Fantasy Hoops: 12 Things To Note On Christmas Day (And Beyond)

The joys of Christmas day are heightened for NBA fans, as we get a full slate of highly anticipated matchups (in addition to the return of Game of Zones).

Hoops Rumors hopes that everyone has a great day and we’re here to help those of you invested in fantasy basketball matchups. Here’s a 12-pack of stats and notes to help you dominate in the fantasy basketball realm:

  1. No player has more points per game so far this month than Rockets star James Harden (34.2), though he’s heading toward a Christmas Day challenge against the Thunder, a team that has been the stingiest in terms of scoring by opposing point guards over their last 10 games.
  2. Knicks point guard Emmanuel Mudiay has been a great comeback story but beware of high expectations on Christmas day. Only the Pacers have allowed fewer fantasy points to the point guard position than the Bucks have over the past month.
  3. Paul George has been the most valuable fantasy player over the past 15 days, according to ESPN’s Player Rater. Over that stretch, the Thunder forward added positive value in all nine traditional categories.
  4. Thunder guard Russell Westbrook is making just 42.7% of his looks this season, including 24.3% of his shots from behind the arc. The lack of efficiency has always been the tax roto owners pay to get the elite production elsewhere but it’s been particularly cumbersome this season. His scoring is down roughly 20% since last year and his free throw shooting (5.4 attempts per game) is at a career-low 60.5%.
  5. Brandon Ingram returned from an ankle injury over the weekend and he gets a favorable matchup on Christmas Day. The former No. 2 over pick has spent approximately 60% of his minutes at shooting guard this season, per Basketball Reference’s position estimates, and the Warriors are allowing the 5th most points to the position over the past two weeks. Ingram, who has scored 19.0 points per game for the Lakers since returning from injury, is a nice daily fantasy option for Christmas day.
  6. Buddy Hield is on fire. Over the past four games, The Kings sharpshooter has made half of his 48 3-point attempts and he’s shooting 47.5% from the field. Only seven players are averaging more points per game over that stretch than Hield’s 28.5.
  7. Al Horford returned to the court over the weekend, playing 19 minutes for the Celtics. He’ll continue to be on a minutes-restriction going forward. Robert Williams is an intriguing option with Aron Baynes out for the foreseeable future, though Horford’s return puts a damper on the rookie’s fantasy potential.
  8. The Heat are ailing, but Justise Winslow has stepped up as a playmaker for the team. He scored 22 points against the Magic on Sunday, adding five assists, six rebounds and four steals in 31 minutes of action. He and Tyler Johnson are both trending upward, though there is a high cannibalization risk here.
  9. Pacers big man Myles Turner continues to dominate in the paint. The center grabbed 17 rebounds against the Wizards on Sunday. So far in December, he’s brought in at least 10 rebounds on eight occasions. He ranks 6th on ESPN’s Player Rater over the past 15 days.
  10. Bradley Beal became just the second player in Wizards history to record a 40-point triple double over the weekend (Chris Webber was the first). Beal has been an outstanding fantasy option over the last month, as only seven players have a higher player rating than Beal over the past 30 days.
  11. The Cavaliers moved Larry Nance Jr. into the starting lineup last week and he’s thrived in the four games since that move. He’s averaging 15.3 points, 12.3 rebounds, and 2.3 steals per game since the promotion to the starting five and he needs to be owned in 100% of leagues.
  12. I’m not sure we are talking about Rudy Gay enough. The Spurs swingman is making a career-high 53.3% of his looks and is an all-around contributor in both points and roto leagues. In addition to his FG%, he’s at a career-high in rebounds (9.0) and 3-pointers made (1.6). He has crept into the top 20 in ESPN’s Player Rater over the past 15 days.

Fantasy questions? Take to the comment section below or tweet me at @CW_Crouse.

Missed an earlier edition of Fantasy Hoops? Check out the entire series here.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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