What’s up everybody. Alex here, and I am back with my DraftKings NBA picks for March 25th, 2017. Saturday night’s slate is a small slate with only four games to attack. 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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PG: Kyrie Irving: (7,900) Irving has been lights out recently, shooting 57% from the field over his last three games. During this stretch he is averaging 47 DK points a game and has posted a 33.4% usage rate, which is a 2.7% jump from his average usage this year. Tonight his usage may even be higher, if SF LeBron James is out, after suffering a scratched cornea in last night’s win over The Hornets. He is currently listed as questionable, but he told the media last night, “”If coach decides to give me a game off, it’s not because I’m resting,” James said. “It’s because I’m banged up.” Now this is still an important game for both The Cavs and Wizards tonight, but it sounds like James will be sitting out the second night of this back to back set, especially with Vegas currently favoring The Wizards by three points on The Cavs home court. No disrespect to The Wizards, but this is only the second time this season The Cavs have been the underdog at home, making you think Vegas is also assuming James is out.
Over the last two seasons, Irving has been a beast whenever James is out, averaging 42.4 DK in the seven games James has missed, with a very high 37.2% average usage rate. His matchup isn’t ideal with The Wizards currently presenting a -1.33 point opponent +/- vs starting PGs, but no matter what defense Irving faces, he should exceed value if James is out. Irving is one of the best scoring PGs in The NBA period and if he sees this kind of usage, he should score 40-45 DK points with massive upside. If James surprisingly ends up being active, I would still very much consider Irving, with him averaging 40.5 DK points a game for the month of March. We should know James’ status before lock with this being the first game of the slate, and if James is out, Irving is an elite play in all formats and is still a very viable option at $7,900 if The King ends up suiting up.
C: Nerlens Noel: (5,000) Noel drew the start at center Thursday night to matchup with The Deandre Jordan, and was very effective, scoring eight points with 12 rebounds, three assists, two steals, and two blocks in the win over The Clippers. (35 DK points) It’s not safe to say with Mavs Head Coach Rick Carlisle’s unpredictable tendencies, but I am assuming, with them picking up a win over a quality Western Conference opponent, that he would keep Noel in the starting five tonight with Yogi Ferrell coming off the bench. It also makes sense for The Mavs to roll out their big lineup of Noel and Nowitzki again tonight to matchup with Raptors’ PF Serge Ibaka and center Jonas Valancuinas. If he is the starting center, Noel should log 30+ minutes tonight and easily produce value at his salary, with him averaging 37 DK points over the last four games he has played at least 30 minutes.
By the numbers this matchup isn’t great with The Raptors allowing the 8th fewest DK points to opposing centers this season, but if he plays significant minutes, no matter the opponent, he should produce, with him scoring 1.07 DK points per minute this season. The problem here is that this game starts an hour after roster lock, so we may not know officially who is starting for The Mavs, and just as a fair warning, the last time Noel started and had a big night (46.75 DK points vs The Grizzlies on March 3rd), he didn’t remain a starter the next game. It’s risky, but even if we don’t know if he is starting, I think he is worth a play tonight at his price, with the hope that Carlisle won’t be ignorant about his lineup.
C: Pau Gasol: (4,900) It has been hard to predict Gasol’s playing time, but the matchup is perfect for him tonight vs The Knicks, who have allowed the 6th most DK points to opposing centers this season. Lately this Knick defense has been horrendous at defending centers and based on opponent +/-, Gasol has the best matchup of any player in action tonight, with The Knicks having a high opponent +/- of 4.03 points to back up centers.
His production has been up and down with The Spurs, but he has been great when facing weak opponents so far in the new year, averaging 28.7 DK points in the ten games since January that he has faced a defense that has an opponent +/- of at least 2.0 points. He isn’t going to play heavy minutes, but with 20-25 minutes, he should return five times value with 30 point upside tonight. We haven’t seen him this cheap in over a month and, at only $4,900, he is a nice value play that can be used in cash games and GPPs.
SF: Mindaugas Kuzminskas: (3,500) With PG Derrick Rose (foot), SF Carmelo Anthony (knee), and SF Lance Thomas (hip) all out last game, Kuzminskas was solid starting at SF, putting up 29 DK points in 32 minutes vs The Blazers. Thomas has already been ruled out for tonight, but Rose and Anthony are still listed as questionable. If I were to guess, I think both Rose and Anthony will be out again tonight, with The Knicks not playing for anything but the lottery at this point in the season.
If he starts again, Kuzminskas should play 30+ minutes and even if Thomas is the only one out, I would expect him to still play around 25 minutes tonight. The matchup couldn’t get worse with The Spurs ranking 1st vs SFs this season, but with the playing time I am expecting, he still has a great chance of meeting value and scoring 20+ DK points tonight. This is another situation that we have to follow right up until lock, with this game starting at 8:30 PM EST. By no means is Kuzminskas a safe play, but I think he is worth a GPP punt tonight, assuming that he will start again.
Also Consider: Justin Holiday, Ron Baker (if Rose is out), Serge Ibaka, P.J. Tucker, Dirk Nowitzki, Seth Curry, J.R. Smith/Iman Shumpert (if James is out), Tony Parker, Noah Vonleh, Kyle Anderson/Jonathon Simmons (Danny Green is being rested), and Ian Mahinmi.