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) Spencer Dinwiddie, BKN ($8100, vs CHA)
Din, Din, Din! What’s that? The sound of an All-Star. Uh, oh. Spencer is balling, folks, and Brooklyn is starting to field offers for Kyrie to bring a wing until KD returns, cause they’ve already got some pretty fine point manning the team. Nah, I’m kidding, but they should. Sir Dinwiddie is putting up mental numbers since he got the reins: 33 MPG with averages of 23.8 points, 3.5 rebounds, 7.6 dimes, and 2 three-pointers per game. Spence has dub-dubbed four times in that span and his usage is up to 31.1%, which is more than awesome. The turnovers have peaked lately but hey, it is what happens when you have a guy finishing a third of your plays and carrying the team forward. Don Din has been a top-30 player in 10 of his last 12 games, and he’s a virtual lock to reach 40 DKFP nightly. Also, Charlotte allows rivals to hang fantasy points on them without much effort. Ballers’ play.
Hate: (PG) Malcolm Brogdon, IND ($7200, vs BOS)
Can’t kill The President because I don’t want trouble. But hey, handling a little bit of heat is always part of his job, ain’t it? Brogdon has been unreal this season, averaging 19.1 PPG, 4.7 RPG, and 7.5 APG on the season with a masterful 47.3 FG%. Not hating that, for sure. But Boston kinda stinks as a matchup, and Malcolm hasn’t been quite in the middle lately. He has topped 28 DKFP only once in his last three and the best he’s been able to do was a 21-5-5 line last Friday. Good-not-great considering his early exploits. I didn’t expect Brog to keep up that torrid 50-plus DKFP average he had during his first games of the season, obviously, but his last outings have been rather depressing. He should regress to somewhere in the middle (no pun intended this time, I promise), but until he does I’m staying off him.
Love: (SG) Zach LaVine, CHI ($7900, vs ATL)
We talk about the Wiz allowing a ton of points and all, but the Hawks are not far back. They are giving up 118 per game and Zachary is the no. 1 player for a Bulls team in which he’s finishing almost 30% of the plays. Saving you the math here: 22-5-4-1 is his season line on average, playing north of 32 minutes and shooting a great 42/40/80. Quick summary of a delicious season from a sweet player carrying this bum-ass franchise as far as he can. LaVine is probably not a superstar, sure, but he’s dropping numbers as the best ones out there. Flying Zach has scored 20 or more pops in seven of his last nine games, comes from dub-dubbing against Toronto on Monday (20-11-6-1-1 was the stat line), and is the no. 20 fantasy player since Nov. 27 averaging 43 DKFP. Not a superstar, did you say? Shaking my head.
Hate: (SG) Terry Rozier, CHA ($7100, at BKN)
Scary Terry can instill fear in you, but he can also make you laugh out loud. Do you know those typical terrifying clowns from films? Well, that is Rozier. Such a rando. Here are Dog Rozier’s last five fantasy tallies, all in December: 28, 52, 38, 21, 40. What the hell is that? Is this a joke, you clown? Could perfectly be the case. You don’t know what you’re getting with Terry. He can win you the slate (25-7-7-3 against Golden State, 24-6-5 against Brooklyn), or he can be your ruin (8-5-4 against Atlanta, 13-7-3-1 against Phoenix). All of that with super volatile usage rates ranging from 16% to 28% in his last five. I’ve always liked Rozier because he doesn’t give a dam and is always hunting, but I’m not paying top dollar for a surprise box.
Love: (SF) Kawhi Leonard, LAC ($8700, at TOR)
If you have caught this column any time, you know I never ever jump into Kawhi’s train. Too risky for my blood with all this load management around his body. But if only for the shits and jiggles of The Klaw returning to Toronto, you have to play him tonight. Tears of joy and tears of drama watching him making it back, getting the ring, winning or losing you the game... Just a day to remember, folks. Oh, and just in case you have not been paying too much attention, the man is mashing. Kawhi is managing but still raving with a 47.7 DKFP average on the season playing 31.1 MPG. He’s dropping 25.1 points, grabbing 7.9 boards, dishing 5.2 assists, and adding almost two steals and a block per. Fun Guy is at 1.53 DKFP per minute, and I don’t think there is anything not to love in his game—perhaps the 33% on threes, but that should be it. No matter what he does he’ll end with the casual 40-plus fantasy points, and the price isn’t otherworldly. Oh, and he comes rested from an off-night last Monday...
