Welcome back everyone. Alex here, and these are my DraftKings NBA Picks for January 17th. For Thursday night, we have five games to target. As always, if any of these picks help you win or if you need any advice, let me know on Twitter. Also, I recommend following me, because if anything changes with these plays below or if any injury news effects the slate, I try to address the situations I find important before tip off. @Hunta512.
PG: Russell Westbrook: (11,800)
Westbrook has been great (63.6 DK PPG in his L8) and he should be fired up to get a win tonight, after an embarrassing loss to The Hawks on Tuesday. (126-142) Westbrook will be going against The Lakers, and this game should be very high scoring, with both of these Western Conference teams ranking inside the top five in pace. (227 point O/U game total) The first time OKC and LA matched up this year, Westbrook had a 60 DK point triple double.
He should flirt with another tonight, with The Thunder presenting the highest implied team total of the slate. (118.5 points) In the 16 previous games this year that OKC was projected for 115 points or more, Westbrook generated 58.59 DK PPG. Even with The Thunder favored by ten points, Westbrook is still the top overall play, and a necessity for cash games.
SG/SF: Norman Powell: (3,900)
After losing to The Celtics on Wednesday night, The Raptors will be without Kawhi Leonard (rest), Kyle Lowry (rest), Jonas Valanciunas (thumb), OG Anunoby (personal), and most likely C.J. Miles (questionable, hip) for Thursday night’s matchup vs The Suns. Powell will start in Leonard’s place and he should play 30+ minutes in this prime spot. When Leonard, Val, Lowry, and Anunoby have all been off the court this season, Powell has scored 0.95 DK PPM, which is a team high 0.3 DK PPM jump from his standard production.
In the lone game Powell played over 30 minutes this season, he produced 30.5 DK points in a difficult spot vs The Pacers. (3rd in defensive efficiency) Now, facing The Suns (28th in efficiency), Powell should easily score over 25 DK points with a ceiling close to 40. At only $3,900, Powell is without a doubt the best value of the night and needs to be utilized in all of your lineups.
PG/SG: Fred VanVleet: (5,400)
VanVleet’s salary is more appropriate for this situation, but he is still underpriced at $5,400. In the ten previous games Lowry has missed, VanVleet started at PG, and scored 27.1 DK PPG in 32.9 MPG. When Lowry, Leonard, and Valancuinas have been off the court this season, VanVleet has seen the biggest usage increase on The Raptors (+5.3%), and is supplying 1.09 DK PPM.
As you could have guessed, The Suns are weak at defending PGs (2.08 opponent +/-) and in their first meeting of the season, VanVleet recorded 26.8 DK points in only 20.2 minutes of work. Tonight, with The Raptors shorthanded, VanVleet will start at the one, and should surpass 30 DK points in 30-35 minutes. Along with Powell, FVV is a core play for me on Thursday night.
PF/C: Pascal Siakam: (7,000)
I hate to feature three options from the same team, but that is how strong of an opportunity the remaining Raptors’ players will have tonight. In the 20 total games without either Leonard or Lowry this season, Siakam is averaging 31.14 DK PPG. Tonight, his role should be bigger than ever and when all of four of these players have been missing this season, Siakam has provided 1.04 DK PPM.
Given their lack of depth, he should play 35+ minutes, and possibly achieve a double double, with Phoenix currently giving up the 4th most RPG. In the new year, Siakam already has three games over 40 DK points, and he should approach that ceiling again tonight.
C: Nikola Jokic: (10,600)
Jokic really hurt my lineups on Tuesday (32.5 DK points vs The Warriors), but he didn’t play in the 4th quarter due to the blowout (111-142), and he was playing extremely well in his previous four. (58.18 DK PPG) Now, Jokic is in the perfect bounce back spot, on his home floor (8.1 more DK PPG this season), facing The Bulls, who are the best possible matchup for a player in this slate. (3.31 opponent +/-) In their first matchup of the season, in Chicago, The Joker scored 60.5 DK points across 32.5 minutes. This is a gorgeous spot for Jokic and the only thing that is holding him back from being a must play, is The Nuggets are the largest favorites of the night. (-13.5)
SF/PF: Paul George: (9,800)
George has taken a backseat to Westbrook lately (45.5 DK PPG in L4), but he always gets up for playing The Lakers. (53.5 DK points earlier this season and 48.8 DK PPG in his L3 vs LAL)
PG/SF: Ben Simmons: (9,200)
Simmons is a fine play no matter what, but he would see an obvious boost if Joel Embiid (questionable, back) was out. He just scored 67 DK points vs The Hawks in the last game without Embiid, behind a 25.2% usage rate, and he has been solid against The Pacers this season. (42.6 DK PPG)
PG: Kemba Walker: (8,700)
After some average games, Walker finally popped off for 52.5 DK points vs The Spurs on Monday. Now, he is back at home, facing The Kings, who are the 2nd fastest team in the league, and 21st in defensive efficiency. (1.69 opponent +/-)
SF/PF: Kyle Kuzma: (6,900)
With Luke Walton’s lineup change, of inserting Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Tyson Chandler to the starting five, with Josh Hart and JaVale McGee moving to the bench, Kuzma saw a team high 29.9% usage rate. (33.5 DK points) He should play more than 30 minutes this time around and has a strong ceiling if this usage continues.
SG/SF: Jimmy Butler: (6,800)
If Embiid is forced to sit, Butler will be a must play at this price. Since being acquired by The Sixers, Butler has scored 41.33 DK PPG in three games with Embiid out.
PF/C: Serge Ibaka: (6,500)
Ibaka has seen the biggest usage difference in this current Raptors’ situation (+8.6%) and the matchup is outstanding for centers. (3.11 opponent +/-) I think Ibaka is a great target and viable in all formats, but I do worry that HC Nick Nurse will limit him a little, given he is the only veteran starter that isn’t being rested.
PG: Lonzo Ball: (6,400)
With two new players in the starting five, Ball scored 42 DK points vs The Bulls. He posted a 22.3% usage rate in this game, which was Ball’s highest usage in five games. Assuming Walton doesn’t make any more changes, Ball should reach five times value, in this decent spot vs The Thunder. (1.2 opponent +/-)
SG/SF: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope: (4,700)
KCP was solid as The Lakers’ starting two guard vs The Bulls. (27.5 DK points in 31.1 minutes) His usage was the third highest of the starting five (21.8%) and KCP should outproduce this current price tag, if he plays 30+ again. (0.75 DK PPM)
PG/SG: Delon Wright: (4,600)
Wright should play close to 30 minutes off the bench vs The Suns, which would be enough for him in this strong matchup vs The Suns. (0.84 DK PPM and The Suns are a 1.42 opponent +/-)
PF/C: Bobby Portis: (4,600)
Portis hasn’t cracked 20 minutes since returning, but he should do so tonight, as the projected starter, for Wendell Carter Jr. (out, thumb) The Nuggets are a positive spot for centers (1.4 opponent +/-) and if he can avoid foul trouble vs Jokic, Portis has some upside for GPPs. (1.12 DK PPM)
C: Tyson Chandler: (3,500)
The end result wasn’t great (16.75 DK points), but Chandler played 26 minutes as a starter. If this happens again, Chandler is worth considering as a punt. (0.83 DK PPM)
*Please note some of these stats are from FantasyLabs.com