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) D’Angelo Russell, GS ($8100, at LAL)
The Lakers don’t give a damn about these new Warriors. Actually, no one does. Do you know who doesn’t give a crap about anything at all? D’Lo. The man is on a mission on his new adventure on the West Coast and so far, so good. California love. Russell is playing 32.3 minutes and scoring 26.3 points on a massive 32% usage rate. How you cope with that? His 2.5 turnovers are as low as they have ever been and he’s going to the charity stripe 5.9 times per game (career-high by far). So yeah, his usage is high but nicely allocated. He’s dishing out 6.5 assists but you can’t blame him for not bumping that number knowing what he’s surrounding him... and his shooting from both the floor (45.1%) and downtown (39.1%) are also besting his best numbers ever. It’s all D’Angelove.
Hate: (PG) Kemba Walker, BOS ($8600, vs WAS)
Can’t hate much on Simba Walker, as it was not his fault getting hit in the neck. But hey, the Leprechauns have already lost Gordon Hayward to injury and I’m not entirely sure they want to risk losing another keystone for long even if Walker has said he’s good to go. If you start to read reports saying he’s definitely going to log 30 minutes then go and play him, but if there is the slightest of doubts then fade Walker. If you want an excuse to tell your workmates you can tell them that his dimes (4.6) and his numbers on defense (0.9 steals, 0.7 blocks) are low.
Love: (SG) Anfernee Simons, POR ($4600, vs TOR)
Long shot alert! Long shot alert! Anfernee Simons is not Anfernee Hardaway, not even close, but give him time. Okay, okay, that’s nothing sure to happen, but I’ve always believed in Penny Little as he’s one of my unique prep-to-pros guys. So here is the thing. Portland sat Simons three-fourths of last year nurturing him from the ground up, and the fruits are starting to get tasty now. Sure, you’re always going to find some green ones in the young season, but Simons is maturing quickly. Actually, barring his last game against Sacramento when he basically put on a serious dud (10 DKFP, five points, two rebounds, two assists, 18.2% from the floor...), Simons had been on a steady rise since Halloween: from 13 to 20 to 23 to 24 to 26 to 31 DKFP. Quite scary, indeed. Penny Little is not starting nor is he a go-to guy for the Blazers but just watching him shooting a last-second buzzer-beater to end the game and potentially win it for Portland gives me all confidence in him being used more and more as the season advances.
Hate: (SG) Lou Williams, LAC ($7200, at HOU)
Sweet Lou turns to Sour Lou when Kawhi Berry is around. And tonight looks like Kawhi’s night, damn load management. Lou-Will has been ill all season long, don’t get me wrong. He’s playing a pretty sweet 31.9 MPG and scoring 22.3 but his numbers drop a lot when Kawhi is around, to the point he doesn’t even average eight points with the Kawhi Berry on the court and he only improves in rebounding (which is actually good because his average of 3.7 RPG isn’t close to great). Paul George will be back on Thursday and maybe then Lou comes back to featuring more heavily for the Clippers as PG will probably be limited and Leonard will probably be on the couch manning his load... Sure, the Rockets are a cupcake on defense, but this can be a super-duper high scoring game and the Claw would probably eat over everybody else.
Love: (SF) Andrew Wiggins, MIN ($7900, vs SA)
Do you know how many players have scored more points than Wiggins (128) in the last seven days? One, Dame Lillard (139). Na na na na nanana, I’m getting Wiggy wit it. For all of you haters there, I’m sorry because this season must have been hard for you to endure so far, right? Such a shame. The Maple Jordan is finally here. It took us time, but man does it feel good. Wiggins is eating along with KAT in Minny. He’s averaging 35 minutes (more than the KAT himself and 11th-most in the NBA) and scoring a hot 25.5 per night while maintaining a career-high 47.3% from the floor. He’s even hitting 2.2 treys per game! And he’s even finding the time to dish 3.3 APG and average a sweet 1.7 stocks per game to only 1.5 turnovers. I get you hating Wiggins for his troubled past, but this new Maple is making a staple.
Hate: (SF) Tobias Harris, PHI ($6700, at ORL)
Hear me out: the Magic are allowing the second-fewest DKFP in the league. How about that dark magic, dawg? And if Orlando has something that is a bunch of forwards around the place. Tobi is good, Philly is good, but Orlando will probably throw a lot of stuff his way tonight and they’re stout in locking their rim to the opposition shots. On top of that, Harris’ salary seems a tad bit high today for what he can give you and what others far cheaper could be in to produce. Save yourself some bucks here and spend them anywhere else. At the end of the day, it will all be about JoJo and Coward Ben for the 76ers, so whatever.
Love: (PF) Pascal Siakam, TOR ($8700, at POR)
Shouts to the back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back most improved player of the season! Is Pascal Siakam the most famous Pascal in the history of mankind? He could easily be, if you ask me. The difference between Siakam and Anthony Davis this season comes down to 0.9 rebounds, 0.6 steals and 2.4 blocks. That’s it. Spicy P is averaging the same PPG (26.3), 9.5 RPG, more APG (3.9) and 1.2 stocks per game. His shooting is ridiculous at a 48.5% clip from the floor on a massive 20.2 attempts per game and he’s hitting treys with a 35% of success (while launching six per game, something no other PF except Davis Bertans is doing, not even close). This man has made the leap. Or not. I mean, he seems to be on a perennial leap forward and breaking barriers and improving without stopping. Do you know this whole Giannis thing when he said he’s only reached 60% of his career potential? I’m starting to think Siakam hasn’t even reached 25% of his.
Hate: (PF) Jaren Jackson Jr., MEM ($4800, at CHA)
Are we sure Triple-J is back for real? I mean, not to hang a question mark on his head but... I’m pretty much on Brandon Clarke’s high-speed train over JJJ’s steam one. It took Jaren 37 minutes to reach 44 DKFP just a couple of days ago. Clarke, off the bench, reached 40 a little over a week ago in just 22 minutes. Jaren has started every single Grizzlies game. Clarke has started one. Jaren has scored more than 10 points six times this season. Clarke has done so seven times. Jaren has grabbed 11 rebounds once. Clarke too. Jaren is averaging 26.5 MPG with a 23.2% usage rate. Clarke is averaging 22.1 MPG with a 17.9% usage rate. Get the hell outta here Memphis. Play the productive man and fade Triple-J until he gets his stuff together.
Love: (C) Hassan Whiteside, POR ($6400, vs TOR)
Hassan was banged up yesterday and adding wood to the fire he messed with his personal fouls so he couldn’t do a lot on his 20 minutes. He couldn’t do a lot still meant he finished with 17 points and seven rebounds, mind you, while shooting 77.8% from the field on nine shots. I mean. This guy is averaging a dub-dub (15.1 and 12.5) easily, like he had no business in it. His 1.8 BPG are KAT-level and he’s turning the ball over just a measly couple of times a night. You won’t see Money-Stealing Hassan shoot a trey, much less hitting it, but hey, he gives you goods nightly in every other cat. He’s even dishing almost a dime per game! So, who is going to stop him today? He is rested after a limited 20-minute game last night and should be healthy as a goddam rock again. I’m betting on him and his low salary all day.
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!