What’s up guys. Alex here, and I am back with my DraftKings NBA picks for December 30th, 2017. Saturday night’s slate is a solid slate with seven 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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SF/PF: LeBron James: (11,500) LeBron ruined my Christmas having an awful game vs The Warriors (34 DK points), but he bounced back nicely on Wednesday night, dropping 62 DK points on The Kings. James has now scored 60+ DK points in ten of his last 11 games. His matchup tonight is ugly vs The Jazz (0.34 opponent +/-), but we are talking about LeBron James here, coming off three days of rest and playing on his birthday. Over the last two seasons, when James has received three or more days of rest, he is exceeding his DraftKings projected score by 4.55 points. Also, you could say the matchup makes you not want to roster James, but he has already showed us this season that this defense is no threat to him, with him dropping 62.3 DK points on them earlier this month.
They will still be without starting center Rudy Gobert (knee), who is their best defender and defensive back bone. Having not played since Wednesday and no game tomorrow, James should log close to 40 minutes in this road matchup that has a small spread of only 3.5 points. He is scoring 1.44 DK points per minute in the month of December and he should top 60 DK point again tonight, making him the best high end target of the night. I doubt he will have a bad game on his birthday and with a good amount of cheap values to attack with potential for more to open up, James looks like a very safe target that makes plenty of sense with the lack of appealing studs available.
PF/C: Richaun Holmes: (4,200) As usual, Holmes is the Sixers’ big man we want to target with starting center Joel Embiid being rested on Saturday night. He had a couple down games earlier in the season when Embiid sat, but over his last five games without the star center, Holmes is averaging 25 DK points and 24 minutes. He has always been a productive fantasy player (1.04 DKPPM) and with 25-30 minutes off the bench, Holmes should meet five times value even in this tougher matchup vs The Nuggets. (0.08 opponent +/-)
The last time Embiid sat, last week, Holmes was priced at a higher $4,600. In that game he put up 30.25 DK points in 27 minutes vs The Raptors, and at only $4,200, Holmes stands out as one of the strongest point per dollar plays of the night and can be used in all formats.
PG: Ish Smith: (5,500) In his first start with PG Reggie Jackson (ankle) out, Smith, to no surprise, played very well, scoring 18 points, seven rebounds, five assists, while also chipping in with a steal and a block in 32 minutes vs The Magic. (37.75 DK points) Jackson is still out, so Smith will start again tonight vs The Spurs. Overall, this is a tough matchup, as The Spurs are the fifth best rated defense in the league, but they are actually rating as a solid matchup for PGs right now, at a 2.21 opponent +/-.
He is averaging 0.93 DK points per minute this year and with 30+ minutes, Smith should once again smash value even at a new higher salary. Obviously, he will be a very popular option (31-35% projected ownership via Fantasy Labs), but the value he presents too good to ignore and he is a primary play for me on Saturday night.
PG: T.J. McConnell: (4,200) After having his minutes watched since returning from a shoulder injury, McConnell has now played 29 and 33 minutes in his last two games. He has produced a nice 30.75 DK points per game, while seeing a 16% usage rate and a team high 27% assist percentage, leading him to scoring 0.93 DK points per minute during these two contests. Tonight, The Sixers will be resting center Joel Embiid and SF Robert Covington (finger) may be out and McConnell should see around 30 minutes again off the bench.
This is a nice matchup for The Sixer PG going against The Nuggets who have given up the 5th most DK points to PGs this season, while currently sitting at an opponent +/- of 2.98 points. He is underpriced right now and I am expecting 20-25 DK points from him in this spot, especially when you considered he is averaging 26.1 DK points in the last five games he has logged at least 25 minutes. I wish he was SG eligible, but he is still a great play for this slate who could possibly get lost in the shuffle.
Also Consider: Dario Saric (35 DK points in the eight games without Embiid. Is a strong play in all formats), Timothe Luwawu (if Covington is out he would likely start), Tyler Johnnson (Waiters, Johnson, and Winslow all still out), Kelly Olynyk (if Whiteside was rested on this back to back he would have to be considered), Dennis Schroder (Portland is a good defensive team, but $6,700 is just too cheap for Schroder), Jamal Murray (Finally getting starting PG like minutes with him averaging 37.25 DK points and 34.13 regulation minutes over his last three games), Reggie Bullock, Wilson Chandler, Trey Lyles (over 25 DK points in six of his last seven games), Evan Fournier (wasn’t limited in his return and scored 32.25 DK points in 32 minutes last game), Derrick Favors (29 DK points over his last four and this matchup vs The Cavs is an opponent +/- 3.98 points), Shabazz Napier (would become a core play if Lillard was ruled out. 36.1 DK points in this past three without Dame), and Ersan Ilyasova (nice GPP target after a down game last game. Minutes are still up and he scored 30+ DK points in the three games before the last one).