Charlotte Hornets guard Kelly Oubre Jr. shoots the ball against the Toronto Raptors during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Monday, Feb. 7, 2022. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)

SNEAKY NBA DFS PICKS FOR FEBRUARY 9

Mike Shara

The trading season is officially going bananas, especially in a few of the NBA’s less glamorous markets like Sacramento, Indiana and Portland. Those three teams have been playing a bit of havoc with the DFS world – one of my picks to click for yesterday, Damontas Sabonis, got traded between me completing the article and the game starting and, of course, ended up not having a game to play last night at all because he was on a different team! Accordingly, make sure you keep track of any trades that might happen today or tomorrow and look closely at who replaces players that got traded in the short term. Spots for streaming rarely used guys may develop today, too, and you can extract real value from those plays. Try to wait as long as possible to lock your roster in (as always). Here are some guys I’m looking at in today’s games, at least for the moment.

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KELLY OUBRE JR, Charlotte ($5,600 on DraftKings)
Hornets Head Coach James Borrego is currently using a very tight rotation of players – Charlotte is currently playing like the Raptors of the Southeast Division, using just 8 players in their last game. One of those lucky eight was Gordon Hayward, who will now miss extended time after sustaining ankle ligament damage during Monday’s game vs. Toronto. After Hayward went down early in that game, Oubre took on a bigger role and played over 38 minutes. He shot the ball terribly (0 for 8 from behind the arc) but Borrego still kept him out there and he finished with 31.5 DFS points on the night nonetheless. He’s not going to shoot that poorly again tonight and is all but guaranteed extended minutes as the Hornets try to make a push for the playoffs. A below average salary is a nice price to pay for that situation.

JUSTISE WINSLOW, PF, Portland ($4,500 on DraftKings)
His salary has gone up 50% in 24 hours and his ownership tonight will likely be high, too (too high to return value? Possibly – check out what percentage of folks in your contest have him rostered before you lock it in). The reason I’m recommending him again for the second consecutive night is that a) he averaged a point per minute over 32.5 minutes last night and b) the Blazers’ current lineup has no one else to rely on. They’ve just traded away a bunch of players and the new guys haven’t arrived or assimilated themselves yet. Plus Nassir Little just had shoulder surgery so the only other rotational PF Portland had left is out for the season. Additionally, their opponents tonight – the Lakers – just played last night, too (a blowout loss at home vs. the Bucks) and just might consider sitting some key players for tonight’s matchup against a thin lineup. 

ZACH LAVINE, PG, Chicago ($9,100 on DraftKings, $8,000 on FanDuel)
Especially (strangely) cheap on FanDuel tonight, Lavine returned to action last night against Phoenix after missing two games with back stiffness and showed exactly zero signs of rust or injury, playing 37 minutes while netting 32 points, 6 rebounds and 8 assists against one of the better defensive teams in the league. Assuming he’s good to go tonight, he’ll face a fast-paced Charlotte team that doesn’t defend well at all (24th overall in defensive efficiency) and an All-Star at that price on FD is a cheat code.


BEN MCLEMORE, SG/SF, Portland ($4,300 on DraftKings)
Another dude from the Trail Blazers whose salary has risen in the last few days but still remains worth considering. In the last few games, McLemore’s minutes have gone up from the teens into the late twenties and early thirties and – quelle surprise – his DFS points have risen, too. He’s averaged just under 25 DraftKings points per game over his last two and the Lakers’ current active roster does not constitute anyone’s idea of a tough defensive squad. A decidedly un-sexy pick for sure. Even as I finish typing it, I already don’t love it.

DE’AARON FOX, PG, Sacramento ($7,700 on DraftKings)
With Tyrese Haliburton traded to Indiana, the keys to the car are Fox’s now. Granted, that car is a questionable Sacramento Kings roster but, like the shitty used car your grandpa let you use in high school, it’s still a car and it runs. Fox returned to the floor last night after missing over two weeks with an ankle injury and looked great against Minnesota. He played 35 minutes and had 29 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists. Tonight is the second half of a home/road back-to-back between the Kings and Timberwolves in Sacramento (a long distance back-to-back for both teams). With Fox now running the show and at home against a tired opponent, a freewheeling chaotic kinda game seems more possible and more beneficial for a creative slasher like Fox. He’s still a little bit discounted because of the recent injury. Combine that with more opportunities to play with the ball in his hand and it could be a winning play. 

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