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) Fred VanVleet, PG ($7300, at ATL)
Dutch VV has been raving since Lowry went down injured. Not in the wildest of his dreams would have he thought he’d be playing more than 37 minutes every night, let alone topping 40 routinely. Talk about earning a salary. Freddy still looks a little under-priced for someone with such playing time, though it’s true that his production isn’t the best around. Nothing to be too worried, though, as the Rap is putting together a neat 17-4-7 line through 14 games and adding almost two steals per game to it. He’s dishing out the rock with ample ease these days, making OG and the rest of the bunch lives easier north of the border. His all-around shooting stinks a bit with a low 39.4 percent from the floor but his treys (38.9% on 6.5 attempts) and free throws (89.7% on 4.1) will melt your heart.
Hate: (PG) Jrue Holiday, PG ($8200, at UTA)
I have to be true, I love me some Jrue. But not today, not at that price, not against a stout Utah defense that is entrenched at the no. 1 spot in DKFP allowed to opposing teams. Jrue has toyed with the dub-dub in his last three games and actually got himself one of them against Portland a couple of games ago, but his usage rate has dropped a bit from 32.7% to around 28% lately with Lonzo back in the lineup. Wait at least until Black Friday to officially kick-start Holiday season.
Love: (SG) Zach LaVine, CHI ($6600, at CHA)
Bulls coach Jim Boylen had the guts to sit Zachary for six minutes in the first quarter yesterday against Cleveland. Shaking my head. Obviously, the Flying Vine couldn’t do much in his 29 minutes with such in-and-out game-breaking moves being played by his foolish HC. The good thing for us is that now Vine is pissed off, and oh boy is he in front of a tasty matchup to get back on track and pour all of his anger over. Get ready to see some foreheads being dunked on tonight, for sure. Because hey, ZLV is the no. 1 Bull and he’s actually averaging 19.5 PPG, 4.1 RPG, and 4.1 APG to go with 1.6 stocks. That’s translating to 1.06 DKFP per minute played and he’s averaging 31.4 on the court so you do the math. He’s gotta raise his three-point accuracy a bit (34.3% on the season) but he’s already launching 6.6 treys per game so he’s making up for it nicely. His 28.4 percent usage and his 17.1 shots from the floor are massive.
Hate: (SG) CJ McCollum, POR ($8700, at CLE)
No hate to the Mac, as I can heat a bunch of those, but I picture no big-burger going CJ’s way today. Dame should be back and assuming he is—main reason for this blurb, mind you—then CJ will have to share the floor with both Dimes and Melos. In case you had not paid attention, MC Lillard is finishing 28.3% of Portland’s possessions and Carmelo is using 30.8% of them himself. Yeah, brother, that’s almost 60% already. And even if CJ should be the no. 2 guy in this offense, we all know Melo doesn’t give a damn and will keep shooting every rock he touches.
Love: (SF) Bojan Bogdanovic, UTA ($6300, vs NO)
At some point, we’ll need to stop saying “nah, it’s just a fluke” and start believing. That point has arrived, folks. It’s been 14 games for BoBo already and hey, moving to Salt Lake City has made him wonders. Not only is the best of Bogs playing more minutes than ever (32.6), but he’s also hitting the net from distance like a madman. I mean, a career 39.1 3P% isn’t bad to start with, but this son of a Bosnian is shooting 6.9 times from beyond the arc and hitting them at a 44.8% clip! Through 14 games! He’s also accumulating points in his airline’s membership card with 3.5 trips per game to the line while sustaining an 89.5% from it and all of it has put BoBo at 20.2 points on the season. His 4.1 boards could be a bit higher but his 1.9 dimes make up for that blip.
Hate: (SF) Tobias Harris, PHI ($6400, vs MIA)
I have to admit that Tobi has always messed with my brain. I never knew what to think of him. I don’t have any idea what Tobi is or what he does. He’s been mental this season with his 17.9 PPG, 7.5 RPG, and 3.6 APG. Tobi is also shooting 49.8% from the floor, but he’s wasting 4.3 attempts from beyond the arc as his 3P% of 29.2 percent would make onions cry. Tobi has his games and can give you stats all across the board if it happens for him, but he’s too risky of a man. He’s only finished twice inside the top-10 players of any given November slate of games and never better than the 7th-best (against Cleveland one week ago, 47.25 DKFP). Tobi’s getting the minutes and the production is good lately, so I’m leaning toward a bump down sooner than later and no more than his usual 30-ish points at best.
Love: (PF) Jonathan Isaac, ORL ($7500, at IND)
I’m not giving this pick even a second thought. I don’t care if it’s Indiana, if it’s the New Zealand's rugby team, or if it’s Satan and a bunch of demons facing Orlando. Aaron Gordon and Niko Vuc are out and the paint is all Isaac’s now. I mean, the very own kid came back from injury last Wednesday after seven days out, and put up these numbers in 33 minutes: 16 pops, 13 boards, three assists, a steal, and three blocks. That’s cool. Do you know what’s better? The fact that Jon-I is actually almost averaging those three blocks per (2.8), more than one steal a night (1.3), and that he already has three dub-dubs on the season while sporting a rather low 16.9% usage rate. Expect a bump in usage and a heavier role going his way at least for the days AG and Niko are out and rip the rewards.
Hate: (PF) Lauri Markkanen, CHI ($6400, at CHA)
How can Markkanen still be at $6.4K? Not so high I must say, but still a tad over his head. Contrary to his name, Lauri is missing the Mark—wildly. He’s shooting 36.5% from the floor and 27.8% from the three-point line. Thank god for the 81% from the charity stripe is saving him, but that’s no excuse. Is The Finnisher finished before even starting? Could be, because he’s on the low track these days. Already 16 games and even at 30 MPG he’s only scoring 14.4... I guess he’s still getting some boards to make for his lack production at the rest of the cats, but seriously, he better step up his accuracy or it’s going to be a long season.
Love: (C) Andre Drummond, DET ($8300, at MIL)
Flex on ‘em. That’s what Dr. Dre does these days. Do you want some points? Dre provides. Do you want some boards? Dre snatches them for you. Do you want some dimes? Dre has them available too. What about them blocks? Dre swats rocks whenever needed. You don’t believe me, you say? Check yesterday’s game. This Super of a Man logged 23 points, 15 boards, and 2-2-1 in just 27 minutes on a 34.5% usage rate and shooting 62.5% from the floor. Dre ain’t here for the BS. Do you know some Giannis? Okay. He and Dre are the only ones to have at least five 20-15 games this year. Just in case you didn’t know where the bar’s at.
Hate: (C) Hassan Whiteside, POR ($6400, at CLE)
The chance of a lifetime—assuming he plays, as he’s a little banged up—but I still think Whiteside will fail miserably. Cleveland stinks, and Portland will probably put all three of Melo, Dame, and CJ in the court together today for the first time this season. Hassan should find it easy to rack up dimes and points with a lot of space inside. But he won’t give a fudge about doing anything positive and sure, he might end with his casual 10-10, but we would be talking of “what ifs” instead of “oh damns” by game’s end. Such is life in the Hassan Tower.
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!