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) Kendrick Nunn, MIA ($5400, at BKN)
Nunn’ I can do other than play Kendrick today. Look at that sweet low price, friends. It is so good that people are forgetting about Nunn scorching hot start to the season by now and he’s falling under the radar a bit giving us these tasty plays. But don’t get it wrong, Nunn’ has changed in Nunn. Disrespectful Ken is still playing 29.3 MPG and putting up 16.4 pops on the scoreboard nightly. His numbers don’t jump off the page in any cat (2.4 RPG, 3.2 APG, 1.3 SPG) but he’s contributing all across the board. His shooting is miraculous at a great 47/40/77 splits and he’s launching 13.8 FGA per, which is more than massive while playing along with some much more coveted dudes in Miami. You can go with Dragic ($5,700) too if you like the vet more. Same matchup, and Spicy Dinwi does most of his damage on offense for Brooklyn so both should cook today.
Hate: (PG) Marcus Smart, BOS ($6100, at NYK)
The Knicks stink big time and who knows how the minutes would be allocated. Smart has not lead the class lately, though. He’s starting every goddam game but after a good run mid-November he’s cooled down a bit on his last couple of games against Brooklyn while still playing 35 and 32 minutes. King Cobra is catching prey no more. Smarf has scored 10 and 15 in his last two but done not much more out of that (six boards and seven dimes combined, that is). He jumps all around the usage charts from 11 to 25 to 15 to 20 so it’s hard to know what he’s up each time. Smart’s shooting is rather dumb: he’s launching 11.2 rocks to the rim but only making 38.8 percent of his attempts, which... not so clever. You can fade him until he scapes this whole New York thing after facing the Nets twice and the Knicks today.
Love: (SG) Jimmy Butler, MIA ($7600, at BKN)
JB got the cold. Missed time. Returned to action last Friday after stuffing his face with some healthy turkey, and in fewer than 28 minutes he still finished with a fancy 16-5-6-2 line to close the month of November. There aren’t many Gs putting up those numbers nightly but Jimmy is dropping numbers all around the box score. Check this out: 33.3 MPG are translating to 18.7 points, 5.4 boards, 6.6 dimes, 2.6 steals (!), and 0.8 blocks. Do you know how many fools are reaching the threshold? Two. Our very own Jimmy G and Jrue Holiday. Fits for the latter as we’re entering Santa’s time of the year, but other than that it’s Butler and no other cat. I could have applied a harder stat filter when looking for comparables but I left it at 18-5-6-2, by the way. If we look at hard-fact numbers then well, yeah, Jimmy is Jimmering the freaking whole league, no Holidays around.
Love: (SF) Andre Wiggins, MIN ($7900, vs MEM)
Well, well, well. Maple Jordan was off for a week due to personal reasons and illness. That is what they told you. He was actually cooling down his gun so it didn’t overheat. From 6 Nov. to 13. Nov Andre the Giant averaged 52.55 DKFP and finished as a top-21 performer in four of his five games in that span. Nuts is nuts, gotta acknowledge. He then missed a week and since he came back he has done nothing but heating up on a daily basis: from 34 to 35 to 38 to 44 DKFP in his last game this past Wednesday against the Spurs. Back-to-back 25-plus points games with six or more boards made for his last couple of game log entries. Getting Wiggins Wit’ It. Oh, and Memphis allows the third-most DKFP per game to its rivals, Morant isn’t around, etc etc. Play Wiggins, you won’t regret it.
Love: (PF) Julius Randle, NYK ($6800, vs BOS)
This was a true tossup between The Randlewus and The Zingis, but ultimately New York’s market was more appealing. No, not really. Not even I fall for those silly Knicks’ tales when they try to convince people to join them. It is more about Porzingis falling short of expectations—the hell was that last two-point game against Phoenix!—and facing a stout Lakers team than anything. Jay-Rand though, stuff of my dreams. Boston ain’t no joke but JR is this close to a dub-dub (16.7 PPG and 9.1 RPG) on the season while adding a not-even-he-can-believe-it 3.6 APG and a stock per. Gotta appreciate the effort from beyond the arc (3.7 3PA) but man, can you stop slinging bricks for a minute (27.1 3P%...)? Other than that he’s been great with a 44.7 percent success from the floor and he’s basically the hub of the offense with a 25% usage rate (hate the 3.4 turnovers though...). Good day for The Randlewus to give New York fandom something even if they end losing as they use to do. Believe the whole double-double idea, seriously. He had one on Friday after six games without getting there, but he grabbed at least seven boards in all of the matches in that span and Jay-Rand is a virtual walking dub-dub eating all he can on offense.
Love: (C) Jonas Valanciunas, MEM ($6900, at MIN)
This is not a drill. I repeat. This is not a drill. JoVa has finally arrived. Man did it take time to happen, ufff. This is the Jonas we crave, J-Brothers be damned. 30-plus minutes J-Val, that’s who. After playing fewer than 30 minutes in every game this season, JV was given 34 and 32 in his past two. Do you know what happened? Well, 30-16 and 22-17 lines happened, that’s what. Oh, 60 and 53.25 DKFP respectively to make Jonas the 4th- and 6th-best player of the day on Nov 27th and Nov 29th. No big deal... Oh hey, against the Clippers and the Jazz. Small talk... If this is the type of usage JV will be seeing going forward we can graduate him from JV to Varsity all the way. He’s jumped in minutes and his usage is at 25-plus percent. He’s stuffing his face, blocking shots and even dishing some dimes here and there. Get ready for some nasty numbers from the Lithuanian Beast from the East and enjoy his season line going from under the double-double (13.6-9.8 currently) to above it after today’s game. What a time to be alive.
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!