What’s up everybody. Alex here, and I am back with my DraftKings NBA picks for January 12th, 2018. Tonight we get back to 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.
If you want help with NBA research for FanDuel and DraftKings check out the best fantasy tools out there at FantasyLabs.com
PG/SG: Chris Paul: (10,600) Tonight, the main game I want to target is this Rockets-Suns matchup. Both of these teams rank inside the top ten in pace and this game has the highest O/U game total of the slate at 228 points, which is the highest total of the night by 3.5 points. This game is also being played in Phoenix, which bodes well for this game staying tight, and Vegas has reflected this, giving this contest a decently small spread of 6.5 points, which has actually moved down a half a point since the opening lines. The combination of some blowouts and tougher matchups have held Paul’s numbers back with Harden out, but he finally exploded last game, dropping 70.25 DK points in 33 minutes on The Blazers Wednesday night. In this game he saw an elite 40.9% usage rate and took a whopping 29 shots.
This was a huge jump from the 26.5% usage he saw in the four previous games without Harden. This big of a change in his usage must mean that it was part of the game plan and I don’t expect it to be over 40% again tonight, but I think it will be over 30% in this gorgeous matchup vs The Suns, who have allowed the 7th most DK points to PGs this season. (4.29 opponent +/-) The slew of Rockets injuries in their front court (below) should keep this Rockets rotation very tight and with 35+ minutes, Paul should score 55-60 DK points, with him averaging 1.6 DK points per minute with Harden off the floor. His price has moved all the way up to a season high $10,600, but he is still a good value that just has too much upside to overlook. I will be building around Paul and his SG eligibility makes him a great option in all formats.
C: Clint Capela: (7,100) Tonight, Capela will be their only healthy Rocket center, and well, quite frankly, their only healthy natural big man. All of Nene (knee), Tarik Black (eye), and G-League player Zhou Qui (elbow) have been ruled out for this game vs The Suns. Capela will start and should be forced to approach 35 minutes tonight. He is averaging an excellent 1.33 DK points per minute this season and even though Suns’ starting center Tyson Chandler has a history of being a strong defender, this Suns team is the fourth worst defense in The NBA, currently rates at a 2.8 point opponent +/- for opposing starting centers, and has given up the fourth most total rebounds per game.
Capela has already had a productive game against this same Suns team this year, scoring 33 DK points in only 21 minutes of work in their first meeting of this season. He should play way more than 21 minutes tonight, and with a tentative projection of only 30 minutes, Capela should smash value with 40+ DK point upside in this spot. He is currently by far the best value of this slate based on Vegas props (40.55 implied projection) and is a player I will be using with confidence in all formats on Friday night.
PG/SG: Jamal Murray: (5,800) Finally, this Nuggets’ Coaching Staff has realized that Murray is their best option at PG, giving him 37 minutes a game over their last eight, compared to back up PG Emmanuel Mudiay who hasn’t logged more than two minutes in a game since December 15th. The growth in his playing time has obviously led to better fantasy scores and the second year man out of Kentucky is averaging 34 DK PPG during this time vs his season average of 26.9 DK PPG. On top of him playing more, Murray should handle a bigger load offensively tonight, with starting SG Gary Harris out for personal reasons. PF Paul Milsap is still out and in all the minutes Murray has played without these two starters, he has seen a team high 3.2% usage increase and a team high 6.8 DK point differential.
There was one other full game when these two sat this season and Murray was excellent in this contest, scoring 44.25 DK points in 37.3 minutes. At a first glance, his matchup vs The Grizzlies is a scary one, but The Grizzlies actually haven’t been that good on defense compared to previous seasons, ranking as the 18th best defense in terms of efficiency. They have allowed over 100 points in four of their last five games and they are currently a solid matchup for starting PGs, at 3.0 point opponent +/-. DraftKings clearly thinks The Grizzlies still have SG Tony Allen and are one of the best defensive units in the league, dropping Murrays price all the way down to $5,800, which is the cheapest he has been since the end of last month. With the added usage, Murray is one the best mid tier targets of this nine game slate.
SF/PF: T.J. Warren: (6,200) Another player that is an awesome option in this Suns Rockets game tonight is Warren. Just like The Rockets, this Suns team is dealing with many injuries, as they are expected to be without SF Josh Jackson (hip) and PF Marquese Chirss (hip). They may also be without PG Isaiah Cannan (groin), but there is a decent chance he plays tonight after practicing on Thursday. Even if we count Cannan as in, Warren’s rates and minutes should be high and stable with Chriss and Jackson out of the picture, but also back up center Greg Monroe who has been a DNP CD since last Wednesday and is usually a player who doesn’t see the court unless starting center Tyson Chandler is rested, which will not be the case tonight with this not being a leg of a back to back set. So, in the time he has logged with these three out along with PG Eric Bledsoe who was traded earlier this season and PG Mike James who was waived by the team, Warren is seeing a 3.9% bump and is scoring 38 DK points 36 minutes.
With this team using a tighter rotation due to these injuries, 36 minutes is a fair projection for Warren, and he should be able exceed five times value going against this fast Rockets team that is a current opponent +/- of 4.72 points. Furthermore, this game is being played at home and has a very high total of 228 points. He is scoring 2.1 more DK points in home contests this season and in the four home games that have involved an O/U game total of 228 points or more, Warren is averaging 38 DK PPG. His price doesn’t reflect this situation and he is strong target that just gives you another share of this high total.
Also Consider: Dragan Bender (43.5 DK points in 39 minutes last game after Chriss exited. He will start and should play 30+ again), Troy Daniels (should play close to 30 minutes with Jackson out. Would be better if Cannan also was out), Will Barton (2% usage increase without Harris and Milsap and is scoring 34 DK points per 36 minutes), Ryan Anderson (should have to play some minutes at center), Gerald Green (always a GPP play without Harden and his minutes are safer with all these bigs out), P.J. Tucker/Trevor Ariza (both should see more minutes and play more front court minutes. Also, don’t forget this Tucker’s former team), Eric Gordon (42 DK PPG without Harden and the matchup is excellent at a 4.83 opponent +/-), Devin Booker, Spencer Dinwiddie (before the huge blowout loss to The Pistons in their last game he was averaging 42.1 DK points in his prior three. This is also a strong spot going against The Hawks, who are 4.49 opponent +/- for PGs), Dennis Schroder, Rajon Rondo (over 30 minutes in two straight games), Shaun Livingston (assuming he starts for Steph Curry), and Domantas Sabonis (didn’t shine like expected with Turner out last game, but he will start again for Turner and this is a nice spot vs The Cavs’ awful defense. 3.99 opponent +/-)