Welcome back everybody. Alex here, and these are my DraftKings picks for October 18th. Tonight, is your classic small Thursday night slate, with only three games to utilize. As always, if any of these picks help you win or if you need any advice, let me know on Twitter. @Hunta512.
PG: John Wall: (8,200)
Wall is fully healthy right now and is starting the season off at home, where we all know he is a far more productive player. Over the last four seasons, Wall has seen some sizable home/away splits, averaging 3.2 more DK PPG in Washington. In his last 10 home games of last season (including the playoffs), he was a monster, scoring 55.5 DK PPG. The matchup vs The Heat isn’t appealing if looking back to last year (8th in efficiency), but they are dealing with a slew of injuries right now, specifically to key defenders like Justice Winslow (hamstring) and James Johnson. (hernia)
The Wizards currently have an implied team total of 109.25 points and are favored by 5.5 points. In the 18 homes last year that Washington was projected to score over 109 and were expected to win, Wall scored 46.22 DK PPG. This is the type of score we can expect tonight, with a ceiling close to 60 DK points, if he can pick up a double double or triple double. (nine double doubles in his last 13 games)
PG/SG: Cameron Payne: (3,600)
Payne is your free square of the day. Starting PG Kris Dunn has been ruled out for personal reasons and Payne has been named the starter for The Bulls’ season opener vs The Sixers. When Dunn sat last season, it was Jerian Grant who usually started at point, but with him gone to The Magic and Payne now fully healthy, Payne should see close to 30 minutes, with obvious upside for more. (Lauri Markkanen and Denzel Valentine are also out)
In the 13 games Payne played in with Dunn out last season, he averaged 22.65 DK PPG off the bench. (0.87 DK PPM) The matchup vs The Sixers is far from ideal (3rd in efficiency last season), but Payne should still score 20+ DK points, making him a plug and play for this small slate.
PG/SG: Zach LaVine: (6,400)
There was never a full game LaVine played in without Markkanen (elbow), Valentine (ankle), and Dunn in 2017, but the numbers he produced when they were off the floor were tremendous. It’s a small sample of 81 minutes, but in that time, without these three, Nikola Mirotic (traded), and Sean Kilpatrick (FA), LaVine scored 1.16 DK PPM, which is a team high 0.4 increase from his season average.
He was dealing with a thigh injury during the preseason, but is expected to be a full go tonight. Without a doubt, he will lead this team in usage and I think we see 20+ shots from LaVine. He should put up 35-40 DK points with this type of usage, even in this tough spot vs The Sixers.
C: Hassan Whiteside: (7,000)
Whiteside started the season off last night, with a double double, of 12 points, 18 rebounds, two blocks, and a steal in the loss to The Magic. (41.5 DK points) He logged 33.4 minutes and even though this is the second night of a back to back, he should play right around 30 minutes again, with The Heat currently thin. This spot vs The Wizards is one they are going to need his size, with newly acquired Dwight Howard making his deubt.
Howard is dealing with a sore back, and is questionable, but I think he ends up playing. Nonetheless, Whiteside’s paint presence will be needed, even if its Ian Mahinmi (below) who is playing the five for Washington. With the 1.5 point double double bonus on DraftKings, Whiteside is always worth a look when he’s under $8,000.
SF/PF: LeBron James: (10,800)
I wish The King was making his Laker debut at The Staples Center, but either way, I am expecting a show from him in his first real game in the purple and gold. His counterparts are an upgrade from last year with The Cavs, but I expect a similar usage from LeBron this season. (58.4 DK PPG and 31.9% usage rate) The Blazers made few changes to their roster this summer and in his two contests vs them in 2017, James averaged 61.3 DK PPG. He isn’t a necessity, but if building multiple lineups, I would make sure to have some exposure to James.
PG/SF: Ben Simmons: (9,400)
In a high 42.4 minutes, Simmons flirted with a triple double in the season opener vs The Celtics on Tuesday. (61.75 DK points, 21.1% usage) The shot remained ugly, but he was extremely active right out of the gate. The 42.4 minutes was also very encouraging, because in all honesty, this game was over with five minutes remaining. This is a positive sign that even if The Sixers create a decent lead tonight (-11.5), Simmons should still play a 35+ minutes. Plus, he was a far better player at home in his “rookie” season (4.3 more DK PPG) and was unstoppable vs The Bulls. (62.4 DK PPG. They were 28th in defensive efficiency)
SG: Bradley Beal: (6,800)
The trend is the same with Beal as it is for Wall. He is simply a better fantasy play at home, averaging 4.0 more DK PPG there last season. He topped 40 DK points in his last three home tilts and averaged 39.8 DK PPG in seven matchups vs The Heat.
SF/PF: Dario Saric: (5,500)
Most are going to look at Saric’s 13.5 DK point game on Tuesday and shy away, but this was all due to bad foul trouble from start to finish. He only played 22.5 minutes because of this and I am expecting him to get back to his normal 30-35 minute role on Thursday. He averaged 30 DK PPG last season and in the three times he played this 28th ranked Bull’s defense, he scored 36.5 DK PPG.
SF/PF: Kyle Kuzma: (5,500)
Kuzma was great in the preseason, averaging 15.8 points and 3.6 rebounds in 25.9 MPG. He averaged nearly five threes a game (4.92) and I think he is going to be a serious three point threat with James as his teammate. The rates are going to be different, but he averaged 29.3 DK PPG last year. The floor is low for such a scoring dependent player, but he is one of the better values of this full strength Lakers’ squad.
C: Ian Mahinmi: (4,600)
Not the greatest price, but he is viable if Howard sits. He averages 0.81 DK PPM and would have to play at least 25 minutes, to matchup with Whiteside. This was a strong spot for center last year, ranking as a 3.66 opponent +/-.
SG/SF: Justin Holiday: (4,300)
Holiday will start tonight at SF for The Bull. With both Valentine and Dunn out, Holiday could be in line for heavy minutes. In the four games without these two last year, Holiday scored 24.75 DK PPG and in the one game with these two and Markkanen out, he scored 23.25 DK points in 32.2 minutes. In the situation that these players were all off the floor, not full game samples, Holiday scored an efficient 1.05 DK PPM. The matchup is ugly vs The Sixers, but the minutes he is going to see outweigh any concerns. I prefer the $400 discount with Holiday than the more popular Robert Covington.
C: Wendell Carter: (4,200)
Due to the injuries The Bulls are dealing with, Carter should play 25-30 minutes vs The Sixers. It is unknown right now if he or Robin Lopez will start, but either way, Carter is very much in play, and I would actually almost prefer if he came off the bench, to see less Embiid. The Duke product was solid in the preseason (7/5/2 in 21.1 MPG) and he should be close to a DK PPM player. The Bulls should have a tighter rotation tonight, making Carter a strong cheap option, that has six to seven times value.