Washington Wizards forward Rui Hachimura
Washington Wizards forward Rui Hachimura (8) in action during the first half of an NBA basketball game against Detroit Pistons guard Frank Jackson (5), Tuesday, March 1, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

SNEAKY NBA DFS PICKS FOR MARCH 27

Mike Shara

The calendar says it’s the end of March but the weather here in the Northeast is saying something different – more of a mid-January on Ice Planet Hoth kind of feel. So that’s nice. One way for us to warm ourselves up is to have a little bit of fun (and maybe make a little bit of money) by playing some smart DFS moves. Yesterday went well and there are 6 evening games to focus on for tournament play tonight – there should be plenty more warmth available. In fact, many of today’s best plays are hidden in plain sight.

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RUI HACHIMURA, SF/PF, Washington ($4,400 on DraftKings, $4,800 on FanDuel)
This is not about rostering a guy with a perfect matchup – Hachimura and his woeful Wizards are facing Golden State tonight (no picnic). It is also not about rostering an exciting player with the potential to absolutely go off tonight – that just ain’t Hachimura, even on his best night. He is, however, going to be inserted into the starting lineup today because starting power forward Kyle Kuzma is out with an injury. Hachimura will probably see somewhere between 26 and 30 minutes tonight and he’s almost certain to accumulate stats because the Wizards don’t have any better options on offense. The Warriors are a bad matchup for any team, but someone’s still going to score points for Washington, and I think he’ll be one of them. Rui is kinda like a Kia Forte – it ain’t sexy, but it’s cheap, it’ll get you where you wanna go and the savings help you afford other things that are more expensive.

CHRIS PAUL, PG, Phoenix ($7,200 on DraftKings, $6,600 on FanDuel)
CP3’s return to the Suns’ lineup came a little sooner than a lot of us were expecting – reports were saying he might not play again until the playoffs after he injured his thumb 5 weeks ago. But there he was on Thursday night – 37 years old and playing with the fire and fury of a guy 10 years younger, logging 30 minutes with 17 points and 13 assists in just 30 minutes against a good Denver team. Somehow, neither platform seems particularly impressed with his stat line because his price remains absurdly low given that he appears to be all the way back with no minutes restrictions. Tonight, is a huge game against Philadelphia in Phoenix and there’s little chance Paul takes it easy, especially having had three days to rest since his return. His salary will never be this low again (especially on FD, where it is absurdly low) – even after he retires. He’ll be heavily rostered today (over 25%), but it’s too good to resist.

MIKAL BRIDGES, SF, Phoenix ($5,700 on DraftKings, $6,500 on FanDuel)
I know that many gambling ‘experts’ will say that narratives don’t matter when placing bets and that assuming a player will be extra motivated for a game because of unusual circumstances is not smart betting. I am of a different opinion. I believe in narratives, and I believe that they can and do have an effect on player performance from one day to the next – especially during such a long season I think bettors should actually seek them out. Tonight, Bridges, a Philly native who was a lottery pick of the 76ers in 2018, was crying tears of joy on draft night along with his mother (who works for the Sixers!) before he was immediately traded to Phoenix for Zhaire Smith (oops) and a future pick. You have to believe he has some hard feelings for that organization, and I love hard feelings. Especially when those hard feelings are both under the average salary for a guy who’s played about 40 minutes per game over his last 5. There are a lot of Phoenix players I think are under-valued today. As a matter of fact…

DEANDRE AYTON, C, Phoenix ($6,700 on DraftKings, $6,800 on FanDuel)
The folks who set these salaries realize that the Suns are 60 and 14, right? They do understand that for a team to have a record that good, they must have some pretty decent players, right? I can’t quite reconcile how inexpensive Ayton is on both platforms today, especially given that he just had a 35 point, 14 rebound, 3 assist night matched up vs. Karl Anthony Towns just four days ago. Yes, he’s facing MVP candidate Joel Embiid tonight so he’s unlikely to duplicate those numbers today, but the Suns are home and rested, Philly is in the midst of a tough west coast road trip and Ayton’s backup Javale McGee is out with an illness, which may extend Ayton’s minutes beyond his usual 30 or so. It’s hard to see how this situation doesn’t turn into a profitable one for him (and you, too) tonight.

ROBERT WILLIAMS, C/PF, Boston ($6,000 on DraftKings, $6,800 on FanDuel)
Actually, most of the players on Boston are pretty reasonably priced today as well but Williams is my favorite, even if he is going to be rostered by somewhere between 35 and 40% of everyone playing DFS today, he’s still worth it. The Celtics play the Timberwolves in a meeting between two of the very hottest teams in the NBA since the All-Star break. Minnesota has certainly improved defensively in recent weeks, but they are also the fastest-paced team in the NBA, which will mean increased possessions and shots for the Celtics, who usually rank among the slowest teams. Al Horford is also out today for Boston, which pretty much guarantees that Williams will see minutes at least in the high 20’s and he’s been on fire lately, averaging a double/double plus 3 steals, 3 assists and 1.5 blocks in his last two games. That’s a great price – especially on DK. Don’t try to outsmart everyone else and be a contrarian. Take the gifts when they’re given to you and be grateful.

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