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 ($8400, vs WAS)
Golden Graham visited the capital a little over two weeks ago and made his claim for the presidency. Vonte’ finished the game with a pretty nice 19-6-7-2-1 line, stuffed cats all across the board, and his 42.5 DKFP made him the no. 21 performer of the day. You won’t believe me, but I’m not making this up: Graham has been a top-13 player in four of his last five games, including the best performer three games ago when he reached his season-high 63.25 points. I’d say you can’t expect him to reach those heights again, but hey, it’s the Wizards today! Golden G is averaging 22.3 points, 5 boards, and 9.5 assists in December through four games and his usage has topped the 32 percent in two of his last three. Forget about Scary Terry, because the real deal around Charlotte is the Golden Cereal. He was this close (12-8) to put up a dub-dub in his last outing, but failing at it made his price get a little lower than it was, which I can’t be happier about.
Hate: (PG) Jamal Murray, DEN ($6700, at PHI)
This is a risky fade, but sometimes mercy is the last thing you should show. Jamal had a great game against Philly back in November but it’s been over a month to the day and he played the second-most minutes he’s ever gone for this season. Things haven’t been this rosier for The Arrow lately: since Nov. 24 he has reached more than 33-DKFP just once, and in two of his last three he has been limited to just 23.75 DKFP. That’s just ridiculously low fantasy value. Jamal’s scoring ceiling looks to be around 20 pops per (18.2 PPG season average) and his rebounds and assists have dropped quite a bit, not to mention he has completely forgotten about how to steal a rock. The 76ers are a horrific team to go against in fantasy and I’m not trusting Murray in this one just one bit.
Hate: (SG) Tyler Herro, MIA ($5900, vs ATL)
Not the most expensive of plays, but damn that last game was hot and burned some brains. Recency bias they call it. Herro has definitely been a hero in his last two, but that has coincided with two massive playing-time marks of 32 and 41 minutes. Totally out of what the kid has been doing in his prior games. The usage also rose as hell but it should get back soon, and the 20-plus scoring I’m not fully confident of. Atlanta sucks, there is nothing wrong about that, and Herro comes off the bench, so he might cook. But I wouldn’t expect another 40-DKFP day going his way. His production on the season is at a ground-level 0.85 DKFP per minute played, so now you see why it’s either 35 minutes or nothing with him to reach the lowest of tolerable levels.
Love: (SF) Jimmy Butler, MIA ($9100, vs ATL)
The Jimmer, on the other hand... Pure Love. Find me a bucket averaging 20-6-7-2-1 on the season, go try. Jimmy has been nuts since he first donned the Heat threads has never looked back. The Butler is dishing 6.8 dimes as a wing and serving them with gusto. His 6.3 RPG are more than great for his position and although he isn’t hitting on a high rate from three (34%), his 43/84 splits from the floor and the charity stripe are pretty nice (plus he’s shooting 9.4 FTA per!). I’m sorry for the Hawks, because they are what they are, but Jimmy G should be primed to get them well cooked and served tonight. JB is on a four-game streak of finishing among the top-12 players of the night, including a top performance against Washington in which he dropped 28 crickets on the Wizs to go with 11-11 boards and assists, and an extra steal with two blocks just for the shits and jiggles. Jimmy is a madman.
Hate: (SF) Carmelo Anthony, POR ($5600, vs NYK)
Hate Melo the player, love Melo the businessman. Ha! Carmelo spent a year training by himself, got into rhythm, made it back to the L, put on a show for a couple of weeks, got his POTW, secured his bag with a guaranteed deal, and went to sleep. Daddy, how can I become Melo when I grow up? All-time Fav, Living Legend. Anthony is back to his old self, it looks like. He started slow, then rocketed to the moon, and lately he’s been hitting a wall nicely. He’s scored 20, 15, and 9 in his last three and he’s shot 50%, 30.8%, and 22.2% in those... while attempting 16, 13, and 18 shots. Lol. Nobody is stopping Melo for chucking it, that’s for sure. Anthony’s contributions on the boards aren’t bad but they are also a little bit too random, and the assists are nil. Maybe getting back to New York brings young vibes back, but nah, he’s cooked.
Love: (PF) Davis Bertans, WAS ($6300, at CHA)
It has to stop one day, right? Or maybe not, I don’t even know at this point. It’s been 22 games already for The Laser and he keeps hitting buckets from everywhere. The numbers are insane: 10.7 FGA at a 46.4% clip, 8.5 3PA falling 45.2% of the time, and 1.4 FTA scored at an 86.7% rate. Bertans is mental, for real for real. Davis is going to give you points and the eventual rebound here and there, and not much else, but that shooting is stupid and he’s doing it on 28.9 MPG and a low-low 16.4% usage rate. He is not starting, but the Wizs are cut short due to injuries so he’s played an average of 34 in his last four. His minutes have come down a bit lately but the usage has been bumped up and the performances improved. I mean, this fool has scored 7, 5, and 6 treys in his last three and even had his first dub-dub of the season last Friday. Hot Latvian is hot.
Hate: (PF) Al Horford, PHI ($6600, vs DEN)
I don’t get Big Al. I don’t get him at all. Some days he’s super expensive. Other days he’s cheap as hell. Some days he puts on a show. Other days he craters impossibly. Such a headache, that’s what I’m passing. Horford hasn’t reached Marc-esque frustrating levels yet, but he’s getting closer by the day. He’s putting up 13.9 points, 6.7 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 2.1 stocks, and his shooting is magnificent (49/39/68) but he’s underused and so freaking random. His last three-game run is concerning. He keeps starting and playing 30-plus minutes, but he’s not reached 30 DKFP in that span and the best he’s done has been to score 11 points and grab five boards. He even logged a minuscule 8.6% usage rate last Saturday! Nothing to like here.
Love: (C) Hassan Whiteside, POR ($8000, vs NYK)
Hassan is back to his $8K mojo and that feels nice, to be honest. You’re paying but you’re getting his saucy sauce. The dub-dub is a constant for Hassan, he’s averaging it on the season without problems at 15.3 points and 12.4 boards and the blocks are out of a Monstars’ starter at 2.2 per. Gotta love the shooting at 60.8% on over 10 FGA and his free throw traits as he’s hitting 75.3 percent of his 3.7 FTA a night. The usage is cool, the per-minute production is cool, the playing time is a little low (28.2 MPG) but you can’t have everything. Whiteside is a lock to finish in the top-30 and give you north of 40 DKFP nightly, so what the hell are you complaining about!?
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!