Welcome back everyone. Alex here, and I am back with my DraftKings NBA picks for March 1st, 2018. Thursday night’s slate is a smaller 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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SF/PF: LeBron James: (11.900) After all the drama before the trade deadline, LeBron is now officially back to playing MVP type basketball for The Cavs. Since all the deals they made, James has been averaging 61.6 DK PPG and he has been even better in his last two, averaging 66.9 DK PPG. Tonight, he will be at home, where he is averaging 5.4 more DK PPG this season, in the best game of the slate to target, with this Cavs Sixers matchup having a slate high O/U game total of 223.5 points and tight spread of only three points. The Sixers are a strong defensive club, ranking 4th in efficiency (2.1 opponent +/-), but James has had no issues when playing them this season, averaging 66.1 DK PPG in their first two matchups of the year.
Also, in his last four home games that have had an O/U game total of at least 220 points, James is averaging a great 62.25 DK PPG. Finally, over the last two weeks or so there has been a lot of chatter about LeBron joining The Sixers this offseason as a free agent. The Sixers even put up a billboard saying “#PhillywantsLeBron” and James proceeded to calling it “dope”. There obviously isn’t any bad blood here or anything like that, but with so much talk about him and this team recently, I am sure LeBron wants to come out and have a big game on his floor, in a wining effort tonight. (59.72 implied DK score based on Vegas props) He is without a doubt the top overall play of the night and is someone I am recommend trying to get in your lineups for this small four game slate.
PF/C: Julius Randle: (7,500) Randle has been a beast since returning from The All-Star Break, averaging 44.5 DK PPG in his last three games. His usage has been steady at 22.6% and he has been the team’s best rebounder, seeing a team high 18.4% rebound percentage. Also he has topped 30 minutes in all three of these games, which is huge for him, with him scoring a great 1.36 DK PPM during this time. Tonight, he and The Lakers head to South Beach to take on The Heat. This matchup is a decent one, with them currently presenting an opponent +/- of 2.46 points and allowing the fifth most total rebounds per game in their last three games, at 56.7, which is a notable 6.5 more rebounds per game than their season average.
He has been playing starter-like minutes regardless if the game is close or not, so he should log 30-35 minutes in this contest. With this amount of playing time, he should exceed five times value and Vegas agrees, with him currently having an implied DK score of 38.72 points based on his Vegas props. He is a flexible option with his multiple position eligibility, that is viable in all formats on Thursday night.
PG/SG: Isaiah Thomas: (5,100) He won’t start, but IT should see a small bump in his workload with guard Josh Hart out with a fracture in his hand. With Hart’s 30.8 MPG average since the break gone and starting PG Lonzo Ball still limited to around 30 minutes, Thomas should approach 30 minutes off the bench tonight. Also, he and Hart have been sharing the second unit with Ball back, so with Hart out, Thomas’s usage should naturally rise. In the 84 minutes he has played without Hart on the floor, Thomas has seen his usage bump up 2%, helping him to produce 0.94 DK PPM.
The matchup could be better vs this Heat team (0.26 opponent +/-), but I think the bumps in usage and minutes that I am expecting outweighs any matchup for IT at this price. He should be able to score 25+ DK points, especially when you consider his Vegas prop implied score is currently 25.22 points. This is the cheapest Thomas has been all season and I think this is an ideal time to attack him, before his price goes up, with Hart out for an extended period of time.
SF/PF: Justice Winslow: (3,900) I am not excited about recommending Winslow, but with the lack of punts, he is a viable option tonight vs this weak Lakers’ defense. They currently rate as a 3.59 opponent +/- for him and he should have to log close to 30 minutes tonight with both guards, Tyler Johnson and Wayne Ellington out with quad injuries.
His rates don’t budge with these two off the court this simply about more playing time. He is averaging 0.78 DK PPM this season and with a projection of 30 minutes, you have to think Winslow can get us 20+ DK points vs this defense. The floor is low, but he is a necessary play at the moment, if you want to fit in LeBron.
Also Consider: Kelly Olynyk (hopefully he plays a little more in his second game back, because this matchup vs The Lakers is strong at a 4.46 opponent +/-), Neman Bjelica (28.25 DK PPG and 32.9 MPG as the starter for Jimmy Butler. The price is up, but he is still in play given how small of a slate this is), Caris LeVert, Josh Richardson (3.3% usage bump with Johnson and Ellington off the floor this season and is scoring 29.4 DK points per 36 minutes), Brandon Ingram (50.5 DK points in his last game and has a solid prop projection of 34.7 points), Jarrett Allen (viable if Jahill Okafor is out again. 29.25 DK PPG in last three without Okafor and the matchup vs The Kings is great at a 5.2 opponent +/-), George Hill (exploded for 44.25 DK points in the win over The Nets. Don’t expect this kind of score again, but he is viable at only $4,800), Buddy Hield (down game in his last time out, but 33.6 DK PPG in previous three), Hassan Whiteside (the price is correct, but he is playing The Lakers, who are a 4.46 current opppnent +/-), Jamal Crawford (averaging 24.4 DK PPG in the eight games that Butler has been out this season. I feel like he will go under owned for this small of a slate), and Larry Nance Jr. (30 DK PPG in his last three)