Golden State Warriors forward Otto Porter Jr.
Golden State Warriors forward Otto Porter Jr. (32) shoots against Memphis Grizzlies guard De'Anthony Melton in the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)


Mike Shara

It’s a slim schedule as usual on Thursdays, so entering the DFS sweepstakes tonight will require a little more intestinal fortitude than normal.  I believe in you, even if you don’t believe in yourself – Hell, even if you don’t believe in me. Although, you should believe in me. Last night’s recommendations were pretty solid. Let’s not dwell on past accomplishments and have a look and see if we can’t dig up some treasure today, shall we?

DENNIS SMITH JR., PG, Portland ($4,000 on DraftKings, $4,400 on FanDuel)
Not only is Damian Lillard now going to be out for two months after abdominal surgery, but C.J. McCollum is also out for the birth of his child and Anfernee Simons is going to miss tonight’s game at Denver for personal reasons. The Blazers are also missing high volume wing Norm Powell for this game, so, I mean…somebody has to bring the ball up and shoot it at some point, right? The former ninth overall pick in the 2017 Draft, Smith is already playing for his fourth NBA franchise and his roster spot with Portland is somewhat tenuous (he only signed a contract in September of this year). Tonight, though, fate has handed him a chance to show what he can do and for the low salary in both formats he should provide a worthwhile return. Not exciting, but practical – Smith is the third wife of tonight’s DFS activity.


NIKOLA JOKIC, C, Denver ($12,500 on DraftKings, $11,500 on FanDuel)
On the other side of the coin, we have the Joker. That reference would have been better if Jokic’s nickname were “Two Face”, but what can you do? You’ve heard of Jokic? Former second round pick in 2014 who turned out to, y’know…be the NBA MVP last year. Kinda the opposite of Dennis Smith Jr. Tonight he’s at home and facing that unfortunate Portland team that no one will recognize because they are missing pretty much everybody. Even if they had all those good players in their lineup, Portland ranks 29th out of 30 teams in the NBA in defensive rating. I suppose it’s possible that the relatively unknown players on the Blazers’ bench all collectively rise up and miraculously create a veritable citadel of defensive toughness tonight. Doesn’t seem likely, though, does it? Sometimes you just make the easy, obvious choice because it’s easy and obvious.

JAREN JACKSON JR., C, Memphis ($7,200 on DraftKings, $7,600 on FanDuel)
Memphis has now won 10 consecutive games for the first time in their franchise history – Vancouver included. (Trivia note: can you name the only three NBA franchises never to have such a streak? The answer is at the bottom of this article.) Jackson is averaging over 16 points, 1.7 steals, 7.5 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 3.2 (!) blocks per game over his last six games while averaging just over 26 minutes. Tonight, Steven Adams is questionable due to a non-Covid illness and with any increase in minutes Jackson’s mid-level salary seems like a prudent investment against a T-Wolves team that will present a good challenge, but Jackson is on a bit of a roll lately so it may not matter who he faces.

OTTO PORTER JR, SF/PF, Golden State ($4,800 on DraftKings, $5,100 on FanDuel)
Draymond Green will miss his second consecutive game tonight vs. Milwaukee with a calf injury. Some of his minutes will be going to Porter Jr, who responded to his starting assignment with a solid night vs. Memphis on Tuesday. In 28 minutes, he had 9 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block and 1 steal. Milwaukee presents another tough matchup for the Dubs’ offense, but Green will still gather up fantasy points in all five categories. His modest salary makes acquisitions like Jokic more manageable, and Porter has absolutely gone off a few times in his last 10 games, so he’s worth an inexpensive gamble.

HERBERT JONES, PF, New Orleans ($4,900 on DraftKings, $6,000 on FanDuel)
FanDuel seems to agree with me a little more about which players appear likely to have good matchups for tonight’s games, based on their salary settings. Jones is especially valuable tonight on DK – at less than five grand I think he’s a steal. The rookie, a second-round pick from the University of Alabama, has become a favorite of first year Pelicans Head Coach Willie Greene and has already started 29 games this season. He is doing the little things that coaches love and he contributes in most categories most nights. He’s averaging over 25 DK points over his last 5 games and faces a Clippers team tonight that is missing a lot of defense and size due to injuries.

Trivia Answer: The three teams to never have a 10-game single-season win streak in the NBA are the Magic, Pacers and Wizards/Bullets. That Washington franchise has been around since the early 60’s, too. Yikes.

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