What’s up everybody. Alex here, and I am back with my DraftKings NBA picks for April 8th, 2017. Saturday night’s slate is a smaller slate with only five games to attack. Be sure to follow all the injury news up until the 7:00 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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C: Hassan Whiteside: (7,700) If The Heat want to keep their playoff hopes alive, they need to pick up a win tonight vs The Wizards. With only three games left, The Heat are currently trailing The Pacers by only one game for the eight seed in The Eastern Conference. Every game remaining is crucial, and if he can stay out of foul trouble, Whiteside should dominate this Wizards defense, that has struggled defending centers recently, with a high current opponent +/- of 3.4 points. Whiteside has taken full advantage of great matchups like this all season, averaging 45.39 DK points in the 32 games he has faced an opponent +/- of at least 2.0 points.
He also has already played very well against this Wizards team this year, averaging 47 DK points in his first two games vs The Wizards this season. This game is also very important for The Wizards, who are only a half-game behind The Raptors for the three seed. Out of the five games being played tonight, this is arguably the best one to target in DFS, with its slate high O/U game total of 216.5 points, and its tight spread of only four points. In this very competitive matchup, Whiteside should play 30-35 minutes, barring any foul trouble, and score 40+ DK points with upside. His price has decreased $200 since his last game, and at $7,700, Whiteside is a terrific play in both cash games and GPPs on Saturday night.
C: Alexis Ajinca: (3,000) Ajinca is expected to start at center tonight for The Pelicans, with both Anthony Davis (rest) and DeMarcus Cousins (Achilles) already ruled out. Last night with Cousins out and Davis only playing 24 minutes, Ajinca was effective with some extra playing time, scoring 15 points to go along with seven rebounds, a block, and a steal in 28 minutes off the bench vs The Nuggets. (27.25 DK points) Ajinca isn’t the basketball player, but he usually produces solid numbers when he plays, averaging 0.9 DK points per minute over the last two seasons.
SG E’Twaun Moore will also sit out tonight (ankle), and when all three of these players have been off the floor this season, Ajinca is scoring 32.28 DK points per 36 minutes of action. He is the only true center The Pelicans will have healthy tonight, and in a starting role, he should play 25-30 minutes even if this game becomes very one side. (-18.5 Warriors) Even in this difficult matchup vs The Warriors (-0.26 current opponent +/-), he should still put up 20+ DK points, and is one of the best overall values of this five game slate at his minimum price.
PF: Al-Farouq Aminu: (5,400) Aminu has been huge for The Blazers, ever since center Jusuf Nurkic went down (leg), averaging 30.75 DK points over his last four games. The Blazers are in do or die mode right now, hanging on to the eight seed in The West, and they have needed Aminu to play higher minutes, with him playing 33 minutes a game during this stretch, which is a nice jump from the 28.5 minutes he was averaging before Nurkic got hurt.
His matchup tonight couldn’t get much worse vs The Jazz (3rd vs PFs), but with 30-35 minutes, he still has a chance of returning five times value, when considering the 0.93 DK points per minute he has been scoring with Nurkic sidelined. This matchup somewhat limits his upside, but with the amount of playing time he should see in this important game, he is a viable option, if you prefer to target players who still have something to play for.
SG: Jordan Crawford: (4,100) Another Pelican who should see a boost with Cousins, Davis, and Moore all out is Jordan Crawford. He always sees a high usage rate, but in the minutes he has played with these three players off the floor, he has seen an even higher rate of 26.6%, which is a 1.3% increase from his average since joining The Pelicans. Last night with Cousins out and Davis not playing his normal minutes, Crawford had an impressive game, scoring 26.75 DK points in 30 minutes vs The Nuggets.
Some younger Pelican players should see some action tonight, but overall The Pelicans should use a tighter rotation, which should push Crawford close to 30 minutes again. His matchup doesn’t rate well right now, with The Warriors having a -0.89 current opponent +/-, but overall for the year they have struggled vs SGs, allowing the second most DK points to the position this season. There is definitely some risk in rostering a bench player on a team that has nothing to play for, but with the kind of usage and minutes I am expecting, he is a hard player not to consider tonight at his cheap $4,100 salary.
Also Consider: Andre Iguodala, Solomon Hill, Donatas Motiejunas, Noah Vonleh, J.J. Redick, Tyler Johnson, Evan Turner, Jason Smith (if Markieff Morris out), Cheick Diallo, Shaun Livingston (if he starts for Curry), Ian Clark, Richaun Holmes, and Pau Gasol.