We have a 5-game slate of NBA action this Christmas, and there are plenty of big prizes up for grabs on DraftKings and FanDuel. The Five and Dime highlights several players that will likely be part of winning lineups, and one "sleeper" selection that could jettison a GPP lineup towards the top of the leaderboard.
Start your day with a win by using Mr. Fourth Quarter, Isaiah Thomas. The NBA's leader in fourth-quarter scoring should be able to put the Knicks away late after the Celtics presumably wind up in yet another close game. Neither of these teams are blowing the doors off of anyone, but they're both competitive, and that's why we have a "Pick 'Em" line on the first game of the Holiday slate. Thomas has been on fire while leading the Celtics to a 4-1 record since returning from injury, averaging 31 PPG on incredible 51.6% FG shooting and "The Little Guy" should destroy the porous backcourt defense of Derrick Rose and Brandon Jennings on Christmas Day.
While Chris Paul (hamstring) is expected to return to the Clippers lineup after a one-game absence, he might not be at full strength and there's always a chance that he errs on the side of caution by sitting out the night cap on Christmas. With lineups locking so early in the day, it makes sense to take a chance on a couple of Clippers guards, and unlike Raymond Felton or Austin Rivers to a degree, Crawford is still a pretty safe play even if Paul plays. The leader of the Clips second unit dropped 26 points with 6 dimes on a season-high 34.7% Usage Rate in a narrow loss to the Mavericks on Friday. He won't be asked to fire away as often if CP3 plays on Sunday, but the Clippers (-5.5) are fully capable of demolishing the young Lakers if Paul plays and that would open up more opportunities for Crawford and the rest of the second unit.
It's tough to fit Russell Westbrook into any lineups on a short slate, which seems to make LBJ the best choice as a true stud for your lineups this Sunday. This is a rare game for both Cleveland (+1.5) and Golden State in that neither team should be expected to run away on the scoreboard early, and that's been the biggest concern with playing James all season. With Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving back in the fold, the Cavs are fully capable of matching points with the Dubs and that's why this contest has the highest Over/Under (223.5 points) on the slate. Love and Irving found their gumption in the Finals last year, but let's be honest, they can fold under pressure while James is the rock who will likely lead Cleveland to a home win over their prospective challenger from the WCF.
He's surprisingly expensive on FanDuel, but O'Quinn makes for a sneaky value play in any format on DK this Sunday. The stout power forward has the exact body type that would give the Celtics trouble, as they rank 29th in total rebounding and just struggled to stop the uninspiring combination of Enes Kanter and Domantas Sabonis for the Thunder on Friday. O'Quinn, meanwhile, returned from a mild ankle injury to destroy his former team with 14 points, 16 rebounds and 5 blocks over 24 minutes against the Magic and he could be asked to step up more with Kristaps Porzingis playing a somewhat limited role while he deals with a nagging knee injury.
He's as good a bet for a double double as anyone on the slate tonight and Jordan could see a serious boost if both Blake Griffin and Chris Paul are out tonight. If CP3 plays, Jordan will likely receive more beautiful lob passes from the Point God and he'll still be asked to increase his rebounding with Blake inactive. DAJ is averaging 13 PPG and 14.7 RPG over his last 6 appearances and he's pulled down 17-plus boards in 3 out of his last 5 starts. Now he faces a Lakers squad that gives up the third-most FPPG (50.06) and ranks dead last in opponents FG shooting (.479%) while playing at the fourth-fastest pace in the NBA this season. All of those numbers bode well for the prospects of an elite rebounder and dominant finisher in the paint.
If you're looking for some salary relief in an effort to squeeze Westbrook into your lineups tonight, you'll have to take a chance on guys like Amir. The Celtics wacky rotations make it tough to trust any big man playing for Brad Stevens, but Johnson has logged at least 20 minutes in 4 straight games with averages of 10.5 PPG, 4.9 RPG and 2.5 APG during that span. He should be needed in order to match up with the Knicks lengthy front court, as both Porzingis and the aforementioned Kyle O'Quinn could give Boston trouble on the boards, so feel free to roll with Amir as a true punt play.