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) Trae Young, ATL ($9200, at DEN)
Hawks fans love it when Trae Young makes rivals wrung. And oh boy is he adept at it. To think this kid is barely 21 years old and that some are still debating who won the Luka-Trae trade is bonkers. Youngun came back from his early-season injury and dropped 29 points and 13 assists on San Antonio effortlessly. Then, obviously, reality hit and he had one of those games against Chicago. No worries, though, because T.Y. has ramped up his minutes to 39 and 42 (wtf, I don’t care if there was an overtime) in his last two outings and he has lit some rims up to the tune of 30 and 35 points. Young is mental. He’s averaged 32.5 PPG, 5 RPG, 11 APG, and 4 SPG in those two with a usage rate of 37.1%. The turnovers are high, but not as high as his 17 (!) trips to the charity stripe against Portland on Sunday. Thank God for such a show on the day of the Lord.
Hate: (PG) Ricky Rubio, PHO ($7700, vs LAL)
Rubio has been great this season. He snatched the MVP of this summer World Cup and went home with the chip. Then he started the season in his new surroundings in the desert and has performed better than ever. But tonight screams “fade” to me. The Lakers are a brutal matchup for the Suns as a whole, and I’m envisioning a complete D-Book explosion to keep Arizona in the game. Double R might provide assists to the Book (at the end of the day Ricky is averaging 8.6 dimes per game, so go figure) but not much more than that. His scoring is low as is (13.6 PPG) and his getting good boards (6.8) but if you’re banking him to win you the day through that and defense you are in for a good dose of cold upsetting brew.
Love: (SG) Jimmy Butler, MIA ($7800, vs DET)
Jimmy Buckets hasn’t played a game since last Friday. Do you see where this whole “Keep Them Healthy” movement has taken us? Shaking my head... I’m full of not having JB on the slate as much as single uncles around the nation are full of the other JB, if you know what I mean. For starters, let me tell you that Detroit might not put Blake Griffin in the lineup tonight on a back-to-back trying to ease him in. Now allow me to continue by informing you that both Tyler Herro and Justise Winslow are both questionable or straight out of tonight’s game. Do you see where I’m going? Butler is primed to eat cookies and build a good looking burger. He is racking more and more minutes by the day and he’s still to reach his peak this season. Jimmy has hit more than 22 points only once in six games, and although he’s contributing all over the place he still has to raise those numbers overall. His three-point shooting must positively regress at some point. What about dropping some downtown bombs on Detroit’s forehead?
Hate: (SG) C.J. McCollum, POR ($6500, at SAC)
CJ Mac is a bad man. He’s a bad player too, it seems. How the hell is he logging 37.7 minutes per game still blows my mind, although I guess it fits Portland’s model of playing the hell out of their only too NBA players (Lillard is averaging 38.6). Damn that stupid load management crap, am I right Blazers? The problem with those minutes, though, is that they are not amounting to a lot. CJ Mac is playing more like CJ Watson these days... Sure, his scoring 19.8 a night, but on 20.2 shots (39.1 FG%)... He’s launching 5.2 treys a day with an average of 30.8% success... His rebounds (4.2) and assists (3.2) are meh at best... So to sum up, Mini Dame is averaging 0.85 DKFP per game, which let me tell you is nothing—not even remotely—close to good (just for context, Lillard is at 1.40...).
Love: (SF) LeBron James, LAL ($10500, at PHO)
I don’t like to give you sure-thing guys because it’s not fun. But I have to go with Granpa Bron. I just have to, I can’t delay it anymore. If you have not paid attention to what Senior James is doing this season you’re missing out big time. This fool is devastating the league at a pace no 35-year-old body should be able to endure. “Yeah, but today’s NBA is softer”, they say. “They are resting every two days”, they say. “They ain’t fighting in the court”, they say. Do you know what LeBron says? F* you, fools. Just the other day against Toronto, in a loss, James did nothing, coasted through the game, and still finished with a triple-double of 13-13-15. What the hell? Glitch in the system, Adam Silver. Senior James is averaging 24.6 PPG, 8.3 RPG, and 11 APG to go with 1.9 stocks. He’s shooting 47/32/74% and currently has a usage rate of 29.9%. His 1.62 DKFP per minute are sixth among players with at least 30 MPG, yet only Harden is playing more (35.7 to LeBron’s 35.1) with a better average (1.69). Grandpa Bron is mad, and comes from a loss, so he’s also pissed off. Watch out.
