Welcome back everyone. Alex here, and I am back with my DraftKings NBA picks for January 31st, 2018. Tonight we get a full slate with eight games to target. 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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SF/PF: LeBron James: (11,100) LeBron has let me down on multiple occasions this season, but with starting PF Kevin Love (hand) out and most likely PG Isaiah Thomas (hip), who hasn’t played in a back to back set this year (played 32 minutes last night), I think The Kings is, without question, the top overall play tonight. In the one contest that he has played without these two teammates this season, James went off for 66.5 DK points in 38.7 minutes. In this game, he posted an insane 41.9% usage rate, which is a 10.7% jump from his average rate this season, and a massive 68.4% assist percentage. This is obviously just a one game sample, but in the larger sample of 496 minutes he has played with them off the court, he is scoring an average of 56.13 DK points per 36 minutes of action. On top of the expanded rates, he should see, The King will be taking on his former team, The Heat. (1.18 opponent +/-)
Yes, Dwayne Wade is on The Cavs now, but James still enjoys playing against his former team, with him averaging 59 DK PPG in his last three matchups vs Miami, which is a 7.79 DK point +/-. The Cavs need every win they can get right now and in close to 40 minutes of work, James should produce close to 60 DK points this evening. Thomas hasn’t been officially ruled out yet, but once he is, I think James is the top player of the slate and is the best high spend. I don’t think it happens, but if Thomas somehow ends up playing, I think James would remain a strong play, even with just Love out of the fold.
PF/C: Channing Frye: (3,300) Frye has played well off the bench in The Cavs last two games, averaging 27 DK PPG. Last night, after Love hurt his hand and exited only five minutes into the game, Frye stepped up and scored 20 points, to go along with six rebounds and two blocks in 21 minutes. (33 DK points) Love broke a bone in his hand and now is expected to miss the next two months, which opens up around 25 minutes of playing time for Frye going forward. Jae Crowder started the second half last night in place of Love and he is the expected start on Wednesday night, but he has been struggling all season and Frye is the target here at a cheaper price, even though he comes off the bench. In these past two games, with 21 minutes in each contest, Frye is scoring a solid 1.28 DK PPM.
He stretches the floor with his three point shooting the same way that Love did and he always better playing when LeBron is on the floor, with Frye seeing a 6.3 DK point increase in the minutes he has logged with James on the floor and Love on the bench. His matchup tonight is solid, going against The Heat, who are current opponent +/- of 2.88 points. In roughly 25 minutes of action, Frye should get at least five times value, with 25-30 DK point upside, depending on how many threes he can knock down. On a point per dollar basis, Frye is one of the best values on the board tonight and is a viable punt play in all formats. UPDATE: I still like Frye, but with many values opening up (Bobby Portis, Mo Speights), I think he becomes less of an appealing play. He still has a really good chance of surpassing value, but he is more of GPP target as of now.
PG/SG: Terry Rozier: (5,300) With Kyrie Irving (quad) and Marcus Smart (hand) both out tonight, Rozier is a must play in my opinion. There hasn’t been any full games without these two PGs this season, but with both of them out, Rozier will start and pick up a ton of usage and ball handling. In the 218 minutes he has seen without them this year, his usage has jumped 2.2%, his assist percentage 7.6% and he is scoring 33.3 DK point per 36 minutes. That is 0.93 DK PPM, when you do the math and he will have to play 30+ minutes in a good matchup vs The Knicks who have allowed the 10th most DK points to PGs this season. (1.07 opponent +/-) With just Smart out and Kyrie healthy last game, Rozier was great in a reserve role, scoring 32.75 DK points in 30 minutes Monday night vs The Nuggets.
As the starting PG, I am expecting a similar DK score, with 40 DK point upside, especially with this game being at home. (2.1 DK +/- at home this season) Lastly, it’s worth noting that back up PG Shane Larkin missed their last game and is questionable with a knee injury. If he was also out, Rozier might have to play close to 40 minutes assuming this game stayed relatively close. (BOS -6) His PG/SG eligibility makes him an even better option and I will be locking Rozier into all of my lineups on Wednesday night.
C: Jahill Oakfor: (3,600) Finally, The Nets are starting to let Oakfor off his leash. He is only averaging 12.9 MPG since being traded to The Nets, but in these last two games, he is averaging 24.2 MPG. The former third overall pick is a solid fantasy player, averaging 0.9 DK PPM over the last two seasons and he has taken full advantage of the extra playing time, averaging 28.1 DK PPG in these past two. He has always been a high usage player and, in these games, he has seen a 23.4% usage rate. Even though The Nets have lost both of these games by double digits, I think this is by design, letting Oakfor play more, with him and Jarrett Allen as the only centers on the team that played last game, with former starting center Tyler Zeller not seeing a minute of action.
So, I think a 20+ minute role will be there for Okafor again tonight, in a very interesting matchup against his former team in The Sixers. They are a decent matchup for centers (2.92 opponent +/-) and you have to believe that Okafor is hyped up and ready to play his best against his former club that drafted him, but eventually let him ride the bench for an extended period of time. He wanted out of Philly and there is no question that this relationship didn’t end on good terms. His floor is obviously scary, but with 20-25 minutes, I think Okafor scores at least 20 DK points tonight, with the room for more, if this Nets coaching staff also plays into the narrative and lets him see an even bigger role against his former club.
Also Consider: Frank Kaminsky (shooting an awful 17% from the field the last three games, but will start for Williams in this plus matchup vs The Hawks, that is a current opponent +/- of 4.4 points), Jarell Martin (20+ DK points in four straight and Jamychal Green is expected to be out again), J.J. Redick (will return and this a nice up tempo matchup vs The Nets), Al Horford (large 11.9% usage increase without Iriving and Smart. The matchup is also great vs The Knicks, who are 3.65 opponent +/- right now), Jayson Tatum/Jaylen Brown (both should see usage and minute increases), Dennis Schroder (bounced back with 41 DK points last game and is just too cheap at $7,300), Mario Hezonja (if Aaron Gordon is out again. Started in his place last night and scored 26.75 DK points. Oh, and he is playing The Lakers, who are 3.67 opponent +/-), Josh Richardson (34.3 DK PPG over last two and is playing The Cavs, who are a 7.54 opponent +/-), and Nikola Mirotic/Bobby Portis. (Markkanen will be away from the team tonight because of personal reasons. Mirotic should start and is averaging 40 DK PPG and 32 MPG in the three games Lauri has missed, but he is expected to be traded so his status is worth watching, as he can be traded at any moment, even during the game. Mirotic is the better play if active, but if he was out, Portis would start and be an awesome play, that is still very viable just with Markkanen out, as he averaged 33.5 DK PPG in those previous three the rookie missed)