Indiana Pacers forward Oshae Brissett
Indiana Pacers forward Oshae Brissett (12) in action as the Miami Heat p;ayed the Indiana Pacers in an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Friday, Dec. 3, 2021. The Heat won 113-104. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)

SNEAKY NBA DFS PICKS FOR JAN. 19

Mike Shara

Last night had only two games on the schedule, so there really wasn’t much point in speculating that Steph Curry might be a solid pick against Detroit (though, actually…) or trying to figure out who on the Knicks might be their leading scorer that night (turns out, it was Evan Fournier!). I thought I’d just wait for tonight’s slate, which has a whopping 13 games scheduled and, as a result, many solid DFS options.

JORDAN CLARKSON, PG/SG, Utah, $5,500 on DraftKings
The reigning NBA Sixth Man of the Year is proving again this season why he was the right pick for that award. Every time a key member of the Jazz goes down with injury or Covid, more of the scoring and passing responsibilities fall to Clarkson and every time, he steps up and fills the spot beautifully. Tonight, Utah’s superstar Donovan Mitchell is inactive due to concussion symptoms, meaning it’s fair to suppose that Clarkson will be a centerpiece of their offensive game plan. He only had 11 DraftKings DFS points last game vs. the Lakers (in just 24 minutes), but a week ago vs. Cleveland, when he played 34 minutes due to Rudy Gobert’s absence, he registered over 30. Still a bargain price tonight at home against Houston, one of the worst defensive teams in the NBA, he merits serious consideration.

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RODNEY MCGRUDER, SF, Detroit, $3,000 on DraftKings
He has only played more than 20 minutes in a game twice in the last month, but last night he was the Pistons’ best player in their loss at Golden State, recording 19 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist and a steal in just 22 minutes off the bench. McGruder was almost traded to Denver for Bol Bol last week before Detroit called it off, so you have to think they’ll still try to trade the veteran again before the deadline on February 10. He has no future on this young Pistons team that is trying to build for a brighter future. This seems to me like a situation where he’s going to be showcased to showcase his potential value to playoff teams and will see more court time than normal. After faring quite well last night against one of the league’s better defensive squads, he might be even more of a steal tonight in Sacramento against one of its weakest. At his price, if he plays any minutes at all he’s worth rostering.

JOEL EMBIID, C, Philadelphia, $11,000 on DraftKings
For whatever reason, Embiid’s salary tonight is as low as it’s been in over a month despite putting up gargantuan numbers during that time and thrusting himself to the forefront of the discussion for this year’s Most Valuable Player. Embiid has basically become the answer to the question “How good would/could Shaq have been if he’d been able to make his foul shots?”, scoring at least 30 points in 12 of his last 14 while averaging just less than 10 rebounds and 4 assists in that time. The Sixers are rolling right now, winning 9 of their last 11 and tonight Philly faces an Orlando team that will struggle to defend him and currently sport the worst record in the NBA. I guess Embiid is not by definition anything resembling a “sneaky” pick, but he still might be underpriced, given the roll he and his team are on and his circumstances tonight.

OSHAE BRISSET, PF/C, Indiana $4,300 on DraftKings
The Pacers’ starting center Myles Bridges (who Indiana were probably hoping to trade before the deadline) is now out for a few weeks with a foot injury. While that timing might be unfortunate for himself and his team, it represents a compelling opportunity for his back-up Brissett (and for DFS sharps as well). Nothing about the Toronto native’s DFS profile is exciting per se, but if you extend his normal playing time by 10 or 15 more minutes per game with Turner’s absence, he could certainly be a value play for the next little while. Bonus note: He’s not nearly as inexpensive as Brisset, but Pacers star power forward Domantas Sabonis could become even more valuable with Turner’s absence, too, and is still priced reasonably. The Lakers team they both face tonight is no one’s idea of a defensive brick wall in the paint, either, especially with Anthony Davis still out.

RICHAUN HOLMES, C, Sacramento $4,400 on DraftKings
Holmes made his return to the active lineup on Sunday after missing more than two weeks on the Covid list and the results were predictably flaccid (4 points, 0 rebounds, 1 steal in just under 15 minutes). Tonight, he will have had a few more days to improve his conditioning and will be facing a soft Detroit defense who are playing the second of back-to-back road games. Holmes was priced nearly $2,000 higher on DraftKings before getting sick, so if he’s even close to a normal workload tonight, he becomes very valuable and very inexpensive. His Kings teammate power forward Marvin Bagley Jr. had a huge night vs. Houston on Friday night and returns to Sacramento’s lineup tonight after a one game absence and could provide similar value against a weary Pistons team, too.

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