Raptors Hornets Basketball
Charlotte Hornets guard Kelly Oubre Jr. (12) guards Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam (43) during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Monday, Feb. 7, 2022. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)

SNEAKY NBA DFS PICKS FOR FEBRUARY 25

Mike Shara

Didn’t that feel good last night? So satisfying just to click those lineups into action after having been forced to wait for a whole week without being able to play DFS NBA (and if you had a successful night and came out ahead – even more satisfying!). Now that you’ve shaken off the rust and have your legs under you, there is an even bigger slate of 9 games to choose from tonight. It’s not the easiest set of games to figure out that I’ve seen – at least not yet this morning. Both DraftKings and FanDuel seem to be agreeing on some players I like today, meaning it’s tougher to find value pockets. But it’s my job to try to dig through this morass, so I’m going to do my level best. I can tell you that I don’t like anyone for Philadelphia tonight except Embiid (who ain’t cheap but loves to play vs. KAT). James Harden is going to eat into everyone else’s volume except his, I’m quite sure, and I want to see how it all works before I bet on any Sixers players, Harden included. I also am pretty hesitant about Indiana, who have a lot of injury questions right now and are returning Malcolm Brogdon to their lineup tonight after a lengthy absence. OKC and New Orleans don’t have a lot I’m excited about, either. 

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JAKOB POELTL, C, San Antonio ($7,300 on DraftKings, $7,700 on FanDuel)
After struggling to find consistency this season due to injuries and Covid, Poeltl was really starting to excel just before the All-Star break happened. In his last game at Oklahoma City on February 16, he had 20 points, 17 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 blocks in 32 minutes. Though he’ll probably see a similar amount of court time, banking on a repeat of that box score would be foolish. That said, he is facing the Wizards tonight, who are debatably the worst team against opposing centers in the NBA. His salary isn’t going to disable you from doing other things and he could have returns you’d expect from someone more pricey. He’s also looking like he won’t be over-owned tonight (currently around 8%).

PASCAL SIAKAM, PF/C, Toronto ($9,400 on FanDuel, $9,300 on DraftKings)
He’s not going to be cheap tonight, but he’s not as expensive tonight as he was just before the All-Star break, when his salary had 5 numbers in it. That is despite the fact that his Raptors team is facing the Hornets, always a favorite opponent for DFS sharps. Charlotte is still fighting to reach the play-in round of this year’s playoffs, so they’re not just going to roll over but it is impossible to ignore their defensive struggles. Their pace allows opponents nearly three more possessions per game and they allow just under 115 points per game and they have no one on their roster who can remotely stay in front of Siakam. Toronto leads the league in minutes played by their starting five (have a look at a very reasonable OG Anunoby tonight on FD, too) and after being ignored for this year’s All-Star Game, look for Siakam to punish teams going forward as the Dinos continue to grind for playoff seating.

CHRISTIAN WOOD, C, Houston ($7,900 on DraftKings, $7,800 on FanDuel)
Tonight in Orlando we will witness a battle between two teams in serious competition for the top pick in the 2022 NBA Draft Lottery. If somehow the Detroit Pistons could be included in this matchup in some sort of three-way title cage match, we might be able to figure out exactly who deserves to pick first next year. That won’t happen of course, and as a result Wood will only have to face an Orlando team whose ‘defense’ has been made out of gossamer all season long. Wood is always a walking double/double who also contributes in other categories – and tonight at a salary that is pretty manageable he’s a strong bet to surpass his usual levels and have a big night. 

COLE ANTHONY, PG, Orlando ($6,100 on FanDuel, $7,000 on DraftKings)
He’s obviously more of a deal on FanDuel, where I think he is drastically underpriced, but he’s usable on both platforms today. This game between Houston and Orlando is terrifying because it involves two bad teams that are coming off the All-Star break and we really don’t know what their plan is going forward. Are they going to tank and go to 12 player rotations? Are they trying to get the most out of their young players and get them as much time as possible? Are they going to keep trying their damndest to win games to try to end a losing culture? In some senses I like several players for both of these teams tonight, but it’s a risk. To me, Anthony represents the least risk, especially at his FD salary. He’s had really good numbers in four of his last five games and facing Houston at home is about as good of an assignment as you could ask for after a week-long layoff. 

ERIC GORDON, SG/SF, Houston ($4,000 on DraftKings, $4,100 on FanDuel)
You see? The longer I look at this game, the more appealing some players involved in it become, even if there is more risk here than I would normally like. In Gordon’s last game he played 38 minutes (!) against Phoenix, scored 20 points (admittedly on just 3 of 14 shooting from behind the arc) and he also chipped in a little bit in three other categories, too. He’s looking like he’s going to be owned at about a 15% rate today. I can live with that, given his low cost, bad opponent and the likelihood that he has a better shooting day today considering he’s facing arguably the worst team in the league, as opposed to the best team he was facing last time. Plus, for four grand you get the additional bonus of being able to roster him at either small forward or shooting guard, which is a plus.

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