San Antonio Spurs forward Juancho Hernangomez (41) during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat, Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)


Mike Shara

I had a very good lineup of sneaky picks all set to be released unto the world yesterday – and as it turned out, 4 of 5 of them had great games last night. A pro tip to all you would-be sports writers out there, though  – when you’ve written a time sensitive article that you would like your editors/publisher to publish, you have to actually send it to them. As powerful and smart as they are, publishers are unable to psychically predict that you have written something and then somehow magically siphon it into their inbox from your computer. Clear? Good. Now let’s just pretend that yesterday’s mix-up didn’t happen and get to today’s picks, shall we?

JUANCHO HERNANGOMEZ, PF, San Antonio ($3,500 on DraftKings)
He just arrived in San Antonio last week after spending most of this season buried on Boston’s bench (he’d only appeared in 18 games and played a total of less than 100 minutes to this point). Tonight the Spurs are without starting center Jakob Poeltl and his backup Jock Londale, both of whom strangely have concussion symptoms. This probably means something of an opportunity could be in store for Hernangomez, who was a first round pick in 2016, but is now fighting to stay in the league. This year might be his last chance to prove himself. Landing with the banged up Spurs and facing an inexperienced Rockets team tonight may have happened just in time for him. A desperate player with a playing time window who’s also cheap to roster is often a good combo.

SADDIQ BEY, SF/PF, Detroit ($6,200 on DraftKings)
After being named an NBA First Team All-Rookie last season, Bey has struggled somewhat this year, trying to diversify his game and play with his back to the basket a bit more. The Pistons also lost veterans Jerami Grant and Kelly Olynyk for an extended period at the same time, leaving him and rookie Cade Cunningham to carry the load for a generally inexperienced, underwhelming roster. Both Grant and Olynyk are back in the lineup for Detroit now and it appears that they’re creating a bit more space for Bey to operate. Last night (with Cunningham out) he had 21 points, 13 rebounds, 8 assists and a steal while committing just one turnover against a good Minnesota defense. His shooting hasn’t been as good as it was last year, but volume shooters can still be assets in DFS and tonight he faces a Boston team that has struggled to defend players like him this year. For a league average salary, that’s a strong play, especially if Cunningham is out again tonight.

BRANDON GOODWIN, PG, Cleveland ($4,100 on DraftKings)
Darius Garland was just named an NBA All-Star for the first time in his young career and what’s his reward? He’s out with a back injury. He’s apparently going to miss tonight’s game at Charlotte as well. Goodwin started in Garland’s place on Wednesday and performed well. Against the Rockets he had 7 points, 7 rebounds, 8 assists and a steal (just one turnover), amalgamating himself with the first team offense seamlessly. I’d expect him to get similar minutes tonight vs. a fast-paced Hornets team that doesn’t defend particularly well and allows plays at a high rate. A starting point guard on a playoff team for that salary is a win.

TERRY TAYLOR, PF/C, Indiana ($4,200 on DraftKings)
Woe is the Pacers. They just can’t keep anyone healthy this year – at least no one taller than 6”4’. For tonight’s game they are missing four rotation players who play either Power Forward or Center and a fifth PF/C (Oshae Brissett) is a game-time decision. Indiana unearthed a hidden gem when reserve forward Isaiah Jackson started to go off, but now he’s out with an ankle sprain, too. Having dominated the G League, the 22 year-old Taylor was summoned into action for the varsity squad on Monday night vs. the Clippers and was terrific – 24 points, 16 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal in 37 minutes. The Pacers are at least well-rested and at home tonight against a short-handed Chicago team that had a tough loss in Toronto just yesterday. I’m willing to bet on at least a good game from Taylor, if not another great one – especially at that low cost.

TRE MANN, PG, Oklahoma City ($4,200 on DraftKings)
Everyone else on today’s list is inexpensive to roster, so I could suggest you draft Nikola Jokic tonight – but that’s not really very ‘sneaky’, is it? For today’s picks we’ll stay all sneaky and suggest yet another bargain. I had Mann on this list Wednesday night and he didn’t disappoint – scoring 39.5 DFS points against a good Dallas defense. Tonight the Thunder are on the road against a Portland defense that is…um…not good… and starting point guard Shea Gilgous-Alexander is out with an ankle injury until after the All-Star break at least. Mann will be asked to log big minutes again tonight and as a result, he almost can’t help being another value play today.

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