What’s up everybody. Alex here, and I am back with my DraftKings NBA picks for January 19th, 2018. Friday night’s slate is a solid slate with seven 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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PF/C: LaMarcus Aldridge: (8,600) With SF Kawhi Leonard (quad), SF Rudy Gay (heel), and SG Manu Ginobili (thigh) all out on Wednesday night, Aldridge took over and torched The Nets for 34 points, eight rebounds, three assists, and two blocks in the win. (51.5 DK points) When Leonard is out, Aldridge is always the main offensive player for The Spurs, but he is even better when all three of these players sit, now averaging 48 DK points, in the four full games The Spurs have been without these three this season. In these four contests, he has averaged a team high 31.9% usage rate. His matchup tonight vs The Raptors (1.29 opponent +/-) might not be as pretty as his one vs The Nets on Wednesday, but with all three of these players remaining out again, Aldridge should lead this team in usage and should put up 45-50 DK points, with high upside if he can tally a double double.
The price tag is fair and has gone up $400 since his last time out, but with him not playing in two days, no game tomorrow, and no super high end studs over $10,000 to pay up for tonight, Aldridge one of the best expensive plays of this slate. I also like Nikola Jokic quite a bit and expect him to rebound tonight vs The Suns (3.22 opponent +/-) after his average game Wednesday vs The Clippers. (37 DK points) I had a very successful night on Wednesday building around these two bigs and I will be using this strategy once again on Friday night.
SG/SF: Will Barton: (6,500) Barton has been excellent as a starter these last two games, averaging 39 DK PPG. He is scoring 0.98 DK PPM as a starter and is averaging 39 minutes a game. In the loss to The Clippers on Wednesday night, he drew the start at PG with Jamal Murray out with a concussion. The Nuggets are expected to be without Murray again tonight as he is listed as doubtful, and Barton should stay at the one spot tonight, in a tremendous spot vs The Suns. Everything is setting up for Barton to crush value again, with The Suns allowing the 5th most DK points to PGs and are the 6th fastest team in The NBA this season. (3.7 possession increase)
As of right now, he is one of the strongest values based on Vegas props, with an implied DraftKings projection of 32.5 points. I actually think we get 35+ DK points out of him in this tilt that has the highest O/U game total of Friday night, at 219 points. He will be a chalky option (26-30% projected ownership via Fantasy Labs), but the steady floor and high ceiling he provides as a starter is just too good to overlook at this reasonable price. UPDATE: Surprisingly, Murray has been upgraded to questionable. If he plays, I think Barton still starts and The Nuggets just go with a smaller lineup like they did two games ago, when Barton was just fine, scoring 39.75 DK points in a team high 42 minutes vs The Mavs.
PF/C: Mason Plumlee: (4,400) Against The Mavs on Tuesday night, The Nuggets went small with Plumlee off the bench, but with Murray out on Wednesday, instead of putting another guard in the lineup they shifted up everyone back a spot and put Plumlee back in the starting five and went big vs The Clippers. He came out and had one of his best games of the season, putting up a double double of 16 points and 14 rebounds, while also chipping in with three steals and two assists in 31 minutes (42 DK points), which is the most playing time he has seen in over a month.
