,100): I might just have to slot Cousins in for the sheer joy of watching this game. I've always been a Boogie fan, even when he was toiling with the Kings. His ability to stretch the floor with his long-range shots is a load of fun to watch, especially when you know he can pull a 3-point fake and charge the lane at any moment. With Cousins on the floor, I'll wager anyone on a 5-loss Over/Under for the remainder of the season.
If you focus around the HOU/PHI game, give some love to the Lakers and Golden State and mind the Davis absence, you end up with a pretty straightforward way to go on this slate, especially for your cash lineups. Atlanta and Brooklyn are also full of good GPP options. Check with Rotowire later today for all the latest injury news.