Hate: (SF) Harrison Barnes, SAC ($5900, vs POR)
If you’re happy getting 30 DKFP tonight, play Barnes. He will probably give you those and maybe some more if all stars align, and Marvin Bagley is still out! Yay! Not so fast, please. My man Barnes is an NBA champ, but far from those days, folks. Harry is logging a massive 33.7 MPG, which is to say, the most minutes per game of any King—without a crown, I guess. Incredibly, Barnes leads another category in his team: steals (1.3 on average). Things can always become more random in this world. That is pretty much everything notable about HB, as his scoring isn’t too high at 15.6 PPG considering his playing time and his rebounds (5.2) are nothing otherworldly at his position. He’s shooting more threes than ever (4.1) but not hitting them above his career average (37.8%) so nothing to see there. His best game so far, 41.00 DKFP against Toronto last Wednesday. So you know where the ceiling is.
Love: (PF) Domantas Sabonis, IND ($8400, vs OKC)
Condemn me, because I failed. Punish me, because I failed. Criticize me, because I failed. I have to admit I never truly fully trusted Domas. Perhaps his first season in Oklahoma fooled me. Maybe being part of a trade that involved two much more coveted pieces messed with my brain and kept him flying under-the-radar. I don’t know. But Domas is the goddam real deal. To the point Indiana might move Myles Turner before trading the Euro. Sabonis Jr. has been incredible this season. He’s averaging a good looking dub-dub to the tune of 20-13 and he’s dishing a massive 4.1 dimes per night to go with 1.6 stocks. Those numbers are ridiculous, honestly, and Arvyda’s son doesn’t look like he’s peaked at all. It’s revenge game (I know I know, I’m stretching things a bit here) and Sabonis should eat some. He’s only failed to reach 41 DKFP once this season and we’re more than two weeks separated from that point already. Domas has been a nightly explosion for a while now and he only knows how to keep improving.
Hate: (PF) Marcus Morris, NYK ($6300, at CHI)
Hate: (PF) Lauri Markkanen, CHI ($6400, vs NYK)
It is not that I really hate any of these two guys, but tonight is the night to skip anything related to the Bulls and the Knicks. Chicago hasn’t given many signs, not at least to the point New York has, but it looks like whoever craps the floor today will be at a real risk of getting kicked out of the building. That should mean little to the players, like, the head coaches are the ones who will lose their jobs. But even with that, I don’t trust the situations in those two teams and much less when they face each other. This couple hasn’t been good either, though. Morris is averaging 0.91 DKFP per minute miraculously considering he plays along with another twenty-seven power forwards. The Finnisher is at a not-so-good 1.00 DKFP per minute and shooting 39/28/67 so yeah, you’re missing nothing here.
Love: (C) Aron Baynes, PHO ($6000, vs LAL)
The matchup looks really bad but Anthony Davis is banged up and I’m trusting my warrior Baynes to take advantage of it. You just have to look at the percentage to know he’s on some mythological stuff this season: Aron is shooting 10 times per game from the floor with a great 58.9% but that is not impressive. What is bat-crazy is his 47.4 3P% on 4.2 attempts per game. Like, only Nikola Jokic (4.6, 24.4%) and Kelly Olynyk (4.2, 31.6%) are even remotely close to him. Baynes is nuts. His numbers apart from the shooting are not mindblowing but he’s still contributing all he can for the time he’s on the court (24.1 MPG). Bank on him helping Booker put on a game tonight.
Hate: (C) DeAndre Jordan, BKN ($5300, at UTA)
Hate: (C) Jarrett Allen, BKN ($500, at UTA)
Timeshare? Check (21.5 and 26.4 MPG respectively). Horrible matchup? Check (Utah ranks first in DKFP allowed to the opposition). No scoring? Check (7.4 and 9.0 PPG). Meh, fade the Nets big men until the coaching staff comes to its senses.
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 or reach out to me on Twitter at @chapulana and I’ll get back to you as soon as I grab a keyboard!