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) Goran Dragic, MIA ($5700, at NO)
Dragon Dragic isn’t scaring fools from the get go as he’s coming off the bench, but no creature is averaging more minutes from the pine at such a sweet level of production. Even making way for rookie sensation Kendrick Nunn as the starting PG, Dragic is seeing 28.4 minutes of playing time per night and scoring 16.1 PPG while dishing out 5.1 APG. Factor in some tasty 3.4 boards a game and you get actual better numbers than those of Kendrick. Nunn of Miami’s business so far, I guess. But if it works, it works and better not touch it. The shooting splits from Dragic are far from tragic (46/42/73) and he’s shooting six treys per game, but his stocks are a little low at 0.9 per. New Orleans stinks and Lonzo might not even make it due to injury. Eastern Europe will be celebrating tonight.
Hate: (PG) Terry Rozier, CHA ($6700, vs NYK)
Finally, the sky opened and Rozier could do something as a Hornet. It’s been ages waiting, but Scary Terry hung 33 on the Grizzlies to the tune of seven treys on Wednesday. Do you know how many times have Rozier scored seven treys this season? Once. Do you know how many times have Rozier scored seven treys in his career? Twice. Now you tell me that performance was normal and then I’ll straight quit. I like Terry, and I believe he’s going to prove haters wrong. But Terry is Terry and not Terrier and much less Terriest. He can give you the eventual explosion here and there but The kid Devonte’ Graham is putting up better numbers and producing at a higher level per minute than Rozier so far. 17 PPG ain’t bad, but 4.9 dimes to 3.3 turnovers is a ratio that doesn’t cut it for me. The steals (1.3) are saving him, but other than that he’s been pretty average for his salary (no pun intended).
Love: (SG) James Harden, HOU ($12200, at MIN)
I can’t believe I’m doing this to myself. The most expensive player in the slate making it to my column... Shaking my head. But what do you expect, dawg? I’m not here to miss on history-making performances and Harden will score his 100-burger tonight equaling Wilt’s mythological record. That’d make us harder than Harden could even think. Do I need to tell you anything about Harden you don’t already know? He’s playing a shit ton of minutes (36.8), keeping up a 39.3 usage rate even with Russ around, hanging 38.7 points on their rivals, finding time to dish 7.9 dimes every night, grabbing 5.7 boards a day, snatching balls by stealing 1.8 balls and blocking 0.6 shots. Who cares he’s turning the rock over 5.6 times, or that he’s shooting 42/33/86, or that his beard is hosting colonies of little people? This is The Man. Oh, and Westbrook is load-managing tonight, which is the main reason to play Harden and wait for him to hit triple scoring digits.
Hate: (SG) RJ Barrett, NYK ($5600, vs CHA)
This whole thing scares the hell out of me. Seriously, this sounds the part of a prophecy. New York won its last game (!), they did against Dallas who they already beat last weekend (!!), and the Knicks are no longer the worst team in the NBA (!!!). Do you trust such a string of good events going New York’s way any longer? It sounds like the Knicks are about to jump into an empty swimming pool and meet the floor head-first. And of course, the rookie is the one who will pay, because that is how the world works, and because he is the only Knick worth talking about so when he fails the impact gets massively noticed. Barret hasn’t done bad consider what he’s surrounded bad (3.9 assists, 5.9 rebounds, 1.3 steals) but his scoring is somewhat a little low still at just 15.3 PPG on a massive 34.6 MPG with a 23.5 usage rate. He must get hotter before we put him in our lineups, and he will be facing a Malik Monk on rabies after his game-winner yesterday.
Love: (SF) Rudy Gay, SAS ($4800, vs POR)
You better be quick and take advantage of this. We are just a few days away from Carmelo Anthony arriving in Portland so you won’t be able to play any forward against the Blazers anymore because Melo will put the clamps on them! No, I was joking. Sorry. But hey, it’s true that the Blazers are the anti-Knicks in that they have everything but forwards around. That doesn’t mean Gay isn’t making him a valuable play all by himself, though. Rudini is making the tricks, folks. I don’t know where these Spurs are going, or what are they planning to do short- or long-term, but at least they have a vet here they can rely on to keep selling tickets. Gay is riding the pine but in his 22.4 minutes he’s putting up a sweeeeeet 1.08 DKFP per minute on the floor. That’s the second-best mark in today’s slate if we don’t count Brandon Ingram (probable), Paul George (one game played...), and Andrew Wiggins (questionable). He’s getting there thanks to a 11-7-2 line to go with just under a stock. His shooting from the floor has been nuts so far (47.6%) and he’s also hitting 30% of his 3.3 treys and 85% of his charity shots. He’s also shown his upside with two 70-plus DKFP performances and another one for 66.67 points.
