Welcome back everybody. Alex here, and I am back with my DraftKings NBA picks for January 9th, 2018. Tonight’s slate is a small slate with only four games to attack. 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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PG: Russell Westbrook: (11,500) Even though he has exceeded value and scored over 60 DK points in two straight games, DraftKings has dropped Westbrook’s price $400 since his last time out. I guess I understand it in some ways because his matchup vs The Blazers isn’t the best (-0.37 opponent +/-), but we are talking about the reigning MVP here. This new look Thunder team had some growing pains in the beginning, but they have figured out that Westbrook must be utilized as much as possible just like last season. In his last nine games, he has been dominant, posting a 36.9% usage rate along with a team high 51% assist percentage, helping him to average 59 DK points a game.
At $11,500, he needs to score 57.5 DK points to meet five times value, which is something he has done in eight of his last nine games, and that one lone game he didn’t hit value due to a massive 37 point blowout over The Lakers. As I just said, this Blazer team is a good defensive squad, but Russ has had no issues against them in the past, averaging 60.2 DK points in his last 11 meetings with The Blazers. There is no question he will be a very chalky option and there is some logic to fading him GPPs, but in cash games, building around Westbrook at this reasonable cost seems like a smart move.
PG/SG: Shabazz Napier: (5,400) With starting PG Damian Lillard set to miss his second straight game with a calf issue, Napier is a core play in all formats on Tuesday night. On Sunday night, Napier was great starting in place of Lillard, scoring 36.75 DK points in 33 minutes in the one point win over The Spurs. This was the sixth full game Lillard has missed this season, and overall, Napier is averaging 35.17 DK points and 36.2 minutes in these games, which is a team high 12.3 DK point differential. In these games, he is seeing a 21.6% usage rate, a 23.9% assist percentage, and is scoring 0.97 DK points per minute.
He will start at PG once again tonight and even though this isn’t a perfect matchup going against The Thunder who are the fourth best rated defense this season (1.52 opponent +/-), Napier should easily out produce his current price tag. As The Blazers’ starting PG, he should be priced over $7,000 and he is a serious bargain at only $5,400. I am expecting 30+ DK points in around 35 minutes and he is in a must play in my opinion for this smaller slate.
PG/CJ: C.J. McCollum: (7,500) The results weren’t always there in the first few games that Lillard missed this season, but in the last two without the All Star PG, McCollum has been putting up the numbers we expect as The Blazers’ primary offensive weapon. Last Monday with Lillard out, McCollum dropped 53 DK points against The Bulls and then 46.25 DK points this past Sunday vs The Spurs. In these two contests, he is averaging a team high 32.4% usage rate and is producing 1.15 DK points per minute.
He will be taking on a tougher defensive unit in The Thunder (1.63 opponent +/-), but they will be without arguably their best wing defender in Andre Roberson, who will be out again due to a knee injury. The usage should remain very high and in 35+ minutes, McCollum should get us 35-40 DK points with a ceiling of around 50 DK points. Him and Napier are both extremely strong plays and I will be rostering both in the same lineup tonight.
PG/SG: Delon Wright: (4,400) There is no official word yet, but with starting PG Kyle Lowry (back) out, Wright or Fred Van Fleet are the most likely candidates to join the starting five. Wright is by far the more effective player and even if he still comes off the bench, he should still have to play 30+ minutes and will see his rates increase without Lowry. Even before this injury came up, Wright was playing very well off the bench for The Raptors. He has been playing 26.3 minutes off the bench in his last three games compared to his 21.1 average for the season. Just last Wednesday, he erupted for 61.25 DK points vs The Bulls. He followed this up with two solid games, resulting in an average of 22 DK points in these next two contests.
In the minutes he has logged without Lowry this season, he has seen a 2.2% usage bump and is scoring 33 DK points per 36 minutes. He will be facing off against The Heat who have starting center Hassan Whiteside back, but they are currently ratin as a decent matchup for opposing PGs. (2.07 opponent +/-) He is scoring 0.92 DK points per minute this season and with a projection of 30 minutes, Wright should smash value at his current price tag. I also don’t mind Van Fleet at a cheaper price, because his minutes will also be up, but Wright is the main value to target here. Starting or not, Wright is an excellent play for this four game slate.
Also Consider: Fred Van Fleet, Demar Derozan (very much like with McCollum, Derozan takes over when his PG is out. With Lowry off the court, his usage rises a large 10.1% and he is scoring 53 DK points per 36 minutes. He must be considered in all formats), Al-Farouq Aminu (could easily disappoint, but he is the kind of cheap risk you might have to take if you want to squeeze in multiple studs), Serge Ibaka (small usage bump without Lowry), Jonas Valancuinas, Harrison Barnes, Raymond Felton (20+ DK points in four of his last five games), Dwight Powell, and Kosta Koufos (has a good chance of getting 20+ DK points against this Lakers defense that is a current opponent +/- of 4.85 points).