What’s going on everyone. Alex here, and I am back with my DraftKings NBA picks for March 23rd, 2017. Thursday night’s slate is a smaller slate of only five games. From now on I will be including an expensive player I like with my sleeper/value picks. Be sure to follow all the injury news up until the 7:30 PM EST lock tonight, 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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C: Brook Lopez: (6,900) The Nets have been experimenting a lot with their players as this lost season comes to a close, but they have kept Lopez as a main player, even though there is nothing to play for with Nets sitting in last place in The East. At some points this season, his minutes were hard to predict, but he has now played 30 or more minutes in four straight games. The consistent playing time has obviously been a big plus for him and the team, with him averaging 37.9 DK points in these past four games and The Nets actually picking up two wins in this span. He is coming off a very impressive outing, scoring 29 points to go along with seven rebounds, one assist, and the game winning shot in Tuesday night’s win over The Pistons. (40.25 DK points) Starting PG Jeremy Lin is expected to return tonight which might take Lopez’s usage down slightly, but he is still underpriced if plays over 30 minutes again tonight in this excellent matchup vs The Suns, who have struggled defending centers since they shut down Tyson Chandler, with a high current opponent +/- of 3.4 points.
Vegas has also taken notice of this Nets team’s improved play with them giving The Nets an implied team total of 114 points, which is tied for the highest team total of night. This Suns-Nets game also has the highest O/U game total of the slate at 224 points, which is great news for Lopez who is averaging 35.43 DK points in the 22 Nets games this season that have had an O/U total of at least 218 points. 35 DK points would put him right above five times value at his current salary and this is a slightly tentative projection for him with the way he has been playing as of late. He is a great value at his $6,900 price tag and is one of my favorite players to build around on Thursday night.
PF/C: Noah Vonleh: (3,800) Vonleh is not a player that I am excited about recommending but the lack of intriguing cheap values makes him a viable option tonight. As The Blazers fight for to get in the playoffs, trailing The Nuggets by 1.5 games for the eight seed, Head Coach Terry Stotts has elected to play a tighter rotation recently with Vonleh logging more minutes and back up center Meyers Leonard playing a very limited role.
He is not the most exciting NBA player, but Vonleh has been rather consistent with the extra playing time, averaging 21.5 DK points over his last six games. He has played at least 20 minutes in all six of these contests and actually has played even more in his last two, with 28.5 minutes vs The Heat this past Sunday and 27.9 minutes Tuesday vs The Bucks. Tonight he is in a great position to score 20+ DK points again in a terrific matchup vs The Knicks who are currently presenting a 2.42 point opponent +/- vs starting PFs. There really isn’t much upside with Vonleh, but with his new role, he is a solid punt play tonight that can be used in both cash games and GPPs.
SG/SF: Justin Holiday: (3,100) Holiday is a very streaky player, but his minutes have been up in his last four games, averaging 22.6 minutes off the bench. The numbers obviously haven’t been terrific, but he is averaging 15.8 DK points with the boost in playing time, which is right at five times value for his near minimum salary. Tonight The Knicks are 12 point underdogs taking on The Blazers in Portland and, usually, when a player’s team is a big underdog, it is a reason to shy away from that player, but for Holiday, he has thrived in these type of situations this season, averaging a very solid 21.6 DK points in the seven games this season The Knicks have been the underdogs by ten or more points.
He is the type of player who likes to gun in garbage time, and it clearly shows in his stat, with this situation giving him a 6.6 DK point increase from his 15 DK point a game average this season. Now, the matchup isn’t the best with The Blazers currently having an opponent +/- of -0.13 points, but with his new playing time, he should be able to meet value at his $3,100 price. He is obviously a GPP play only play with his extremely low floor, but I think he is worth a dart in that format, with his low expected ownership of 5-8%. (via Fantasy Labs) One thing to watch in this situation is if SF Carmelo Anthony (rest) or PG Derick Rose (foot) are out, which would push Holiday into cash game status at his $3,100 price tag.
SF/PF: P.J. Tucker: (3,900) Even though Tucker is coming off the bench, he has been playing as The Raptors primary SF as of late, averaging 28.6 minutes over his last three games compared to starting SF DeMarre Carroll, who has seen his minutes cut down to 19.6 minutes a game vs his usual 26.5 minutes this season. In my opinion, Tucker is a much more valuable player than Carroll, and he has been effective with these minutes, putting up 29.25 DK points vs The Pistons, 21 DK points vs The Pacers, and 27 DK points vs The Bulls this last Tuesday. The Veteran is no scorer, but he can really fill up a stat sheet in all facets of the game, especially on the defensive end where he is now grabbing two steals per game in these last three.
With The Raptors winning all three of these games, there is no reason to think Tucker won’t play 25+ minutes tonight vs The Heat. This matchup isn’t ideal with The Heat being a very slow team, who have given up the 7th fewest DK points to SFs this year, but, if he sees 25-30 minutes, he has a nice shot of meeting value no matter the matchup. SF is by far the ugliest position of this five game slate and taking a chance with Tucker and his growing role makes a lot sense to me tonight at only $3,900.
Also Consider: Jermey Lin, Tyler Johnson, Tony Allen (if active), Ron Baker (if Rose is out), Lance Thomas/Mindaugas Kuzminskas (if Anthony is rested), Vince Carter (bump if Allen is out), Marquese Chris (if T.J. Warren is out), Randy Foye, Caris LeVert, Harrison Barnes, Alan Williams/Alex Len, and Guillermo Hernangomez (boost if Anthony is out).