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) Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, OKC ($7100, vs GS)
Warning: I’m writing about some cheap-ish cards today just for a change. I’m not going to give you dirt names going for $4000, but these are plays with high ROI potential.
Say hey, Shai! As if he needed to call for (more) attention... Oklahoma pulled a heist and Gilgeous is the diamond emerging from the loot. There is no one, I mean it, playing more minutes than Gilgeous is this season for OKC at 35 per game. There is no one, I mean it, scoring more points than Gilgeous is this season for OKC at 22 per. Okay, I’m going to stop, because there is not enough real state to tell you how gorgeous is Gilgeous. On top of those 22 apiece he’s dishing 3.1 assists (not that he can do much more with Chris Paul around) but he’s snatching 5.9 boards and putting up 1.5 stocks a night. All while turning the ball over just 1.8 times! And he’s 21!! And he’s shooting 49/40/72 on 16.8 attempts from the floor and 5.5 from the charity stripe!!! And D’Lo can score but can’t defend for a living so Shai is primed to explode tonight!!!!
Love: (SG) Zach LaVine, CHI ($7300, vs HOU)
Go on and play James Harden for $11800, shame on you. Sure, Harden will shoot 73 shots and just because of that he’ll end with 40-plus points, but I’m passing. Today is the day to open your heart to the master of the dunking fine arts. Zachary LaVine, that is. Look, LaVine lit Laker rims this past Tuesday for 26 points (three treys) while grabbing seven rebounds and dishing seven assists. He even pulled off two steals and a usage rate (31%) even higher than his season average (28.6%) on just under 31 minutes on the floor. I’m just highlighting that game because the Lakers are allowing the fourth-fewest DKFP per game so far, and well, Houston doesn’t know what the word defense means and rank dead-last in that department no matter the metric you look at. Premiering tonight: Zach Rocket Smack.
Love: (SF) Danilo Gallinari, OKC ($6400, vs GS)
Not only is Gallo hot, but he’s healthy! Hallelujah! The Gallo is alive! But keep quiet so we don’t jinx it, please. Dani comes from pounding on a Spurs team on which he hung 27 points (with a sweet five 3-pointers) and was able to get five boards, a dime, and a season-best couple of steals. The Italian is not going to win you the day on most occasions, sure, and he’s basically a 25-to-30 DKFP player, but he’s a rock these days and you have to take advantage of that before he turns into a shattered glass—you know it’ll happen, sorry. And sorry too for picking against the Warriors again, but man, they’re so cute it’s hard not to. Gallo’s 12.8 shots per game, paired with a good 46/46/94 shooting line and 6.9 3pt-shots make him a good play if only for his scoring upside.
Love: (PF) Brandon Clarke, MEM ($5100, vs DAL)
Did you know there are more players playing for the Grizzlies other than Ja Morant? Color me shocked. Clarke isn’t a starter, so get your expectations tampered. The rookie—a grizzled one though, as he’s already 23 years old—has floated around 22 minutes this season and is scoring 11.5 points per game, rebounding 6.4 rocks and putting up 1.0-0.8-1.6 assists, steals and blocks. Jaren Jackson Jr. is the starter, but for how long? He’s playing fewer and fewer minutes each passing night and his production has been horrid, so Memphis better flip the script soon. The latter is playing two more minutes per game and has worse numbers in each and every cat, including 1.4 more turnovers and a shitty 22.7 shooting percentage from beyond the arc. Speaking of shooting, Clarke is hitting from the flor at a 57.4% clip, better than any other PF playing 20-plus MPG on tonight’s slate.
Love: (C) Jonas Valanciunas, MEM ($6200, vs DAL)
Things are ugly as hell at the position today. Either people are banged up, play limited minutes, do crap on the court, or who knows what. Lone Jonas is starting to ramping up his minutes after missing pre-season playing time with a foot injury. And once he hits a certain mark, he’ll mash. So far, so good already though. JV has been limited literally to that, junior varsity minutes (21.8), but he’s putting up varsity numbers at the very least. He’s this close to a dub-dub on such low time with a 11.9-9.5 line, he’s dishing two dimes per night, and he’s contributing 0.8 stocks. JoVa the Hutt has been an efficiency monster at the charity stripe (92.9%) but he ain’t visiting it that much (1.8 attempts)... Good for him he’s hitting 48.7% of his 9.8 tries from the floor (which include 1.9 from three). Also, he hit the 30-usage rate mark for the first time this season yesterday against Orlando while putting up a 15-9 line, so trust him against a Porzingis-less Mavs 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!