What’s up guys. Alex here, and I am back with my DraftKings NBA picks for October 21st, 2017. Tonight we get a full slate with 10 games to attack. Be sure to follow all of the injury news tonight, all the way up until the 8:00 PM 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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PG/SG: James Harden: (10,600) It didn’t take long for PG Chris Paul to get hurt and he is expected to miss roughly a month with a knee injury. This instantly slides Harden back into being the fantasy monster we saw last year. With CP3 out of the picture last season, Harden almost averaged a triple double, on a 34.6% usage, 50.4% assist percentage, and a 12.3% rebound percentage, resulting in a 55.3 DK points a game. Tonight, he will be at home facing off against The Mavs. Dallas is a neutral matchup for PGs (0.7 opponent +/-) and their slow pace isn’t ideal (2nd slowest last season), but Harden is clearly priced as if Paul is healthy and on the floor.
At home last season, Harden scored basically his season average, at 55.34 DK points a game, which would be a very efficient 5.2 return at his current price tag. We all know the upside he has and if this game stays close, Harden could easily top 60 DK points in his first home of game of the year. Obviously, he will be a popular option, but regardless of ownership, Harden is the player I will be building around on Saturday night.
SG: Eric Gordon: (5,400) The reigning six man of the year has been terrific to start the year, averaging 33.4 DK points a game. In the first game of the season with Paul healthy, Gordon played 29.3 minutes off the bench, but with Paul out Wednesday, Gordon slid into the starting five and saw 35 minutes of action vs The Kings. (35 DK points) His playing time wasn’t the only thing that increased, his usage rose to a very high 36.6%, which was a large 6.2% bump from the usage he saw in the season opener.
Rightfully so, his price has gone up $600 since his last outing, but just like Harden, he is still underpriced for role he will have with Paul out. Mavs SG Wesley Matthews is a solid defender, but I don’t think he is anything that should hold you back from deploying Gordon tonight. He should score 30+ DK points as a starter and is a solid value that can be targeted in all formats for this 11 game slate.
PF: James Johnson: (5,200) Johnson reminded us in the first game of the season how effective of a player he truly is, filling up the stat sheet, with 11 points, eight assists, four rebounds, a block, and a steal in only 19 minutes vs The Magic. (30 DK points) There is no official news about who will start, but either way, if he joins the starting lineup or stays with the second unit, Johnson will take on a big load tonight vs The Pacers with Heat starting center Hassan Whiteside out (knee).
In the four full games that Whiteside missed last season, Johnson averaged 34.13 DK points in 30.9 minutes a game. In these games, he produced 1.09 DK points per minute on a 23.6% usage rate. Tonight, he will be going against The Pacers, who will also be without their starting center, Myles Turner, which will soften this matchup overall. I am expecting right around 30 minutes tonight, which is plenty of time for Johnson to put up 30 DK points with 40 point upside. He enters must play status if he is announced as a starter and is still a very viable play if he continues to come off the bench.
PG/SG: J.J. Barea: (4,200) Last night, Barea drew the start with rookie PG Dennis Smith Jr. out. (knee) To no one’s surprise, the crafty vet had no issues as The Mavs’ starting PG, putting up 29.25 DK points vs The Kings. Barea is expected to draw the start again with DSJ expected to miss his second straight contest. If you have been playing NBA DFS over the years, you know that Barea is always in play when he is a starter. Last season, he averaged 0.97 DK points per minute, and with close to 30 minutes again this evening, Barea should exceed value, vs The Rockets, who will be without their starting PG and their best defending guard, Chris Paul.
Barea will be facing off against James Harden, who we all know is a very weak defensive player. Additionally, Barea should benefit from playing way up in pace, as The Rockets ranked fourth in pace last year, compared to The Mavs who were the second slowest team. (8.3 possession increase) Last year, Barea flourished when playing this Rockets team, averaging 30.25 DK points in his two meetings with Houston. At his cheap price, Barea is another nice way to get a piece of this HOU DAL game that has a healthy game total of 215.5 points.
Also Consider: Domantas Sabonis (assuming he remains the starter for Turner), Jon Isaac (if Aaron Gordon is out again), Justin Holiday, Evan Fournier, Zach Randolph, Yogi Ferrell, Lauri Markknen, Malcom Brogdon, Enes Kanter, Kelly Olynyk (nice price for him with Whiteside out), Trevor Ariza (sucked last game, but the minutes will still be there and he will be low owned), and Jose Calderon.