Isaiah Livers,Markelle Fultz
Detroit Pistons forward Isaiah Livers (12) gains control of the ball next to Orlando Magic guard Markelle Fultz (20) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, March 17, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)


Mike Shara

It’s the first day of Spring, everyone. Hopefully the weather will check the calendar, realize what day it is and start cooperating soon. I’m going to blame any bad DFS recommendations I’ve made over the past week or so on that stupid Daylight Savings Time nonsense. Now that spring is here and the clocks are aligned properly, I’ve got a feeling things are going to start clicking. Nine games tonight, so we should have plenty of chances. 

FRED VANVLEET, PG/SG, Toronto ($7,300 on FanDuel, $7,900 on DraftKings)
Steady Freddie has been a bit less steady lately, struggling with a sore knee over the last few weeks, going in and out of the lineup and making his price come down a bit on both formats. After sitting out the first half of a back-to-back last night in Philadelphia, he is planning to play tonight. Before the knee woes befell him, FVV was a five figure salary and rightly so – he was logging huge minutes and putting up huge volume numbers, too. Last night the Raptors grinded out a tough road win vs. the 76ers so if Head Coach Nick Nurse is going to have VanVleet in the lineup tonight, you have to assume he’ll be relied on a lot after his key teammates all logged heavy minutes and traveled yesterday. His production might not reach mid-January levels, but if he’s even close to that tonight, his salary is well worth it. On FD he’s even cheaper and you can even use him as a Shooting Guard if you want to. 

JUSTISE WINSLOW, SF/PF, Portland ($5,300 on FanDuel, $5,500 on DraftKings)
A very similar situation to Fred VanVleet is happening in Detroit tonight as Winslow, who recently returned to Portland’s lineup after missing seven games with a sore achilles, missed last night’s game vs. Indiana but is expected to play tonight vs. the Pistons. Last night Trail Blazers Head Coach Chauncey Billups was cautious with Winslow, who had averaged 24 minutes and 27.5 DFS points in his first two games back from the injury. Tonight he’s a good bet to return to those levels (at least) against a struggling Detroit defense. Make sure you check his status tonight, though – Portland is ‘racing’ the Pistons to the bottom of the standings this year in hopes of securing a high draft pick in June, so there is a non-zero chance they ‘rest’ their ‘better’ players tonight. Detroit has been winning a bit more recently, and Blazers management may decide to lay up tonight the same way OKC management let Shai Gilgeous-Alexander sit last night against Orlando after I recommended him. 

ISAIAH LIVERS, SF/PF, Detroit ($3,200 on DraftKings, $3,700 on FanDuel)
The Pistons are playing at home tonight against a Portland team that might currently have the worst active roster in the NBA and they will be missing at least two key rotational players – starting Power Forward Jerami Grant and Hamidou Diallo. Additionally Kelly Olynyk, Cory Joseph and Killian Hayes are all questionable, which could leave even more minutes available in a matchup any NBA player would be salivating to play in. Livers is a Michigan native and a four year player at UM who was selected by the Pistons this past June. He fell to the second round of the draft due to a foot injury suffered during the 2021 Big Ten Tournament and is just now working himself back into playing shape after surgery. He has only appeared in 12 games so far in his young career, but has shown real potential, scoring 16 points as a key part of Detroit’s upset of Miami less than a week ago and team management is curious to see what he can do. His cost is bargain basement and his ceiling tonight is too high to ignore. 

JOSE ALVARADO, PG, New Orleans ($4,600 on DraftKings, $5,900 on FanDuel)
The difference in price tags on the two formats is noteworthy, for sure. FanDuel’s price reflects his capacity to grab steals in big numbers (13 in his last four games) which have a higher value on FD. The undrafted rookie’s minutes have been surging lately and he has also shot the ball better in that time frame – making at least 50% of his shots or better in three of his last four. A game against a fast paced, poorly defending Charlotte team is a sweet matchup for such a reasonably priced young player, especially when Devonte Graham could sit out again tonight. 

KYLE KUZMA, PF/SF, Washington ($7,000 on FanDuel, $8,000 on DraftKings)
In keeping with today’s apparent theme, Kuzma is yet another guy who will be returning to action tonight after missing his team’s previous game due to a minor injury. He sat out the Wizards’ game Saturday night due to a minor knee ailment, but Washington Head Coach Wes Unseld Jr. assured fans that Kuzma would be back tonight. His return comes at a great time, seeing as his team will be facing the Rockets, who are the weakest defensive team in the NBA by most measures and will be playing the second half of a back-to-back after being blown out by Memphis last night. He is undoubtedly the Wizards’ highest volume player, he will have had three days of rest, is facing a horrendous defense and his price tag on FanDuel is a relative bargain today. He’s not the most exciting player to roster, but he may look like the second coming of Lebron tonight in Houston. 

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