Welcome back everybody. Alex here, and I am back with my DraftKings NBA picks for January 22nd, 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.
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SG/SF: Khris Middleton: (8,700)/PG/SG: Eric Bledsoe: (8,200) PG Malcom Brogdon (personal) will return for The Bucks, but SF Giannis Anteokounmpo (knee) will be out again, making both Middleton and Bledsoe great plays just like Saturday night. Bledsoe could have had a better game (29.5 DK points), but Middleton was awesome, posting a triple double and dropping 61 DK points on The Sixers. Both of them should see nice rate increases without The Greek and after this game on Saturday, Bledsoe is now averaging 36 DK PPG in the three games without Giannis and Middleton is averaging 56 DK PPG. One of these games that Giannis missed was actually against the same opponent The Bucks will face tonight, The Suns. In this game back in November, Middleton and Bledsoe both went off without Giannis, with Middleton exploding for 63.75 DK points and Bledsoe scoring 49.75 DK points against his former team.
The Suns are the fourth fastest team in The NBA vs The Bucks who rank 22nd and this is a notable 4.5 possession increase for Milwaukee. To no surprise, The Suns, who are the 3rd worst rated defense this season, present strong matchups for both Middleton (2.77 opponent +/-) and Bledsoe. (4.52 opponent +/-) Also, even though The Suns are one of the worst teams in the league, The Bucks struggled without The Greek on Saturday, losing by 22 to The Sixers, and this game should stay close throughout. (-4.5 MIL) I am expecting both of them to get us 40+ DK points with huge upside, especially Bledsoe, who we all know will want to put up big numbers on his former club. Just like I did on Saturday night, I will be rostering these players together in the same lineup tonight.
PG: Jerian Grant: (4,900) Even though they lost by 16, Grant was solid starting for Kris Dunn (concussion) on Saturday, filling the stat sheet with eight points, six assists, six rebounds, and a steal in the loss. (27 DK points) He logged 25 minutes in this game, but I think he would have approached 30 if the game was closer down the stretch. This was the sixth contest Dunn has missed this season and overall for all the games the PG has missed, Grant is averaging 28.25 DK PPG in 31.2 MPG, which is a team high 8.7 DK point increase. He has averaged 0.9 DK PPM in these games and tonight he should see 25-30 minutes of playing time in this matchup vs The Pelicans that has a relatively small spread of 6.5 points in favor New Orleans.
This game also is expected to be the highest scoring game of the night, with it’s slate high O/U game total of 226 points. The defensive matchup is also very much in his favor, with The Pelicans currently sitting at a high 5.49 opponent +/- for starting PGs. Grant should exceed five times value in this spot and he is one of the strongest values of this slate.
SG/SF: Andrew Wiggins: (6,100) Saturday night, with starting SF Jimmy Butler (knee) and SG Jamal Crawford (toe) both out, Wiggins step up and scored 29 points, five rebounds, and three assists in the win over The Raptors. (38.25 DK points) This was a very impressive showing when you consider that The Raptors are one of the best defensive teams against SFs and one the better defenses in The NBA overall, ranking 4th in efficiency this season. Without Butler and Crawford in this game, Wiggins posted one of his highest usage rates of the season at 33%.. This is going to be the second full game without these two Wolves and in the first contest without them, Wiggins was excellent, putting up 37.5 DK points on a 34.7% usage rate.
In all the minutes he has played in this situation this season, Wiggins is scoring 0.93 DK PPM, which is a solid bump from his 0.87 DK PPM average this year. The minutes will always be high for him under Head Coach Tom Thibodeau, especially with them thin on the wings, and Wiggins should approach 40 minutes tonight in a solid matchup vs The Clippers. (2.48 opponent +/-) He hasn’t been good against them this year (19.63 DK PPG), but I think we need to forget about this when factoring in the usage and minutes he will take on tonight.
SF/PF: Nemanja Bjelica: (3,000) Another player you have to consider tonight with Butler and Crawford out is Bjelica. He drew the start for Butler on Saturday night and was productive in 26.3 minutes, scoring 19.5 DK points vs The Raptors. As I stated above, both Butler and Crawford will be out again, and Bjelica is expected to draw another start.
He scores 0.78 DK PPM this season and in a 25-30 minute role, it’s hard not seeing him producing over five times value again tonight in this positive matchup vs The Clippers who are a current opponent +/- of 3.76 points. Simply put, Bjelica costs a bare minimum $3,000 and with a starting role, he is a difficult value play to ignore on Monday night.
Also Consider: PG: Ricky Rubio (After seeing his minutes go up and down for a few weeks, Rubio has played 31 MPG in his last three. He is averaging 30 DK PPG during this span and the minutes and usage should stay up with SG Rodney Hood out. He sees a 1.3% usage increase without Hood on the floor), Marcus Georges-Hunt (19.25 DK points in 29.2 minutes off the bench last game with Butler and Crawford sitting. Bjelica is the better and safer play as the starter, but MGH is also viable at only $3,000), Malcolm Brogdon (should play 35+ minutes and do a good amount of ball handling with The Greek out. The matchup is also tremendous playing up in pace vs The Suns), Tony Snell (rates will mostly take a small hit with Brogdon back, but he will still start for Giannis. He did well last game without The Greek, scoring 26.5 DK points in a high 38 minutes), Rudy Gobert (with two days of rest and no game tomorrow, Gobert should see roughly 30 minutes tonight in a great matchup vs The Hawks, who are a high opponent +/- of 5.38 points), Skal Labissiere/Willie Cauley-Stein (I could see Zach Randolph being rested tonight, resulting in more minutes for both of these bigs. Skal is cheaper, but WCS possesses the larger upside, averaging 38 DK PPG over his last four), Josh Richardson (Goran Dragic and Tyler Johnson will both miss another game tonight vs The Rockets. Richardson was one of the main ball handlers last game without them and he put up 33.25 DK points in 36 minutes vs The Hornets. The pace increase and matchup vs The Rockets, who are a 4.95 opponent +/-, make J Rich a nice mid tier target, but 11 point spread isn’t ideal), and James Johnson. (him and Richardson handled the ball the most last game and Johnson also played well in the win over The Hornets, scoring 39 DK points. His usage was at 26.1% in this game and he should see a similar rate playing up in pace, which is perfect for his game)