What’s going on everyone. Alex here, and I am back with my DraftKings NBA picks for December 8th, 2017. Friday night’s slate is a solid slate with eight 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: Kevin Durant: (10,700) As I expected, Durant exploded on Wednesday night, dropping 35 points, 11 rebounds, ten assists, and two blocks across 36 minutes in the win over The Hornets. (72.25 DK points) His rates were spectacular in this game, posting a 42.4% usage rate and a 55.6% assist percentage. Draymond Green returns tonight, but the ball should still be in Durant’s hands most of the time, with PG Steph Curry (ankle), center Zaza Pachulia (shoulder), and SF Patrick McCaw (nose) all remaining out. It’s hard to expect another triple double, but I think we see Durant top 60 DK points in this favorable matchup vs The Pistons, who have allowed the 2nd most DK points to SFs this season. (1.45 opponent +/-)
Just like on Wednesday, with all these injuries that The Warriors are dealing with, this is expected to be a much closer game than The Warriors are used to, with them only favored by 5.5 points. The Pistons are a good team this year and I really don’t see a blowout happening on their home floor. Durant will be relied on heavily again and should log 35-40 minutes in this contest. His price is slowly going up to where it should be, but right now, he is still underpriced for his expected role, and we need to keep attacking him before his price tag is out of reach.
SF/PF: Rudy Gay: (5,200) Gay has been getting the job done as the replacement starting SF with Kyle Anderson out (knee), averaging 36 DK points in 32.5 minutes over these last two games. His usage takes a small hit playing with the starters, but the increase in playing time alone, pushes Gay into play. He is averaging 1.07 DK points per minute with Anderson off the court and with 30-35 minutes, he should smash value at his $5,200 price tag that hasn’t moved at all since his 35.25 outing on Wednesday night.
The matchup is very ugly vs The Celtics who are the top rated defense in The NBA this year, but they have slightly slipped over their last three games, ranking as the 12th best defense during this time. Either way, Gay is a smart veteran player and there really isn’t any matchup that would hold me back from rostering him at this great price. He is one of the strongest values on the board and can be used with confidence in all formats.
SF/PF: Jakarr Sampson: (3,400) If the situation arises that we need to get both Durant and Demarcus Cousins in the same lineup like Wednesday night, we are going to need some viable punt plays to fill out the rest of our roster. Sampson, at only $3,4000 is exactly that. He barely played at all this season, but with center Willie Cauley-Stein out with a back injury these last two games, Sampson has played 25 and 33 minutes. The 33 minutes was in his first start of the season on Wednesday night, and he played very well with the extra playing time, putting up 28 DK points in the loss to The Cavs. The Kings elected to go with a smaller lineup with Zach Randolph at the five and Sampson at the four in this game.
They should do this again tonight vs The Pelicans, who will also run out a smaller player at PF, assuming Pelicans PF Anthony Davis (groin) is out once again like I am expecting. In this event, Sampson should be asked to play 30+ minutes in a starting role, in this nice matchup vs this Pelicans defense, that is currently a 2.9 opponent +/- for opposing starting PFs. By no means is he an exciting player, but he is scoring 0.76 DK points per minute this season, and with this amount of playing time, it’s hard not seeing him meeting five times value. Hopefully we know about AD before lock, and if he is out, Sampson should draw another start and would be a viable punt play for both cash games and GPPs. Update: Davis “on track to play”. This makes Sampson a risky play because there is a chance he doesn’t start now and that The Kings roll out two natural bigs to match up with AD and Cousins. But the thing about this is if AD is actually playing we don’t need to force Cousins in, making Sampson a somewhat unnecessary play.
SG: Gary Harris: (6,400) Harris’s price has hit it’s season peak, but he is still one of the best overall values of Friday night’s slate. In this past three games with both center Nikola Jokic (ankle) and PF Paul Milsap (wrist) out, Harris has seen a 4.5% usage increase, and is averaging 36.1 DK points a game. His minutes have also been up, playing 38 minutes a night, compared to his 33.3 average for the season. At the moment, he is averaging 0.96 DK points per minute, and in 35-40 minutes, Harris should score 35-40 DK points in this terrific spot vs The Magic.
They are currently a 3.81 opponent +/- for starting two guards and even though this number is higher, it might be a modest rating, with SG Terrence Ross (knee) and now SF Evan Fournier (ankle) out for The Magic. Also, this game is one the better matchups of the night to target, with its very tight spread of only 1.5 points, and high O/U game total of 219 points. Harris is an excellent combination of safety and upside, making him a difficult player to fade for this eight game slate.
Also Consider: Elfrid Payton (rates should naturally rise with Fournier out and they should play a tighter rotation, keeping his minutes around 35+), Jonathon Simmons (should also have stable high minutes and should see a nice usage bump. In the minutes he has played without Ross and Fournier this year, he is leading this team 8.2 usage increase, and is scoring 37.04 DK points per 36 minutes), Aaron Afflalo (has done next to nothing this season, but is a viable punt play assuming he starts for Fournier), Kris Dunn, J.J. Barea/Yogi Ferrell (if Dennis Smith Jr is out. Both are averaging 27 DK points in the two full games the rookie has missed this season. Barea would be the likely starter and the better play in this situation), Frank Mason, Harrison Barnes (5.8% usage bump in the games DSJ has sat), Zach Randolph (did absolute wonders for us on Wednesday night, putting up 48 DK points on The Cavs. He is now averaging 43.3 DK points in these last three games without WCS and is still a nice target at $5,900. The matchup vs The Pelicans rates well, at a 2.77 opponent +/-, but there will always be foul trouble fear when going against Demarcus Cousins), Garret Temple, Rajon Rondo, Andre Iguodala (29 DK points in 29.4 minutes last game with Curry and McCaw out), Jamal Murray, Dante Cunningham (if Davis out. Has started at PF and has topped 20 DK points in three straight games), Trey Lyles, Andrew Harrison/Mario Chalmers (if Tyreke Evans is out), and Kenneth Faried (nice bounce back spot to attack in GPPs).