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) Ja Morant, MEM ($6500, vs DEN)
Ja Rules. Full stop. Morant is setting the league on fire and I’m sorry for Zion but he can start waving goodbye to that ROY award, the poor giant. Either things change a ton, or this will be another Luka-Trey run in which the latter arrived too late to catch the former. Morant has been on fire during the past week. In his last two games one Wednesday and Friday he’s averaged 43 DKFP by torching Charlotte and Utah. No jokes with the numbers he put up: 23-1-11 and 25-4-8. At least a trey in each of the games, and a couple of steals. He couldn’t miss the rim against the Hornets (66.7% from the floor) and he channeled his inner Allen Iverson against the Jazz. Honestly, he gave me those AI vibes. I hope that keeps being the case because it’s the type of thing I didn’t know I needed. Ja is the real deal. The Nuggets aren’t bad on D, but I’ve seen Ja perform some sweet tricks hard to believe.
Love: (SG) Bradley Beal, ($9600, at ORL)
People out there getting lost on Harden’s numbers while Beal is low-key crushing it. Shaking my head. The Beal is real and the Brad is rad. There must be a connection here between Ja and Brad because they’ve played on the same nights this week and they both have lit nets up. So to recap, Beal is on back-to-back pinpoint 44-point games against the Celtics and the Wolves. In case you pay zero attention to the daily happenings around the L, those two teams are the best and 14th-best in the league right now and have some players you might know around. No matter what, BB put on the working suit, picked the flamethrower, and shot lights-out against hem. Oh, and he added 16 dimes and 8 boards in the two outings combined. No big deal, right Bradley Beal? His 1.34 DKFP per minute are sixth in tonight’s main slate.
Hate: (SG) Cam Reddish, ATL ($3500, at LAL)
Don’t hate Cam too much because he comes very cheap, but you don’t need to be Newton to spot the growing pains. He has started all but two games so far, and injuries are giving him more playing time than he should be seeing. Cameron just has a couple of 12-point games and hasn’t reached double-digits anymore. He’s shooting more than he should given his horrid 26/20/82 percentages, so he better just touch the ball to pass it, should Atlanta think. Not bad on the stock department though with 1.3 per, but that and some boards (3.8) is pretty much all he’s offering.
Love: (SF) Aaron Gordon, ORL ($6600, vs WAS)
Dunk—not drunk, careful there—Gordon has improved enough as to love him a bit, and tonight’s slate definitely calls for it as there are only four games are the options out there are minimal. Gordon has improved a little lately, with his first two-game streak of at least 30 DKFP. Not great, but still something. He logged his second dub-dub of the season against no less than Philly on Wednesday and added seven dimes to it, so that was a nice outing for the rumored trade-target man. Double-Zero is playing 31.5 minutes for the Magic but so far he’s been no wizard. His per-minute production is kinda meh and his line of 14-6-3 isn’t that inspiring. The treys are ugly (29.8 3P%) yet he’s still shooting 3.9 per game, but he’s been raising his 43.6 FG% on 11.7 shots from the floor to almost reaching his career-average. Not the best play out there, but oh boy is the talent scarce today.
Love: (PF) Draymond Green, GSW ($6200, at NO)
Do I hate Dray? Sure. Do I love the situation he is in? Even more. And don’t get me wrong, I don’t love the situation he’s in because he’s alone and doomed and condemned and will only carry loses for a while. No, sir. I love it because we will finally be able to see Green in a no. 1 role after aaaaaaall of those years playing behind them Warrior divas—even D’Lo in 2019. I’m pretty interested in watching Dray punch someone with reason now and play his own 90s-Pistons version of basketball surrounded by no-names in Golden State. There is no other player in that team that can do anything now, so this should be the play of the day. Green is not doing a lot but it is not that he has ever posted superb numbers. He’s averaging his good 28.6 minutes and scoring 9.3 PPG to go with 7.3 boards, 4.9 dimes, and 1.3 steals. Nothing great, but production all around the stat sheet. His shooting has been bad this season and his treys are falling four percentage-points lower than his career indicates. For someone with a ridiculously low 14.9 usage rate the numbers aren’t bad and we’ll see a completely different Dray until any of the top-dogs—basically D’Angelo, that is—comes back.
Hate: (PF) Derrick Favors, NO ($7000, vs GS)
Sorry, DraftKings, can you explain this to me? I mean, how the hell can Favors hold a $7K value today (I know, I know, Warriors on the schedule...) while Green is at $6.2K and is the only viable option for Golden State to do anything? I get the statline, but this looks like a complete overprice. Favors is heating up and currently sits at 8.3 PPG, 8.9 RPG, and 2.1 APG, but that doesn’t merit the salary. He will probably be out tonight though as he had to get off yesterday’s game against the Heat with an injury. Don’t play him anyway.
Love: (C) Nikola Vucevic, ORL ($8200, vs WAS)
You can go with any Nikola here tonight and you’d be okay, but Vucevic is going to be off the radars of a lot of folks in comparison to Jokic, and he comes tad bit cheaper. And Niko’s production has been as good as anyone’s. Vuc is averaging a good dub-dub—something Jokic is not—of 17-11 and his adding 3.2 APG to that line to go with 1.9 stocks. Jokic steals more balls but Vucevic is blocking more than a shot per game, and the final stocks are leveled for both guys. The shooting is pretty similar too, though I’d give Vuc the edge if only because of his slightly better 3P% and FT%. He’s shooting fewer shots per game, sure, but he’s making them at higher rates so I like that. And his usage is also a percentage-point lower than Jokic’s, but he’s clearly limiting more his mistakes by averaging 1.4 turnovers to Jokic’s 2.3. I don’t know, it is too close, but Vucevic has posted a dub-dub in 9 of 11 of the games he’s played and dished two assists in all but one. Give me Vooch.
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!