What’s going on everyone. Alex here, and I am back with my DraftKings NBA picks for March 16th, 2018. Friday night’s slate is a fun slate with six 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.
If you want help with NBA research for FanDuel and DraftKings check out the best fantasy tools out there at FantasyLabs.com
PG: Russell Westbrook: (11,600) With Kevin Durant (ribs) officially out, Russ is the top overall player of this slate. He will be at home taking on The Clippers who are a solid matchup for PGs, sitting at a 2.56 opponent +/-. In his last game, center Steve Adams was out with a hip injury and Westbrook had a huge game, posting another triple double of 71.5 DK points vs The Hawks, on a 36% usage rate. Adams is listed as questionable and so is SF Paul George who suffered a groin injury in that win over The Hawks. As of right now there is no word on either player, but if I were to guess, I think at least one of them sits out, with this game currently having a smaller spread of only five points and with Westbrook or any Thunder player not having any Vegas props listed, suggesting they expect someone to sit.
I think Adams is more likely to be out than Paul and in all the time Westbrook has played without Adams, he is seeing a 4.7% usage increase. In all the minutes he has played with both players off the floor, he sees a huge 2.6% usage bump and is scoring 62.7 DK points per 36 minutes. Even in the event that both play, Westbrook still has a nice shot meeting value, with him averaging 56.8 DK PPG at home this season. This is a must watch situation, because he is in play no matter what, but if one of these players misses this game, he becomes a very strong play and if both are forced to sit this one out, Westbrook will be a must play on Friday night.
PF/C: Al Horford: (7,000) After being out two games with an “illness”, Horford will return to the lineup tonight for The Celtics. He rejoins this team that needs him very badly right now, with all of Iriving, Hayward, Smart, Theis, and Brown out due to injury. Horford hasn’t played a game in over a week and he should be well rested and ready to take on a bigger workload tonight vs The Magic. Obviously, there hasn’t been any games that Horford has suited up for with all these other guys out this season, but when all of them are off the court, he has seen the biggest usage increase on the team at 10.6% and is scoring 43.21 DK points per 36 minutes.
There has been three full games he has played in without Iriving, Hayward, and Smart, and in those three contests, Horford was great averaging 39 DK PPG. Not only will usage and minutes be up with this team so thin, he is in a great spot vs a Magic team that always struggles against opposing big men. (2.8 opponent +/-) In his last game he scored 41 DK points vs The Wolves and I am expecting a similar score tonight with the added usage. He will most likely get overlooked because he hasn’t played in quite some time, which is great news for his DFS stock. (9-12% projected ownership via Fantasy Labs) He is a sneaky play in all formats on Friday night.
PF/C: James Johnson: (5,200) Just like with The Celtics, The Heat are a very beat up team right now. On Wednesday night, with center Hassan Whiteside (hip), SF Josh Richardson (foot), SG Dwayne Wade (hamstring), and SG Dion Waiters (ankle) all sidelined, Johnson stepped up and notched a double double of 18 points, ten rebounds, while also chipping in with seven assists, two steals, and a block in the loss to The Kings. (47.5 DK points) In this game, he logged 34 minutes, which is a big jump from the 20.8 MPG he was averaging in his prior nine contests. Tonight, The Heat are expected to remain this thin with all of these players confirmed out and Richardson not expected to play, with him listed as doubtful.
When all of these players have been off the court this season, Johnson is scoring 1.01 DK PPM and with them expected to be very shorthanded again, he will have to play 30-35 minutes on Friday night. Furthermore, he will be playing against The Lakers, who are the fastest team in the league this season and are a high current opponent +/- of 4.48 points. He should easily return five times value vs this defense and score 30-35 DK points. Johnson is a great value play that I will be using confidently in both cash games and GPPs.
SG: Nick Young: (4,000) This evening, The Warriors will be getting Draymond Geen back, but they will be without PG Steph Curry (ankle), SG Klay Thomson (hand), SF Patrick McCaw (wrist), and now Durant (rib). Young will start again at the two and is in line for some heavy usage tonight vs The Kings. In their last game, with Durant healthy, but Curry, Green, Thompson, and McCaw out, Young played well as a starter, scoring 27.25 DK points in 31 minutes vs The Lakers.
Now, when we take those four out and put Green back in, Young leads this team with a 10.4% usage increase and scores 0.91 DK PPM, which is 32.6 DK points per 36 minutes. His matchup isn’t great vs The Kings (1.7 opponent +/-), but he will likely see close to 35 minutes and combine this playing time with the high usage, and Young should have no issues exceeding five times value. Realistically he should approach 30 DK points tonight, with a ceiling around 40 DK points, as this game will stay much closer with the loss of Durant. He is an awesome value play for this nine game slate.
Also Consider: Andre Iguodala (didn’t do as much as expected last game, only playing 22 minutes and taking one single shot from the field, but KD now out, there is a chance he start at SF. Even if he doesn’t, he will be doing a ton of ball handling tonight, as he sees a 7.2% increase with Curry, Durant, and Thompson off the court this season), Omri Cassipi (a great play no matter what, but better if he starts for Durant. He scored 24.25 DK points in only 20 minutes last game and is averaging a decent 0.86 DK PPM in this situation. He should have to play 25+ minutes starter or not), Terry Rozier (price has hit its peak, but Rozier is still very much in play in this matchup vs The Magic. His usage should stay around the same, but his assist percentage should rise with Horford back in the fold. I am expecting a 40+ DK point game vs this Magic defense, that has allowed the 4th most DK points to PGs this season and is a high current opponent +/- of 5.96 points, which is the best rated matchup for a starting guard tonight), Shane Larkin (minutes will most likely still be limited to under 25, but he was big for this team last game scoring 22.75 DK points off the bench and another 20+ DK point game isn’t out of the question vs this weak Magic defense), Marcus Morris/Jayson Tatum (both of their usage’s will remain up even with Horford back and they both remain values that also have upside vs this Magic defense), Bam Adebayo (26.4 DK PPG in these past two with Whiteside out and is in a very strong spot vs The Lakers who are a 4.96 opponent +/-), De’Aaron Fox (29.3 DK PPG in last three and should play 30+ minutes vs this Warriors team that is extremely shorthanded, making this a great matchup for the rookie. He has a current Vegas implied score of 27.12 points), Corey Brewer (25.9 DK PPG and 30.75 MPG as a starter in these last four. He would see a boost if George sat this one out), Carmelo Anthony (34.25 DK PPG in last two and would see a bump if either George or Adams missed. More so George, with him seeing a 5.8% usage increase in all the time he has played without PG13), Jerami Grant (if Adams is out. Scored 36.75 DK points in 33 minutes with the big man out vs The Hawks. He is averaging 23.13 DK PPG in all the games Adams has sat this season), Austin Rivers (27.88 DK implied score based on his props and this matchup could become better if either Adams or George miss this game), Tobias Harris (has great upside if George was out), Isaiah Thomas (started and scored 34.25 DK points in 37 minutes with Kyle Kuzma out last game. He is a better play if Kuzma sits another one, pushing his playing time higher than when he comes off the bench), and Julius Randle/Brook Lopez. (Randle is by far the better play, but both should expose this Heat defense that is without center Hassan Whiteside)