Welcome back guys. Alex here, and I am back with my DraftKings NBA picks for December 20th, 2017. Tonight we get a full slate with 12 games on tap. Be sure to follow all of the injury news tonight, all the way up until the 7:00PM EST lock, 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/SG: Lou Williams: (7,600) Williams seems to be okay after missing Monday’s game with a foot injury, as he has already been listed as probable for tonight’s tilt vs The Suns. He is returning at the perfect time, as this is an outstanding matchup vs The Suns, who are the third fastest team in The NBA vs The Clippers who are the 16th. Not only does he benefit from the pace factor, but this Suns team is horrible defensively (5.71 opponent +/-), and they should be even weaker as The Suns most likely will be without center Tyson Chandler, as The Suns like to rest Chandler after giving him consecutive starts. PG Austin Rivers (head) is back for The Clippers, but they will still be without PF Blake Griffin (knee), PG Patrick Beverly (knee), SF Danilo Gallinari (hip), and SF Wesley Johnson (foot), keeping Williams as the main offensive player.
There hasn’t been any full games Williams has played with these four out, because this is only going to be Johnson’s second missed game of the season, and Williams missed the last game with him out on Monday, but in all the minutes he has played with these specific players off the floor this year, he leads this offense by a wide margin with a 33.2% usage rate, and is scoring 41.27 DK points per 36 minutes. It doesn’t sound like he will be limited in anyway and I think Williams gets right back to his normal role of 35+ minutes a game. The Clippers have a high team total of 110 points, which is rather high for them, and I am expecting 40+ DK points from him in this spot. He is a fine spend in all formats that could possibly go slightly under the radar after he sat out Monday’s contest. (13-16% projected ownership via Fantasy Labs)
PF/C: Jordan Mickey: (3,700) In these last two games with Center Hassan Whiteside (knee), PF James Johnson (ankle), and SF Justice Winslow (knee) all essentially gone from this Heat front court due to injury (Johnson played six minutes vs The Clippers before exiting), Mickey has been very effective as the team’s main back up big man. During this time he is averaging 26 DK points in an average of 25.5 minutes, which is an efficient 1.02 DK points per minute. He isn’t going be used much offensively (14% usage), but he is a solid rebounder, who also will chip in with defensive stats. The Heat will be very shorthanded once again tonight, with these three out again, along with PG Goran Dragic expected to miss his second straight game with an elbow injury.
The Heat are expected to only have ten healthy players and Mickey should see 25-30 minutes off the bench vs his former team, The Celtics, who are currently rating as an opponent +/- of 1.35 points for back up centers. This is plenty of time for him to easily return five to six times value, with 30 DK point upside if he can tally a double double. He is an extremely strong value play that can be used confidently in all formats.
PG/SG: Tyler Johnson: (4,900) Dragic is expected to be out again tonight, which should keep Johnson as The Heats’ starting PG tonight vs The Celtics. In the same situation that we saw on Monday night (Whiteside, Dragic, Winslow, and Johnson all out), Johnson started and put up 27.75 DK points in 39.47 minutes of action. He should play very high minutes again tonight and in the time he has seen without these players this season, his usage increases 2.1% and he is scoring 31.2 DK points per 36 minutes. His matchup is also solid vs The Celtics, who have slipped as a defense over their last three games, as they are the 9th worst rated defense during this stretch, compared to being the top overall defense for the season. (2.6 opponent +/-)
In the 35-40 minutes I am projecting, Johnson should produce 25-35 DK points in this positive matchup. Johnson is currently rating as the better value, in terms of points per dollar, but SG Josh Richardson is also a strong play at a higher price of $5.900. In their last game, he exploded for 45 DK points in 40 minutes, while seeing a 25.7% usage rate. Both of these guards have a great chance of crushing value at their current price points and I don’t mind using both in the same lineup, which was a strategy that worked very well for me on Monday night.
PF/C: Greg Monroe: (4,500) The Suns like resting veteran center Tyson Chandler after he plays and starts two straight games and I am expecting Monroe to rejoin the starting five after resting the last two games, with Chandler being the one who will be rested. This is also the first game of a back to back set, giving The Suns even more of a reason to rest Chandler. In the last two games Monroe has started with Chandler out, he is averaging 35 DK points and 29 minutes. When you first look at his matchup, it looks like a tough one going against Clippers starting center Deandre Jordan, but Jordan hasn’t been any defensive stopper this season, with The Clippers allowing the third most DK points to centers this year and currently presenting a high opponent +/- of 6.35 points. He is averaging 1.13 DK points per minute this year and in this game that is expected to stay close (-5 LAC), Monroe should see roughly 30 minutes and score 25-30 DK points, which would be an excellent return at his soft price tag.
This game is one of last games of the night to tip off at 10:30 PM EST, so we might not have official word about Chandler being rested, but this has been the trend with these Suns’ centers recently, and with him not playing the last two games and with no injury listed, it would be very odd, in my opinion, if Monroe didn’t suit up and play tonight. He is an absolute steal at only $4,500 and is someone I will be gambling with on Wednesday night, even if we don’t have full clarity of the situation before lock. UPDATE: The Suns have confirmed that Chandler will start again tonight. I don’t understand this, but it hurts Monroe significantly because we don’t even know if he will play after the last two games. He is a GPP flier only at this point unless the news changes.
Also Consider: Josh Richardson (above), P.J. Tucker/Ryan Anderson (both viable with Capela out. Tucker should play 30+ with more minutes at the four and Anderson should mostly play center and could possibly start at the five depending on what The Lakers do without Lopez), Dion Waiters (Richardon and Johnson are better values, but Waiters is still a GPP target, as he is the one who should lead The Heat in usage), Kelly Olynyk (The 23.75 DK points was okay in his last game and even though his price went up, he should still be considered in this revenge game situation vs The Celtics), Austin Rivers, Josh Hart (should start for KCP), Julius Randle (score was slightly inflated due to overtime, but he was the primary big man after center Brook Lopez (ankle) went down, scoring 34.25 DK points in 31 minutes. Lopez will be out and I am expecting close to 30 minutes for Randle), Kyle Kumza (should start and his rates will be up without Lopez and KCP), Jordan Clarkson (usage will be up, but his minutes are always tough to predict, even with two key players out, keeping him as more of a GPP play), Brandon Ingram, Jonathon Simmons, Omri Casspi (if Draymond Green and Zaza Pachulia are out again. 34 DK points over these last three without these two and Curry who will still be out), Jordan Bell (if Green and Pachulia are out again), Derick Favors (will return tonight and should start with Gobert out. He is averaging 35 DK points in the 11 games he has played without Gobert this year. Furthermore, his usage should go up with Donavon Mitchell ruled out, as he is seeing a 3.7% usage bump with both Mitchell and Gobert off the court. Lastly, this could become a much easier matchup if Thunder starting center Steven Adams is out again due to a concussion), and Alec Burks/Rodney Hood (Hood sees a team high 5.5% usage bump without Mitchell and Gobert. Hood is the stronger play, but Burks should also have to play more with Mitchell’s minutes gone).