Welcome back everyone. Alex here, and I am back with my DraftKings NBA picks for March 5th, 2018. Tonight, we get a nice sized slate with seven games to target. 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.
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SF/PF: LeBron James: (11,700) Tonight, there is enough value out there, that it makes sense to build around The King. The Cavs have now lost two straight games, but his numbers haven’t been effected, with him averaging 61.1 DK PPG in his last two starts and coming off a triple double vs The Nuggets on Saturday night. They need this win tonight and James knows this. He will be relied on heavily in this game, especially with starting center Tristan Thompson out with an ankle injury. In the 20 other games that the big man has missed this season, LeBron has seen a 3.9 DK point increase. Additionally, it is only a sample size of one game, but in the one full contest that both Thompson and PF Kevin Love (hand) missed, James scored 66.5 DK points.
He should naturally play more minutes in the front court and I am expecting him to take on a higher rebounding percentage tonight. This matchup vs The Pistons doesn’t rate that great for him (1.63 opponent +/-), but we are talking about LeBron here, at home, where he is averaging 5.6 more DK points a game this season. At the moment, he is best value on DraftKings based on his Vegas props, with a DK implied score of 61.42 points. I am expecting 60-65 DK points, with large upside, as another triple double isn’t out of the question for LeBron in this situation.
SG/SF: Marcus Smart: (4,800) Starting PG Kyrie Irving will sit out tonight’s game with a sore knee and Smart should draw the start in his place. When healthy, Smart has been the player that usually starts at point when The All-Star has been out and this will be the fourth game this season that he will be starting for Irving. In the first three, he was solid running the offense, averaging 24.8 DK PPG and 32.8 MPG. His matchup vs The Bulls is a strong one, with them allowing the most DK points to PGs this season and currently presenting a higher opponent +/- of 4.47 points.
Many people will go back to the time The Celtics played The Bulls and got blown out without Kyrie back in December, but this is a completely different Bulls team now that is in tank mode, losing five of their last six games. Vegas also knows this, still giving The Celtics a 7.5 point edge over The Bulls, even with Irving sitting. He is averaging 0.86 DK PPM this year when Irving is off the court and with 30-35 minutes of work, Smart should score 25+ DK points, with 35-40 DK point upside, depending on how many defensive stats he can pick up. Before his recent injury, Smart was priced over $5,000 most of the time on DraftKings and this is a very nice price tag for him as a starter and one that needs to be taken advantage of on Monday night.
PF/C: Larry Nance Jr.: (5,300) Nothing is official yet, but Nance should start tonight for the injured Thompson (ankle), with Love (hand) still out. Even as a bench player, Nance has been very effective with The Cavs, averaging 26.5 DK PPG on his last four. Since The All-Star Break, he is scoring 1.16 DK PPM and as a starter, he should have to play 30+ minutes tonight vs The Pistons, who are currently rating as a solid matchup for starting centers. (3.02 opponent +/-)
He should have no issues getting us at least five times value, with strong upside of around 40 DK points. His current price tag is fair, but it doesn’t reflect the bigger role he should play tonight. Thompson is expected to miss a few games with this injury and there is no chance Nance is this cheap for his next game and I think we need to attack him now, while he is still at a reasonable cost.
SG/SF: Reggie Bullock: (4,600) In these last three games, Bullock’s role has been much bigger in this Pistons’ offense. He has seen a 23.9% usage rate in these games, which is a huge jump from the 15.2% usage he is averaging for the season and he is also playing 31.3 regulation minutes per game. As expected, his fantasy numbers have been much better during this time, with him averaging 28.9 DK PPG. Tonight, he is in a very nice spot, going against The Cavs, who are already back to their old ways, ranking as the second worst rated defense in The NBA over their last two games, which is a high 5.62 opponent +/- for starting SGs.
This game has a smaller spread of only six points and O/U game total of 219.5 points. Bullock should play 30-35 minutes and exceed five times value vs this soft defense, that will most likely be even weaker with Thompson out. You are going to want some exposure to The Pistons tonight and I think Bullock is the best value of the group, that I will be using in both cash games and GPPs.
Also Consider: Terry Rozier (he is still viable even though he will come off the bench. He should play close to 30 minutes and be able to get value, but don’t expect the huge numbers he put up in the most recent games without Kyire, as Smart also missed those contests), Blake Griffin (after a few bad games, Griffin seems to be back, averaging 43.25 DK PPG in his last two. He has a strong chance of scoring 40+ DK points again vs this Cavs’ defense, that is a 5.95 opponent +/-), James Ennis (low floor, but the matchup is excellent at a 6.46 opponent +/- and he should play 30+ minutes. 20-25 DK points is a fair projection), Bobby Portis (29.5 DK PPG in his last three and he has a 30.5 DK implied score based on his Vegas props), Julius Randle (he is on a tear, averaging 42.5 DK PPG in his last six. He is simply too cheap and should get value again tonight. He has a 37.65 DK implied score based on his Vegas props), T.J. Warran (not a good spot vs The Heat, but he has played over 40 minutes in three straight games. No matter the matchup, it is hard to ignore a player who is going to play this kind of minutes. He is averaging 0.95 DK PPM this season and has a 32.75 DK point implied score from his Vegas props), Pau Gasol (only if LaMarcus Aldridge is out again. He put up 50 DK points in 33 minutes with LA out last game. The matchup is far from ideal vs his brother and The Grizzlies, but he still has a shot of producing value with the usage and minutes he will see if The All-Star sits another contest), Elfird Payton (been awesome, scoring over 50 DK points in two straight games, but the matchup is tough vs The Heat), Al Horford (he is struggling right now, but his usage will go up without Kyrie and he will definitely be low owned coming off three very bad games),Wayne Selden/Kobi Simmons (Evans, Harrison, and Chalmers are all out tonight. Both of these young guards should have to play a ton, but the recent knee injury to Selden has me siding with the healthier Simmons), Jayson Tatum (3.5% usage increase in the games without Irving, at a 26 DK PPG average), Isaiah Thomas (37.6 DK PPG in these first two with Josh Hart out. He has seen a very high 35.7% usage rate in these games and the usage should stay up, with his confidence back), and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (45.75 DK points and 43 minutes with Ingram out last game. He can be considered in all formats if Ingram misses another one tonight).