Devin Booker Suns Basketball
Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) shoots a 3-pointer over Oklahoma City Thunder guard Ty Jerome, middle, center Mike Muscala (33) and guard Aaron Wiggins (21) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2021, in Phoenix. The Suns won 115-97. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)


Mike Shara

We’re reunited and it feels so good. After a whole week without any NBA games to watch or place bets on, the association’s all star break is finally over. Seven games on the schedule tonight and, despite the dearth of activity and news over the last seven days, there are still a  number of nice buys available today in DFS. A lot of them admittedly are attributed to one key injured superstar, as you’ll see. Have a look at the names I found here and see if any of them suit your fancy. Oh, and welcome back.


RAJON RONDO, PG, Cleveland ($3,900 on DraftKings and FanDuel)
Since being traded from the Lakers to the Cavs early in January, Rondo’s playing time has generally increased recently due to the back injury sustained by All-Star point guard Darius Garland. He hasn’t started a game for Cleveland yet so the Cavs can maintain the rotations somewhat, but tonight both Garland and Caris Levert (foot sprain) are going to be in street clothes vs. Detroit, so even if he doesn’t start, Rondo will be logging heavy minutes against a team that continues to be among the league’s worst defensively, especially against opposing point guards. Rondo had a bad game just before the break against Atlanta, but the two nights before he had 17 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals against Indiana. The Cavs are legitimately trying to sew up a top seed in the East and need to win easier games against bad teams. It’s difficult to imagine a well-rested (and cheap) Rondo not having a good night against a weak opponent tonight. 

DALINO GALLINARI, PF, Atlanta ($4,400 on DraftKings, $4,600 on FanDuel)
You could sit down Friday morning to watch highlights from the previous evening’s NBA action between the Hawks and Bulls and I would almost guarantee none of that footage will include Gallinari’s ‘contributions’ for Atlanta. Nothing about this pick tonight is sexy or exciting, nor will it lead to you boasting about it tomorrow. But at that price on both formats, he’s a solid bet for value production. Starting power forward John Collins is out again tonight with a recurring foot injury, meaning Gallinari is likely to start and see extended minutes. Just two games ago he scored 25 points in 33 minutes against a good Cleveland team and the Bulls struggle to defend against power forwards. Look for him to put up another quiet, unremarkable (but inexpensive) productive night again tonight.

AARON HOLIDAY, PG/SG, Phoenix ($3,900 on DraftKings, $3,500 on FanDuel)
Tonight the Suns begin a huge test of their mettle, trying to maintain their status as the #1 seed in the Western Conference down the stretch without their legendary All-Star point guard Chris Paul. CP3 has an avulsion fracture (ouch) in his right thumb and will miss as much as 8 weeks recovering, meaning he will be out pretty much right until the playoffs arrive. While it likely means Phoenix’ fellow All-Star Devin Booker becomes a good buy tonight due to increased ball-handling responsibilities, Holiday could prove an absolute bargain basement deal. Recently acquired from the Wizards’ NBA wasteland (hey-  just in time!), he looks to be a primary beneficiary of Paul’s absence – at least as far as minutes go. He won’t be a focal point in the offense, but he should see a lot of playing time at a very reasonable salary.

JOSH GIDDEY, PG/SG, Oklahoma City ($8,400 on DraftKings, $7,400 on FanDuel)
He’s recorded a triple/double in each of his last three games. Yes, you read that correctly. He is an absolute steal on FanDuel but perfectly worth the money on DK, too. Tonight the Thunder are hosting an elite Suns team that maybe normally would create caution for DFS players, but the Suns’ roster is in a bit of flux because of the absence of Chris Paul, as noted above. This means that their rotations and defensive assignments will have to be newly installed, possibly creating confusion and disarray at times where Phoenix would normally excel. I’m not saying that those changes will mean OKC is going to run away and win the game or that Giddey will necessarily have a 40/15/10 game but he’s undervalued no matter who they play, especially when the guy he’d be facing off against most of the time is not playing tonight. 

DEVIN BOOKER, PG/SG, Phoenix ($8,800 on DraftKings and FanDuel)
I know I sorta mentioned him earlier, but the more I look at tonight’s slate of games the more I keep saying to myself “don’t overthink it”. The CP3 absence pretty much forces the ball into his hands even more than usual and the Thunder are a favorable matchup for him. He’s averaged 45 DFS points over his last three games and his volume and minutes should only increase these next few months. I can see him becoming a $10,000 player before long. You might as well enjoy rostering him while it still doesn’t cost that much. If Booker can keep the Suns on the path they’re currently on and they enter the playoffs as the #1 seed in the Western Conference, he could creep into the MVP discussion.

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