What’s up everyone. Alex here, and I am back with my DraftKings NBA picks for February 2nd, 2018. Friday night, we get 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: Russell Westbrook: (11,600) The best game to target on Friday night, in my opinion, is The Thunder vs The Pelicans. This contest is tied for the highest O/U game total of the night at 221.5 points and has a small spread of only five points, compared to The Warriors vs Kings game, that has the same total, but a large spread of 13.5 points. The Thunder just lost at the buzzer last night in Denver and have to travel back home for this game, which is concerning, but Westbrook hasn’t been affected at all by playing on the second night of back to backs this season, averaging 58.8 DK PPG in the nine contests that have been the second game in two nights. He also has been a better fantasy option at home, scoring 2.9 more DK PPG. The matchup is very strong vs this Pelicans defense, that has allowed the second most DK points to PGs this season. (5.78 opponent +/-)
Russ has already torched them once already this year, notching a triple double and scoring 70 DK points. Furthermore, if you watched The Thunder’s game vs The Nuggets last night, you saw how flawed their defense is right now without SG Andre Roberson. (leg) As I said yesterday, their defense as a whole takes a huge hit without Roberson and it really showed last night, with them allowing The Nuggets to drop 127 points on them. The Pelicans have also slid since center Demarcus Cousins went down the Achilles, as they are the 11th worst rated defense in the league over their last three games. What I am getting at is this game should be a back and forth shoot out tonight. Westbrook should be all over the place playing up in pace (3.3 possession increase) in this strong matchup and I think there is a good chance he posts another triple double on them and scores 60+ DK points. Even at the highest price tag on the board, Westbrook is one of the better values of the night and he is the top overall play for this nine game slate.
SG/SF: Khris Middleton: (7,300) The Bucks will get a limited Jabari Parker (knee) back tonight (15 minute limit), but they may be without SF Giannis Antetokounmpo (ankle), PG Eric Bledsoe, and PG Malcolm Brogdon (quad), who are listed as questionable tonight. Brogdon is all but ruled out, after leaving the arena last night in a cast and it wouldn’t be shocking at all if the other two sat as well, with this being the second night of a back to back. If I were going to guess, The Greek has the best chance of playing, but even if he is in and the other two sit, Middleton will have to take a big role offensively on Friday night. With Bledsoe out and Brogodon only logging ten minutes last night, Middleton popped off for 41 DK points, while seeing a high 33.2% usage rate in the loss to The Wolves. There hasn’t been any full games that Bledsoe and Brogodon have been out this season, but in all the minutes he has played without the two guards, he has seen a notable 7% usage increase.
Now, if we also take Giannis out of the equation, Middleton’s usage sky rockets 15.1% and he is scoring 1.1 DK PPM, which is a 0.2 bump for his average for the year. I know I am not counting Parker in all of this, but with him only expected to play around 15 minutes and this being his first actual NBA game in quite some time, I don’t think he will be that much of a factor to Middleton’s usage this evening. No matter what, Middleton has thrived since The Bucks’ fired former Head Coach Jason Kidd, averaging 40.8 DK PPG in these last five games under interim Head Coach Joe Prunty. Additionally, he will be taking on a Knicks’ defense that is rating as a solid current opponent +/- for SFs, at 2.46 points. So, in conclusion, if Bledsoe and Brogdon sit and The Greek plays, Middleton is a very strong play, but if Giannis is also held out, Middleton would become an elite value play that must be used.
C: Jahill Oakfor: (3,800) Okafor let me down the other night (13.25 DK points vs The Sixers), but his minutes were limited to 14 due to early foul trouble. He picked up three quick fouls in the first quarter and it stopped him from seeing the 20+ role he had seen in the prior two games. I am sure this was disappointing for him, going against his former team, but if he can stay out bad trouble tonight, he should go back to playing 20-25 minutes off the bench, as The Nets’ primary back up center.
