Welcome back everyone. Alex here, and these are my DraftKings NBA Picks for January 23rd. For Wednesday night, we get a huge ten game slate. 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.
C: Nikola Vucevic: (9,300)
James Harden (below) obviously is the top overall play and someone I will be using heavily, but Vucevic is also a very strong high end value in his own right. He has been excellent in his last four (49.88 DK PPG) and will be going against The Nets, who are allowing the 5th most points in the paint this season. (3.89 opponent +/-) Centers dominate Jarret Allen and this Nets’ front-court, and just last week, in his first matchup with Brooklyn this year, Vucevic scored 50.25 DK points in 33.5 minutes of work.
In the 17 Magic games that Vuc has faced an opponent +/- of 3.0 points or greater, he has been a beast. (49 DK PPG) This game is projected to stay close (BKN -6.5) and decently high scoring. (219 O/U game total) In the nine of those games that Vuc has taken on an opponent +/- of 3.0 points or better, that also came with a total over 215 points, he has produced 52.67 DK PPG. Vuc should approach 50 DK points tonight and is a fine complement to Harden in your lineups.
C: Enes Kanter: (5,000)
With Luke Kornet (ankle) out, Kanter is ultimately expected to slide back into the starting five. Now, this doesn’t mean he will see heavy playing time, but Kanter should have to play north of 25 minutes with Kornet gone from this rotation. (25.4 MPG in L5) Kanter scores a very effective 1.24 DK PPM and in the last 11 games that he has played at least 20 minutes, he is averaging 33.39 DK PPG. Plus, he will be at home, facing The Rockets, who have been extremely vulnerable inside without Clint Capela. (2.63 opponent +/-) In their last three games, Houston has been the 2nd worst defense in The NBA, that has allowed the most rebounds, and most points in the paint, by a wide margin of 12.7 points.
Even if The Rockets decide to start Kenneth Faried at center (below), which I am expecting to happen soon, he is a horrible individual defender, that has no chance of stopping Kanter from scoring. He should obtain a double double in this game and Kanter is a prime value at this season low price, especially when you factor in this game has the highest total of the night. (225.5 points) In the four Knicks’ home games that have come with an O/U game total of 225 points or more this season, Kanter has produced 31.8 DK PPG.
PG/SG: Terry Rozier: (4,000)
It’s pretty simple, when Kyrie Irving (out, illness) isn’t available, Rozier is a plug and play value. Tonight, not only will Boston be without Irving, but Al Horford will also be rested for this juicy matchup vs The Cavs, who rank dead last in defensive efficiency this season. (1.77 opponent +/-) In the one game without both of these starters this season, Rozier scored 30.25 DK points in 31.5 minutes.
Overall, in the five that Irving has sat this year, Rozier has supplied 30 DK PPG in 30.7 MPG as The Celtics’ starting PG. He scores 0.91 DK PPG when Irving and Horford are off the court and should play around 30 minutes tonight. I am expecting a minimum of 25 DK points from Scary Terry and he is must play in all formats.
PG: Kyle Lowry: (7,200)
Kawhi Leonard won’t play until Friday, keeping Lowry as a great value play for tonight. With Leonard out last night, Lowry scored 39.5 DK points in 34.08 minutes vs The Kings. His price has dropped $400 since then and he is now only $7,200. At this price, he needs 36 DK points to meet five times value, which is absolutely possible, with Lowry averaging 42.37 DK PPG in the 12 Leonard has missed.
The matchup isn’t ideal (IND is -0.01 opponent +/-), but there isn’t a matchup in the league that would stop me from rostering Lowry at this low of a cost. He should have zero issues returning five times value and has a ceiling near 50 DK points, in this competitive game setting. (IND -5.5)
PG/SG: James Harden: (13,400)
This game won’t be a blowout like Monday. (93-121 vs The Sixers) Both The Rockets (dead last in their last three) and Knicks (2nd to last this season) are horrible defenses and not only will this game be very high scoring, but it should also be competitive (HOU -7), with New York at home, and The Rockets struggling on the road this season. (9-13) Before Monday, Harden was scoring 80.42 DK PPG in the first three without both Capela and Chris Paul. (out, hamstring) He has a 3.55 DK +/- in MSG and The Beard should get back on track with 70+ DK points this evening. With a plethora of value out there tonight, I don’t see how you build a cash game lineup without Harden.
C: Joel Embiid: (10,500)
If either Jimmy Butler (questionable, wrist) or Ben Simmons (questionable, illness) are out, Embiid will be right behind Harden as the top overall play. With Butler out on Monday, Embiid scored 63 DK points vs The Rockets in only 26.3 minutes. In the seven games without Butler since he was acquired by The Sixers, Embiid has been a monster. (60.64 DK PPG) He also scores 1.69 DK PPM when Simmons is off the floor. All in all, I expect at least one of them to play, but if the other doesn’t, Embiid should have a huge night, regardless of this being a tough spot vs The Spurs. (-0.56 opponent +/-)
PF/C: Blake Griffin: (9,700)
It sounds like he is nearing a return, but if Andre Drummond (questionable, concussion) misses his third straight game, Griffin will be a great target vs The Pelicans. (1.67 opponent +/- and 3.7 possession increase) He has scored 50.38 DK PPG in these last two without Drummond and is averaging 1.38 DK PPM when the center is off the court.
