Welcome back everyone. Alex here, and I am back with my DraftKings NBA picks for February 12th, 2018. Tonight we get a solid slate with six games to attack. 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: Andre Drummond: (10,100) I never thought I would be paying this much for Drummond, but he just has been too good to overlook as of late. In these first six games with PF Blake Griffin in town, Drummond has shown no signs of slowing down, averaging 52.5 DK PPG, on a 25.8% usage rate and a 28% rebound percentage, which are both increases from the rates he saw in his first 48 games of the season. He has been a walking double double, now posting one in ten straight games. Tonight, he is a nice spot, taking on The Pelicans, who have allowed the most total rebounds per game over their last three and the 8th most DK points to centers this season. (4.96 opponent +/-)
The one worry is that The Pistons played yesterday, but Drummond hasn’t been bothered by playing on the second night of back to backs at all this season, exceeding his DK projection by an average of 2.79 points when playing his second game in two nights. I am expecting another 50+ DK point performance from Drummond tonight and he is my favorite top end value of the slate.
C: Pau Gasol: (4,800) Tonight, with starting center LaMarcus Aldridge out with a sore knee, Gasol should start at the five spot vs The Jazz. This is going to be the fourth full game that Gasol has played with Aldridge out this season and in the first three, he scored 25.9 DK PPG, while seeing a 20.8% usage rate. There is a chance his usage is even higher tonight, with both PGs, Dejounte Murray (ankle) and Tony Parker (back) questionable to play, after missing Saturday night’s matchup vs The Warriors. With these two guards and Aldridge off the floor, plus SFs Rudy Gay (heel) and Kawhi Leonard (quad), Gasol has seen a 24.1% usage rate and is scoring 1.17 DK PPM.
We can’t expect very high minutes out of the veteran, but going against Rudy Gobert and this Jazz team, that has won nine straight games, they will need Gasol’s size and post presence. 25-30 minutes is what I am expecting, which is plenty of time for him to exceed value at this cheap price, even though the matchup isn’t the greatest. (1.46 opponent +/-) His current DK implied score of 32.3 points based on his Vegas props, is extremely strong for his price and is very hard to ignore. Regardless if Murray or Parker suit up, Gasol is a great value play, that can be used with confidence in all formats.
PG: Jerian Grant: (5,200) SG Zach LaVine will return tonight after being rested Saturday, but PG Kris Dunn (head) is still out, which will keep Grant’s playing time high. Over his last four starts with Dunn sidelined, Grant is averaging 36.7 MPG and 28.75 DK PPG. Yes, LaVine missed one of these games, but his usage barley moved without the SG on Saturday night. Grant couldn’t ask for a better spot to keep his improved play going tonight, taking on The Magic who have allowed the fifth most DK points to PGs this season and are a current opponent +/- of 6.14 points.
Grant has already faced this team twice this season and he averaged 1.04 DK PPM vs them in the first two meetings. In 35-40 minutes of work, Grant should get us 25-30 DK points, with solid upside in this awesome matchup. As of right now, he is rating as one of the best values on DK when considering his Vegas props, with a current implied DK score projection of 26.8 points. He is simply too cheap at only $5,200 and is a value play that needs to be attacked until his price is adjusted to life without Dunn.
PG/SG: Donovan Mitchell: (7,000) Mitchell has been making his case for him being rookie of the year these last two games, averaging 39 DK PPG. These were the first two games since SG Rodney Hood was traded and Ricky Rubio was also yesterday with a sore hip. In these two contests his usage has been high at 32.8%, which is a notable 4% jump from his season average. It doesn’t sound likely that Rubio plays tonight, but even if he does, Mitchell’s usage and minutes should stay up with Hood out of town. If Rubio sits again, which is what I am expecting, it is just another boost for Mitchell, with him seeing a 4.2 DK point increase in the two full games that Rubio has missed this season.
His matchup vs The Spurs doesn’t seem ideal at a first glance (1.11 opponent +/-), but this Spurs team will be playing Gasol at center, with Aldridge out, which is a huge downgrade for this defense as a whole. Just like the two players I wrote about above, Mitchell is standing out as a strong value based on his Vegas props, with a 34.52 DK point implied projection, which is right at what we need for him to score to meet five times value. Outside of two down games due to an illness, Mitchell has been a huge part of this Jazz team’s win streak and I think we should keep riding him tonight at this reasonable price.
Also Consider: Kevin Looney (Draymond Green and Jordan Bell are both out tonight. Nothing is confirmed, but Looney seems like the most logic choice to start at PF. He is averaging 0.8 DK PPM this season and this matchup is good, at a 3.08 opponent +/-), David Bertrans (should play close to 30 with Aldridge out. He is averaging 26.75 DK PPG in the three games Aldridge has missed this season), Patty Mills (if Murray and Parker both are out again. Didn’t do much last game with them out, but you have to think he gets another shot at being the main PG here if both guards are forced to sit again), Rudy Gobert (39.25 DK PPG over last two and Gobert should have no issues going against Pau), Rajon Rondo (after being moved to the bench for two games, Rondo came out and put up a triple double of 60.5 DK points in the double OT win over The Nets on Saturday night. There is still risk here cause you never know how they will manage his minutes, but if he plays the starter like minutes he deserves, Rondo should score 30+ DK points in this solid matchup vs The Pistons, who are 2.3 opponent +/-), Michael Beasley (price is up, but he is averaging 38.5 DK PPG in these two with Porzingis out), Justin Holiday (29.5 DK PPG in last three and this a great matchup with The Magic currently presenting an opponent +/- of 4.39 points), Royce O’Neale (if Rubio is out. Started last night with him out and played very well with the starting five, scoring 31.75 DK points in 33 minutes vs The Blazers), Deandre Jordan (large upside vs The Nets, who are a 7.38 opponent +/- for centers), Elfrid Payton (38.5 DK points and 35 minutes in his first game as a Sun, but would be a better play if Devin Booker was out again), Spencer Dinwiddie (even if you don’t include his big game Saturday in the double OT loss to The Pelicans, Dinwiddie is still averaging 37.9 DK PPG in the prior five. The matchup is also solid vs The Clippers, who are a 2.56 opponent +/- for starting PGs), and Zach LaVine. (should be fresh and ready to play 30+ after being rested Saturday night and is averaging 39.5 DK PPG in his last four starts. This matchup is great vs this weak Magic defense, that is a high 5.4 opponent +/-)