Welcome back guys. Alex here, and I am back with my DraftKings NBA picks for December 16th, 2017. Tonight we get a full slate with eight games on tap. 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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PG/SG: Chris Paul: (8,600) Paul has been an absolute tear averaging 55 DK points a game over his last five starts. Last night he dropped 62 DK points on a tough Spurs defense and his price hasn’t moved at all since, remaining at $8,600. He and James Harden really have been playing well together and during this time he is posting a 26.7% usage rate, a 38.8% assist percentage, while scoring an elite 1.52 DK points per minute.
Tonight, he and Rockets will be at home again facing off against The Bucks, who have been tough on opposing PGs this season. (-1.45 opponent +/-) Even though the matchup doesn’t rate well, it really doesn’t concern me with how well Paul is playing right now. He should play his usual 30-35 minutes and score 45-50 DK points, as The Rockets look to pick up the 13th straight win. He showed us last night that the matchup really doesn’t matter for him, and at $8,600, Paul is a building block for me on Saturday night.
PF/C: Al Horford: (6,600) I know I wrote him up yesterday, but his $6,600 price tag just doesn’t make any sense. Last night, coming off three days of rest, Horford filled up the stat sheet with 21 points, seven assists, six rebounds, and two steals in 34 minutes vs The Jazz, resulting in 44.5 DK points, which is 6.7 times value at his $6,600 salary. His price tag hasn’t moved at all and he needs to be considered again tonight in this matchup vs The Grizzlies that is currently rating as a 1.22 opponent +/-. In the 19 games this season he has faced an opponent +/- of at least 1.0 points, he is averaging 35 DK points a game, which would be a great 5.3 return at his salary for tonight.
I sold him yesterday with a few days of rest under his belt, but playing on the second night of a back to back hasn’t affected him at all in the past, as he is averaging 37.3 DK points in his last eight games that have been the second night of a back to back set. There is no chance he is this cheap the next time he plays and he is a very strong value play that can be used with confidence in all formats on Saturday night.
PG: Jawuan Evans: (3,200) The Clippers will be getting guard Milos Teodosic back, but I think Evans is still very much in play at his cheap price tag. Last night with Teodosic resting and Austin Rivers out with a concussion, the rookie out of Oklahoma State was tremendous, scoring 15 points to go along with six rebounds, six assists, and five steals in a team high 40 minutes. (41 DK points) He most likely won’t start, but Evans should still 25-30 minutes off the bench, with Rivers expected to be out again, as he still hasn’t cleared concussion protocol.
In all the minutes he has logged without Rivers, SF Danilo Gallinari (hip), PF Blake Griffin (knee), and PG Patrick Beverly (knee), Evans is scoring a solid 0.84 DK points per minute, and in the 25-30 minutes I am expecting out of him, he should smash value at this $3,200 salary, which is only a $200 increase from last night. The matchup vs The Heat isn’t perfect (-0.21 opponent +/-), but he is simply underpriced, and is a punt play that is viable in all formats for this eight game slate.
SF/PF: James Johnson: (6,000) Johnson has seen minutes go up with center Hassan Whiteside (knee) out, and last night with SF Justice Winslow (knee) also out, he scored 33.75 DK points in 34 minutes in the win over The Hornets. His rates don’t move much with these two players gone, this play is simply off the high minutes Johnson should have to log again tonight. In my opinion, Johnson is a very underrated NBA player and whenever he sees the floor he will produce, with him averaging 0.95 DK points per minute over the last two seasons.
He is averaging 33 DK points in 33 minutes over his last four games and that is only including one game without Winslow. Tonight, he will be asked to play roughly 35 minutes again vs a Clippers defense that is really struggling right now due to some key injuries. Right now they are rating as a 5.36 opponent +/- and in the last six games Johnson has seen an opponent +/- of at least 5.0 points, he is exceeding expectations by an average of 5.83 DK points. He should put up 30+ DK points in this spot, and at $6,000, Johnson is a great value play that should be utilized until his salary becomes too much.
Also Consider: Michael Beasley (starting PF Kristaps Porzingis is listed as questionable for tonight with a knee injury, but if I were to guess, I think he sits this one out. Beasley would most likely start in place of Porzi and would become a must play at only $4,100. In the four full games he has played without Porzingis, Beasley is leads this team with a 34.1% usage rate and is averaging 24 DK points a game), Kyle O’Quinn (also in play if Porzingis is out, but is much more risky than Beasley, assuming Beasley is the starter), Enes Kanter (rates would be very high if Porzingis is out), Derrick Favors (if he plays, is averaging 35 DK points in the 11 games without Rudy Gobert this year), Donavan Mitchell (usage should be up with no Gobert and is averaging 35 DK points a game without the center), Tyson Chandler (coming off some rest he is a solid play vs this Wolves defense that is a 5.58 opponent +/- vs starting centers. Chandler has already been confirmed the starter for tonight), Milos Teodosic, Kelly Olynyk, Ekpe Udoh (only if Favors is out), Tarik Black (nice punt if Capela is out), Sam Dekker, Rudy Gay (Leonard is being rested and Kyle Anderson is still out. Gay is averaging in the four full games both these forwards have missed this year), Dejounte Murray (Tony Paker is being rested and Murray would become a great play if he is confirmed the starter for tonight, but there is always risk with predicting any Spurs’ player’s minutes on the second night of a back to back), Yogi Ferrell (nice bounce back spot vs The Spurs who should be a weaker defensive unit with Leonard being rested), T.J. Warren, and Frank Ntilikina (finally his minutes are up and he is averaging 26 DK points a game over his last three. Also would most likely have to do more if Porzingis is out).