Fantasy Basketball 2013: Strong Plays For December 23rd

By Adam Pfeifer
Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports


Christmas could come early for some daily fantasy players.

Monday night kicks off the ninth week of the 2013 NBA season, and while many players have been eliminated from their fantasy football leagues, there is still plenty of fantasy hoops to be had. Daily fantasy is one of the most fun games in all of fantasy, and playing these guys could pay dividends tonight.

Note: FPPG totals are based off FanDuel

Goran Dragic, SG (vs LAL)

FPPG allowed to SG: 38.95 (3rd-most)

Dragic is going to go bonkers tonight. I said it. A vastly underrated fantasy commodity, Dragic is often overlooked, due to the presence of the exciting Eric Bledsoe. However, Dragic has been awesome this year, averaging 32.3 DraftDay fantasy points per contest. He contributes in many categories, averaging an impressive 18.7 points, 5.9 rebounds, 3.0 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 1.2 triples per game. I love him tonight in a matchup against the lowly Lakers defense. This could be a serious pace game, as both teams are among the top-12 in the league in pace. That will present plenty of opportunity for Dragic. Opposing shooting guards are averaging an impressive 23.89 points per game, the second-most in basketball. Also, the Lakers are one of the worst offensive rebounding teams in the league, so Dragic could very well see a handful of second chance opportunities as well. I think he easily exceeds his fantasy point average tonight.

Isaiah Thomas, PG (vs NO)

FPPG allowed to PG: 40.31 (12th-most)

Thomas has been an absolute monster since Greivis Vasquez was dealt to the Raptors. During that span, Thomas is seemingly never off of the court, logging a ridiculous 38.9 minutes per game. And over his last five games, he’s averaging an awesome 18.8 points, 2.6 rebounds, 7.6 assists, 1.6 steals and two triples per contest. The trade is the best thing to ever happen to his fantasy value, and even with the arrival of Rudy Gay, Thomas is still taking about 15 shots per game. I absolutely love him tonight in what could be a shootout. Both the Kings and Pelicans rank inside the bottom-five in points per game allowed (103.3 and 102.8, respectively). Meanwhile, Jrue Holiday isn’t exactly threatening on the defensive side of the ball, so Thomas should manage just fine. The Pelicans also allow above the league average in fantasy points to point guards, and Thomas, a very good three-point shooter, should see opportunity against a New Orleans defense coughing up 24.6 points from beyond the arc per game.

Josh Smith, SF (@ CLE)

FPPG allowed to SF: 41.23 (most)

Smith is really starting to heat up for fantasy owners, posting no less than 35 fantasy points in each of his last five contests. There is no better way to keep it going than against the Cavaliers, who are surrendering the most fantasy points per game to opposing small forwards this season. Smith can always contribute in rebounds, blocks and steals, averaging 6.5, 1.5 and 1.6, respectively. Meanwhile, Cavs opponents are averaging a healthy 5.9 blocks per game, the 7th-most in the league. Over his last five games, Smith is averaging a very impressive 20.8 shot attempts per game, and considering shooting guards are averaging 24.18 points per game (most), as well as the league lead in shot attempts to the position (18.18), there should be ample opportunity for Smith.

Al Jefferson, C (vs MIL)

FPPG allowed to C: 48.28 (most)

If you are going to pay for centers tonight, make sure it starts with Jefferson, who easily has the best matchup of the evening. Milwaukee is surrendering the most fantasy points to centers on the season, but their defensive efficiency against the position is also the worst (-11.6). Jefferson is averaging 41 fantasy points in the two meetings he’s already had with the Bucks, and his upside is tremendous this evening.

Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.

You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.

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