He is in a perfect spot to get back on track tonight, facing off with The Lakers, who are sitting at a 4.58 opponent +/- and have allowed 57.7 rebounds per game over their last three, which is the second highest mark in the league during that stretch. Okafor is scoring 1.12 DK PPM in these past three games and was averaging 28.1 DK PPG in the two before his slow game vs The Sixers Wednesday night. If he sees 20+ minutes, which he should, I think we see Okafor top 20 DK points, making him a viable punt play in all formats.
PG/SG: Terry Rozier: (6,600) In his first career start, Rozier posted his first career triple double in the blowout win over The Knicks. (58.75 DK points) He is one of the better rebounding PGs in the league and it wasn’t surprising to see him grab 11 rebounds with the expanded playing time. He played very confidently, seeing a 25.8% usage rate, a 40% assist percentage, and a 18% rebound percentage. Back up combo guard Marcus Smart (hand) is out for the next few weeks, but I also think The Celtics will be without Kyrie Irving (quad) again. He is listed as questionable, but The Celtics can easily beat this bad Hawks team tonight without the All Star and it would make sense for them to hold him out another game. Head Coach Brad Stevens also said before Wednesday night’s game that he “wasn’t sure” if Iriving would play Friday.
If Irving is out, which I am expecting, Rozier would draw another start and would be riding the confidence from his last game into a great matchup vs The Hawks. (4.09 opponent +/-) No, I don’t think we will see another triple double from him, but a double double isn’t out of the question and in around 35 minutes, I think Rozier should be able to score 30-35 DK points, with upside, especially with this game being at home in Boston, where he is averaging 3.5 more DK PPG. His price adjusted very fast, increasing $1,300 since Wednesday, but I am kind of fond of this, because I think it will scare some people off him. He is such an underrated talent in this league and if he can stay in control early on, Rozier has another chance to shine in this awesome matchup vs The Hawks. Obviously, this can all change if Irving is active, but this game tips at 7:30 PM EST, so we should know his status before lock and if he is out, don’t be afraid to attack Rozier once again, even at a new higher price. UPDATE: Kyrie, Shane Larkin, Smart, and Marcus Morris have all been ruled out. Rozier should play 35+ and I will be using him with confidence in both cash games and GPPs.
Also Consider: Paul George (was unbelievable last night, scoring 62.75 DK points on The Nuggets. I hate to seem like I am chasing points, but with a $100 price drop and this Thunder Pelicans game being the best game environment of the night, George is one of the better values of the slate. He was averaging 43 DK PPG in the previous three before last night), Jrue Holiday (41.5 DK PPG last three. Nice 37.45 DK implied DK scored based on Vegas props), Jerami Grant/Alex Abrines (I could see one of them starting over Ferguson. Ferguson left last night’s game briefly and was available to come back, but never did. Grant scored 30.5 DK points in 24 minutes, while Abrines scored 21.5 in 28), John Henson (28 DK PPG since they fired Kidd. The Matchup is nice vs The Knicks, who are a 3.8 opponent +/-), Steven Adams (sucked last night, but should bounce back vs The Pelicans, who are a 4.77 opponent +/- ), Al Horford (huge usage jumps if Iriving sits and this is his former team, that is weak up front, at a 4.65 opponent +/-), Ian Clark (viable punt with Jameer Nelson traded away in the Mirotic deal), Rajon Rondo (minutes have been way down, but he is averaging 30.5 DK PPG in the five without Nelson this season. He is more of a GPP flier with Clark’s role growing), Marquesse Chriss (37 DK points last game and Monroe is gone), Jayson Tatum/Jaylen Brown (Smart and Marcus Morris are both out. Even if Irving plays, there are plenty of minutes open on the wings for these two. Tatum is averaging 37.1 DK PPG vs The Hawks this season), Tony Snell (if Giannis was out), and Matthew Dellavedova (if Bledsoe, Giannis, and Brogdon all sat).