Trail Blazers Jazz Basketball
Portland Trail Blazers forward Trendon Watford (2) turns to offload the ball away from Utah Jazz forward Royce O'Neale during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, March 9, 2022, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Adam Fondren)


Mike Shara

A nine-game slate to choose from tonight, but a few of them are not the least bit interesting to me in DFS play (Draymond Green returning to the lineup tonight makes the Warriors next to impossible to predict and I don’t want any Wizards players, like, ever.) There are two great games on ESPN tonight between Denver and Philly and then Milwaukee/Utah, so at least there should be good games to watch, even if the DFS plays are kinda tough today. Let’s see if we can scour for a few potential bargains…


TRENDON WATFORD, PF/C, Portland ($5,900 on FanDuel, $6,700 on DraftKings)
The Blazers have begun the first few painful steps towards the dreaded “rebuild” phase. This means more opportunities for unheralded players like Watford due to two factors: 1) trading veteran players away (see Norman Powell and Robert Covington) and 2) the few decent players left on the roster resting due to ‘nagging injuries’ in order to tank for a better draft pick this year. Portland has won just one game since the All-Star break and that was against an equally woeful Wizards team on Saturday – I mean, someone had to win, right? Watford is an undrafted rookie out of LSU who started the first two games of his NBA career last week and acquitted himself pretty well thanks very much, with 27 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists in 38(!) minutes. Rip City management has a feeling they’ve stumbled on a bit of a gem here. Especially on FanDuel, they haven’t caught up with that feeling yet. 

SHAI GILGEOUS-ALEXANDER, PG, Oklahoma City ($10,000 on FanDuel and $10,300 on DraftKings)
This is a straight up copy and paste from yesterday’s Sneaky Picks, except I spelled his first name correctly today (my apologies). Y’all saw what he did yesterday vs. Memphis, right? No? Well, it ended up like this – 31 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 blocks and 2 steals (with just one turnover). Phew – and that was against a pretty good defensive team. Tonight the same Thunder lineup will face off against Charlotte, who are the opposite of a good defensive team and his salary didn’t really move at all on either platform. Yes, he’ll be playing the second half of a back-to-back but he had four days off prior to last night’s game, is just 23 and is Canadian tough. He’ll be just fine. OKC is still missing several key players like Josh Giddey and Luguentz Dort, so SGA’s volume numbers almost have to stay high going forward out of sheer necessity. Don’t get bored picking him two nights in a row. I had him recommended yesterday and I think I’m recommending him even more tonight. 

CHRIS BOUCHER, PF/C, Toronto ($5,500 on FanDuel, $5,600 on DraftKings)
Back to back Canadians being selected today on Sneaky Picks! Toronto’s only All-Star this season, point guard Fred VanVleet has missed seven of the Raptor’s last nine and his unusually huge minutes have had to be fed to other players, not all of whom play his position. Boucher has been one of the players to see a usage uptick in those games and he’s repaid Head Coach Nick Nurse’s relative faith with improved play. Boucher started this season playing poorly and fell out of favor somewhat, but in the last two games FVV was out, he averaged over 44 DFS points and 33 minutes. Check the Raptors’ injury updates today. If Steady Freddie is still being troubled by his knee and won’t be suiting up against a tired Lakers team that got whooped in Phoenix last night and then limped home to L.A., Boucher is a must-play. Even if VanVleet is playing, the matchup makes him still worth considering in both formats. 

KEVIN LOVE, PF/C, Cleveland ($6,800 on DraftKings, $5,900 on FanDuel)
This is definitely a “Check back before you lock your roster” pick, but there are real opportunities here for Lover Boy. Caris Levert, Lauri Markkanen, Dean Wade and Rajon Rondo are all listed as questionable tonight and Jarret Allen remains out. If two or three of those guys don’t play, it’s a ripe chance for Love to outplay his reasonable salary on both formats (but especially on FD). The Clippers are a middle-of-the-pack defensive team that barely came back to beat Detroit yesterday afternoon before flying into Cleveland and probably will be without recent acquisition Robert Covington as well, making an opposing PF’s life a little easier. Love has been a point-per-minute DFS guy this season, but with possibly more opportunity tonight I think he’s a good bet to exceed his modest forecasts. 

JAMES HARDEN, SF/SG, Philadelphia, ($9,900 on FanDuel, $11,000 on DraftKings)
Over a thousand dollars differential in salary between the two formats today, so this is really only a recommendation on FanDuel, where he’s under 10 grand for the first time in…forever, really. There’s no debating it – he laid an egg in the big showdown game vs. the Nets on Thursday night, and you’ll continue to hear criticism of his performances in big games until he changes that narrative, but tonight’s game feels…not about him as much. Tonight features perhaps the two leading NBA MVP candidates, Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid, facing off against each other for the first time in almost three years. With all the attention focused on those two big men, I think Harden might be able to find some room to roam and pad the stats tonight. At the price he’s going to cost you on FD, you almost have to try that theory out.

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