Hate: (SF) Taurean Prince, BKN ($6600, vs CHA)
Imagine having Durant in your roster yet finding yourself playing Taurean. Lol. Such is life, and with it came injuries, I guess. Prince has started every. Single. Game. His usage is around 20%, which is dead-average, and good for Brooklyn it is going that way because this Prince ain’t no king... TP is averaging 0.90 DKPF per minute yet he’s playing north of 30 per, which I and everybody along Flatbush Ave must be hating. His 13-6-2 line on the season isn’t great and only the 6.9 3PA scored at a 39.9% clip are saving him, had I to say. Other than against the crappy Hawks a week ago he has not broken into the 40-DKFP territory since Nov. 4, and he’s a 30-DKFP-as-a-ceiling guy at best. He’s flashed dub-dub talents a few times, but that’s way far from the Taurean’s Land reality.
Love: (PF) Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL ($11000, vs NO)
Laugh at this pick. Come on, just do it. I’m doing it myself. Giannis is expensive as hell, but man, he’s mind-blowing. Go pay for him today, as the Pels stink and Giannis might become the first player since Wilt to pop for 100 crickets. Now, seriously. Giannis is averaging a freakish 1.94 DKFP per minute, which is straight ridiculous. There are matchup-proof players, and then there are Antetos, I guess. Mystic creatures from Europe. Hidden in deepest of Greek forests. This man is playing 31.6 minutes per and averaging 30.9 points, 13.2 boards, 5.5 assists, and 1.3 steals and blocks. I don’t even know. Give me a minute, I need to go breath some fresh air. Jeeeeez. Giannis has been a top-15 player in all but one of the 24 slates he’s been part of (and finished with 41.5 DKFP that night). His average performance ranks 5th nightly (61.5 DKFP). His usage during the past three weeks is at 40.5%. He’s put up 22 dub-dubs. He’s got a season-high 50 pops against Utah. He’s scored 30-plus crickets 14 times and grabbed 15-plus rebounds in nine games. I’m going to faint, son.
Hate: (PF) Aaron Gordon, ORL ($6500, vs LAL)
This must be Disney’s version of The Randlewus. Seriously. So close, yet so far. Gordon looks like he’ll get it, then he won’t. Now you see G, now you don’t. So frustrating. Did you catch Gordon and the Magic taking on Phoenix last Wednesday? Gordon had a great 32-5-5-1 game in which he even scored five times from beyond the arc. That’s peak Gordon right there, or that time he scored 18 while grabbing 13 boards and dishing out 7 dimes to go with 1-1 steals and blocks. Did you watch him against Cleveland on Friday, though? Well, that’s average Gordon, scoring 14 pops but only getting 5-2-1-1 in the rest of cats—and that’s already a lot considering how it’s been... Gordon is not bad, but he’s quite disappointing and lets you down more often than not. He’s virtually a top-60 player on the season, but he’s supposed to be Orlando’s no. 1 rock-star yet his usage is at 19.8% and he’s averaging fewer than a fantasy point per minute. And going against the mighty Lakers tonight. Clear fade.
Love: (C) Jarrett Allen, BKN ($6800, vs CHA)
My life for The ‘Fro. This bro ain’t no joke, yet Brooklyn staff keeps treating him like one. Shaking my head. Only 26.5 minutes per game!? And they don’t seem to learn, either, as he’s played fewer than 30 in all of his last six and even logged 25 or fewer in three of those. Seriously, Allen is doing a lot for such low compensation in return. I guess time will fix it, but it’s taking the Nets ages to realize, man. Allen is averaging a dub-dub on the year though, at 12.3 PPG and 10.6 RPG while adding 1.2 assists and 1.3 blocks. His 66.3 FG% is wonderful although the free throws should improve at least a bit. For someone playing those minutes and being used that little (16.1% rate on the year), his production is quite nice (1.19 DKFP per minute) and he should only keep rising in the fantasy leaderboards as the Nets slowly come to their senses.
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!