Oklahoma City Thunder forward Darius Bazley
Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson (00) drives around Oklahoma City Thunder forward Darius Bazley (7) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)


Mike Shara

A somewhat thin lineup tonight, with just six games on the schedule. There are still plenty of opportunities to grab ahold of, though – if you’re willing to dig around in the weeds. Here are a few players that stood out to me as good possibilities to extract value from tonight. So, if you’re feeling froggy…

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DARIUS BAZLEY, PF, Oklahoma City ($3,800 on DraftKings, $5,200 on FanDuel)
For whatever reason, FanDuel seems much more aware of the potential value of Bazley has tonight facing a Wizards team that is seriously lacking size or depth at the power forward and center positions tonight. Even after he laid a fantasy egg on Friday vs. Minnesota, he has still averaged 23 points per game on DraftKings over his last 5. His price tonight is a full $500 cheaper than it was less than a week ago despite the fact that D.C. are bleeding big men: missing Thomas Bryant all season and now Montrezl Harrell and his backup Anthony Gill are on the Covid list. Even before those absences, they were only 23rd overall in defensive rating and net rating despite a relatively easy schedule thus far. Is Bazley a sexy pick? No, but he is a very astute one, especially on DraftKings.

JOSH HART, SF/SG, New Orleans ($6,300 on DraftKings, $6,800 on FanDuel)
For a cost that is right around the average salary, Hart is an absolute steal tonight. He’s going to be well-rested after being forced to miss Sunday’s game vs. the Raptors with a Covid test issue. Word on the street is that he’s going to be available tonight vs. Minnesota (make sure you confirm that, of course, before you click the “Enter” button for your lineup), and New Orleans could certainly use his versatility. The T-Wolves are no one’s idea of a defensive citadel and Hart has averaged just a hair under 40 DK points per game over his last five. Invest confidently once you’ve ascertained he’s in the Pels’ lineup.

JEREMIAH ROBINSON-EARL, PF/C, Oklahoma City ($3,700 on DraftKings, $4,100 on FanDuel)
“What’s that, Mike? You’re recommending an Oklahoma City Thunder stack for tonight’s games? You’ve clearly been using the bath salts for something other than soaking.” Well, first of all, I don’t take baths. Sitting for an extended period of time in a tepid pool of filth – that’s germ soup. Disgusting.  However, you choose to clean yourself, both of OKC’s young big men are really cheap tonight and all of the benefits I mentioned above for paying Darius Bazley’s modest salary tonight apply equally for Robinson-Earl (especially on FanDuel, where he’s significantly cheaper than Bazley). He’s been starting for the Thunder, and though he generally only averages 25 minutes and 20 DFS points, that’s still very cost-effective and will allow you to spend more extravagantly elsewhere. And if he goes off tonight against a weakened Wiz frontcourt…

MARCUS MORRIS, PF/SF, LA Clippers ($6,700 on DraftKings, $6,900 on FanDuel)
This isn’t the first time I’ve recommended him in the last little while, and so long as Paul George and Kawhi Leonard stay out of the Clippers’ lineup with injuries, it likely won’t be the last time, either. His usage rate for this shorthanded L.A. team is absurdly high (nearly 28% over the last two weeks) and Denver is a middle-of-the-pack defensive opponent at best. I’d also look for him to have a little extra motivation vs. the Nuggets tonight, as it’ll be the teams’ first meeting since Denver’s Nikola Jokic gave Morris a concussion and neck injury with a bit of a cheap shot the last time they faced each other. A highly motivated, high usage player who’s available for little more than league average salary is a goldmine, especially in the doldrums of mid-January when motivation can be hard to find.

MONTE MORRIS, PG, Denver ($4,700 on DraftKings, $4,900 on FanDuel)
Morris has been starting games for the Nuggets and averaging approximately 25 DFS points per game over his last ten games.  As of yesterday, Denver’s playmaking shooting guard Will Barton is on the Covid list, meaning he will miss tonight’s game at least. With Jamal Murray and Michael Porter already missing all season long due to injuries, even more responsibility for both ball distribution and scoring will fall to the former second round pick out of Iowa State. With the extra usage and floor time tonight and with the Clippers missing their two best on-ball defenders in George and Leonard, Morris looks like he could be a distinct value and will remain so as long as Barton is away from the team.

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