What’s going on everyone. Alex here, and I am back with my DraftKings NBA picks for April 1st, 2017. Saturday’s main slate is a smaller four game slate. From now on I will be including an expensive player I like with my sleeper/value picks. Be sure to follow all the injury news up until the 5:00 PM EST lock tonight, to see if any new injury news comes up. As always if any of these picks help you win or if you need any advice, let me know on Twitter. @Hunta512.
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PG: Damian Lillard: (9,600) Lillard has been a man on a mission trying to keep The Blazers in The Playoffs, averaging 50.5 DK points over his last nine games. The Blazers are currently #8 seed in The West, with only a two game lead over The Nuggets, so every game is significant for Lillard and The Blazers the rest of the season. He will most likely have to take on an even bigger role in this offense for the next few weeks, with starting center Jusuf Nurkic out with a fractured fibula. The Blazers just acquired Nurkic at The Trade Deadline, but in the 135 minutes Lillard has been on the floor without the big man, he has taken on a huge role, posting a ridiculous 41.2% usage rate, which is an 8.1% increase from his average this season, and is scoring 54.79 DK points per 36 minutes.
Tonight, the matchup is outstanding for him, taking on The Suns who have allowed the 3rd most DK points to opposing PGs this season, with a high current opponent +/- of 2.89 points. The one worry is that this game will become a blowout with The Blazers at home favored by 11 points. But either way, with this game still very important for The Blazers (116.5 implied team total), I think we see Lillard log 30-35 minutes and score around 50 DK points tonight. With the type of usage, he should see without Nurkic, he is a hard player to ignore, and is the stud I will be pursuing in all formats on Saturday night.
PF/C: Meyers Leonard: (3,000) Another Blazer, who should benefit fantasy wise without Nurkic, is Meyers Leonard. There is no official word, but Leonard should draw the start tonight in place of Nurkic, with him being the only true center left on this team. He isn’t the best fantasy option, averaging 0.76 DK points per minute this season, but with this team so shorthanded in the front court, he should have to play close to 30 minutes tonight.
This is a great matchup vs The Suns, who have struggled mightily defending centers ever since Tyson Chandler was shut down for the season, currently presenting an opponent +/- of 2.84 points. Assuming he is the starter, he should play 25-30 minutes and easily hit value, with 25 DK point upside in this matchup. There is no doubt he will be a very high owned player tonight, but at his bare minimum $3,000 price tag, he is a tough player to fade for this small four game slate.
SF: Terrence Ross: (5,100) Outside of two games where The Magic were blown out, Ross has been playing very high minutes, averaging 36.3 regulation minutes, with backup SF Jeff Green out. (back) Even when you included the two lop sided games out of the last five without Green, Ross has been playing great, averaging 29.5 DK points a night. He couldn’t ask to be in a better position to keep this run going tonight, taking on The Nets, who have given the 5th most DK points to SFs, with an opponent +/- of 3.84 points, which is the best matchup for any SF in this slate, based on opponent +/-.
With Green already confirmed out, Ross should play right around 35 minutes, in this game that is expected to be a high scoring and competitive matchup, with its small three point spread and O/U game total of 221.5 points. His price has slowly been on the rise, but he is still underpriced at $5,100 and is a solid mid-tier target tonight that has a nice combination of safety and upside in this gorgeous matchup.
PF: Skal Labissiere: (4,500) Labissiere didn’t explode last night, but he was still very productive in the start, putting up 23 DK points vs The Pelicans. The rookie out of Kentucky has been playing heavy minutes the last two games with Kosta Koufos out (rest), averaging 34.5 minutes over these past two games. As of right now we don’t have any official word about Koufos, but I think we see him sit out another game, with The Kings in tank mode as the season winds down.
His matchup isn’t ideal going against The Wolves, who have a -1.59 point current opponent +/-, but with this high of playing time, he should still reach value, with him averaging 0.99 DK points per minute this season. Now, this is definitely a situation that needs to be followed right up into roster lock to see if Koufos will be out again, but even if we don’t know with this game tipping off three hours after the 5:00 PM EST lock, I think Labissiere is still worth a risk at his cheap $4,500 price.
Also Consider: Noah Vonleh, Al-Farouq Aminu, Nikola Mirotic, Ben McLemore (better if Affalo or Lawson are still out), Aaron Gordon, Darren Collison, Kriss Dunn, Evan Fournier, Denzel Valentine, Buddy Hield, and George Papagiannis (if Koufos is out).