What’s up everybody. Alex here, and I am back with my DraftKings NBA picks for January 3rd, 2018. Tonight we get back to a full slate with 12 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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PG/SG: Chris Paul: (9,600) With guard James Haden out the next two weeks with a hamstring injury, this Rockets’ offense will now run through Paul. As expected, with Harden gone from this team, there is a huge amount of usage to go around to his teammates. In all the time Harden has been off the court this year, Paul has seen the biggest usage increase on this team at 7.6%, but also a massive 19.1% assist percentage jump from season average. In the 196 total minutes CP3 has logged without Harden this year, he is scoring a ridiculous 1.71 DK points per minute, resulting in a 61.7 DK point per 36 minute average. (16.4 DK point differential) Paul just returned from an injury himself, leg injury to be specific, but he seemed pretty healthy in their game vs The Lakers on Sunday, logging 42 minutes in the double OT win.
Yes, he was probably forced to play this much because of the two OTs, but if he aggravated this injury at all, he would be listed on the injury report for tonight. With three days of rest under his belt, Paul should be ready to play close to 35 minutes tonight in an absolutely gorgeous matchup vs The Magic, who have allowed the second most DK points to opposing PGs this season. Elfrid Payton is a very weak defender and this matchup currently rates a high 7.41 point opponent +/- for starting PGs, which is the best matchup for any guard in this slate, in terms of opponent +/-. Also, with Harden out, this road game should stay more competitive with The Rockets at less than full strength. (-7.5 HOU) I think it’s a pretty safe bet Paul posts a double double in this game with a decent possibility of a triple double. The price tag has adjusted to life without Harden, but he is still underpriced in my opinion, and I am expecting over 50 DK points from Paul on Wednesday night.
PF/C: Dario Saric: (6,800) Saric has been tremendous, averaging 44.3 DK points over his last three games. In one of these three games he played without starting center Joel Embiid, dropping 42.75 DK points on The Nuggets. Tonight, Embiid is listed as doubtful with a hand injury, and in all the games Embiid has sat this season, Saric has been the main beneficiary, averaging 36 DK points in those nine games, which is a team high 8.1 DK point differential. This evening, he will be facing off against The Spurs who will be without their best defender SF Kawhi Leonard. (rest)
This improves this matchup as a whole and Saric should be able to produce 35-40 DK points in this spot. His upside is also rather solid if he can continue this hot shooting, as he is shooting 66% from three in his last three games. His salary has gone up, but he is still a nice mid tier target that presents safety and upside. UPDATE: Embiid has gone from Doubtful to out to now in. This hurts Saric and I think he is only a GPP play now.
PG: Dejounte Murray: (4,700) The Spurs have elected to sit PG Tony Parker, SF Kawhi Leonard, SG Danny Green, and SG Manu Ginobli for tonight’s matchup vs The Sixers. Luckily, we got this information early in the day, instead of this news break after roster lock. This situation has already happened twice this year with these four players out and Murray received the start and should be the player who starts at PG tonight. In these two games, all of his rates saw solid bumps, and he averaged 30.13 DK points per game. He averaged 25.7 minutes in these two games and he should see 25-30 minutes again, which is enough time for him to beat value at this current price tag, with him averaging 1.17 DK points per minute in these two full games, which is a sizeable 0.6 DK point per minute increase from his average for this season.
The matchup is also in his favor, going against The Sixers, who have allowed the third most DK points to PGs this year and will be without their defensive back bone, center Joel Embiid. (5.08 opponent +/-) With the news of these players resting, Vegas is expecting a very tight match between these two clubs (-1 SA), and I think Murray is a strong value play that can be used in all formats tonight.
SG: Eric Gordon: (6,800) His salary is rather high for player who relies so much on scoring, but the upside is immense for Gordon with Harden out. He hasn’t sat any full contests this season, but in the 334 minutes Gordon has logged without Harden, which is the most time any player on this team has played without the superstar, Gordon has seen a 7.2% usage bump, and is averaging 35 DK points per 36 minutes. Obviously, Paul’s presence makes matters different this time around, but just a reference, in the one game Harden missed last season, Gordon led the way for The Rockets, dropping 43.5 DK points in 32.6 minutes. Rockets’ Head Coach Mike D’Antoni has used a tight rotation all season and he should use an even tighter one tonight with Harden and his 36.2 minute per game average gone from the picture.
Gordon will likely slide into the starting five in place of The Beard and I think we see him log 35+ minutes in this great matchup vs The Magic, who are the fifth worst rated defense in The NBA. (6.5 opponent +/-) Both of these teams rank inside the top in pace and it’s no surprise this game has the highest O/U game total of the night at 219.5 points. I am not fond of his floor, but his ceiling is so high, that I think Gordon must be considered for this large slate.
Also Consider: Gerald Green (22.4 DK points a game in his first two games as a Rocket and he should play more with Harden out), P.J. Tucker (price is down and he should play more with Harden sitting), Alex Len/Greg Monroe (who knows what The Suns will do, but Tyson Chandler should rest on this second night of a back to back, making one of these two the starting center, and a good play at their cheap prices), Allen Crabbe (would see a boost if DeMarre Carroll was out), Trey Lyles (36 DK points and 30.8 minutes in his last two games and is playing The Suns, who are 4.39 opponent +/-), Tyler Ennis (still viable with Ball out, but KCP will return, making his minutes shakier), Kris Dunn ($300 price drop, needs 34.5 DK points to meet value at this salary, but is averaging 43 DK points over his last four starts), Evan Fournier, Derrick Favors (over 30 DK points in three straight and they will need his size vs The Pelicans), Marquese Chriss (coming off a 41.25 DK point game last night. His minutes keep trending up and he played 34 minutes last night. If this happens again, he would crush value in this game that has an O/U game total of 217.5 points), Jamal Murray (46.3 DK points in 43.2 minutes in his two games compared to back up PG Emmanuel Mudiay who hasn’t seen a single minute in these two games), and LaMarcus Aldrdige (should lead this offense with all four of those Spurs out in a strong matchup vs The Sixers who are expected to be without Embiid).