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) Devonte’ Graham, CHA ($6900, at DET)
Hey, look at us, look at us, who would have thought? Not me! Happy days in Charlotte with Devonte’ jumping off the page, coming of age to murder the big stage. It took a two-way season for Golden Graham to find the Konami Code but here we are, folks. D’G is playing lights-out averaging 18 points and 7.5 assists per game to go with 3.6 boards and some 0.6 steals. The Hornets are handing the ball to Graham all he wants it (24.2% usage rate) and he’s providing on a nightly basis. Graham’s bell is ringing more often than not, as he’s scored more than 10 points in 17 of his 19 pro games topping at a sweet 35 pops back in early November. Treys are Graham’s mojo, as he has failed to score at least one just twice on the season, and although his turnovers are a bit high he’s been able to make up for them with heavy assists numbers. The kid is not a dub-dub lock quite yet, but give him a little run and let’s see where we are by season’s end. Star in the making.
Hate: (PG) Ben Simmons, PHI ($8100, at NYK)
The Aussie should never be hated because he oozes talent, but where are we going paying this much for his production? Let’s be honest here, please. Simmons is shooting beastly (54.5%) from the floor mostly due to his dunk-or-nothing traits, but on 33.9 minutes he’s just averaging 12.7 points. He’s doing something something all across the board, yes, as he’s logging 7.1 boards and 8.1 dimes per night to go with 2.3 steals, but his upside and price don’t look very related to me. He’s got the fourth-highest price of the slate at the position but he’s the eighth-best producer. He’s putting up just 0.05 DKFP per minute more than Graham, for example, while being more than $1K above the latter’s price. Nah, I’m not falling for it, and New York sucks so who knows if he hill be rested halfway through the game.
Love: (SG) Zach LaVine, CHI ($7000, at POR)
Can we please get Wednesday LaVine every time? Thanks. Zachary put the superhero cape on again and went with a massive 36-5-5-2-2 line against the Warriors a couple of days ago. That was insane and one of his best all-around games of the year if not the best, full stop. Young Hollywood visits Portland next after facing the Blazers already last Monday. It wasn’t a bad game for LaVine back then (18 points, five assists, couple of steals) but it was nothing out of this world. So you know he’d be eager to put on a show to prove that was a blip. In fact, that game was sandwiched between his great last outing and his 13-three-pointer, game-winning explosion against Charlotte last Saturday. ZLV is throwing the rock and getting buckets from every place with 44/40/82 shooting splits so there is nothing to worry about there. Portland is bad on defense. Result of the equation: winning performance by LaVine.
Hate: (SG) CJ McCollum, POR ($7500, vs CHI)
Seriously, CJ is starting to piss me off. His price isn’t dropping a bit but he ain’t cooking McBurgers no more. Mac is going to give you his 20 nightly pops, but come on, those are not enough to sustain what you’re paying for him. He’s not had more than five assists in five of his last six games and he has lost the edge on the boards (three and two rebounds in his last two), the dimes (four and four), and the steals (none at all) departments. The worst is that his usage dropped a bit with Melo’s arrival but has now re-established itself at more than 25%, reaching 28% on Wednesday, but even with that the man couldn’t do more than get himself an average-ish 31.5 DKFP... Step up your game, CJ. Then call me back.
Love: (SF) Justise Winslow, MIA ($5700, vs GS)
Hear me out. Justise was made. Winslow came back from injury Wednesday against Houston, started on the bench, but still played 34 minutes (!) and finished with a nice 10-7-3-1 line. I know, I know, those numbers aren’t crazy, but you can’t say Winslow without saying Win, amirite? The Warriors are crap on a woodstick and Winslow is the cheapest of cheap plays today. This is a pure ROI play here and it might depend on Jimmy Buckets getting back to action, but the potential is massive with J-Win fully recovered and a cupcake of a team in front of him. Chief Justise is playing a ton of minutes this season (35.8 per) and had started every game to date. He’s averaging 13.2 pops, 7.8 boards, and 4.5 dimes. His shooting has been a little on the low, but if this game turns into a blowout—and I expect it too—he might rack up stats all across the board.
