Philadelphia 76ers' Matisse Thybulle
Philadelphia 76ers' Matisse Thybulle, right, leaps as he tries to defend against Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry, front left, during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)


Mike Shara

After a pretty solid week or so of DFS plays I kinda forced it yesterday by making some picks despite the fact that there were only four games on the schedule. I’ll be the first to admit it didn’t go very well (unless you consider finishing 2,304th out of 3,300 entries going very well – in which case enjoy your parting gifts and participation trophy). A vivid reminder not to push it and let the game come to you. Tonight offers 9 games coming to me so I’m going to choose to be like a goldfish, immediately forgetting the past and moving on. Join me in the Land of Forgetfulness and Forgiveness, won’t you?

IVICA ZUBAC, C, LA Clippers ($5,200 on DraftKings)
I knew that at some point Clippers Head Coach Tyronn Lue was going to figure out that his team’s efficiency increases massively when Zublocka comes into the game and use him more than the creaking, zombi-fied body of Serge Ibaka. It looks like that has finally happened. The Bosnian big man played nearly 30 minutes vs. the Knicks on Sunday and responded with 17 points and 14 boards as his conditioning looks to be finally returning after a Covid battle a few weeks ago. He has a savory matchup tonight vs. Washington and he remains underpriced for a guy whose arrow is pointed upwards in every regard who is playing for a team that lacks many better options right now.


THOMAS BRYANT, C, Washington ($3,400 on DraftKings)
On the other side of the ledger for this game, Bryant has returned only recently from a year-long absence due to an ACL tear and hasn’t exactly been tearing things up thus far (hence his cheap salary). However, his minutes are starting to increase and neither Daniel Gafford or Montrezl Harrell have been running away with the starting job, so Bryant does have an opportunity to steal some court time going forward. In 22 minutes on Sunday (his most since returning) he had 24.5 DFS points vs. Boston and tonight he’ll face one of the worst rebounding teams in the NBA. If you’ve filled out your roster with luxury items and need to find yourself a cheap big man to balance it out, Bryant might be the way to go.

OG ANUNOBY, SG/SF, Toronto ($6,900 on DraftKings)
The Raptors and Head Coach Nick Nurse are closing ranks in their attempt to climb the ladder in the Eastern Conference, tightening their rotation and letting their horses carry the workload. In his last 5 games, Anunoby is averaging 40 minutes per game, and he might be the Toronto player most capable of stuffing the stat sheet in every category (he’s averaging 3 steals and a block per game over his last 4). Tonight, he’ll be at home facing a Charlotte Hornets team that is indifferent defensively but plays at a very high rate, meaning he should get more opportunities jammed into his already heavy minutes workload. At a salary so reasonable, he’s still a strong bet for a double/double tonight with other bonus points added.

KESSLER EDWARDS, SF/PF, Brooklyn ($4,600 on DraftKings)
Kevin Durant’s absence has obviously left a gigantic hole to be filled on the Nets’ roster and while no player can hope to replicate KD’s production – especially not a rookie from Pepperdine who was drafted in the second round – Edwards has been playing heavy minutes lately and showing some promise. He’s averaging over 30 minutes and 20 DFS points over his last six games and tonight Brooklyn is without Kyrie Irving as well as Durant, meaning secondary scoring after James Harden will have to come from somewhere. To be diplomatic, the Nets are an older team and late January is the time of year when banged-up veteran squads rely on fresh young legs to get them through the midseason grind. It looks like Edwards will be the beneficiary. His ratio of minutes-to-salary alone makes him a solid (if unsexy) investment tonight against a Lakers team that plays fast but is barely middle-of-the-pack defensively.

MATISSE THYBULLE, SF/PF, Philadelphia, ($3,400 on DraftKings)
This will be a late addition to your lineup if it happens at all, as Thybulle has missed the 76ers’ last five games with a shoulder strain and is listed as Questionable tonight. Philadelphia is missing Seth Curry, Shake Milton and…oh, yeah – Ben Simmons, so they’ll be more than happy if Thybulle’s defensive chops can make a return to the lineup tonight. There was a possibility he could play on Sunday, so it appears the chances of him suiting up two days later are decent. The Pelicans traveled to Philly late last night after beating the Pacers at home and Thybulle is one of the most aggressive defensive players in the league, so he’ll be looking to pounce all over their tired legs this evening. In four of his last five games played, “The Disruptor” had over 20 DFS points and for that cheap salary, if he’s in the lineup tonight he looks like a real steal (pun intended).

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