Welcome back everyone. Alex here, and I am back with my DraftKings NBA picks for January 20th, 2018. Saturday’s main slate is a solid slate with seven games to attack. 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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SG/SF: Khris Middleton: (7,800)/PG/SG: Eric Bledsoe: (7,600) With SF Giannis Anteokounmpo (knee) and PG Malcom Brogdon (personal) out, there is a ton of ball handling and usage to go around to the rest of this Bucks team. This will be the first time they have been without these two starters this season, but with these two and center Greg Monroe off the floor (traded to PHO), Middleton sees the biggest increase in his workload out of all the remaining Bucks. In the 100 minutes he has logged without these three players, he has seen his usage sky rocket a large 12.9%, to a team high 37.8%. As I just said, there hasn’t been any full games without Brogdon and The Greek Freak this year, but in the two games that Giannis has sat, Middleton has led the team in usage and is averaging an awesome 55 DK PPG.
It’s also worth noting, in those games he averaged a very high 43.5 MPG. We can’t expect this kind of playing time, but in 35-40 minutes of work, Middleton should score 40+ DK points with the kind of usage he will handle, in this positive matchup vs The Sixers. (2.48 opponent +/-) PG Eric Bledsoe must also be considered. When Brogdon and Giannis have been on the bench, Bledsoe has seen all his rates go up, including a 5.3% usage increase, and he is scoring a team high 1.27 DK PPM and averaged 40 DK PPG in the two games The Greek was out earlier this year. I wouldn’t over think this tonight, lock both Middleton and Bledsoe in your lineups.
PF/C: Montrezl Harrell: (4,800) Starting center Deandre Jordan (ankle) will miss another game tonight, which means Harrell is once again a great play, that remains underpriced at $4,800. Even though he still comes off the bench, with Willie Reed starting, Harrell has been the primary center for The Clippers these past three games without Jordan, averaging 30 DK points and 28.1 minutes. Overall, Harrell has been extremely productive fantasy player this season, averaging 1.06 DK PPM.
He should see close to 30 minutes again and even though this a tough spot against a slow Jazz team that has starting center Rudy Gobert back (0.51 opponent +/-), they will need his size and he should put up 25+ DK points, regardless of the difficult matchup. Point per dollar, he is one of the best plays to roster tonight and I will be using him both cash games and GPPs with confidence.
SG: Eric Gordon: (6,400) Gordon balled out against The Wolves on Thursday night, scoring 44.75 DK points in the win. He nailed seven threes in this game and shot 58% from the field on 19 shots. As I wrote up on Thursday, even though James Harden was back from his hamstring injury, the minutes limit The Beard had (25) , along with SF Trevor Ariza and SG Gerald Green being suspended for their actions after the loss to The Clippers last week, would keep Gordon’s minutes and usage still high even with him returning the bench. He logged 35 minutes on Thursday and saw a nice 28% usage rate. Tonight, Ariza and Green will be serving the final game of their suspension and Harden will still be limited at 30 minutes. Gordon should once again see a high usage off the bench and log 35+ minutes in this highly anticipated home game vs The Warriors. As expected, with these two clubs being #1 and #2 in points per game this season, while also both ranking inside the top ten in pace, this game has by far the highest O/U game total of the slate at 234 points.
Not only is this going to be a shootout, but Vegas only has The Warriors favored by four points, which is a very small spread for the defending champs. Gordon has thrived when The Rockets play in a game with this high of a total, seeing a 2.39 DK point +/- in his last five games that have had an O/U game total of at least 230 points. Furthermore, in the first two meetings between these two Western Conference power houses this season, Gordon averaged 42.25 DK PPG, which is a high 16.44 DK point +/-. This is a very impressive number when you factor in that Harden was healthy and playing full minutes in these two games. The Warriors are one of the best defenses in the league, but this is still a plus matchup for Gordon, with Golden State currently presenting a decent opponent +/- of 2.78 points. His price has only gone up $100 since his 44.75 DK point game on Thursday and he is severely underpriced in my opinion at only $6,400. With all of the superstars in this game price correctly, Gordon is my favorite way of getting exposure to this very high total.
SF/PF: Luc Mbah a Moute: (4,200) Mbah a Moute turned out to be a really strong play for us on Thursday night, scoring 27.25 DK points in the win over The Wolves. He started in place of Ariza and logged 32.2 minutes, and hit 4/6 shots from beyond the arc, which was a great sign considering he just returned from a shoulder injury. He will start again with Ariza and Green still not with the team and should play close to 35 minutes in this big game vs The Warriors. Mbah a Moute is a strong wing defender and they will need his defense and toughness to matchup with Warriors’ SF Kevin Durant. As they have every game since his return, his minutes should rise and I think we see him approach 35 minutes tonight, especially vs this Warriors team that loves to play small ball just like The Rockets.
Mbah a Moute will see a good amount of time at PF, helping his rebound rate. He scores 0.63 DK PPM this season and with 35 minutes, Luc should meet five times value with decent upside in this high scoring affair. Just like on Thursday, I also like P.J. Tucker, who should see similar minutes off the bench. He scored 18.75 DK points on Thursday and is slightly cheaper at $3,700, but I would side with starter in Mbah a Moute if choosing one, but quite honestly, I don’t mind rostering both together, as they are both cheap and serviceable ways of getting more shares of this game.
Also Consider: P.J. Tucker (above), Tony Snell (will start and should play 35+. The upside is low, but he should meet value), Matthew Dellavedova (will do more ball handling with Brogdon out of the picture. His upside is also low, but he is scoring 26 DK points per 36 minutes without Giannis and Borgdon), Jonas Valancuinas (minutes been higher last two games and is averaging 37.3 DK PPG. This matchup is also strong vs The Wolves who are a 4.82 opponent +/- for starting centers), Hassan Whiteside (minutes are back over 30 and he has topped 50 DK points in two straight games. Matchup isn’t good vs Dwight Howard and The Hornets, but it is a matchup they will need his size), Clint Capela (has struggled vs The Warriors this season, only averaging 25 DK PPG, making him a better GPP play, but the upside is there in this game, especially with The Warriors currently at a 3.76 opponent +/- for starting centers), Klay Thompson (39 DK PPG vs Rockets this season. Matchup very strong at a 5.12 opponent +/-), and John Henson (they will need his size vs Embiid).