This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
FanDuel's five-game Christmas Day slate starts early at 12:00 p.m. ET, so if you miss that tip-off, there is still a three-game slate available for the later games. We will cover all five, but we will hit targets that will be useful for the later slates.
NYK (-6.5) vs. ATL O/U: 210
MIL (-7) vs. BOS O/U: 221.5
PHO (-6.5) vs. GSW O/U: 215.5
LAL (-1.5) vs. BKN O/U: 224.5
UTA (-12.5) vs. DAL O/U: 215
A stars-and-scrubs approach is easy to recommend due to the tendency for big names to smash in the traditional nationally-televised holiday slate. Next to the playoffs, it's probably the NBA's most visible night, and if the big names are available, they'll want to put on a show. Luckily, the myriad COVID absences provide enough value to make room for 2-3 elite players.
ATL Trae Young (COVID-19 Protocols) - OUT
ATL Cam Reddish (ankle) - PROBABLE
ATL Kevin Huerter (COVID-19 Protocols) - OUT
ATL Delon Wright (ankle) - PROBABLE
ATL Danilo Gallinari (COVID-19 Protocols) - OUT
ATL Onyeka Okongwu (COVID-19 Protocols) - OUT
Although Reddish's numbers decreased by half after a standout game in Young's absence, he'll be a force to be reckoned with if he suits up. Okongwu's absence outs a ton of pressure on one individual that we'll highlight in a moment.
NYK Derrick Rose (ankle) - OUT
NYK RJ Barrett (conditioning) - QUESTIONABLE
NYK Immanuel Quickley (conditioning) - QUESTIONABLE
NYK Nerlens Noel (COVID-19 Protocols) - OUT
NYK Miles McBride (COVID-19 Protocols) - OUT
Reports indicate Barrett will be back, but Qickley will likely be a scratch Saturday. Barett's return is great news for the Knicks. While Kemba Walker ($6,600) turned things up in Barrett's absence, he might not be as worthwhile at the guard position, but he's less expensive than Alec Burks ($5,600), who should continue to produce. Mitchell Robinson ($5,700) will continue to hold down the fort inside for New York and could enjoy a productive day without Capela to pester him.
BOS Al Horford (COVID-19 Protocols) - OUT
BOS Marcus Smart (hip) - QUESTIONABLE
BOS Enes Freedom(COVID-19 Protocols) - OUT
BOS Josh Richardson (COVID-19 Protocols) - OUT
BOS Romeo Langford (Achilles) - QUESTIONABLE
If Horford is clear to play, he'll play a significant role inside with Freedom out, but Robert Williams ($5,600) would once again play a substantial role if Horford can't go. If Smart misses, Dennis Schroder ($5,700) would likely start and see the biggest boost in production.
MIL Giannis Antetokounmpo (COVID-19 Protocols) - QUESTIONABLE
Giannis has cleared protocols, and despite some expected conditioning work, it would seem likely for him to give it a go in a high-profile Christmas game. Jordan Nwora ($6,500) and DeMarcus Cousins ($6,000) would step up if Giannis sits.
GSW Andrew Wiggins (COVID-19 Protocols) - OUT
GSW Jordan Poole (COVID-19 Protocols) - OUT
GSW Damion Lee (COVID-19 Protocols) - OUT
GSW Andre Iguodala (knee) - QUESTIONABLE
Otto Porter ($4,500) appears to be the most consistent budget pivot in this injury scenario.
MIL Kevin Durant (COVID-19 Protocols) - OUT
MIL LaMarcus Aldridge (COVID-19 Protocols) - OUT
MIL Kessler Edwards (COVID-19 Protocols) - OUT
MIL Cam Thomas (COVID-19 Protocols) - OUT
MIL David Duke (COVID-19 Protocols) - OUT
Since Brooklyn missed a game in the current injury situation, it's hard to say who will benefit as a pivot, but Nicolas Claxton ($5,900) and Bruce Brown ($4,100) will almost certainly start and have an impact.
