Welcome back everyone. Alex here, and I am back with my DraftKings NBA picks for January 25th, 2018. Thursday night’s slate is a small slate with only four games to target. 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.
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C: Nikola Jokic: (8,900) Jokic hasn’t been affected by the different starting lineups The Nuggets’ coaching staff has been throwing out there over the last week or so, averaging 45.6 DK PPG in his last six games. He is The Nuggets’ most important player and his minutes have remained stable at 33 MPG during this stretch, along with some strong rates, including a 29.4% usage rate, a 28.3% assist percentage, and a 20.7% rebound percentage, which are all team highs during these six games. Tonight, he takes on The Knicks, who have been awful defensively rccenetly, ranking as the worst defense in the league over their last three games. Jokic dropped 47 DK points on this same defense in only 30 minutes of action earlier this season and I am expecting a similar score tonight, with this matchup rating as a solid 3.6 opponent +/-.
Additionally, he could see a nice boost to his already high rates if Nuggets’ starting SG Gary Harris out. He is currently listed as questionable with a bruised foot and in all the minutes Jokic has played without Harris and PF Paul Milsap (wrist) this year, he has seen his usage rise 2% and is seeing 1.8 DK point differential. It’s hard to say if we will know if Harris will be out before lock with this game tipping off at 9:00 PM EST, but either way, if the SG is in or out, Jokic is one of the better high end values of this small slate.
SG/SF: Will Barton: (5,800) Barton drew the start over Wilson Chandler Monday vs The Blazers, but struggled with his shot, not converting one of his seven attempts from the field. (21 DK points) He still played 34 minutes in the win, which should help keep him in the starting five on Thursday night. The 21 DK points he produced on Monday was a letdown, but there is no chance a scorer like Barton doesn’t convert a field goal tonight. As a starter, he should log 30+ minutes vs The Knicks. He is averaging an efficient 0.96 DK PPM this season and in the last nine games he played 30 minutes or more, he is averaging 32.1 DK PPG.
This matchup vs The Knicks is a great one right now, as this defense is allowing 11.3 three pointers made and are by far the worst rated defense in The NBA over their last three games. (1.65 opponent +/-). The Nuggets possess the second highest team total of the night only trailing The Warriors (109.5 points) and I am expecting five times value with 35-40 DK point upside from Barton, especially if Harris ends up sitting, as his usage has jumped 2.4% when Harris and Milsap have been off the floor this season.
C: Willie Cauley-Stein: (6,500) Tuesday night, Cauley-Stein went off for 21 points, nine rebounds, five blocks, four assists, and one steal in the win over The Magic. (49.75 DK points) Veterans Kosta Koufos and Zach Randolph were rested for this game, but no matter who has been rested or limited, WCS is averaging 34 MPG over his last six starts. I’m sure Koufos or Randolph or both will be play tonight, but that doesn’t mean they will play much and them being active shouldn’t hold Cauley-Stein from logging 30+ minutes as a starter. They will especially need him and his size vs The Heat.
He is one of the only players on this Kings’ roster that can matchup with Heat center Hassan Whiteside physically and he should log roughly 35 minutes in this matchup that is a positive one, at an opponent +/- of 2.44 points. This month, he is scoring 1.07 DK PPM and in this kind of playing time, WCS should top 30+ DK points with a very high ceiling similar to what we saw on Tuesday night. He is priced correctly at $6,500, but with only four games to target, WCS is one of the better mid-tier targets that has safety and upside.
SG/SF: Andre Roberson: (3,800) Roberson is never an exciting play, but at the moment, he is one of the best cheap plays of this small slate. He just returned from a knee injury, but his minutes have been trending up in this past three games since his return. He logged 17 minutes in his first game back, then 30, and then 29. He had a lackluster game his last time out, with only 12.5 DK points in the win over The Nets, but before this, he topped 20 DK points in five straight games, averaging 24.4 DK PPG. He is one of their better wing defenders and they will need him to approach 30 minutes tonight to defend this strong backcourt duo of John Wall and Bradley Beal.
His DK PPM average isn’t appealing at 0.62 DK PPM, but with a projection of 30 minutes, with the potential for 35-40, given this his fourth game back, he has a solid chance of rebounding and scoring 20+ DK points vs this Wizards defense that is giving up 9.0 steals per game over their last three. (2.28 opponent +/-) Roberson is a viable punt play in all formats that will help you get in some expensive players.
Also Consider: Andrew Wiggins (40.4 DK PPG in these last three games without Jimmy Butler. Jamal Crawford is back, which brought his usage slightly down last game to 28.7% from the 33.3% he saw in the previous two, but if Butler is out, Wiggins is still underpriced for the bigger role he would see), Neman Bjelica (30 DK points and 35 minutes in these past two without Butler. Price is up, but he would be worth a look if Butler sat again), Mason Plumlee/Trey Lyles (they have been juggling these two at the four spot and whoever started would be a solid value. If Porzi plays, I think Plumlee starts, if he sits and they go smaller with Beasley, I think Lyles would be the more logical choice at PF), Buddy Hield (28+ DK points in three of last four and the matchup is solid va The Heat), Michael Beasley (a strong play if Porzi is out again. 32 DK points starting for Porzi last game and is averaging 30 DK PPG in the seven games without the star PF this season. Would see a bigger bump if Kyle O’Quinn also was out), Willie Hermangomez (20.25 DK points in 18 minutes last game without Porzi and KOQ. Can only be considered if this situation unfolds again), Jarret Jack (25+ DK points in two straight games, but there is always risk with him), Draymond Green (really nice price tag, but he struggled in their first game vs The Wolves with only 25.5 DK points. However, his Vegas prop implied DK projection of 38 points is great for his price), Wilson Chandler (would most likely slide back in the starting lineup if Gary Harris sat. Scored 22.75 DK points in the one game without Harris this season), Jamal Murray (would see a usage boost if Harris was out. 33.5 DK points in the lone game without Murray), and De’Aaron Fox. (he let us down getting hurt last game and missing the second half, but he is listed as probable and should log 30+ minutes as the starter. The $5,200 is very friendly and I expected him to be low owned after letting down a lot of people Tuesday night)