This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
Although seven games will be played on New Year's Eve, FanDuel opted to leave out a few games and only run four of them on the main slate, beginning at 7:00 p.m. ET. FanDuel is offering all-day slates, but as always, the contest selection isn't plentiful.
SAC @ HOU (-4.5) O/U: 229
NYK @ TOR (-9) O/U: 215.5
NOR @ OKC (+5.5) O/U: 215
PHO @ UTA (-3.5) O/U: 219
(odds provided by FanDuel Sportsbook and are subject to change)
Games/teams to target: BOLD
Games/teams to fade: ITALICS
The top story of this slate has to involve the Houston Rockets. They'll have everyone back on the court tonight. John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and Eric Gordon will all return, leaving us with a team that we have limited data to analyze.
Aside from their game against the Kings, we are looking at a few games that fail to break 220 in their Vegas totals, although I believe that the 215 number in the Pelicans-Thunder matchup will trend up during the day and likely come in as the sharp over. The Suns-Jazz game is right about where it should be with their total, but both of these teams give us elites that aren't quite playing up to their potential in the early going.
Alec Burks (ankle) - QUESTIONABLE
The Knicks' reserve of guards is decimated, as both Frank Ntilikina (knee) and Immanuel Quickley (hip) are injured as well. The issue complicated further with the absence of Obi Toppin (calf) who would have surely absorbed some of the lost minutes. Our on/off-court data is limited, but outside of regulars Elfrid Payton and Julius Randle, Reggie Bullock ($3,800) get a small bump in usage, as does Kevin Knox ($3,600).
Derrick Favors (knee) - QUESTIONABLE
ELITE PLAYERS ($9,000+)
With the return of the COVID-19 quarantine players, the potential output of James Harden ($11,500) is a bit of a question mark. If we follow basic DFS game theory, our goal is to find low ownership for maximum production. Since Harden is tough to project in this game script, it could be a prime opportunity to leverage Harden on the assumption that his roster percentage will drop. After all, he enjoys a whopping 34.1 percent usage rate and you shouldn't expect much of a decrease as the team's primary facilitator.
There is a precipitous drop from Harden, leaving us with Brandon Ingram at $9,400. I also like Ingram as a leverage opportunity, but for different reasons. His evening against the Suns two days ago was not his best, but I view this blowout loss as an outlier game. The result there might result in a slight dip in roster percentage for the short-term, and if I see that trend later today, he'll be a core to build around in several of my lineups.
Julius Randle, NYK ($8,000) @ TOR
While I have no issue with Zion Williamson ($8,300) immediately above him, it's unlikely that I'd expose myself to a Zion/Ingram stack very often, so Randle is the next PF I'd consider. His roster percentage should fall somewhere in the low 20's in large-field tournaments. The thin slate presses a premium for big men who can rebound, and if we can find it outside of the center position, it's a worthwhile gamble. Couple his rebounding ability with the Knicks' extremely tight rotation and you have a great fit with Randle tonight. With an average of 37.5 minutes per game, he'll play for the majority of this contest, and he's a solid contributor in almost every category when he's dialed in.
Pascal Siakam, TOR ($7,400) vs. NYK
Enter Randle's direct competition. His salary is just too good in this spot, and even though the Raptors haven't exactly wowed the public at 0-3, they could be in line for their first win behind a good game from Siakam. He's another minutes beast who will get plenty of opportunities, and he'll be a force to be reckoned with if he can combine his prowess off the glass with his surprisingly accurate long-range jumper. That perfect storm hasn't yet materialized, but tonight could be the night where he gets double-digit rebounds AND converts a lot of shots.
John Wall, HOU ($7,000) vs. SAC
The public will probably lean toward De'Aaron Fox ($7,900) in this spot, but for $900 less, Wall should also come up chalky as the unknown commodity. He's an excellent GPP candidate, but without a resume for the regular season, we have no way of knowing his floor, which is critical to cash game selection. We also don't know how Wall and Harden will mesh yet, but I think he'll fare much better than Chris Paul did at this position, and should probably enjoy an experience more akin to Russell Westbrook's contribution. Let's be clear: I'm not comparing him to Westbrook, but I think the synergy in the backcourt will be similar.
Also consider: Deandre Ayton, PHO ($7,100) @ UTA
OG Anunoby, TOR ($6,500) vs. NYK
Anunoby has quietly crushed value in all three games this season, averaging 12.7 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. Toronto's recent fortunes and Anunoby's low profile make me encouraged about his roster percentage, although it will almost certainly take a jump on this small slate. I project at least 30 minutes for him this evening, and he should be good for at least 30 FDFP against the Knicks, who rank 20th against his position.
Buddy Hield, SAC ($5,400) @ HOU
Hield is another guy who's stringing together some excellent lines out of the limelight. As usual, his numbers are all dependent on the temperature of his three-point shot, and overall, things are faring well in that department with a 38.2 percent conversion rate on 34 attempts. That comes out to more than 10 attempts per game if you're doing the math, and he has a good chance of popping for a nice score against a Houston defense that will be shaking off some rust.
RJ Barrett, NYK ($6,200) @ TOR
Elfrid Payton ($5,200) could also have a good night here, but I like Barrett enough to spend the extra $1,000 in hopes of a multi-category contribution. As we've said, the Knicks play only about eight or nine people at the most, so even a second-unit guy will merit a look. Barrett is currently averaging 37 minutes per game and doesn't need to do much to meet value at this salary point. His accuracy isn't where we'd want it to be at the moment, but his usage rate (22.8) signifies that he'll be given several opportunities to rectify the problem.
Steven Adams, NOR ($5,400) @ OKC
I'm just waiting for Adams to pop with a big score with his new team. What better opportunity than to lay down the hammer on his old team, right? The "revenge" intangible is always tough to measure, but I expect it to be in play tonight. Granted, he may not even recognize the new-look Thunder, but odds should be in his favor against Al Horford, who is working through some injury issues.
Bojan Bogdanovic, UTA ($4,900) vs. PHO
I managed to keep my exposure to the Jazz low somehow, but Bojan is who showed up the most in my builds. He's currently averaging just under 30 FDFP per game, but I believe he is due for a three-point barrage to boost his number well north of his current numbers. He drilled five threes against the Thunder on Tuesday, so he's on a fairly good run coming into this game at home.