Indiana Pacers' Keifer Sykes
Indiana Pacers' Keifer Sykes (28) drives against Cleveland Cavaliers' Brandon Goodwin (26) in the second half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Nick Cammett)

SNEAKY NBA DFS PICKS FOR JAN. 5

Mike Shara

Tonight’s schedule is twice as busy as last night, with 10 games on the slate and plenty of opportunities for cost efficient winnings in DFS pools. As always, make certain you’re checking the lineups right up to the opening whistle, as COVID is making things interesting every night and players can be placed in Health and Safety Protocols quickly, making them unavailable and killing the huge advantage you have received from me today.

FACUNDO CAMPAZZO, PG/SG, Denver ($5,600 on DraftKings)
The Nuggets are missing point guard Monte Morris again for tonight’s game vs. Utah. In his last four games, the NBA sophomore has averaged 10 points, nearly 7 assists, 2.3 steals and 3.5 assists in under 29 minutes. His playing time is only going to increase this week, and tonight his team is at home against a Jazz team that could be missing both of its top two centers due to injury. Even if Rudy Gobert and Hassan Whiteside do play tonight, “El Mago” is still available at a great price that will allow you to spend more elsewhere.

MGM NBA Offer

ERIC PASCHALL, C/PF, Utah ($3,000 on DraftKings)
This is a deep cut, admittedly, and picking Pascall will require you to pay close attention to the Jazz’ twitter feed tonight to find out if either or both of Whiteside or Gobert are going to play tonight. If one of them is out, Paschall becomes a good buy-low gamble. If both of them aren’t playing, he becomes a must-start, because Jeff Green is already also out, meaning Utah will be forced to rely on Paschall for significant big man minutes tonight. He won’t overwhelm you with statistics, but if you pro-rate his averages out to a 25-30 minute appearance, his bargain basement price tag makes him potentially very attractive tonight.

KEIFER SYKES, PG, Indiana ($3,300 on DraftKings)
I know what you’re saying to yourself right now : “Who?”. It doesn’t matter that you’ve never heard of him before in your life. The 28-year-old rookie from Wisconsin-Green Bay has played exactly four NBA games in his career, all of them in the last week. Signed to a 10-day hardship contract by the Pacers just before New Year’s Eve, he has been a life saver for an Indiana team that is missing Caris Levert, Malcolm Brogdon and Chris Duarte due to injury and Covid. In his second career start last night, he recorded 22 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds and a steal vs. the Knicks. Look at those numbers and then look at his price tag. Even if he doesn’t have as great a night in the second half of Indy’s back-to-back NYC games tonight, he still almost can’t help but provide value.  Consider that he will also be playing with the desperation of a player trying to extend his stay in the league as his contract winds down and he’s a low risk bet I’m happy to be taking.

MAXI KLEIBER, PF, Dallas ($3,800)
With Kriztaps Porzingis likely out for the entire week after being placed on the Covid list, “The Unicorn” becomes the Mavericks’ fifth player currently isolating for a few days. KP’s misfortune becomes an absolutely huge opportunity for Kleiber, who started at power forward on Monday night vs. Denver. In that game he played 31 minutes and had 10 points, 5 rebounds, an assist, two blocks and two steals. Those aren’t eye-popping stats but when you see how little it will cost you to get him, his value becomes apparent. Value is what DFS recommendations are all about and Dallas will have to hoist a lot of shots to keep pace with a potent Golden State offense that plays quickly.

NIKOLA JOKIC, C, Denver ($12,000)
Well if you’re going to save money with all the bargains listed above, you might as well treat yourself to a luxury item, no? I mean that’s the whole point of finding those little gems – so that you can also roster big, ‘Aircraft Carrier’ players who can load up huge points for you. The reigning MVP is always a good buy, no matter his salary, but tonight he’s especially appealing for two reasons: 1) his salary is actually the lowest it’s been in his last six games for some reason and 2) Utah’s centers are banged up tonight. Even if they do appear in tonight’s game, both of the Jazz’s regular big men will be playing hurt. The combination of Denver’s thin air and a matchup vs. Jokic seems like a perfect ‘load management’ game for Gobert and Whiteside. No matter who he’s matched up against, the Joker looks poised to have a huge game in front of the home fans tonight. Enjoy shopping among the luxury items by investing confidently in the league’s most efficient offensive player.

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