Welcome to your daily NBA DFS digest at FakeTeams, gents. Every day I’m here with a handful of pro-tips to roster a winning team just a few hours from now.
You might be new to fantasy hoops, so let me tell you this: the world doesn’t end in LeBron James. Each night gives us a pretty good batch of surprising performances and leaves us in the dust with more than a few upsetting outings by those we played. First world problems, carry on. That’s the beauty of this game. There are so many matches going on every single day and such a big roster available that you can’t fixate yourself in the very same player on and on but instead you need to keep things fluid.
So read on, take note, play cool, and win the day. (Player salaries pulled from DraftKings.)
Love: (PG) Kyrie Irving, BKN ($9000, vs HOU)
Mr. Flat-Earth facing the Houston Bombers, what can go wrong? Kyrie is averaging a stupid 35.3 PPG and has topped 37 two times this season already, including his massive 50-point debut. Houston comes from a record-setting game in which they poured 159 as a team but also gave up 158. Easy to predict what we’re into, right? Only James Harden (38.2%) has a higher usage than Irving (35.8%) this season on 30-plus MPG. And it is not that Irving isn’t contributing in other cats: he’s dishing out 6.3 dimes per game, snatching 6.0 rebounds and stealing 1.5 balls while only turning the ball over 1.8 times. I don’t think I can handle all of this.
Hate: (PG) D’Angelo Russell, GS ($8900, vs SA)
The Warriors are done. Consider that a fact. Poor D’Lo has become the go-to guy of the now-tanking Warriors and I have zero confidence—at least for the first few games he’ll need to manage—in Russell producing to any consistent and good level of play. Back in Brooklyn he at least had something to help him put on good performances, but Golden State has nothing other thank crotch-buster Draymond Green around. Playing with Curry limited D’Angelo’s numbers to just 16.3 points to go with 6.0 assists, but who is he going to toss the ball to starting today?
Love: (SG), DeMar DeRozan, SA ($7200, at GS)
Shaking my head at those calling DeDe the analytics-breaker. I mean, that could be the thing to some point, but I’m not getting to that extent not labeling him that silly thing. DeMar has played four games, scored 26-plus points in three of them, rebounded four (two times) and seven (another two) rocks, dished two or more assists in three of the four contests and logged at least a stock in every game. The Spurs are merging into DeMar and DeMar is becoming the whole Spurs: his usage rate has gone from 23.9% to 28.3% to 30.6% to 37%. His treys? None. His percentage from the floor, though? A neat-o 52.1% on a Harden-esque 17.8 (!!!) field goal attempts per game.
Hate: (SG) Collin Sexton, CLE ($5400, at IND)
I guess if you’re happy just by knowing Sexton will score 18 points, you’ll be fine playing him. The sophomore has scored exactly 18-18-18 points in his last three games on 29.7 minutes as a lock starting for the Cavs daily. And that’s it, that’s all he’s doing. Starting, and scoring 18 points. Oh, and hogging the rock. Sexton has a way high usage of 26.1% so far (fifth in today’s slate among starting SGs) for what he’s producing. His 23.88 DKFP per game are bad as hell and translate to a horrid 0.8 DKFP per minute on the court through four games. His rebounding (3.0) and assisting (2.0) numbers are bad as hell and he has yet to get a steal or block a shot.
Love: (SF) Bojan Bogdanovic, UTA ($5400, at SAC)
Little BoBo ain’t bobo no more—shout-out my Spanish-speaking people for getting it. Sure, there are higher ceilings around tonight in LeBron James, Jayson Tatum or even Caris LeVert on a good day, but I’m going with Bogdanovic here. Bojan is averaging 30.88 DKFP per game this season on fewer than 30 minutes per game. That is leveled with those of Tatum or Jaylen Brown at quite a discount. Sacramento profiles as the 10th-best matchup tonight and Bogdanovic is getting fantasy points from all over the stat sheet as he’s scoring in bunches, rebounding, assisting, stealing and blocking shots. Even better, he’s shooting 14 field goals per game and making them at a 51.8 clip, he’s scoring treys with a 44.4% (6.8 attempts) and is still at a perfect 100% on free throws.
Love: (PF) Domantas Sabonis, IND ($8700, vs CLE)
Kudos to Sabonis for becoming the fastest player to break the salary algorithms used at DrafKings. His price (in thousands) has gone from $6.9 to $7.5 to $7.6 to $7.9 to $8.7 tonight. But being fair, he’s been calling for it. With the exception of a little of a dud in his second game, Sabonis has scored 21 or more points each time he’s played, he’s got a couple of 13-plus rebound games for an average of 10.0 RPG, and is dishing out 2.3 assists per game. What you have to love about this mini-Arvydas is that he doesn’t give a damn about firing: he’s shooting 16 field goals per game with a staggering 56.3% success and he’s also boasting a great 88.9% at the line. Expect more of the same with Myles Turner out injured.
Hate: (PF) Lauri Markkanen, CHI ($7500, vs DET)
The Bulls are kinda stinky, and Markkanen is leading them to another great draft pick next summer. While Blake Griffin is out for Detroit, I still have my doubts on Markkanen producing against the Pistons. He’s been good, don’t get me wrong. He is averaging 17.4 PPG (I still would expect more given his 30.6 minutes and 26.3 usage rate), 9.8 RPG and 2.2 APG but his shooting is atrocious. He’s launching rocks and hitting the net on just 38.7 of his attempts and while he’s trying from three-point territory (6.6 attempts) his 21.1% from there is telling him to stop wasting shots.
Love: (C) Clint Capela, HOU ($7400, at BKN)
When your team scores 159 freaking points you eat, either you want it or not. That is how things work, and that is what Capela did against Washington. He fell short of 30 minutes yet he reached a season-best in points with 21 and snatched 12 boards while assisting three baskets and getting one-and-one steals and blocks to round his night. On a very limited usage due to black-holes Westbrook and Harden calling the shots, Capela has scored at least 30 DKFP in every game this season and a great 45.50 in his last one. He’s the cheapest of the go-to plays at Center in the slate, is knocking down 65.1% of his field goals and averages 1.25 DKFP per minute played, so even the slightest of bumps there (he’s averaging only 28.8 MPG) could power him to night-winner status.
Hate: (C) Rudy Gobert, UTA ($7800, at SAC)
Does anybody know if Rudy Gobert came back from China after this past summer World Cup? Asking for a friend. Gobert’s game is ugly, man, even more at that massive salary. He is playing 32.7 minutes a night yet shooting just 5.6 times per game and scoring 9.8 PPG. The 10.8 rebounds are saving his line but other than that he’s been rendered null with just 1.2 assists and a block, not to mention his incredible 3.4 turnovers per game. Sacramento doesn’t have a lot to stop him and he has improved in his last couple of games, but his production per minute is as bad as it gets—Gobert has the lowest DKFP per minute played average among Cs playing 20.0 per game in the slate.
If you have any comment or question about the daily column, tonight’s games, players involved in them, or even season-long fantasy NBA topics, just drop it below and I’ll get back to it as soon as I grab a keyboard!