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) Malcolm Brogdon, IND ($7500, at ATL)
Everybody hand to heart. Everybody salute our President. Brogdon should fill a complaint because his price resembles that of a Banana Republic leader. Shaking my head... The B has been in the middle and at the top of the cake for quite some time now and ever since he moved places and started calling Indiana home. Though Malcolm’s production had dropped a bit in December (still a top-70 player in every game), he came back to his presidential ways this past Wednesday against no less than Boston getting 48 DKFP in just a short 29 minutes of run. Brogdon was incredible from the line (15/15), shot 60% from the floor, finished with a 29-2-8-2 line and got the W for the Pacers. The best part of this is that MB has been like that all year long. He’s playing almost 32 MPG while scoring 19.5 points, getting 4.5 rebounds, and dishing out 7.5 assists a game. He’s producing all across the board and his 48/36/95 splits are just insane. Atlanta gets scored on a ton, and doesn’t know how to defend. You do the royal math.
Hate: (PG) Jrue Holiday, NO ($7400, at PHI)
Comparisons suck. But they help us. Compare Brogdon’s and Jrue’s salaries and you’ll see something similar. His numbers are very close too, with Jrue also averaging 19-5-7 on the season, and even better than Malcolm when it comes to steals (1.9) and blocks (0.7). Same with the shooting tendencies (a bit worse on free-throws, though), but pretty much the same all around. The problem for Jrue today is that this ain’t no Holiday trip to Philly. The 76ers eat rivals for breakfast, and guess what Jrue is for them today. This comes down mostly to the matchup, not going to lie. Same as Brogdon, Jrue has dropped in production a bit compared to his torrid mid-November but he is still out there balling and providing numbers in every cat. If you have to choose between them, go wit MB and fade JH.
Love: (SG) Khris Middleton, MIL ($6800, at MEM)
You might have the feeling Khris has been a little disappointing this season after been an All-Star last year. Well, the truth is he’s replicating those numbers and only seeing a super small hair-slim decrease in a number of counting cats, but nothing else. In fact, his efficiency and percentages have gone up in almost every part of the game. Obviously, you’re being fooled by Giannis’ presence in Milwaukee, which is like putting a black hole in a basketball court and let it absorb everything around it. Midd is one of the very few dudes playing fewer than 28 MPG but still averaging 32-plus DKFP. His fantasy value per minute is ridiculous at 1.18 DKFP, and he’s doing it to the tune of 19.5 points, 5.7 boards, 3.4 dimes, and 1 stock on the season. Middleton is one of the best, if not the best, non-superstar second-fiddles in the NBA. He’s using 24.8% of the possessions and has a 60% true shooting percentage and is yielding a 12.3 net rating. All of that as a guard. At a freaking $6800. Against Memphis (fourth-worst defense). With Giannis banged up and potentially missing the game. Lol.
Love: (SF) Bojan Bogdanovic, UTA ($5900, vs GSW)
My apologies. I should have never left BoBo out of the column for so long you almost forgot about it! But he’s back, everybody be cool. Bogdan has been making his case to make it to the No BoBos club, but it’s still a one-man club at this point with Bojan its only true member. You might be concerned about BoBo’s last outings, but those were a bit weird to start with. Bojan has shot 39%, 24%, and 29% from the floor in his last three, and still scored 19, 13, and 14. But those percentages are far from his true ones, let’s be real. That is going to change, and his usage hasn’t moved down but instead gone up, so he’s all the way primed for a rebound. Who better than Golden State to facilitate it? On the season BoBo is a top-50 player and is averaging more than 30 DKFP. I’d rather say that his floor is at those points and his ceiling north of 40, which at his current price and matchup sounds more than good to me.
