I hate to even imagine this, but it looks like Russell Westbrook ($10,800) is taking his game to another level. Just think about that. He’s the top fantasy producer this season on a per game basis, and it looks like he’s improving. He’s added the threat of a massive amount of assists to his already triple-double threat. January has been a great month for Westbrook as five of his best seven games in terms of assists have taken place in the last three weeks. He notched 15 assists in a game FIVE times this month. Let that sink in. He’s already averaging 23.3 PPG in the last six games and will now get the juicy matchup with Houston who has surrendered the fourth most DraftKings points to opposing PGs.
Keep an eye on the injury report out of New York tonight. Jose Calderon sat out last night and might be forced to miss another game with an groin injury. If he does, that opens up a lot of interesting guard minutes for the Knicks. I believe that Jerian Grant ($3,100) would become one of the better value plays on the board if he can see 25 minutes of action. He provided a well rounded line last night in Calderon’s absence, posting 13-6-4-2 for 30.5 DraftKings points. Grant’s minutes have been volatile, but he’s produced when he sees enough run. At near-min salary, he would only need 18.6 DK points for 6x value, a feat that he has accomplished almost every time he has played 20+ minutes.
We talked yesterday about Demarcus Cousins being a GPP play after laying a dud in a bad matchup. That’s exactly the same formula for James Harden ($10,000) tonight. He was shut down by the Spurs for only 26 DraftKings points, but that’s the Spurs. They literally have one of the best defenses in the last 30 years of NBA history. In the four games prior to the SA matchup, Harden averaged an eye-popping 66.7 DraftKings PPG. Tonight you expect many owners to avoid Harden and he gets a fantastic, fast paced game against OKC who he dropped 58.8 DraftKings points on in their only meeting this season.
You’ve gotta give it up for Gordon Hayward ($7,500) who is quietly one of the hottest players in the league right now. He always flies under the radar playing in Utah, but his recent fantasy productions is going to change that. Hayward is averaging 42.4 DraftKings points per game in his last eight. That is 8 full points higher than his season average. He’s the 14th highest scoring player in the NBA over the course of the last three weeks, ranking above Pau Gasol, Paul George and John Wall to name a few. He’s been four DK points better at home this season, where he will face the T-Wolves tonight.
We know how shorthanded the Suns are right now which is making for some of the best value plays in the league. The player that most are overlooking is PJ Tucker ($5,200) since his role in the offense went mostly unchanged through this transition. Now that some of his teammates are more expensive, Tucker becomes a much more attractive play. In the last four games that he’s played a full compliment of minutes, he’s averaged 30.75 DK PPG while logging 38 minutes a night. Let’s make it clear that nothing Tucker will do is sexy, but he’s a fine option to contribute in all categories. He has 6x upside in a matchup with the similarly shorthanded Knicks.
I guess it’s time to recognize Josh Smith ($4,200) as a viable fantasy option. He’s cracked 25 DraftKings points in three of four since returning to Houston, which would be 6x value again tonight. Quite frankly, that’s an impressive feat considering how badly he has shot the ball. He’s shooting a dismal 28% from the field so it feels like there’s only one way to go and that’s up! Smith is not afraid to shoot the ball, reaching double-digits shot attempts in all four contests for the Rockets. HOU and OKC are two of the top 10 fastest teams in the league in terms of pace, so expect plenty of possessions in this one.
Nikola Vucevic ($7,600) is one of the sneakiest centers in the league. He’s a walking double-double, accomplishing the feat in six straight games. He averaged 40 DraftKings points per game in that stretch. He gets a plus matchup with the Celtics who is allowing the 10th most points in the paint this season. Vucevic is a solid option in cash games, but may not have enough upside to consider him for GPPs.
I think Mason Plumlee ($5,300) is one of the better value center options on the slate. He’s not playing huge minutes for Portland but he’s been extremely valuable in the time he is on the court. He’s posting a sultry 1.3 DK points per minute over his last four games, while cracking the 29 point threshold in three of those outings. He gets a plus matchup with the Hornet tonight who continue to be short-handed in the front court. Plumlee should face a combination of Frank Kaminsky and Spencer Hawes, who are both below average defenders.
That’s all folks! Be sure to follow me on Twitter for more player analysis as news and injuries break closer to tip-off! Commentary based on DraftKings strategy and scoring.