Hate: (SF) Miles Bridges, CHA ($5700, at NYK)
Almost every SF is valued under $5K today so it’s hard to hate them too much... That’s what I find myself crossing some Bridges and walking some extra Miles to leave MB out of my team tonight. If you’ve read Rudy’s blurb above you know his line (if you have not, here it is you lazy bum: 11-7-2 in 22 minutes). Alright. Gay is 33 years old, Bridges is 21 and a freak of nature, and thus he’s able to play 32.8 MPG. What is he doing with those minutes? Nunn and then sum’m. Miley is averaging 12.6 points, 5.2 boards, and 2.3 assists. He’s shooting more than ten times per game and hitting the net at a good-not-great 47.6% clip, yet his free throw’s 64.7 success rate is ugly. Uglier are his 0.75 DKFP per minute, though. Miles looked like the man to save the Hornets but he’s being overlapped by everybody in the team, from Graham to Monk to PJ Washington to whoever you can think of.
Love: (PF) Domantas Sabonis, IND ($8500, vs MIL)
I don’t care what you say. I don’t care if Sabonis is an American citizen born in Oregon. Tonight, we’ve got ourselves some tasty Euro-Fight! Giannis vs Doma! And sure, you should favor the Greek all the way over the Lithuan-American, but Giannis comes at $12K and while he probably put on a show (as always, because Giannis...), Sabonis Jr. can give you a good bang for the buck. In fact, only Doma, Giannis, and Dre are averaging 19+ points, 13+ boards and 3+ assists this season. That, my friends, is crazy. And people somehow keep sleeping on Dom. Not only is he averaging an easy dub-dub, but he’s also fallen short of 10 rebounds just twice and even then he grabbed five and eight. Sabonis Jr. has also dished four or more assists in five of his ten games, and is almost averaging a block per game. Myles Turner is about to come back from injury (could even be today) but I have serious doubts about who Indiana should favor the most going forward. Not in the wildest of my dreams did I expect Doma to be this good, so I have to eat that L.
Hate: (PF) T.J. Warren, IND ($5700, vs MIL)
In keeping with the Pacers—and with Myles Turner’s potential return—if there is someone about to get hit by a cool baseball bat in the shape of reduced usage that’s TJ. It happened in Detroit to Dre when Blake came back, so you can go and figure what is on tape for Warren when Myles gets into the lineup and the pecking order reshapes itself. But that should be TJ’s smaller of worries, though. He’s had enough already going just because of how meh he’s been playing, to be honest. He messed around fouling against Houston yesterday, so I’ll concede him that one. But other than that, man it’s been ugly. We’re talking about a 12-game starter here, who is playing up to 33 minutes per night while scoring 17.6 PPG and who is doing nothing else. His 51.1% shooting from the floor is mental indeed, but that’s it. For real. He’s at 3.2 boards and 1.3 assists. Somehow he’s been able to average 1.3 steals per game, which will eventually go down whether he likes it or not, but his long-tries are horrid (27.3% from three) and his free throws more of the same (78.6%). Of those starting and playing vast amounts of minutes, he’s one of the worst eligible players with a ridiculously low 0.79 DKFP per minute.
Love: (C) Bam Adebayo, MIA ($7500, vs NO)
Hell of a lot of centers to love today it was very hard to pick just one—I also considered Hassan and Montrezl. But I’m going with the resounding BAM! What this monster of a man is doing is just nonsensical. Please explain to me. Dub-dubbing at 13.5-10.3? Not bad. Adding 4.6 dimes? That’s nice. Stealing 1.5 balls? Sorry, what? And blocking 1.4 shots? BAM BAM BAM! Shot to death. Forget about the long shooting (and the free throws, which actually sucks a bit...) because you are not getting it, but other than those BamBayo is hitting 57.1% of his 8.3 FGA this season. Nutty nuts, man. That’s the 10th-best percentage among players with at least eight shots per game, and only three other players are keeping it that high while averaging a dub-dub (Capela, Giannis, and Whiteside).
Hate: (C) Marc Gasol, TOR ($5700, vs at DAL)
I hate to go this way but I had to pick someone. Gasol is what he is and plays the role he plays, but he’s done in fantasy. He’s playing 28 minutes and still producing just 0.74 DKFP per. That is just unsustainable as hell and a huge risk to take. His 7-7-3 line is not horrid but come one, those minutes call for double that outcome—basically what Hassan Whiteside is doing... He’s a little hot lately, if you consider hot averaging 29.25 DKFP in his last two games... playing an average of 33 minutes and starting. Just two dub-dubs in the season, and barely. He got his ring though, so that’s cool.
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!