NBA December 14th Starting Five

The NBA season has been here, but today it is now December which means it's CHRISTMAS TIME! We have such an exciting season up ahead and plenty of opportunities to win some money! There are four key things I look for in a player to have the highest probability of being optimal!
1. Price
2. Opponent DvP
3. Recent Minutes/Rotation Time
4. Usage Rate
These four statistics paired together are the best suitors to find a gem. Almost everyone I mention below hits on atleast 2 of these if not all of them! Hopefully this will help you be more successful while building lineups and give you a higher chance of winning the big bucks!
I would also like to note that I write these articles early in the day. It is always beneficial to check @FantasyLabsNBA for lineup changes. Those changes could have a direct effect on some of my "favorite plays" in the sense that if a cheap guy that was one of my favorites doesn't start, then they might no longer be a favorite play or even a play at all. Check out my Twitter @HeatingUpDFS for any updates on favorite play changes!
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PG: Stephen Curry

I am going to go here one more time and I think it is purely on the merit that he should break the 3 PT record tonight. He only needs 2 more 3's, is playing at Madison Square Garden in NYC and should be ready to shine under the spotlight. Just given how small the slate is, you really have to just take stances and roll with it and that is where I am at with Steph. He has been pretty cold lately, but no better time to break out of a slump then against the Knicks. I think the other reason I like him a lot is that the other two expensive PGs you could go to, Dame and Harden, will be matched up with Chris Paul and FVV respectively who are solid on ball defenders. I honestly don't hate the idea of spending down at guard and going with some of the mid and low options below. Either way, if you are a narrative person I would probably role out Steph just for the significance of the occasion.
High: Fred VanVleet ($8,900)
Mid: Alec Burks ($6,300)
Low: Cameron Thomas ($4,000)

SG: Anfernee Simons ($5,600)

SG is kind of a wasteland if you don't go FVV (who I still really like), so I think paying down is the best option. With McCollum still out, Anfernee will be asked to play sizeable minutes and is just playing good ball right now. He has scored 29+ in all 4 of the last games that he hasn't gotten injured in and is coming off of a 34 DK point performance last game. Portland is the only team on the slate who didn't play last night so they should have fresher legs. I think if there is one spot that PHX has been a bit weak at it is against SG's with no Booker, so Simons should have no efficiency issues. He just seems like a safe play tonight and has the ceiling as well to go with it.
High: N/A
Mid: Gary Trent Jr. ($5,900) or Jordan Poole ($5,800)
Low: Derrick Rose ($5,000) or Ben McLemore ($3,300)

SF: Cameron Johnson ($4,400)

$4,400 for a guy that has hit 27+ DK points in 5 of the last 6 games and is playing 30+ minutes is just a steal. He is just rolling right now without Booker and I see no reason they reduce his minutes or anything like that. He has been crucial to their success over the last month or so and I doubt the wheels come off now. This is the only game on the slate where both teams have a PACE over 100 and Portland has been a bottom 10 SF DvP team over the last two weeks. Like I always say, take what the slate gives you and Johnson is one of those guys today.
High: Scottie Barnes ($7,400)
Mid: N/A
Low: Kevin Knox ($3,600)

PF: Pascal Siakam ($8,300)

Siakam gets to get his shot against the 3rd worst PF DvP team over the last two weeks and the Nets. They just can't seem to find out how to defend bigs dating back the past few years and Siakam when on his game can put up massive points. He has been a slumping a bit lately which hopefully will bring the ownership down as there are a lot of pay up options tonight. He has still had a pretty safe floor, scoring 35+ DK points in each of the last 6 games. This is more of a gut feeling play that I think pays off and could be the difference maker on a smaller slate.
High: Julius Randle ($9,200)
Mid: Chris Boucher ($4,800)
Low: Larry Nance ($4,300) or Robert Covington ($3,400)

C: JaVale McGee ($4,200)**

Clearly if Ayton does end up playing then don't run with McGee, but if Ayton is out then McGee is a stone cold lock. He has scored 31 and 49 DK points in the last two games of Ayton's absence and their is no reason to believe that really changes unless maybe Jalen Smith plays or something. He would be incredibly chalky in that event, but that is the 10 PM game so news of Ayton playing not be out by lock and with the other 2 games starting at 7:30 people might be scared to even play McGee. Just keep an eye on the news and if you do run McGee after lock, make sure to have a contingency plan to swap to either Ayton or Nurkic or another option if McGee is your UTIL.
High: N/A
Mid: Jusuf Nurkic ($7,300)
Low: Kevin Looney ($3,200)


11:08 AM EST - Aldridge, James Johnson, Jevon Carter and Bembry are all out for COVID protocols. That opens up Nic Claxton ($3,100), Patty Mills ($5,400), and Bruce Brown ($4,300) to be in serious consideration for big minutes. Claxton probably is the best value on the slate now, but all of BKN should get a ton of minutes.

1:51 PM EST - Otto Porter is out. Doesn't change much other than maybe Wiggins and Draymond getting an extra minute or two. With Iggy back he could actually see a decent number of minutes as a result, but probably won't be necessary.
Thanks for reading, best of luck, and I hope you enjoy the holidays!
Heating Up DFS