Hate: (SF) Kelly Oubre Jr., PHO ($6600, vs DAL)
Machine Gun Kelly turned to Water Gun Kelly on his revenge game against the Wizards this past Wednesday. Emotions messed with his brain and made him mess with the fouls and all in all he finished with 17 minutes of playing time. Shaking my head... Most concerning though is the fact that he did more in those minutes than he did on Sunday playing 29... Such is KOJr, I guess. He had a five-game run of 30, 15, 20, 25, 25 points and even snatched 11 rebounds against the Wolves last week, but he’s dropped the ball hard in his last two outings. Dallas shouldn’t be an easy opponent. The Mavs rank 19th in fewest-DKFP allowed per game. The Suns will need all they can get from Kelly but given how he’s fared lately I’m having serious doubts of Wave Papi getting back to his old self instead of showcasing his early-season version.
Love: (PF) Bojan Bogdanovic, UTA ($6400, at MEM)
Feels like a long time since I last put BoBo in the column. Nothing has changed, though. Bojan keeps dropping bombs from short-, mid-, and long-distance. Bogdy is shooting a massive 15.4 shots per game and hitting them at a 47.9% clip, and his 6.9 treys per are getting through on a massive 46.6 percentage. His charity stripe success, you say? Ah, just 88.2%... BoBo’s making the most of his 33.3 MPG by scoring 21.5 a game and adding 4.2 RPG and 2.2 APG to his line. He is probably not a winner of the top-tier level, but the value he provides for his price is sweet as not a lot out there. If you want 70 DKFP you can go ahead and pay for BronBron, but for half the price I’m always going to go with BoBo.
Hate: (PF) Blake Griffin, DET ($7500, vs CHA)
His doctor would be glad, but I’m not happy with the Donut Man not getting more calories. Blake debuted after recovering from his injury, dunked a bunch of pastries, got some tasty calories in his belly, but then put on a vegan diet. It’s been a little bit meh start of the season for Griff but you wouldn’t tell judging by his price. You’re probably going to get his 20 pops, as with almost every starter in the league, but his rebounding has been up and down, he’s yet to have a dub-dub, and his assists have been low as hell lately. For someone playing 30 minutes per, only his 20.2 PPG jump a little off the page. 5.3 boards and 3.3 dimes at the PF position these days are average at best, and his production is non-existent on the stocks cats. All of this doesn’t mean Blake doesn’t like to bake, though. He’s cooking on 30.7% of Detroit’s possessions and his atrocious three-point shooting isn’t stopping him from launching six long-range bombs a day. He better stop doing that or improves his percentage, because it’s currently murderous.
Love: (C) Andre Drummond, DET ($9200, vs CHA)
Gotta pay for Dr. Dre. Just compare him to Blake. Go ahead. He took the hit from Blake’s comeback, dropped his usage, saw his opportunities limited, yet the monster of An-Dre is still putting up 1.44 DKFP per minute. That’s nuts, folks. Drummond’s got the sweetest dub-dub average of the season on a 17.6 PPG and 17 RPG basis. He’s also dishing out more than three dimes per contest and adding 1.6 thefts and 1.7 blocks per game. He’s dropping free throws at a career-high 66.2% clip and while he’s nil from three—good old big man here, bois—he’s hitting 54.3% of his 13.6 FGA. You know you’re getting your (almost) daily 15-15 that is 30-plus DKFP every day with Dre no matter who he goes against. And it’s all upside from there. Pay for the man, he’s very much worth it.
Hate: (C) Joel Embiid, PHI ($9000, at NYK)
Totally fade Embiid. He has a zero-floor. Did you saw him not scoring a single point a couple of games ago? Wow! Sure, don’t listen to those fools. I hate Embiid for real, but the guy can mash whenever he can. There is a greater chance of Simmons hitting another three than Embiid putting on another such dud—he just burned the Kings with a 33-16 game on Wednesday by the way... This blurb is a joke meant for the real, stubborn haters. Play Embiid every time you can. You won’t regret it much.
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!