NBA December 25th: 1 Lineup, 1 Million Dollars
Good Morning Readers. The Crown Jewel of the NBA Season is upon us, the Christmas Day Slate. DraftKings is rolling out a $25 Millionaire Maker, which is what we are going to be focusing on today. Unlike many big bankroll players, I am only going to put in 1 lineup, so the plan is to win by outsmarting everybody else…sounds easy right? You might be thinking, how will it help me outsmart everybody, by writing a blog. Well, hopefully writing this will let me think clearly while I construct my lineup, and it may help you as a reader if you have any doubts. Lets get right into it.
A Year in Review
Lets look at last years Optimal Lineup.
Total Salary $49600
Two Years in Review
Total Salary $50000
Right off the bat, we can see that the top builds, each of the last two years includes only 1 stud. For this year, I’m focusing on Giannis Antetokounmpo. He has a great history against Philadelphia, and he will be playing this game without Eric Bledsoe. All of the other studs, on this slate have some questions. James Harden and Russell Westbrook seem to eat into each other’s production a bit, and while I don’t mind either, I can’t see them outscoring the Greek Freak, in what may not even be a competitive game. LeBron is going to play, and will cut into the upside that Anthony Davis would have, if he had sat. Joel Embiid is the last star that I would consider. He has put up 70, 78, and 84 DraftKings points against Milwaukee in 3 games last year. It doesn’t seem optimal to play both, as the rest of our lineup construction would suffer. However, the deciding factor will go towards Giannis as he will be playing without Bledsoe, while Embiid will be playing with the full starters.
The next thing I noticed is that each lineup had multiple Centers. Last year was Capela, and Zubac. Two years ago, Capela, Kanter, Love and Adams. So lets jam into some Centers! Derrick Favors is interesting to me at 5700. He gets a matchup against Denver, where he has shown 50 point upside before. His minutes finally got back into the 30s, where he has gone over 40 FPTs twice this season, and came pretty close in the last game against Portland. New Orleans is going to need his defense out there against Jokic, and you can fit him in at the PF spot on DK. The next Center i’m looking at is Clint Capela. While I would like to go up to Embiid, It doesn’t seem optimal to play both Embiid and Giannis, so i’m going to drop down and play Capela. Golden State can’t defend the paint, and I wouldn’t be surprised for Capela to have one of his 20/20 games.
Next I want to focus on filling out the other positions with mid-range players. I think the pace really suits Will Barton against New Orleans. At 6600 he still has some upside based on his recent performances. Alec Burks is a nice discounted play for the Warriors against Houston. PJ Tucker is a fine play at 4400. While I won’t be able to pay up for Westbrook, and Harden, I can grab the peripheral pieces from that game with Capela and Tucker. Tucker has an up and down history against the Warriors but this years edition of the Warriors is much worse defensively than those of previous years. I’d expect Tucker to get some open looks from 3 as well as be aggressive on the boards. In the first game between these two, Tucker had a monster game but Draymond Green was out. I don’t expect the same type of game out of Tucker, but 30, is all we need here.
Finally, I want to find that needle in a haystack. That sub 4k value play, that hits 30 FPTs. Iguodala was the guy last year, Crowder was the guy two years ago, who will it be this year? The guy, i’m looking at is Danny Green. The Clippers are an interesting team. When they are at full health, they have one of the best defense in the league, but if you take one of Kawhi or Paul George off the floor, they become mediocre. That being said, I’m going to assume that their defensive focus will be on limiting LeBron James and Anthony Davis, and the peripheral players will have to beat them. With LeBron banged up, I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets his teammates more involved on offense, and with Davis sure to attract double teams, someone like Danny Green should be open on the wing for open looks. In the first game between these two, the Clippers did something similar to this and Danny Green was left open on the wings on nearly every possession. As one of their better defenders, I’d expect him to be on the floor for at least 35 minutes. Using the same logic on the flip side, I’d expect the Lakers defensive attention will be on Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, which should allow Patrick Beverley to slip through the cracks. The Clippers/Celtics game where Beverley went off comes to mind. In that game the Celtics limited the two stars production and as a result Beverley was able to grab career high rebounds as well as put up some monster peripheral stats as he was open from downtown.
These are my thoughts for the Christmas Day slate and as of right now my lineup looks pretty contrarian. There are a lot of different ways to go and there are a lot of viable plays that I didn’t discuss here. However, there are one million reasons to go outside of the box.
Happy Holidays and best of luck with the Milly Maker. Let me know in the comment section who you think breaks the slate at under 4k.