PF/C: Julius Randle: (8,400)
In only 27 minutes, Randle scored 44 DK points vs a tough Memphis defense on Monday, with Anthony Davis (finger) out. AD will remain out for the next few weeks and Randle is averaging 42.2 in the six full games without The Brow this season. He is at home, where he has scored 3.4 more DK PPG this year, and this game will be much tighter than Monday. (NO -4) Randle honestly should cost $9,000 with AD out of the lineup and I will be using him with confidence on Wednesday.
PG/SG: D’Angelo Russell: (8,000)
For this big of a slate, I would only use Russell in GPPs, but he is an elite play in that format. He has scored over 50 DK points in three of his last four games and Russell will be playing The Magic, who he just scored 58.5 DK points against this past Friday.
PF/C: Nikole Mirotic: (7,000)
Mirotic scored 37.5 DK points on Monday and he has averaged 39.65 DK PPG in the five he has played without The Brow. The price is fair, but I think Mirotic warrants some consideration for GPPs.
PF/C: Pascal Siakam: (6,300)
The matchup vs Indy is ugly (0.83 opponent +/-), but Siakam is still viable with Leonard out. (31.85 DK PPG in 13 W/O Leonard)
C: Ante Zizic: (6,000)
Tristan Thompson will be out again and in these three without him, Zizic has been solid as The Cavs’ starting center. (31.4 DK PPG) Yes, as a whole this matchup vs Boston will be better with Horford out, but Aaron Baynes should start in his place, and is certainly no stiff on the defensive end. I still like Zizic, especially with The Celtics being his former team, but I think he lacks upside against this defense.
SF/PF: Gordon Hayward: (5,100)
Hayward wasn’t active in the first full game without both Horford and Irving, but he has been great in the games that just Irving has missed. (30.31 DK PPG) With Rozier moving to the starting five, Hayward becomes the primary ball handler of the second unit, and with Irving and Horford off the floor, his usage rises 3.3%, and his assist rate jumps a team high 7.7%. He scores 0.98 DK PPM in this situation and should play roughly 30 minutes vs this awful Cavs’ defense.
SF/PF: Marcus Morris: (5,000)
Morris also is a strong value with The Celtics down two starters. His usage goes up a team high 5.2% without Horford and Irving, and he leads the team with 1.17 DK PPM. The matchup vs Cleveland is obviously in his favor and Morris could return six to seven times value in this scenario. Hayward didn’t play in this game, but I think it’s worth noting, in that one full contest without Irving and Horford, Morris led the team with 42.5 DK points.
C: Jahill Okafor: (4,600)
Okafor saw some extra minutes in garbage time on Monday (40 DK points in 35 minutes), so I would temper your expectations, but he is still viable as The Pelicans’ starting center. He scores 1.06 DK PPM and could exceed five times value in this nice matchup vs The Pistons. (2.43 opponent +/-)
PG/SG: Marcus Smart: (4,600)
Smart’s usage increases 3.2% without Irving and Horford, and he is averaging 25.13 DK PPG in the full games Irving has been out. Smart is my least favorite value from The Celtics, but he is still a strong bet to return value.
PF/C: Kenneth Faried: (4,400)
As mentioned above, I think HC Mike D’Antoni will start Faried at center very soon, and tonight could be the night. Either way, with Capela out, Faired is looking at 20+ minutes for The Rockets. In his Houston debut on Monday, Faried produced 20 DK points 23 minutes vs The Sixers. In this blowout loss, D’Antoni pulled him rather in early the 4th, showing us they value him going forward, even if he just joined the team. Faired scores an efficient 1.14 DK PPM this season and The Knicks have allowed the 3rd most RPG, and the 2nd most points in the paint. Even as a reserve, I think he is viable for GPPs, but if named the starting center, The Manimal will be an elite option in all formats.
PG/SG: Jeremy Lin: (4,200)
The final result could have been better (18.75 DK points vs The Magic), but with Kevin Huerter (neck) out, Lin played 29 minutes off the bench on Monday. With Huerter out again (0.97 DK PPM without Huerter and Kent Bazemore), Lin should have a much better showing vs The Bulls , who are 23rd in defensive efficiency. (1.06 opponent +/-)
C: Zaza Pachulia: (4,200)
Zaza has started for Drummond (19.75 DK PPG in L2) and would remain in play if Andre can’t suit up. (NO is a 1.98 opponent +/-)
SG/SF: Justin Holiday: (3,700)
Holiday has played at least 30 minutes in three straight and is averaging 23.06 DK PPG since entering the starting lineup four games ago. The Hornets are a big pace increase for Memphis (+3.7 possessions) and they have been weak vs SFs. (1.31 opponent +/-)
C: Aaron Baynes: (3,500)
He should start at center and in the 16 games Horford has missed the last two years, Baynes has generated 18.5 DK PPG. He is never going to log heavy minutes, but The Cavs are very weak inside without Thompson, and in his first meeting vs Cleveland this season, Baynes scored 24.8 DK points in 22.5 minutes.
SG/SF: C.J. Miles: (3,300)
Miles won’t play over 20 minutes, but he has scored 23 DK PPG in these last three with Leonard and OG Anunoby (out, personal) missing. He will stay in the same role tonight, going against his former team, The Pacers, and Miles has a decent shot of topping 20 DK points for the 4th consecutive game.
PF/C: Daniel Theis: (3,100)
If you need a full punt tonight, Theis is worth a shot. He should play 20+ minutes off the bench, with room for more, if this game becomes a blowout. (BOS -15) Theis scores right under 1.0 DK PPM this season, is averaging 23.65 DK PPG in the last five he has gone over 20 minutes, and 21.39 DK PPG in the nine Horford has sat this year.
*Please note some of these stats are from FantasyLabs.com