LAL Anthony Davis (knee) - OUT
As the Lakers learn to live without Davis for a while, Dwight Howard ($4,500) is still the top pivot, but Carmelo Anthony ($5,500) will also pitch in. The Lakers are giving Isaiah Thomas ($5,000) minutes, but I'd wait for more solid numbers before rostering him.
DAL Luka Doncic (COVID-19 Protocols) - OUT
DAL Kristaps Porzingis (toe) - QUESTIONABLE
DAL Tim Hardaway (COVID-19 Protocols) - OUT
DAL Maxi Kleber (COVID-19 Protocols) - OUT
DAL Trey Burke (COVID-19 Protocols) - OUT
DAL Randy Bullock (COVID-19 Protocols) - OUTj\\
The big names tend to shine on Christmas Day, so I'm keen to give LeBron James ($10,900), Stephen Curry ($10,000) and James Harden ($10,200) an extra boost on this slate. Giannis Antetokounmpo ($10,800) could also be in play depending on how his warmup goes. Rudy Gobert ($9,200) has an excellent double-double opportunity against the Mavericks, but Julius Randle ($8,700) might carry the best salary with dual eligibility against the depleted Hawks.
Due to the slate size, we will move down a little further in this section. John Collins ($8,500), Donovan Mitchell ($8,400) and Chris Paul ($8,100) are all poised to shine in the prime-time network limelight
EXPECTED CHALK AND VALUE PLAYS
We will combine these two sections due to the size of the slate. When considering budget plays in your lineup construction, keep the injury pivots in mind.
Devin Booker, PHO ($7,600) vs. GSW
This potential Western Conference Final preview is my favorite game on the slate. While I like every starter for Phoenix tonight, Booker gets a special mention at a salary that you have to consider a bargain. Since his return to action, he's averaged 23.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 6.3 assists.
Jalen Brunson, DAL ($7,400) @ UTA
Brunson's salary is getting up there, but he'll be very valuable as Doncic's replacement and will carry even more value if Porzingis fails to make the floor. Runson has averaged 20.2 points. 7.5 assists and 3.7 rebounds during Doncic's six-game absence.
Cameron Johnson, PHO ($5,400) vs. GSW
I've already rendered glowing reviews for the Suns starters, but I would be remiss in leaving out Johnsonson's stellar contribution off the bench in the past couple of weeks. While the slashing sharpshooter depends on his three-pointers for fantasy relevancy, his secondary numbers haven't been bad at all. You can expect him to have an easy time against a Golden State defense that depends on Draymond Green far too much. Green will likely have his hands full trying to contain Paul, Booker and Deandre Ayton, making Johnson the forgotten man at the wing, where he can get hot from long range.
Jordan Clarkson, UTA ($5,000) vs. DAL
It could be a long night for the Mavericks, as the Jazz are fully healthy and have talent advantages all over their roster. The injury-riddled Mavs will also wither once they run their second unit out, and they'll meet one of the best sixth-men you can find in Clarkson, who can take over a game when it's his turn. He'll also make an extended appearance in garbage time if the game gets out of hand, which is certainly a possibility if Porzingiis doesn't suit up.
DeAndre' Bembry, BKN ($4,300) @ LAL
Bembry could be in for a heavy load against the Lakers, as the team will need a dependable pivot for Durant. Bembry is the most sensible fit there, and although Nicolas Claxton and Blake Griffin will lend a helping hand, Bembryhas a better size/speed mix and can better mimic Brooklyn's usual scheme. He also has dual eligibility at PF and C.
Skylar Mays, ATL /($3,500) @ NYK
Even though Cam Reddish should be back tonight, Mays could still see more play before he's forced back to the G-League. He's performed very well during Atlanta's numerous absences, and it's highly unlikely that they'll ship him back to the G-League on a holiday. It's a business, but that would be Scrooge-level harsh.