What’s up guys. Alex here, and these are my DraftKings picks for October 17th. Tonight is our first full slate of the year, with 11 games on tap. As always, if any of these picks help you win or if you need any advice, let me know on Twitter. @Hunta512.
PG/SG: James Harden: (11,500)
Harden is starting the year off at home (1.7 more DK PPG), in this highest total of the slate. (230 points) He is going against The Pelicans, who ended last season as the fastest team in the association. The Beard always produced vs them, averaging 57.6 DK PPG in four matchups. In the four home games Harden and The Rockets saw an O/U game total of 225 points and up, he averaged an elite 60.6 DK PPG.
Jrue Holiday is an above average defender, but the pace and Harden’s past success vs them out trumps any concerns I have with the matchup tonight. Assuming this game doesn’t become a blowout (HOU -8.5), Harden should approach 60 DK points and flirt with a triple double.
SF: Cedi Osman: (4,200)
As The Cavs’ new starting SF, Osman is about to take a huge step in his second NBA season. Even with LeBron heading west, the two former teammates still worked out this summer and it showed during the preseason. I actually attended his first game preseason game, vs The Celtics, and Osman looked like a completely new player in this bigger role. He was aggressive driving to the basket, looked to have improved his shot, and was always trying to keep his teammates involved. In the win, he scored 11 points, to go along with seven rebounds, and four assists in only 19 minutes of work. Like the rest of The Cavs’ starters, he rested most of the second half, which is a nice sign that Head Coach Ty Lue plans on giving Osman a starter’s workload this season.
He scored 0.72 DK PPM last year, but with all of his rates increased, I think Osman will average right under a DK PPM. Tonight he should log 30-35 mins, but the only problem is that he is facing off against one of the premier defenders in The NBA, Kawhi Leonard. (below) Even so, Leonard should be helping on Kevin Love, which should keep the opportunities there for Osman. He should easily top 20 DK points and is one of, if not, the best point per dollar value of this 11 game slate.
SF/PF: Tobias Harris: (7,000)
Harris is going to be a fantasy gem this season. In the preseason, he saw a 25.2% usage rate and in only 23 MPG, Harris averaged 17.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 3.0 assists. I don’t know if any of you played the showdown contests during the preseason, but anytime The Clipper’s were action and Harris was active, he was always one of the top options to lock in as your captain. With Blake Griffin, Deandre Jordan, and Austin Rivers out of town, HC Doc Rivers wants to the offense to run through Harris and Danilo Gallinari. (below) I think we see a 25-30% usage rate from Harris this season. He averaged 34.5 DK PPG in his 31 games with The Clippers last year. Tonight, he is at home, where he averaged 1.6 more DK PPG, in an excellent spot vs The Nuggets, who were 25th in defensive efficiency, and 13th in pace a year ago.
The Clippers ranked 7th in pace and this game is expected to be very high scoring and competitive. (DEN -1.5, 226 O/U game total, second highest of the night) In the ten games last season that Harris suited up for that had an O/U game total over 225 points, he averaged 38.5 DK PPG. He should get us at least five times value, with a ceiling around 50 DK points, and he is my preferred way of getting a piece of this LAC vs DEN matchup.
C: Alex Len: (5,600)
Len is always risky and his price is fair, but the upside he has, with John Collins (ankle) and Dwayne Dedmon (ankle) both out, is extremely high. With these two bigs sidelined, Len is by far the best big they have and the most experienced, with two rookies and only Mile Plumlee behind him. He will start vs The Knicks and if he can stay out of foul trouble, Len has a great chances of producing value going against this defense that ranked 21st in defensive efficiency last season.
He will match up with center Enes Kanter, who may be an efficient scorer himself, but is one of the worst post defenders in the entire league. If Len sees 30+ minutes, he should simply dominate Kanter. He scored 1.1 DK PPM last season and in the final six games he logged 25 minutes or more, Len averaged 33.8 DK PPG. With this Hawks’ front court severely thin, Len is a risk worth taking on Wednesday night.
PF/C: Anthony Davis: (11,100) I always prefer AD at home, but the first game of the season is always a rare chance to get him without any injury concerns. He averaged 51.1 DK PPG vs The Rockets last season and in the last 20 games he has competed in with a O/U game total over 225, he is putting up an insane 59.7 DK PPG. Harden is the safer play, but I think it is wise to pivot to Davis in some GPP lineups.
SG/SF: Kawhi Leonard: (8,100) There’s a chance we never see Leonard this cheap again. He is fully healthy and is playing for a new contract.In his final three games with The Spurs, of only nine last year, Leonard averaged 45.3 DK PPG. He only played in 28.9 MPG in this stretch, which is an elite 1.6 DK PPM. He saw a 26.2% usage rate in the preseason, but I think this number hovers around 30 this year, with no more LaMarcus Aldridge around in Kawhi’s offense. In his MVP like season two years ago, which is his last full season healthy, Leonard was frequently priced close or over $10,000 on DraftKings. Facing a Cavs’ defense that should be one of the weakest in The NBA, with LeBron gone to The Lakers, I am projecting a 40-45 DK point night from Leonard in his first game in Toronto.
PG/SG: Jrue Holiday: (7,500) Even vs a strong Houston defense (5th in efficiency), Holiday was productive in their four meetings last season. (41.9 DK PPG) Rajon Rondo’s exit from New Orleans should slightly improve Holiday’s rates, specifically his assists, and in this fast paced game, I am expecting 35-40 DK points. He is one of the better high end values of the slate.
C: Denadre Ayton: (6,900) The rookie out of Arizona was awesome in the preseason, averaging 18.2 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks in 26.9 minutes. His usage was high for a rookie (25.6%) and they will need him to play 30+ minutes vs Deandre Jordan and The Mavs. Jordan is a big body and a strong shot blocker, but overall he is nothing to worry about, in terms of a matchup. Ayton should tally a double double with a few blocks in his NBA debut.
SF/PF: Danilo Gallinari: (6,000) Just like with Harris, Gallo is going to have a bigger role this season. In the preseason, he averaged 17.25 points, 4.75 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.25, with a team high 27.4 usage%. The minutes should come back to over 30 this season and Gallinari should put up 30-35 DK points in this high total.
C: Brook Lopez: (4,800) Lopez should be a very nice fit with The Bucks. He is strong in the post and his solid three point shooting will stretch the floor for this offense, which is something they haven’t had in recent years. He scores 1.03 DK PPM, averaged 24.1 DK PPG last season, and hasn’t been priced under $5,000 in 18 games. Tonight, he will take on The Hornets, who lost Dwight Howard this offseason and will be mostly relying on Cody Zeller and Willy Hermangomez at the five spot.
PG: Isaiah Canaan: (4,200) Canaan is expected to start at PG tonight for The Suns. They showed confidence in Canaan by releasing Shaq Harrison just two days ago. Their PG depth is extremely thin behind him and like he did in the preseason, Canaan should play 30+ minutes tonight vs The Mavs. Devin Booker being back obviously hurts Canaan and this whole offense’s usage, but he scored 0.9 DK PPM last season and with guaranteed minutes as a starter, I think he should come close to six times value.
PG/SG: Jeremy Lin: (4,000) Lin is coming off a bad kneecap injury and we can’t expect heavy playing time, but I think 20-25 minutes a night off the bench is fair. His usage should also be up, playing with this weak Hawks’ second unit. He averaged 0.92 DK PPM in 2017 and this Knicks defense he is facing was the 9th worst unit a year ago. Plus, I am sure Lin is very excited about his return to the court and that this game is vs his former team.