Pacers Wizards Basketball
Indiana Pacers guard Duane Washington Jr. (4) in action during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards, Sunday, March 6, 2022, in Washington. The Wizards won 133-123. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

SNEAKY NBA DFS PICKS FOR MARCH 24

Mike Shara

Five games on the schedule tonight. Last time there was a thin schedule was Tuesday. I was debating with myself about even entering contests that night, but I went ahead and talked myself into it anyway and…yeah…well enough said about that. Last night was better and I think five games (as opposed to just four Tuesday) is going to make all the difference today. Positive thinking is a big part of life, folks.

TYUS JONES, PG, Memphis ($4,300 on DraftKings, $5,100 on FanDuel)
This one baffles me a bit. If you’re feeling like this is deja vu, that’s understandable. You’re wrong, but it’s understandable. I just keep recommending him and his price somehow keeps staying low. Superstar Ja Morant’s balky knee is going to keep him out of action again tonight in the second game of a back-to-back against Indiana. Replacing him in the starting lineup as best he could last night, Jones played 35 minutes and averaged just a smidge less than one DFS point per minute. Tonight the Grizz are at home against a very weak, banged-up Indiana squad who played at home last night, traveled into Memphis late and as a defensive team generally reminds me of papier mache. He’s a nice, very economical way to start your lineup today – especially on DK.

DUANE WASHINGTON, SG, Indiana ($3,100 on DraftKings, $4,300 on FanDuel)
Speaking of cheap guards… Duane Washington – come on down! Here is a serious bargain basement play for you today if you want to make room for other big names. Indiana’s lineup is in real flux tonight as they play their second night in a row. Tyrese Haliburton returned from a back injury and played 37 minutes, but Chris Duarte, Isaiah Jackson and Jalen Smith are all questionable – and the early morning reports seem like they’re all likely not to play today. Check back later in the day, obviously, but have a look at Washington anyway. He’s scored in double digits in 9 consecutive games in limited minutes and although he doesn’t do much else with any regularity, he did register 6 assists vs. Portland two games ago. He shot the ball poorly last night vs. Sacramento, but if one or two of those three-point attempts go in tonight, for that price on DK, you’re suddenly ahead of the game. And he’ll allow you to roster a real heavyweight tonight, too. Someone like, say…

GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO, PF/C, Milwaukee ($11,700 on DraftKings, $11,400 on FanDuel)
How fun is it when you get to roster a guy like this, especially when he’s staring down an opponent that you just know he’s salivating to play against? After missing one game to rest an achy knee, Giannis returned to the lineup on Tuesday and was back to his usual form with 25 points, 17 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 blocks and a steal in just 30 minutes during a blowout win vs. Chicago. The only blemish (and it was a big one) was that he committed 9 turnovers on his own. That’s really hard to do, and almost impossible to repeat, even though his price tag has come down a bit for tonight. The Bucks are facing the Washington Generals…er, Wizards tonight, who probably won’t do much to get in his way. Provided he plays his usual 32-33 minutes tonight and doesn’t have another spasm of giveaways, the Greek Freak seems like that rare combo of a value play/stud tonight. 

JONAS VALANCIUNAS, C, New Orleans ($8,400 on FanDuel, $8,200 on DraftKings)
Admittedly I’m being a bit biased making this recommendation today – JV is one of my absolute favorite NBA players and has been since his days with the Raptors. In a league where there are a lot of guys who talk smack boldly once the referee is in front of them, Valanciunas actually is tough – genuinely unafraid of anyone and willing to do the dirty stuff his team needs to win. Lately he’s been doing an awful lot to help the Pelicans win, averaging 24 points and 13 rebounds over his last five games while avoiding personal fouls and turnovers and making contributions in the defensive categories, too. Tonight New Orleans are at home to face a Chicago team that is struggling badly right now and could be without DeMar DeRozan. JV’s salary hasn’t increased despite his growing role since Brandon Ingram went down with injury. If Ingram is out tonight, I’ll be getting a lot of JV in spite of the relatively lofty price on both platforms. 

ZACH LAVINE, SG/PG, Chicago ($7,700 on DraftKings, $7,200 on FanDuel)
There’s a weird trend happening with Lavine’s price tag and it’s happening on both formats. His price has come down significantly over the last month on both DK and FD, despite the fact that his per minute performance has actually increased slightly. He’s averaged over 41 DFS points per game over his last 5, so I’m not sure why the rate keeps falling, but I think now is the time to buy in on him. Tonight he’s probable (a sore knee has been bugging him a bit lately), and the Bulls look like they’ll be without DeMar DeRozan with an abductor injury tonight, which will only send Lavine’s volume rates higher.  The Pelicans are a middle-of-the-road defensive team that shouldn’t trouble his skill set much. Priced barely over the average salary on FD tonight, he could be a nice building block. 

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