Wizards Pacers Basketball
Washington Wizards' Kyle Kuzma (33) dribbles during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Indiana Pacers, Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)


Mike Shara

Yesterday we did all of our shopping in the bargain basement here on Sneaky Picks (which, BTW, paid off pretty well last night). Today I’m starting off shopping in the most expensive part of the store and then working my way down to the basement from there. Hey, I’m not adverse to big purchases – I just try to wait until there’s value there before I take the plunge. As I browse today’s price tags I notice one particular item I’m keen to add to my portfolio…


LUKA DONCIC, PG/SG, Dallas ($12,000 on DraftKings, $10,800 on FanDuel)
Earlier this season Doncic was on the receiving end of some criticism – which was probably fair – that he wasn’t in good enough shape to play a full season in the NBA at an elite level. He was noticeably overweight and got a few nagging injuries, too, which didn’t help his case. Well, get out the swimsuit photos because those days are over. Doncic has improved his conditioning considerably over the last few months and it is showing in his box scores. After barely making this year’s All-Star Team due to a somewhat middling first half (for him), he has gone nuts the last month or so and now resembles one of the truly elite few players in the NBA again. The Lakers have no one to offer as even a threat to stop him tonight – he went off for 34 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and a block two nights ago against Golden State, the best defensive team in the league. Pay the price and enjoy the perks. He’s an absolute must-play on FanDuel, where he has multi-positional eligibility and is over $1000 cheaper than DK, too.

THADDEUS YOUNG, PF/C, Toronto ($3,700 on DraftKings, $3,800 on FanDuel)
I had him on this list yesterday and, yes, I’m all in on him again today. He only played less than 15 minutes last night, but still scored over 20 DFS points on both formats. That is approximately 1.3 DFS points per minute –  exactly the kind of value returns you’re looking for from your cheaper players. After running up the score last night at Brooklyn, the Raptors will be playing the Nets again tonight, but in Toronto. Chances are that OG Anunoby and Fred Vanvleet will be out of the lineup again tonight so the likelihood of Young seeing more than 14 minutes seems pretty high. Even if he doesn’t, he’s still giving you good returns on your very minimal investment. 

GARY PAYTON II, PG/SG, Golden State ($4,200 on DraftKings, $4,800 on FanDuel)
He’s especially valuable on DK where his salary is strangely low tonight, considering that Klay Thompson will be out again and Payton has been one of the players whose minutes have increased as a result. In his last game with Klay on the bench, “The Mitten” logged 27 minutes with 13 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals(!) (probably explains why he’s more expensive on FD today). The rested Warriors are facing the T-Wolves tonight, who played last night in Cleveland before traveling to Minnesota for tonight’s game  and Payton should have plenty of room to make hay today vs. a tired Minnesota team that isn’t great defensively even on fresh legs. 

KYLE KUZMA, SF/PF, Washington ($9,200 on DraftKings, $8,700 on FanDuel)
Look, even if you’re a terrible offensive team that plays at a snail’s pace like the Wizards you still have to have someone who’s going to be your go-to scorer and see a large volume of shots in your ‘scheme’. That person for Washington right now, much like Gilbert Arenas was in around 2005, is Kyle Kuzma In his last game, against a tough Cleveland team, he had 34 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks and a steal and made 8 three-pointers. His outside shooting is unlikely to stay that hot again tonight, but then again he is facing a Detroit Pistons team that ranks among the league’s bottom-feeders in nearly every defensive category. He hoisted 22 shots during a low-scoring game on Saturday vs. the Cavaliers. Tonight’s game figures to have a quicker pace and I would expect Kuzma to have another stat-stuffer of an evening, with perhaps even more shots taken. His price on FanDuel is especially appealing today, and his ownership numbers the last little while haven’t been too discouraging, either. 

DWIGHT HOWARD, C, LA Lakers ($4,300 on DraftKings, $4,400 on FanDuel)
Anthony Davis (foot/ankle) is going to be out for at least a month, meaning Howard becomes the Lakers’ defacto center as they try to cling to hopes of reaching the play-in round of the playoffs. On Friday he exploded for 44.5 DFS points in a game vs. the Clippers despite playing just 26 minutes. His following game was a bit of a comedown, but he still averaged a point-per-minute even though he attempted just 5 shots that night. Tonight the Lake Show will host Dallas in L.A. The Mavericks are a tough defensive team so don’t expect him to have a 25/15 night for that kind of money, but if you want to spend your money elsewhere, I think his floor will remain at a steady level going forward, and I still believe that he has a bit of ceiling left in his 36 year-old body as well. 

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