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) Trae Young, ATL ($8900, vs SAC)
Ice, ice, baby. Young has ice in his veins and everybody can have a bad day. His last outing against Chicago was a little ugly (9-3-3, 25% from the floor), but that looks more like an outlier in Young’s season so far than the norm. In his other four games (I’m not counting the one in which he got injured after 11 minutes) Young Young has scored 25-plus points and even exploded for 38 and 39 to start the season. He’s had three nine-assist games and dished 13 against the Kings. Nothing to like about his turnovers (4.5 per) nor his blocks (zero), but Luka’s anti-hero is shooting 46.2% from the field on 17.7 attempts and a massive 41.3% beyond the 3-point line attempting 7.7 shots from downtown. Don’t let that shitty game put you off Trae’s Track.
Hate: (PG) Eric Bledsoe, MIL ($6000, at UTA)
What is Muscle Man up to? I don’t even know. He hasn’t been bad, but he hasn’t been good. He has a 15.75 DKFP game, and a 43.25 one. He’s averaging 30 through eight games. He’s playing 25.6 MPG but other than his points—which are not huge by no means at 14.5 per—he’s not doing a lot. He’s rebounding 5.8 balls just on sheer bicep-strength but his 4.5 assists and 0.9 stocks pale in comparison to the rest of the league starting point guards. He’s also facing the tough-as-nails Jazz tonight, which is allowing the fewest DKFP per game to the opposition, so I’m not trusting Bledsoe just one bit.
Love: (SG) Jimmy Butler, MIA ($7400, vs MIA)
Even going for a nap in the second half, Butler torched the Suns yesterday to the tune of 34 points, five rebounds, and four assists in just under 34 minutes. Again, Butler went literally for a nap in the second half. Had he just at least tried something he could have mashed big time. The Lakers will be a tougher team to beat and should keep the game tight, so Butler will need to complete tasks on a full-time job today. There is no guy putting up the numbers Jimmy is all over the sheet: 18.8 points, sure, but he’s also logging 6.6 RPG, 6.0 APG, 3.0 SPG, and even 0.8 BPG. Crazy line with above-average shooting splits and a great 1.37 DKFP per minute played which leads tonight’s slate.
Hate: (SG) Dillon Brooks, MEM ($5600, at ORL)
Gotta acknowledge Dillon has steadily improved since the start of the season. He’s gone from under 20-point performances to low 20-point ones to 30-plus points in his last two games. Not bad, giving his takers a good bang for the buck. But his numbers have not been that great. Sure, his usage has risen up to 30% in his last outing but his minutes have danced and changed nightly. Brook’s boards are stuck at four a night, he doesn’t know how to dish assists (1.7) and although he’s got good shooting splits he is just not a volume shooter taking advantage of those percentages. Also, the Magic shouldn’t let Brooks cook as they rank third-best in DKFP per game gave up so far.
Love: (SF) Brandon Ingram, NO ($8100, vs TOR)
Ingram is nuts. Ingram is just crazy. Ingram is playing out of his mind and blending the limits between reality and imagination in the professional hoops realm. Not only is Ingram scoring 25.9 points per night, but he’s also doing so on 17.9 attempts at a 55.2% clip! And he’s shooting five treys a day and hitting them 48.6 percent of the time! Brandon is rebounding like a man (7.1 RPG) and dishing assists (4.3) like they were free. What about his tasty 1.7 stocks? The stuff of dreams, this Ingram kid. Toronto looks like a good team to feast on, and Ingram was able to drop a 40-burger on Brooklyn coming back from injury last Monday, so you know who’s about to eat on a healthy diet.
Hate: (SF) Cedi Osman, CLE ($4400, at WAS)
The Os Man ain’t even a flash in the pan. I don’t know how bad you have to be to give this guy up to 30 minutes of playing time per game on a nightly basis, yikes. If Cedi is part of the core of these rebuilding Cavs, oh boy are they in for a long walk. You can’t hate the Os Man a lot because he’s dirt cheap, but don’t get fooled by his price nor the good matchup against the Wizards tonight. Cedi is averaging 9.7-3.1-1.7 this season in 30.4 MPG, which is translating to 0.64 DKFP per minute played. He’s having some success shooting treys (47.1% on 4.9 attempts per) but other than that he’s a bluff.
Love: (PF) Kevin Love, CLE ($9300, at WAS)
On the other hand in the same town, Kevin is definitely making teams Love him. If there is someone wanting out of Cleveland’s rebuilding efforts that’s Kevin, and who can blame him? Love’s a dove locked in a prisoner’s cell wanting to be released. Somebody please free Kevin, for the Love of God. Kevin is playing 33.7 minutes per contest and averaging a baggy dub-dub in the meantime with 18.9 points and 14.4 boards per. Those points are no joke, as they’re coming on a 49/39/88 split line and 12.4 attempts from the floor daily. To add spice to the mix Kevin is also dishing 4.1 APG and averaging 1.4 stocks. What’s not to Love?
Hate: (PF) Julius Randle, NYK ($6900, at DAL)
Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. Sorry, Julius, but my heart closed its doors to you a few days ago. The Randle was abated and for good. That strong start to the season? A mirage. Randle started the year with five (!) consecutive double-doubles, had another game with an 8-10-5 line, dropped his minutes and production to 8-7-2 in the next one and his last outing went for a weirdo 20-3-3 with three triples (wut?). The funniest thing of Randle’s high usage rate (23.4%) is that he is building it on turnovers (4.1), something you have to appreciate him for putting on the effort to achieve. Now that he’s not averaging a dub-dub anymore (14.3 PPG, 9.5 RPG) he can focus on improving his shooting splits (43/17/60) because oh boy have them been bad. There is still hope, I guess.
Love: (C) Karl-Anthony Towns, MIN ($10300, vs GS)
Do you know what’s a good way to know someone is a good basketball player? Looking at his stat line. No, wait, bear with me. If you look at one’s stat line and it reads 25-13-2-0-2 and it has you disappointed, well, that’s a good basketball player we’re talking about. That’s KAT line from his last outing after his two-game suspension after the Philly Scuffle. And while it is not far from his averages, you still kind of expect Towns to do even more than that nightly, which is ridiculous. Special K ain’t in no restrictive diet this season, as he’s averaging 26.8 PPG, 11.8 RPG, 3.6 APG, 2 SPG, and 1.8 BPG. Does that look good? That’s because I have not presented you the cherry on top of the cake, mate: 17.4 field goal attempts hit at a 51.7 clip and 9.0 3-point attempts (nine treys! per game!) scored on a 46.7 percentage. Let me drool for a minute.
Hate: (C) Nikola Jokic, DEN ($8500, vs PHI)
Look. There is no player in the NBA I legit venerate more than I do Jokic. I mean, have you seen Jokic play this year? Because Jokic this season doesn’t look too different to putting your father’s brother-in-law in a tank top and a couple of shorts, dropping him in the middle of a basketball court, and letting him trot up and down the parquet. Only that Jokic looks like that but still produces like the second coming of Wes Unseld or something. But man, that lack of effort or at least that appearing lack of effort makes me doubt him tonight against a (goofy himself) serial killer like Joel Embiid. Jokic has been great but he has to step up his antics and looks like giving a crap. I don’t care about it, honestly, and love that he’s killing it with such a “whatever” attitude, but it’s reason for me to fade him today.
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!