I think it’s hard to guarantee over 30 minutes again for Plumlee, but if he sees around 25 minutes, which he should as a starter in this tighter Nuggets rotation without Murray, he should be able to surpass five times value with him averaging right at 1.0 DK PPM this season and playing a Suns defense that has given up the second most DK points to opposing centers. (2.6 opponent +/-) Earlier this month, Plumlee dominated this same defense in only 23.5 minutes of work, dropping 34.5 DK points. If he manages to see 30+ minutes, with back up big Trey Lyles taking on a smaller role once again (19.9 MPG L2), Plumlee has a real chance of scoring 30-35 DK points in this high scoring affair. At the moment, him and Barton are the two strongest values available, and are plays that should considered in all formats for tonight. UPDATE:
As I stated above, Murray is now questionable to play vs doubtful. If he is active, it makes Plumlee a much risker play because he could be shifted back to the bench with The Nuggets going small with four guards/wing players around Jokic, which is exactly what they did two games ago vs The Mavs. Plumlee’s price tag is cheap enough that he could still salvage value if he went back to the bench, but he would take a hit if he wasn’t starting and this is a situation to watch all the way up until roster lock. Nuggets Head Coach Mike Malone told the media he will be mixing and matching starting PFs alongside Jokic going forward. All signs are pointing to Plumlee not starting no matter if Murray is active or not. It sounds like Lyles has a chance of starting at the four spot tonight, which is the smart move from a real basketball point of view. He is more than Plumlee at $5,300, but the matchup is awesome vs The Suns and he is averaging 1.0 DK PMM. If he starts, Lyles has a good shot of seeing 30+ minutes and in the last three games that he played 30 minutes or more, he averaged 35 DK PPG. In conclusion, I think Plumlee should be completely off your radar and Lyles is a nice mid-tier target, that I will be taking a risk with even if we don’t have an official starting five before lock. Even if Murray is active and they go small, with Lyles off the bench, Malone’s comments make it sound like Lyles will be playing a bigger role than Plumlee, even if neither of them start. Lastly, this is a boost for Jokic. Plumlee hurt’s Jokic’s rates when they are on the floor together, and per 36 minutes, he is averaging 47 DK points with Lyles on the floor with him, compared to the 41 DK points he is averaging with Plumlee playing.
PG/SG: Tyler Ennis: (3,900) Ennis has drawn the start for PG Lonzo Ball (knee) the last two games, but he has only logged an average of 19 minutes per contest. Tonight, Ball will still be out, but they will also be without starting SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (Achilles) who has already been ruled out, but they also may be without both SFs Brandon Ingram (ankle) and Kyle Kuzma (finger), who are both listed as questionable. I can see at least one of these forwards playing, but without Ball and KCP, Ennis should have to log 25+ minutes as a starter on Friday night. In the two full games this season that both Ball and KCP have sat out and Ingram and Kuzma both active, Ennis was the player who started at PG, and he was great with the bigger role, averaging 32.4 DK points in a high 34.2 minutes.
In these games, he saw a solid usage rate of 19.9%, but most his production came from his passing, with him posting a team high 31.2% assist percentage, helping him to score 0.95 DK PPM, which is a notable jump from his 0.87 DK PMM average. You never really know with Lakers’ Head Coach Luke Walton’ rotations, but this is some pretty strong information to fall back on. I am not expecting over 30 DK points, especially with this being a tough matchup vs The Pacers (0.31 opponent +/-), but Ennis should be able to score roughly 20 DK points tonight, making him a viable punt play for this seven game slate.
Also Consider: Josh Hart (is a viable play as the starter with KCP out, but would be better if either Kuzma or Ingram also sat), Tyson Chandler (lacks upside, but he is currently the best value in terms of Vegas props, at a 23.12 DK point implied projection), Gary Harris, Justice Winslow (better if he starts for the injured Tyler Johnson, price tag is low enough that he could be used if still off the bench, but obviously would be a shakier play), Wilson Chandler (23 DK points in 35 minutes these last two games, minutes will stay up without Murray, and he will benefit from playing up in pace vs The Suns), Thaddeus Young (27.47 DK implied score based on Vegas props), Domantas Sabonis (I expected better numbers with Turner out, but this is a great matchup vs The Lakers who are 4.78 current opponent +/-), Goran Dragic (rates should be slightly up with Johnson out and he is seeing a large 5.3 possession increase against The Nets, who struggle vs PGs, sitting at a 4.16 opponent +/-), Trey Lyles (playing The Suns is perfect for his game and he should come with a low ownership with his minutes being cut back recently. Who knows, his minutes could come back close to 30 off the bench, making him an ideal GPP pivot off Plumlee), De’Aaron Fox (32 minutes over his last four games and with The Kings resting vets for the rest of the season, PG George Hill could be rested tonight, which would be a nice boost for Fox), and Willie Cauley-Stein (WCS is going to be in play for the rest of the season. As I just said The Kings will be resting vets every game and WCS is averaging 36 MPG in his last three. He has produced 43 DK PPG and even though the price is up and this is a difficult spot vs Marc Gasol and The Grizzlies, you have to like his upside just based on the playing he should see).