Hate: (SF) Brandon Ingram, NO ($7600, at PHI)
The 76ers just ruined your plans, didn’t they? Ingram, much like Jrue, is a great player on the season but the price and the matchup make me kind of want to stay away from The Slenderman tonight too. Without Zion eating at the table, it’s been all BI this year in New Orleans. The man is playing almost 34 MPG while dropping 24.9 pops a game. That is the 14th-highest mark in the league, and his usage rate of 28.6% is the 17th-highest among those playing at least 30 minutes per. He’s putting up 1.26 DKFP per minute, which is to say, a ridiculous amount. Other than the bad matchup, Bones Ingram has suffered a couple of times this month against Phoenix and Dallas finishing with a truly bad 14-4-2 in the latter game, way under his season marks. He should still be the leading force and give you his 35-40 points, but you will find cheaper options with bigger upside in such a big slate as today’s is.
Love: (PF) Aaron Gordon, ORL ($6700, vs HOU)
Somehow, the Rockets are starting to improve in defense and slowly but surely are allowing fewer fantasy points to the opposition (they still rank ninth-worst, though). Anyways, the Cavs big men burned them with gusto a couple of days ago. TT finished with an 11-7-2-1-1 line and Kevin Love with a 17-11-2-1-1 one, this last one reaching 37.75 DKFP. Of the eight starting big men (PF/C) they have faced in December, everyone but Kaminsky finished with at least 24 DKFP, five did with more than 35 DKFP, and even two broke the 40-DKFP barrier with Poeltl and Siakam scoring 43 DKFP each. Aaron Gordon has been far from a sure-fire guy this season but he’s been fixing his game lately too. Flash Gordon is on a five-game streak of scoring 10-plus and grabbing 5-plus boards. He’s got three dub-dubs in that span and his assists at 3 per game while he’s shooting a great 50% from the floor. Don’t get fooled by his season-long numbers, as he had a slow start, and trust his late-November, early-December run as something closer to his true talent levels.
Hate: (PF) Julius Randle, NYK ($6900, at SAC)
Is this real!? Is The Randlewus back!? Hold your horses, folks. Sure, Randle got himself another dub-dub on Wednesday... against the Warriors. Other than that one, only two in his last 12 games after being a walking double-double performer in his first five games of the year. How dumb were we to believe that was the real Julius... Shaking my head. This is the real, rando, weirdo, unpredictable Randlewus we have to deal with daily these days. You can’t spell Julius Randle without J-R, but the only good J-R pair in New York is that of RJ Barrett—if anything. I like Randle, but I just can’t trust him. He’s one of those “yeah, take my 30 fantasy points tonight as every other day and forget about me” that I very much hate because that’s middling performance. I need upside and guys who can beat the expectations. Randle will finish games with 16-6-3 lines and that’s good, just not great. He can have the eventual explosion on the boards, but don’t expect more than 20 pops from him and much less a constant 10-board threat. The assists aren’t bad but his teammates suck so you don’t know what you’ll get, and his shooting from three (26.1%) and the line (66.4%) makes you want to die.
Love: (C) Rudy Gobert, UTA ($8300, vs GS)
Sweet, sweet croissant Le Gobert might cook and eat for dinner tonight. There are still people out there criticizing and undervaluing Rudy because what? He doesn’t score 30 pops a night? Cool, I’m pretty fine with his 15-15 lines, not gonna lie. In fact, Gobert is doing his dirty work on a usage rate under 20% (it’s actually at 16.3%). He’s playing a massive 34 MPG and even while averaging 14.7 PPG, 13.7 RPG, and 1.4 APG he’s still putting up 38.9 DKFP per game on the year and 1.14 per minute. That’s insane. The blocks (1.8 per) are surely helping him big-time, as is his ultra-efficient shooting from the floor (68.3% on 8.2 attempts). There is literally no one in the league approaching Gobert’s eFG of 68.3% among those playing 30-plus minutes: only Capela, Tucker, and KAT have values over 60% and none of them is over 65%. Golden State is barred of players, let alone talent. Plenty of food for Rudy sur la table.
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!