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Sacramento Kings guard Davion Mitchell (15) drives the baseline pursued by Phoenix Suns guard Elfrid Payton (2) in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., Sunday, March 20, 2022. (AP Photo/José Luis Villegas)

SNEAKY NBA DFS PICKS FOR MARCH 23

Mike Shara

We won’t be able to use the ‘small schedule’ excuse tonight like I preemptively did last night (and I was right – should have taken the night off) because there are 11 games on the sked tonight, meaning we should all be able to find more than enough interesting plays to keep things interesting. Notice I used the word ‘should’ there…

SPENCER DINWIDDIE, PG/SG, Dallas ($6,200 on DraftKings, $6,600 on FanDuel)
He’s just below the average salary on both formats today and is pretty close to being a must-play on both formats as well. All-World guard Luka Doncic will miss the Mavericks’ home game tonight vs. Houston with a wobbly ankle, meaning that Dinwiddie will not only enter Dallas’ starting lineup, but the offense will be running through him for extended minutes tonight as well (probably about 35 or 36 by my projections). He’s already been averaging about 1.2 DFS points in 14 games since being rescued from the Land of Suck that is the Washington Wizards and with Luka’s enormous volume missing tonight against arguably the NBA’s worst defensive team that is trying to tank for the first overall pick, this pick sort of makes itself. 

JALEN BRUNSON, PG/SG, Dallas ($6,700 on DraftKings, $5,300 on FanDuel)
I was trying to go elsewhere to other games and spread things around somewhat, but sometimes things are just staring you in the face. The idea of entering these tournaments is to win them, not to be a contrarian anti-hero, am I right?  Brunson’s situation tonight is the same as that of Dinwiddie’s. They’ll both be given way more shots and distribution with Luka absent – both when they’re on the court together and when they’re split up. His price on FanDuel feels like an oversight, especially when you look at what he’s done this season vs. the Rockets already, averaging almost 1.4 DFS points per minute in two previous meetings. You can have Brunson as your PG and Dinwiddie as your SG or reverse them if you’re feeling kooky. 

DAVION MITCHELL, PG/SG, Sacramento ($4,600 on FanDuel, $5,200 on DraftKings)
I know he’s another guard, but you’ll need at least one more today and he might even be more of a bargain than the first two dudes I listed here (Sacramento is just never the first game you get excited about looking at, y’know?). For tonight’s game at Indiana, the Kings will be without Domantas Sabonis (too bad he misses out on his revenge game after the big trade), Terence Davis and probably De’Aaron Fox, too. This makes Mitchell the big winner in terms of volume numbers, almost by necessity. In Sac-Town’s last game (an OT loss to Phoenix), he had a 28% usage rate and logged over 46 minutes and that was with Sabonis in the lineup. He also gets the benefit of all this extra room to run against one of the NBA’s lesser defenses. Now that I’m thinking about it, he is probably even more of a must-play on both formats today than those two Dallas guys. What can I say? It’s Sacramento. News travels slower from there. The main thing is we got there.

TRENDON WATFORD, PF/C, Portland ($6,900 on DraftKings, $6,200 on FanDuel)
The Trail Blazers’ current lineup looks like a list of people who have been put into the FBI’s Witness Protection Program. Seriously, you have to be pretty basketball-nerdy or play a LOT of DFS to know who half of these dudes are. The unknown name who has emerged most notably from that morass of invisibility might be Watford. An undrafted rookie out of LSU who signed a two-way contract with Portland in February, he has become a steady, cheap source of points, volume and minutes for DFS sharps the past few weeks, averaging about a point-per-minute on DraftKings over the last 10 days with only one substandard game among his last 8 or 9. The Blazers are sitting everyone they possibly can right now (the tank is on, folks) and tonight they’ll face a San Antonio team that is definitely not among the tougher opponents in the league. For less than average salary on FD, you’re pretty much guaranteed minutes and volume. If he has a good night, that’s a lot of ceiling for a cheap price. I’m considering him on DraftKings, too – but FanDuel seems pretty close to a can’t miss. 

CADE CUNNINGHAM, SF/SG/PG, Detroit ($8,200 on FanDuel, $8,700 on DraftKings)
In case you haven’t noticed – and judging by the national press coverage, you haven’t – Cunningham has been the best player on the floor some nights lately and is closing fast in the race for NBA Rookie of the Year. He may not win because of a slow start and his team’s win/loss record (so stupid) but he’s definitely the only rookie player being picked up 35 feet from the basket to try force him to give up the ball and that tells you something. His young Pistons squad has played better lately, too – winning 7 of their last 15 games and he’s been a key part of that ‘surge’. He has averaged over 47 DFS points per game over his last eight and tonight he’s rested, at home and playing an Atlanta team that is weak defensively, played in New York and then traveled last night and is missing starting center John Collins. He’s not nearly as expensive as the bigger names tonight, but I like his chances to put up big numbers tonight as he continues to push the ROY race right to the end. Plus he has that weird positional versatility so you can plug him into a few different places. 

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