Welcome back everyone. Alex here, and I am back with my DraftKings NBA picks for December 28th, 2017. Tonight we get a small slate of only five games. Be sure to follow all of the injury news, all the way up until the 12:00 PM 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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SG: Jimmy Butler: (7,700) No matter the circumstance, Butler is in play at only $7,700, which is the cheapest he has been in over three weeks. Not only is the price extremely friendly, but Butler should see an expanded role tonight, with starting PG Jeff Teague all but ruled out for Thursday vs The Bucks, after being helped off the court late in last night’s win over The Nuggets with a knee injury. In all the time that he has played without Teague, Butler has seen the biggest usage bump on The Wolves, posting a 28% usage rate in those minutes, which is a 3.6% increase from his normal rate this season.
His minutes will be very high as always and with nearly 40 minutes of action in this game that has a small spread of 3.5 points, Butler should exceed five times value with 50 DK point upside, as he is averaging 1.05 DK points per minute with Teague off the floor and with this being a nice matchup at the moment. (3.14 opponent +/-) Even if Teague was in, the $300 price drop makes zero sense for how productive he has been and I don’t usually like calling anyone this, but I think Butler is a must play on Thursday night.
PG/SG: Tyus Jones: (3,400) Another player that must be attacked tonight with the Teague injury is Jones. He will be the player that starts at PG and in the four previous games Teague has missed this year, Jones has been very effective as a starter, averaging 34.38 DK points and 38.2 minutes.
He averaged 0.9 DK points per minute in these four contests and I am projecting him for at least 35 minutes tonight sans Teague, which is plenty of time for him to produce six to seven times value, even in this tougher matchup vs The Bucks, who have been strong at defending PGs this season. (-0.02 opponent +/-) Don’t over think this one, fire up Jones in all formats tonight.
PG/SG: Terry Rozier: (4,300) Rozier has been a tremendous spark off the bench for The Celtics the last two games, averaging 32 DK points in only 26 minutes per game. Last night with SF Jaylen Brown (knee), PF Marcus Morris (knee), and back up SF Semi Ojeleye (back) all out, Rozier scored 32.5 DK points in the win over The Hornets, on a 23.8% usage rate, which is one of the highest usage rates he has seen all season. Tonight, Morris will be available to play, but Brown and Ojeleye will still be out, which should keep Rozier at 25-30 minutes vs The Rockets, who also will be playing a ton of small ball lineups, with their starting center Clint Capela (face) out.
He has been shooting the ball at nearly 60% from the field in his past two games and he should benefit from playing against this Rockets squad that has been the third fastest team in the league and has allowed their opponents to drill 43.2% of their threes over their last three games. There will always be some risk in rostering a bench player, but Rozier at only $4,300 and looks like a value play that could really pay off given this situation and how he has been shooting the ball. I wouldn’t say he is a necessary play in cash games, but in GPPs, he is a fine target that gives you exposure to this game that has the highest total of the night (217 points), that may also go under owned. (5-8% projected ownership via Fantasy Labs)
PG: Ish Smith: (4,900) Just like with Jones, Smith is a value that needs to be locked into all your lineups tonight. The Pistons will be without starting PG Reggie Jackson (ankle) and starting SG Avery Bradley (groin), and Smith should start at PG and soak up a ton of usage and minutes. Pistons’ Head Coach Stan Van Gundy can be a difficult coach to predict with his rotations and minutes, but Smith is now, without question, the best ball handler left on this team and he should be forced to playing at least 30 minutes this evening.
Smith always produces when he sees a good amount of playing time and with the minutes I am expecting, he should meet five times value with nice upside going against a Magic defense that is horrible at defending PGs. (6.78 opponent +/-) Last season in the 30 games Smith played without Jackson, he averaged 27 DK points a game. Throw in Bradley also being out combined with this gorgeous matchup and Smith is one of the best values of this five game slate.
Also Consider: Bismack Biyombo (price has jumped up, but he is still in play with Vuc out. 27.5 DK points in 30 minutes last game), Reggie Bullock, Stanley Johnson, Andrew Wiggins (35 DK points in the four games without Teague this year), Courtney Lee (29.3 DK points over his last four games), Marcus Smart (better if he starts again), Eric Gordon (CP3 is out again, he is averaging 31 DK points in all the games Paul has missed this year), Trevor Ariza (it’s crazy, but Ariza has now topped 40 minutes in six straight games. Paul and Capela are out again and Ariza must be considered based of playing time alone), P.J. Tucker, Pau Gasol (has to regress soon, but he is on fire right now scoring 40+ DK points in three straight), Tobias Harris (sees a 3.2% usage bump and a team high 1.4 DK point differential without Bradley and Jackson), and J.J. Redick.