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) D’Angelo Russell, GSW ($7900, vs SAC)
DLo came back more than a week ago and so far, so good for the Lone Warrior. Other than a horrid outing against Chicago, Russ has only been getting up and up in the ranks since stepping on the court again. He’s been a top-30 player in his last three (all this week) to the tune of 35, 50, and 33 fantasy points. If you didn’t get the nickname, well, let’s say there is not much to enjoy in GS these days, so DLo is basically the be all end all of the team. His usage shows: 36% and 33.7% in his last two for a very delicious dose of plays finishing in Russell’s hands. It makes sense he’s dropped 18 a couple of times and 32 against New York (including six treys!) while ramping up his dime numbers nightly and getting back to his season average of 6 bucket-leading passes. In case you didn’t know, DLo dropped 52 points on Minny back at the start of November and finished that game with 82.75 DKFP. That’s his ceiling, and with no one taking chances from him in San Fran it’s more than at reach for him any given night.
Love: (SG) Buddy Hield, SAC ($8400, at GSW)
I ain’t passing on my buddies. Hield is Sacto no. 1 player no matter Marvin Bagley’s presence in the team now. Buddy doesn’t care because Buddy is ruthless, and Buddy will stuff his bag no matter what. Just look at his year so far: 22 points in under 35 minutes, to go with 5.2 boards, 2.8 dimes, and 1.2 stocks. His shooting (43/38/85) is plenty great considering he’s launching 18.8 shots from the floor—10.6 (!) of them three-pointers—and visiting the line more than twice nightly. I’d go as far back as to Nov. 25 to signal the start of this Buddy Revolution. He scored 41 against Boston (11 treys!) and he has not looked back ever since: 10 games since then including that one, and Buddy Buckets has dropped 21-plus pops in all of them, made three or more three-pointers in each, grabbed 4-plus rebounds, and only dished out fewer than 3 assists once. The usage is floating the 30%, so Hield finds himself with plenty to eat on the table every night. Top-18 player in December through seven games. Buddy Love, man.
Love: (SF) Tobias Harris, PHI ($7700, at BKN)
Let’s give the algorithm a round of applause as it finally found a way to value Tobi properly. Shaking my head. The disrespect is big, and TomaHarris has only been at this price one other time all year long! See it to believe it. Harris is the 34th-best player in the league, just imagine. His December run has been ridiculous to say the least: 24.8 PPG, 6.6 RPG, and 3.5 APG. Tobi is leveling up on what was already being a stupid season by the non-heralded Philly-Boi. The efficiency is mental, with shooting splits on 49/33/80 while throwing some 15.9 FGA per on just 23.8% usage rate keeping turnovers at bay (1.9 per game). Perennial 40-DKFP performer, 20-plus points scorer, and threat to finish the night on the dub-dub record books. He’s found it hard to reach those latter heights (Tobi has three double-doubles in the season) but he’s toyed with the feat more than once and twice. Just a matter of when, not if.
Love: (PF) Julius Randle, NYK ($7500, at DEN)
I can’t believe I’m doing this. Lol. Such is today’s main slate, folks. It pains me to death picking Julius but here we are. First things first: The Randlewus is producing whether you (I) like it or not. He’s playing 32 minutes and scoring 17.3 points paired with 8.7 rebounds. That’s nice. Very nice if you ask me, and he’s also dishing out 3.5 dimes per. The problem is that for some reason he’s shooting almost four threes a day while only hitting 27.1% of them, and the free-throws aren’t helping with a measly 66.2% success rate on 5.7 attempts. That being said, though, Randle is putting up 1.08 DKFP per minute on the court, and well, he’s arguably the Knicks centerpiece these days (lololol). Randle has been great in his last two playing 38 and 30 minutes and getting 24-13 and 26-9 lines against... Golden State and Sacramento. I’m here to hope he can get those 43-plus fantasy points again tonight but Denver ain’t no joke and they ran the Knicks out of the court the last time they met. Preach with me, folks, we’ll need some divine power giving us a hand here.
Love: (C) Nikola Jokic, DEN ($8900, vs NYK)
This is what you do when you play Randle: you play the opposition’s player at the position just in case! No, no, that’s a joke, it just happens that Nik is a go today. I told you about Jokic a couple of days ago. I don’t buy the BS around the Twittersphere these days. I just can’t. A quick glance at his numbers—not his belly, don’t get fooled by the belly!—tells you the real story, the one you should believe. You don’t? Just go check yesterday’s box score: Another trip-dub with a 28-14-12 line and just his best fantasy game of the season. No biggie, right? 70 fantasy points, best player of the night. No real thing, right? Fourth triple-double of the season. He doesn’t give a crap, right? Shaking my head... The Joker never left yet some people around these places want us to believe it was all fake and a movie. Meh. Niko has been a top-10 player in every one of the last four slates he’s been part of, and that won’t change against a shitty Knicks team today. The only thing that could stop him is a minute restriction if the blowout pops—can happen, consider yourself warned—but even in that case he will easily reach his 35 or 40 DKFP facil.
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!