Welcome back everybody. Alex here, and these are my DraftKings picks for October 23rd. Tonight, there is only three games to target. As always, if any of these picks help you win or if you need any advice, let me know on Twitter. @Hunta512.
C: Joel Embiid: (10,400)
With Ben Simmons now “doubtful” to play tonight with a back injury, Embiid becomes a core play in all formats. He is already averaging 52 DK PPG this season, on a 35.2% usage rate, but that number should be even higher with Simmons sidelined. In all the minutes Embiid logged without the PG last season (605), he saw a team high usage increase of 3.4%, bringing him to a massive 37.8%. (53 DK points per 36 minutes) He will take on this huge role tonight vs The Pistons. They have been above average on defense this season (9th in efficiency), but opposing center Andre Drummond is more of a shot blocker than actual one on one defender.
It would have been better if Embiid was facing a team without a legitimate center, but no matter what, you are attacking him with Simmons out of the picture. With only three games to attack, Embiid is a lock for 50+ DK points and a no brainer on Tuesday night.
PG/SG: Markelle Fultz: (4,900)
Fultz has been far from impressive this season (21.9 DK PPG), but the opportunity he has with Simmons out is something that can’t be ignored in a three game slate. He will start at PG and in the 176 minutes he played with Simmons on the bench last year, Fultz scored 0.96 DK PPM.
This whole game plan with Fultz not starting the second half won’t be a factor tonight and I think it’s safe to expect 30-35 minutes for the former #1 overall pick. Reggie Jackson and Ish Smith for The Pistons are both weak individual defenders and Fultz should have no issues exceeding five times value, with solid upside, if he can notch a double double.
SF/PF: Nikola Mirotic: (7,200)
Mirotic was an absolute fantasy stud after he cut his beard last season and he has shown no issues of slowing down in the first two games of 2018. He closed out last year averaging 40.7 DK PPG in his final 13 contests and in these first two, he is scoring 51.8 DK PPG. He has been on fire from downtown, shooting 64% on 17 attempts, helping him to an elite 1.65 DK PPM. He has played 29.5 and 31.2 minutes in these games, but both games became out of reach at the end, with the average margin of victory being 19.5 points for The Pelicans.
Tonight’s spread is only 6.5 points vs The Clippers and we should see 30+ minutes for Mirotic and all of the Pelicans’ starting five. We can’t just plug him and expect another 50+ DK point outing, but he should easily reach at least five times value at this clear discount. The matchup vs The Clippers isn’t ideal (4th in efficiency), but realistically, the upside Mirotic has right now is something you don’t want to miss out on in this small of a slate.
SF/PF: Robert Covington: (5,500)
Covington has produced a solid 27.6 DK PPG this season and just like with his teammates, his role will grow with Simmons sitting. He is scoring 0.81 DK PPM this season, but when Simmons was off the court last year, he scored 0.98 DK PPM, in a very large sample of 513 minutes. He is logging 34 MPG and we should see right around this, with room for even more. SF has been the position to attack The Pistons, with them currently rating as a 1.97 opponent +/-.
He should get us 25-30 DK points, with a ceiling around 40, depending on how many steals and three pointers he can tally. You are going to roster multiple Sixers tonight and I believe Covington, Fultz, and Embiid are the primary targets.
C: Nikola Jokic: (9,700)
Jokic is at home vs a bad Kings defense tonight. (27th in efficiency, 8.17 current opponent +/-) His home and away splits were huge last season, averaging 6.23 more DK PPG in Denver. Plus, in the two home contests he faced an opponent +/- of 7.0 or more, he averaged a whopping 63 DK PPG. Embiid is the better value, but Jokic isn’t far behind him in this spot.
PG: De’Aaron Fox: (7,100)
The Kings have finally let Fox off the leash. He is playing 35.2 MPG as the starting PG, helping him to 40.25 DK PPG. The Kings are fresh off a huge road win over The Thunder and if they can keep up with The Nuggets and not get blown out (DEN -12), Fox has 40-45 DK point upside.
PG: Elfrid Payton: (6,400)
Payton has fit in perfectly with The Pelicans, averaging 1.05 DK PPM. His minutes were limited due to the blowout last game (24), but we should see him get back to the 36.5 he logged in game one, with this game expected to be close throughout. (NOLA -6.5) The Pelicans have the highest team total of the slate (122.5 points) and in the 19 career games Payton’s team has possessed a team total over 110 points, he is averaging 33.74 DK PPG.
SG: Gary Harris: (6,500)
Harris has scored an average of 37.DK PPG in his past two and he will see an uptick in usage with starting SF Will Barton out the next few weeks. (groin) In the one full game Harris played with Barton missing last season, he scored 51.75 DK points in 37.6 minutes, with a team high 30.8% usage rate.
SF/PF Danilo Gallinari: (6,300)
Galo has progressed in each game, scoring 29, 35.75, and then 38.75 DK points. The usage has been on the rise as well, going from 19.2% in game one to 30.3% in game three. He is a safe bet for 30+ DK points, that gives you exposure to the highest total of the night. (238.5 points)
SG/SF: J.J. Redick: (5,300)
Redick finally shined in his third game of the season, scoring 48 DK points vs The Magic Saturday night. With Simmons out, he should start at the two and play heavy minutes. His usage rose 1.8% sans Simmons last year and he scored 0.91 DK PPM. The only thing that’s holding him back from being a top target like his three teammates is that The Pistons have been very strong at defending three point shooters. (6.0 PG, lowest mark in The NBA) Nonetheless, he is also just too cheap at $5,300.
SF/PF: Neman Bjelica: (4,600)
Bjelica didn’t play much in the game two blowout to The Pelicans (129-149, 6.75 DK points in 10.5 minutes), but in the two surrounding contests, he scored 33.4 DK PPG in 28.8 MPG. This introduces risk with The Nuggets favored by 11, but shows you the upside he has for GPPs.
PG: Shai Gilgeous- Alexander: (3,900)
SGA has scored over 20 DK points in two of his three games this season. He is playing 25.4 MPG and producing 0.8 DK PPM. The Pelicans rank 6th in pace and he is a serviceable punt that could top 20 DK points in this high scoring tilt.
PG/SG: T.J. McConnell: (3,800)
After Simmons exited last game (only eight mins), McConnell logged a season high 25 minutes off the bench. (20 DK points vs The Magic) Now, with Simmons out, McConnell will be the primary back up PG. He lacks upside, but has a chance of 20 DK points.