Orlando Magic guard Markelle Fultz
Orlando Magic guard Markelle Fultz (20) pushes the ball up the court as center Wendell Carter Jr. (34) and forward Chuma Okeke (3) follow during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Sunday, March 20, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

SNEAKY NBA DFS PICKS FOR APRIL 3

Mike Shara

Most tournaments today are eight-gamers and won’t include any of the earlier afternoon games, which is kind of a shame because trying to guess who’s going to be in or out or ‘healthy’ or ‘injured’, especially in the Detroit/Indiana game, would have been fun. Nevertheless, there is a pretty high level of lineup entropy happening in the evening games today as well, so let’s sort through it and try to find some good values. Oooh…here’s one right off the bat.

CHRIS PAUL, PG, Phoenix ($8,200 on DraftKings, $8,000 on FanDuel)
The Suns are benching several of their key rotational players for tonight’s game against Oklahoma City (hmm, I wonder why they chose the Thunder game for that idea???). Jae Crowder, Devin Booker and DeAndre Ayton will all be in street clothes tonight, which means there will be about 100 minutes of playing time available for their bench mob. Obviously, CP3 won’t play much more in terms of minutes (he’s been averaging over 32 per game since returning from a thumb injury), but as he returns to his old stomping grounds tonight his volume numbers are bound to get a boost and playing against the Thunder’s …ahem …’defense’…should be a productivity B-12 shot for him as well. Today he feels like a high-priced item that’s not nearly as high-priced as he should be. Start the car! Start the car!

JAVALE MCGEE, C, Phoenix ($3,800 on DraftKings, $3,600 on FanDuel)
All the same factors that would lead to you paying eight grand for Chris Paul tonight go double for why you would be willing to pay less than four grand for McGee this evening in OKC. With DeAndre Ayton and Jae Crowder out tonight, McGee stands to be one of the chief beneficiaries as far as playing time goes. This season he is averaging over 1.4 DFS points per minute while coming off the bench for the Suns and playing with the second unit. Tonight, he’ll be playing significant minutes with Paul as his point guard while matched up against arguably the softest defense in the NBA. The last time he played more than 25 minutes in a game he had 21 points and 15 rebounds, two steals and two assists (and he only played 26 minutes – and it was against Boston, who are actually an NBA team!). Methinks he’s like stealing money tonight on both platforms.

DAMIAN JONES, C, Sacramento ($6,600 on DraftKings, $5,500 on FanDuel)
He’s more expensive but still roster-able on DK but tonight on FanDuel he’s still a steal. Over his last two games, Jones has been a monster in the absence of Richaun Holmes and Domantas Sabonis, averaging 20.5 points, 13.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 5 (!) blocks. Yes, his salary has risen, especially on DraftKings and, yes, he’s facing a good Golden State defensive squad tonight. However, the Warriors grinded out a very tough comeback win last night vs. Utah and the Kings were resting at home. While the ‘travel’ to Sacramento isn’t really worth mentioning, tonight seems like a classic trap/comedown game for the Dubs and Jones is a former Warriors first round pick who is being given a real opportunity to showcase himself elsewhere and may want to stick it to his former team a bit, too. You know how I feel about revenge scenarios, especially when they’re inexpensive. (HINT: I like them.)

OBI TOPPIN, PF, New York ($5,200 on DraftKings, $4,400 on FanDuel)
Another big guy who’s really underpriced on FD today. The Julius Randle saga in New York is over, at least for this season. Whether Randle ever plays another game in a Knicks uniform is a question that will likely be answered more clearly in the summer, but it’s safe to say that the optimism New Yorkers felt when this season began has fallen off of a cliff. When Randle led a scrappy Knickerbockers squad to the playoffs for the first time in almost a decade in 2021, it felt like he was on his way to becoming an MSG legend. Meh. Not so much. With Randle’s ‘quad injury’ keeping him out the rest of the season, Toppin steps into more minutes and shots. In his last game Toppin had 20 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and a steal in 30 minutes against Cleveland. Tonight, he’s got a nice matchup against Orlando, who aren’t a great defense and will be missing several key players again. For his price on FD you can really treat yourself and fill another slot elsewhere with an absolute stud.

MARKELLE FULTZ, PG, Orlando ($4,600 on DraftKings, $5,700 on FanDuel)
The platform disparities are reversed today with Fultz, as today DraftKings seems to have priced him too low, especially considering players whose status is questionable/doubtful for tonight’s home game vs. the Knicks. Starting point guard Cole Anthony is battling a toe injury that he sustained on Friday vs. Toronto – and, frankly, the Magic have been sitting him down even when he isn’t injured as they continue to try to tank for draft picks. Franz Wagner also injured himself (ankle) during Friday’s game and it’s doubtful Orlando pushes him to play in a game that their management probably wants to lose. Fultz has played well since returning to action from a knee injury earlier this season. In 14 games thus far, he has been averaging almost 1.3 DFS points per minute and tonight if he plays more than his usual 18-20 minutes against a New York team that will be mailing it in, too, he will prove another nice value play. You can pick your stars and studs on your own.

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