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) Damian Lillard, POR ($8900, at GS)
Dame Dolla is all about business this season, and no one is realizing. Kyrie dropping 50? Sure. Luka dishing 15? Right. Do you know what Lillard is averaging for the Blazers in six games? 29.8 points per game to go with 5.5 rebounds, 7.8 dimes, and 2.0 stocks. He’s shooting lights out at 47.6% from the floor, 40.7% beyond the three-point line (on no less than nine attempts per), and 88.% from the charity stripe (visiting it 7.3 times a day). All of that while playing 37.7 minutes with a usage rate of 28.4. I mean, his average of 53.13 DKFP per game is no joke and five of his six games ended with him scoring more than 51 DKFP. Just in his last outing against a stout Philly D he lit them up to the tune of a 33-5-9 line and eight (!) treys.
Hate: (PG) Ricky Rubio, PHO ($6500, vs PHI)
You just read what Dame did to Philadelphia. Does that paint a good picture of the 76ers defense? Nope. Is Ricky Rubio Dame Lillard? No, sir, no. Rubio is in for a tough one, man, as he will have to dance with Ben Simmons and Josh Richardson in this one and that doesn’t sound too good for his aspirations. Rubio’s season hasn’t been horrid but it is not meriting the employee-of-the-year award either. He is playing more than 30 minutes per night but only scoring 11 PPG. His 6.5 rebounds are saving him but that mark could fall more than a bit against Philadelphia. Good assists numbers (8.2) and defense (2.2 steals) but I’m not trusting Rubio today against the only undefeated team left in the L.
Love: (SG) Josh Hart, NO ($5100, at BKN)
Though it looks like Brandon Ingram dodged a bullet Saturday, he could still be eased in after suffering a supposed concussion. Ingram is expected to start, yes, but even coming from the bench in four of his six games this season Hart is producing like a beast to say the least. In fact, it’s a shame that he wasn’t on DraftKings main game slate this past Saturday because he had his best performance of the year finishing with 12 points and 15 rebounds in 30 minutes of playing time. For the season he’s logging a solid 29.4 minutes in which he’s hitting 13.5 PPG and 7.7 RPG to go with 1.2 assists and 1.7 stocks (on just 1.3 turnovers per). He leads all shooting guards playing fewer than 30 minutes by a mile in points and rebounds and his 0.99 DKFP per minute on the floor tell me that even the slightest of bumps in playing time tonight could end in a monster game for him.
Hate: (SG) Eric Gordon, HOU ($4000, at MEM)
Eric McBuckets should regress at some point (his current 14.29 DKFP per game are horrid, truth be told) but I won’t believe him until I see it happen. Gordon is averaging 30.3 minutes coming mostly off the bench (he started last night, though) but he has yet to score more than 15 points in a single night. He should be thankful to hit 15 in that outlier of a game against Washington (all treys, mind you), because other than that performance he’s done a whole bunch of nothing this year. For someone playing in a team that goes all-attack don’t-look-back, Gordon has been bland as hell. You play Eric because he gets you points as anyone, but his low 9.3 average is paltry and other than that he is nil (1.2 RPG, 0.8 APG, 0.7 SPG, 0.2 BPG).
Love: (SF) Tobias Harris, PHI ($7000, at PHO)
Tobi is a freak of nature. The man is playing 36 minutes per game, shooting 14.4 shots from the floor on average and hitting them at a 52.8% clip. What the hell can’t this guy do? Nothing, it seems. He also leads tonight’s slate of small forwards in rebounds per game at 8.6 boards per, and he’s also adding three dimes and 1.4 steals to his line every night. And even with an under-20 usage rate of 19.3 so far, you are not going to hear him complain about anything any time soon. Philadelphia will play his second night without Embiid, and it is not that Furkan Korkmaz will be the hero every day, so play Harris today and watch him excel.
Hate: (SF) Robert Covington, MIN ($5600, vs MIL)
I don’t care if it is Khris, or if it is Giannis, or if it is any other Buck covering RoCo today. I just don’t see the upside in playing him this season. Covington has started Minny’s five games, but he’s been a complete random-outcome player. His DKFP have fluctuated from 26.75 to 16.50 to 31.00 to 18.25 to 32.00. How can one deal with that? Easy, not playing him. Robert is on a three-game streak of losing playing time, falling short of 20 minutes in his last outing against Washington. Even with that, he was able to put up his season-high in points with 20 (talk about predictable outcomes...). His averages aren’t good at all with just 12.2 points and 6.0 boards per game, and he’s not doing much out of those two cats. Not a bad guy, but definitely not the best play today.
Love: (PF) P.J. Tucker, HOU ($5000, at MEM)
There are a loooot of cheap options today at the position, and of course, if you’re going for the chalky chalky play you’re going to roster Giannis (SF/PF), but let’s go for an alternative here with Pancake King and No. 1 Sneakerhead Tucker. This guy has always seemed a bit odd to me, I don’t know. Whatever. Tucker hit a wall in his last game against the Heat (season-lows in minutes, points, rebounds, etc, etc.) but so far this season, starting every game, he’s been kinda good and returned a lot of value for his salary to those playing him. He started scorching hot and while he’s cooled down a bit he’s still putting up 11.7 points a night to go with a great 6.7 rebounds (the most in the slate only behind Freaky Greek). He’s also dishing out 1.7 assists and providing 2 stocks per game with only one turnover. What Tucker does is basically hitting from everywhere, as his 53.2/50/100 shooting percentages say, and his treys are highly valuable as he’s shooting 5.3 a night. If only could Westbrook and Harden share the ball a bit...
Hate: (PF) Rui Hachimura, WAS ($5700, vs DET)
You trust someone and then he goes and betrays you. So Japanese. Or not. I don’t really know. Hachimura exploded against Houston but I should have seen regression coming. My bad. After putting on a great game of 23 points (three treys made) and five rebounds, he put on a dud on his last performance facing Minnesota finishing with a stupid 6 DKFP. Hachimura is not a bad play overall, but he’s a rookie and rookies gonna rook’ sometimes. He should bounce back a bit today but big-man Markieff has done well in his last three games with the Pistons and I don’t know if I’d like to face someone like him any time inside a court, for real.
Love: (C) Aaron Baynes, PHO ($5100, vs PHI)
Oh boy if there is a day to take advantage of Philadelphia and the missing Embiid then that day is today. And there is no better guy in town to play than Aaron Baynes. Did you know Baynes is hitting 46.2% of his shots from beyond the arc? No, you didn’t. But he’s also shooting 4.3 (!) of them per night, which is basically insane (Al Horford is shooting 4.4 but only hitting 27.3%, just for context). On top of that Baynes is scoring 15 PPG on just 23.2 minutes and while his boards (5.7) are a tad low, he’s making up for it with great assist (3.2) numbers. You should never not play Andre Drummond and he’s part of tonight’s slate, but Baynes should save you some money and give you some sweet DKFP at a cheap price.
Hate: (C) DeAndre Jordan / Jarrett Allen, BKN ($5300/$4400, vs NO)
Look, the Pelicans have been a cupcake on defense this season. That is a fact, as is the fact that Brooklyn doesn’t have the smallest of ideas about what to do with their centers. One day it’s DAJ, the next one it’s JA. And the other way around. No wonder neither of them is logging more than 26 minutes per game. Jordan is scoring 6.5 and Allen 7.7. Both are good at boards with 10.0 and 9.7, and the share similar assist/steal/block/turnover numbers, but nothing out of this world in any of those categories, plus they’re shooting free throws at horrid percentages under 50%. Get your shit together, Brooklyn, and then maybe we’ll talk.
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!