Philadelphia 76ers guard Furkan Korkmaz
Philadelphia 76ers guard Furkan Korkmaz (30) goes up for a shot in front of Orlando Magic center Mo Bamba, right, during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)


Mike Shara

Here are five players I suspect may have significant value increases in tonight’s game, due to one circumstance or another (not just COVID protocols). Double check before tip-off to make sure all the players you’ve chosen for DFS play tonight are in their team’s lineup and expected to start the game. If you’ve drafted someone who’s coming off the bench, make sure you’re not overpaying and that you’re sure they’ll see significant minutes.

LAMELO BALL, PG, Charlotte ($9,300 on DraftKings, $8,400 on FanDuel)
He’s an even better value tonight on FanDuel, but even on DraftKings his salary is $600 lower than it was just two weeks ago, which is surprising considering Ball is averaging over 40 DFS points over his last ten games. Tonight, he faces a short-handed Milwaukee team at home, with one of the Bucks’ key missing pieces being Jrue Holiday, who is one of the league’s better on-ball defenders (see what I did there?). That circumstance seems to foretell of Ball having another good night (he went off for over 50 points two nights ago in Milwaukee with Holiday out), and his cost is hardly prohibitive.

ALEX LEN, C, Sacramento ($3,800 on DraftKings, $4,700 on FanDuel)
FanDuel seems to have a little better grasp of the availability situation in Sacramento, as Richaun Holmes and Damian Jones are both out for the Kings for tonight’s home game vs. Cleveland. Len played just 23 minutes last night vs. Portland and still recorded 30 fantasy points. Tonight, he’ll be in position for a similar return (and possibly even more minutes). Cleveland has been a very good defensive team this year, but they have lost a step offensively with Ricky Rubio and Collin Sexton sustaining season-ending injuries. The resulting slower pace suits a big man like Len very well, and he’s poised to take advantage tonight at a very affordable price.

KYRIE IRVING, PG/SG, Brooklyn ($8,800 on DraftKings, $7,800 on FanDuel)
Yes, the Nets have an away game tonight, meaning Irving becomes an option. He faces a Portland team that has been besieged by absences, especially at the guard and wing positions. Blazers stars Norm Powell, Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum all won’t play tonight for a myriad of reasons, which should give Uncle Drew more room to roam. He had just over 41 FanDuel points in his season debut vs. San Antonio, has had five days to rest and recover and is facing a short-staffed team that was among the league’s softest defensively even before losing three key players. You have to assume Brooklyn Head Coach Steve Nash will rely on Kyrie heavily in games he’s actually available, so especially on FanDuel he looks like a steal tonight.

EMMANUEL QUICKLEY, PG/SG, New York ($4,900 on DraftKings, $5,000 on FanDuel)
Quickley has averaged over 25 DK points in his last two games with the Knicks facing several key absences in their backcourt. Tonight New York are back at home facing a COVID-depleted San Antonio team playing the second of back-to-back games and the final game of a seven-game road trip that has seen them win just one of six. I look for the more rested Knicks to play well tonight after laying an egg in Boston on Saturday against a road weary opponent, and I also look for Quickley to provide plenty of value for his relatively measly salary.

FURKAN KORKMAZ, SF/SG, Philadelphia ($4,900 on DraftKings, $5,300 on FanDuel)
The last time Korkmaz faced Houston one week ago, he filled the stat sheet (24 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists and a steal for over 51 DK points) and played 36 minutes. He faces the same papier-mâché level defensive squad tonight, and Tyrese Maxey and Shake Milton are out of Philly’s lineup again, so he should comfortably see over 30 minutes of action again. “Turkish Delight” is no one’s idea of a sexy pick and he’s not quite the bargain he was a week ago in either format, but he’s still highly worthwhile at this price and allows you to indulge on more expensive players elsewhere without sacrificing productivity.

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