How’s it going everyone. Alex here, and I am back with my DraftKings NBA picks for December 9th, 2017. Saturday’s main slate gives us eight games to target . 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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C: Nikola Vucevic: (8,300) This might be the highest price tag I have ever seen for Vuc, but he is in position to absolutely feast on Saturday night. First off, he has been dominate over his last few starts, averaging 53 DK points a game. Last night with SF Evan Fournier (ankle), PF Jonathan Isaac (ankle), and Terrence Ross (knee) all out, Vucevic was a beast, dropping 55.25 DK points on The Nuggets, while posting a very high 31.8% usage rate. Tonight, the three players I just named will remain out, along with starting PF Aaron Gordon, who suffered a concussion in last night’s loss. Vucevic should be the focal point of this offense again and his usage be even higher than it was on Friday night. It is an extremely small sample size, but in the time he has played without all four of these players on the court this season, he is leading The Magic with a 34.7% usage rate, and is scoring an excellent 1.89 DK points per minute.
Also, with this team very shorthanded, Vucevic will be asked to play more than usual, and I am expecting 35-40 minutes out of him tonight. Furthermore, the matchup is outstanding vs a Hawks frontcourt that is also decimated by injuries. Right now, they are without all: PF John Collins (shoulder), center Dwayne Dedmon (leg), and back up center Mike Muscala (ankle). Miles Plumlee has been starting at center for them and has been getting bullied almost every night, as this defense is currently rating as a 6.1 opponent +/- for opposing starting centers, and they been allowing 57.3 total rebounds a game over their last three, which is the second highest mark in The NBA. Vuc should have another 50+ DK point performance and is a player I will be targeting all formats, especially with his lower than expected ownership of 9-12% in GPPs. (via Fantasy Labs)
PF/C: Marresse Speights: (3,100) Nothing is official yet, but with Gordon and Isaac both out, Speights is the most likely player to start at PF tonight for The Magic. Even if he doesn’t start, he should still have to log at least 20 minutes tonight with this team so thin. Speights has always produced as a fantasy player whenever he sees the floor and this season he is averaging 1.06 DK points per minute.
I am expecting more than 20 minutes, but even if you just give him a projection of 20, he should have no issues exceeding five times value at his close to bare minimum price tag, in this nice spot vs a very beat up Hawks team. (5.82 opponent +/-) His multiple position eligibility makes him a very friendly option, and at only $3,100, Mo Buckets is a core play for me on Saturday night.
PG: Dejounte Murray: (3,900) Murray has been cut from The Spurs rotation ever since PG Tony Parker returned, but will be expected to be ready to play starter like minutes tonight, with The Spurs resting some of their key players. As of right now, The Spurs will be without Parker (rest), SF Kawhi Leonard (quad), SG Manu Ginobli (rest), center Pau Gasol (rest), SF Kyle Anderson (knee), and most likely SG Danny Green, who is listed as GTD with a groin injury that forced him to exit last night’s game vs The Celtics early. Assuming he doesn’t get rested as well, PG Patty Mills and Murray will be split all the ball handling duties for The Spurs this evening, with Murray being the likely starter, as they always like to keep Mills with the second unit. When we run the numbers with all five of these Spurs off the floor this season, Murray by far sees the biggest boost, with a 10.6% usage increase, a 14.5 DK point differential, while averaging 41.8 DK points per 36 minutes.
Thirty-six minutes is a little far fetched for any Spur, unless Mills is also rested, but in 25-30 minutes, Murray should no problems smashing value at this cheap salary and is priced as if he was out of this rotation. He is scoring 1.16 DK points per minute without these five teammates, and I am expecting at least 25 DK points in this perfect matchup for Murray’s type of game, going against The Suns who play at the second fastest pace in the league and allow the most DK points to PGs this season. (6.53 opponent +/-) It is tough to say if we will have confirmation about him starting, with this game tipping of 9:00 PM EST, but either way, at this cheap of price, Murray is a worthwhile risk that should work out with this Spurs team so shorthanded.
PF/C: Joffrey Lauvergne: (3,000) Another Spur reserve that should benefit from tonight’s situation is Lauvergne. He has been dealing with a finger injury, but is listed as probable for tonight’s game vs The Suns. With Gasol out, Lauvergne is the next man up, and will most likely start at center, as they will need his size vs this Suns front court that all of a sudden is back to full strength with both centers Alex Len and Tyson Chandler available to play after being listed as questionable.
He hasn’t played in a few games, but his last time out, Lauvergne was solid in his minutes, scoring 22.5 DK points in 23 minutes last Sunday vs The Thunder. He is averaging 0.84 DK points per minute and in the 20-25 minutes I am projecting, Lauvergne has a great chance to produce five to six times value vs this weak Suns defense. (2.56 opponent +/-) Yet again, we most likely won’t know The Spurs starting five before lock, but at a minimum price tag, Lauvergne, just like with Murray, is worth the risk with so many Spurs players already out and there is the potential for more Spurs to be rested or limited in this game.
Also Consider: Elfrid Payton/Jonathon Simmons (just like with last night, both will be asked to do more and player higher minutes, especially now with Gordon out. The price tags are fair, but this is a good spot to go back to them in GPPs as some might shy off after last night’s game. Particularly with Payton, who was by far one of the highest owned players of Friday night and disappointed), Patty Mills (if he plays), Rudy Gay (if he plays, usage would see a nice increase he would have to lead the way with Aldridge, also assuming he plays and isn’t rested), T.J. Warren (rates will be up again with Booker out, but this front court has become healthy over the last few hours and his minutes should still be high, but I think it’s hard to expect 44 minutes like Thursday night), Brandon Paul, David Bertans, Malik Monk (solid value as he should start with Lamb and Batum both expected to be out. Oh yea, and he is playing The Lakers who are the fastest team in the league), Richaun Holmes/Trevor Booker (tough to predict playing time here, but Embiid is out, and Saric is “closer to doubtful”), Alec Burks (Hood is out again), Marvin Williams (34.4 minutes in regulation last night with Zeller and Kaminsky out), and Kris Dunn.