Happy new year everyone! Alex here, and I am back with my DraftKings NBA picks for January 1st, 2018. The first slate of the new year is a smaller slate of only four games. Be sure to follow all of the injury news tonight, all the way up until the 7:30PM 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
C: Karl-Anthony Towns: (9,700) This is the highest his price has been this month, but at home and against The Lakers, Towns is a must start in my eyes. I talk about it every time I write him up, but Towns’ home and away splits are extremely real and some of the most dramatic in the league. This season, he is averaging 47.4 DK points a game at home in Minnesota, which is 6.6 DK points more than when he is on the road. He has been even better at home as of late, averaging 50.5 DK points in his seven home games this month. On top of him being at home where he is clearly more comfortable, Towns will be facing off against The Lakers who have allowed the 2nd most DK points to centers and are currently a high opponent +/- of 6.0 points.
They have been even worse than usual recently, ranking dead last in defensive efficiency over their last three games. Also, Towns’ usage should be higher than usual, with starting PG Jeff Teague (knee) still out. In all the minutes KAT has played without Teague this season, he has seen a 2.3% usage increase. I don’t like that The Wolves are favored double digits in this game (-10.5 MIN), but they have the highest implied team total of the slate at 112.5 points. I think this game stays competitive enough that Towns sees his normal 35+ minutes tonight. I am expecting a 50+ DK point game from him and he is my favorite high end option of this small slate.
PF/C: Julius Randle: (5,000) Last night, Randle went off for 29 points, 15 rebounds, six assists, and a block in 33 minutes vs The Rockets. (58.25 DK points) This was his second consecutive start at center for The Lakers and he is now averaging 45.75 DK points and 31 minutes as a starter these last two games. This average is obviously inflated by his explosion last night, but he has been producing 1.43 DK points per minute since entering the starting five, while leading this team in usage at a high 30.9%, which is a 5.6% increase from his average this season. There is no reason why he wouldn’t play around 30 minutes again tonight and he should crush value going against a Wolves team that has really struggled defensively this year.
You would think centers would have a tough time taking on Wolves’ center Karl-Anthony Towns, but it has been the complete opposite so far this season, with The Wolves allowing the 5th most DK points to centers and currently rating as an opponent +/- of 5.84 points. Randle has already had a productive game against this same Wolves squad this year, scoring 26.75 DK points in only 19 minutes off the bench just last week against them on Christmas day. With a new expanded role as a starter, he should easily get us five times value with 35-40 DK point upside. His price is going to go way up soon and he is a value play that needs to be utilized in all formats on Monday night.
PG/SG: Tyler Ennis: (3,000) Last night, with SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope not with the team due to his legal issues that won’t let him leave the state of California, Ennis drew the start for The Lakers and came out and dropped a double double of 20 points, 11 assists, along with four rebounds, and two steals in a whopping 45 minutes of action. (45.5 DK points) With KCP not available again tonight, Ennis should start and play at least 25 minutes.
We can’t expect him to play until he fouls out again or 45.5 DK points, but I think he should score 20+ DK points, with him averaging 0.9 DK points per minute this year, and this being a positive matchup vs The Wolves. (2.49 opponent +/-) If he can score 20 DK points that would be an awesome return when we consider his price hasn’t moved at all since last night, sitting at a bare minimum $3,000 on DraftKings. This is a tough situation because we don’t know exactly what Lakers Head Coach Luke Walton’s plan is, but at this cheap of price, the reward significantly outweighs the risk with Ennis.
SG/SF: Evan Fournier: (5,900) He struggled in his first game back from his foot injury (17.75 DK points vs The Heat), but he has looked like his old self in his second and third games back, averaging 35 DK points and 35 minutes over these past two. His usage has been slightly up (23.8%) and with no game yesterday or tomorrow, Fournier shouldn’t be limited and should log roughly 35 minutes tonight vs The Nets. We all know this Nets team is a favorable matchup with them giving up the 7th most DK points to SFs and the third fastest team in The NBA. (1.75 opponent +/-)
Fournier has already exposed this defense twice this season, averaging a great 46.4 DK points in their first two meetings. I can’t say he will score 40+ DK points tonight, but he should exceeded five times value in this great matchup. He is one of the strongest SF values of this slate and is a fine option in all formats, that gives you a share of this Magic Nets game that is arguably the best game of the night to target with it’s slate high O/U of 219.5 points and tight spread of only 2.5 points.
Also Consider: Jordan Clarkson, Brandon Ingram, Kris Dunn, Tyus Jones (still starting for Teague and he should play 30+ minutes, barring a huge blowout, in this excellent matchup vs The Lakers, who are 4.19 opponent +/- for PGs), Josh Hart, Elfrid Payton (minutes have been way up playing over 39 in both of his last two games and we all know this is a good spot for him vs The Nets), Caris LeVert (more of a GPP play only, but he has been on fire averaging 38 DK points over his last three games), Aaron Gordon (33.7% usage last game and scored 55.75 DK points in 36 minutes. Just like with Forunier, he just came back from an injury, but the last game is an indication he is fully back), John Henson, Jamal Crawford, Bismack Biyombo (price keeps going up, but he is still in play at $5,600. He has played 30+ minutes and scored 30+ DK points in his last two starts with Vuc out), and Shabazz Napier (would be a core play if Damian Lillard is out again. 38.3 DK points in these last four games with Lillard out. Lillard is currently a GTD).