What’s up guys. Alex here, and I am back with my DraftKings NBA picks for December 29th, 2017. Friday night’s slate is a full slate with nine 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: James Harden: (11,600) Rockets starting PG Chris Paul (leg) is listed as questionable, but if I were to guess, I think CP3 sits out his fourth consecutive game tonight. The Rockets have lost all three of these games without Paul, but Harden has been a fantasy monster, averaging 64 DK points, while posting a high 41.4% usage rate and 58.2% assist percentage, resulting in an excellent 1.6 DK points per minute. Rockets Head Coach Mike D’Antoni has been using a tighter rotation and Harden has been averaging 40 minutes a night in this recent stretch without Paul. Tonight, he should see around 40 minutes once again in this road matchup vs The Wizards, which is the best game of the night to target, with its small spread of 1.5 points and slate high O/U game total of 220.5 points.
The Rockets suffered a heartbreaking loss last night to The Celtics, but assuming Paul is out, Harden should still top 60 DK points going against this Wizards defense that has allowed their last six opponents to score over 100 points. (2.93 opponent +/-) This game is one of the first of the night to tip off at 7:00 PM EST, so we should have word about Paul before lock. If he is out, Harden is the stud you want to build around, but if he is somehow in, I would pivot over to Russell Westbrook, who has a tough matchup vs The Bucks (0.3 opponent +/-), but his usage should be even higher than usual, with SF Paul George out with a knee injury. (team high 7.5% usage increase in all the minutes he has played with George off the floor this season) UPDATE: Paul will be active. Westbrook is now the stud I want to pay up for.
PG/SG: Jordan Clarkson: (6,400) Until Clarkson’s price jumps over $7,000, he is a value that needs to be take advantage of until starting PG Lonzo Ball (shoulder) returns. As The Lakers’ starting PG, he is posting a 26.6% usage rate, a 20.5% assist percentage, and is averaging 38 DK points in 36.5 minutes per game. Tonight, he will be playing down in pace vs The Clippers (2.6 possession decrease), but his individual matchup is a positive one, as The Clippers are still struggling to defend PGs with Patrick Beverly (knee) out. (2.94 opponent +/-)
Clarkson is already averaging 30.5 DK points in his first two meetings vs The Clippers this season. He did all of this in only an average of 24 minutes and tonight he should log roughly 35 minutes and score 35+ DK points with very nice upside vs this Clippers’ defense. There are usually always blowout concerns with this Laker team, but this game is expected to stay competitive throughout, with The Clippers only favored 2.5 points. The price is slowly adjusting to where it should be, but at $6,400, Clarkson is still an elite value that should be locked into your lineups on Friday night.
SG/SF: Lance Stephenson: (5,600) With SG Victor Oladipo (knee) out, Stephenson drew the start, and lived up to his nickname “born ready”, dropping 16 points, 15 rebounds, five assists, and two steals in 36 minutes of action vs The Mavs. (46.25 DK points) He is now averaging 38 DK points and 36.1 minutes in the two full games Oladipo has missed this season, while leading this team with a large 18.1 DK point differential. With Oladipo already confirmed out, Stephenson will remain a starter tonight in a decent matchup vs The Bulls. (1.73 opponent +/-)
Even though DraftKings has quickly increased his price $1,300, he is still extremely underpriced at only $5,600. In this situation with Oladipo out, Stephenson realistically should be priced over $7,000. He is averaging 1.04 DK points per minute in the two full games Oladpio sat this year and with a projection of 35 minutes, Stephenson should score 30+ DK points with 40-45 DK point upside if he can tally another double double. Yes, he will be the chalk tonight (31-35% projected ownership via Fantasy Labs), but his combination of safety and upside is just too good to ignore at this price.
PF/C: Marquese Chriss: (3,600) Chriss will never be a safe play, but his minutes have been trending up, with him playing at least 25 minutes in three of his last four games. Even when you include his 5.75 DK point game in a tough matchup vs The Grizzlies last Thursday, Chriss is still averaging a solid 20 DK points in his last four games.
He is scoring 0.83 DK points per minute this season and assuming he plays 25+ minutes again, Chriss should score over 20 DK points going against The Kings who have allowed the fourth most DK points to PFs this year. (2.62 opponent +/-) Its painful to say because he has such a low floor if he gets in foul trouble, but at only $3,600, Chriss is a viable punt play if you need the salary cap relief to get in multiple studs.
Also Consider: Steven Adams (30+ DK points three of his last four games and the matchup is outstanding vs The Bucks who are a 7.41 opponent +/-), Alex Abrines (22.5 DK points in the two games George missed this year. He should start and play close to 35 minutes), Darren Collison (averaging 31 DK points in the two full games without Oladipo this year), Andre Roberson (23.5 DK points in the games without George), Otto Porter Jr. (31.4 DK points per game over his last three games), George Hill, Carmelo Anthony (35 DK points in the two games George sat), Brandon Ingram (was supposed to be limited last game, but played 44 minutes and scored 37.5 DK points. He is clearly back to full strength and his usage should be up again with Lopez and Ball out. 27.4% usage last game), Ersan Ilyasova (33.75 DK points and 32 minutes over his last three games), and Wayne Ellington (price is up, but there is upside with Waiters still out).