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 ($7500, at NO)
Massive kudos if you have any idea of when Kyrie will be back, because not even the Maya have. Meanwhile, I’ll keep riding the Dinwaggon. Spicy D has been on a tear this season, such that the move for Irving looks even dumber now than before. SD is putting up 21 ppg and 6.2 apg on 30 minutes of playing time, and adding 2.8 rpg and 1.4 stocks per. His usage is massive at 28.9% and even reached 36.5 (!) just this past Sunday against Philly. Call it Illuminati, but Dinwiddie somehow has scored 24 pops in each of his last four games (he’s done so in five of his last six also). Do you know how many players in history have had that exact same streak? Two: Dinwi and Magic Johnson. Lol. Random facts aside, Spence is averaging a 23-4-7 line in December (seven games) and shooting 46/73 from the floor and free-throw line while hitting an average of 1.8 treys per game. The Pelicans are sucking big-time these days too, and Dinwiddie is matchup-proof when it comes to minutes on the court, so bet on him and reap the rewards.
Love: (SG) RJ Barrett, NYK ($4500, vs ATL)
What a love/hate story that of RJ is being so far. Now you see me, now you don’t. Now it’s white, now it’s black. Is he the Yin, or is he the Yang? Barrett is playing as many minutes as he can handle as a rookie (32.3 per). His production in that time, though, is rather bad at only 0.86 DKFP per 60 seconds on the floor. Even with that, though, he’s scoring 13.7 points and grabbing 5.4 boards to go with 3 assists and 1.2 steals. His shooting is bad as hell (38/29/57) but he’s launching so many rocks to the basket that he’s somehow making up for it. This all doesn’t sound so encouraging, but the Knicks are what they are and they have to rely on someone, I guess. RJ is probably the no. 2 weapon if you want to give Marcus Morris the “go-to-guy” award, and Atlanta is as bad as a professional team can ever be. You might be surprised at how low RJ’s price is. Well, he’s in the middle of a hard slump, but this game feels like a get-right one and a match in which Barrett should come back to his early-season version of around 35-to-40 DKFP. RJ has shown a good 20-7-4 line average earlier and that could be in play today at a low-low price.
Hate: (SF) Evan Fournier, ORL ($6300, at UTA)
EF aka Excuse my French aka my man Evan has been a f*ck*ng bouncing ball lately. E-Four has gone from a low of 25 DKFP to a high of 40 DKFP in December, and his outings look as close as possible to a roller coaster. These are his fantasy points during his last seven games: 40, 31, 25, 38, 28, 39, 27. So yes, the next game should put him up again, but are you trusting this fool? He can give you 30 pops, or he can fall all the way to 16 as this past Sunday against the Pels. He can hit 6 treys, or barely score two times from beyond the arc. And the same goes for the rest of cats. His shooting is good on the season with splits at 48/45/84 but the matchup isn’t the greatest today with Utah boasting the 8th-best defense in fantasy (they have dropped a bit but during the first month of the season they were a top-five unit easily).
Love: (PF) Domantas Sabonis, IND ($8000, vs LAL)
Anthony Davis is a beast of a man so I’m not ruling him out of tonight’s game. That being said, though, he might have to skip it and the Lakers are pretty damn great as to risk him re-injuring his ankle. If AD is out (and probably if he’s in too), Domas is one of today’s best plays. The Fake American has been incredible this season. Sab is playing north of 34 mpg and averaging a veeeery delicious dub-dub of 17.7 points and 13.5 rebounds. His 51% shooting from the floor is astonishing (the very own AD isn’t even at 50%), and he’s also hitting 78% of his 4.4 fta a night. Sabonis Jr. has been a monster in December averaging 43.8 DKFP per game. He’s posted 40 DKFP or more in six of his last eight, all this month, and is a true perennial dub-dub hitter. He hasn’t scored or grabbed fewer than 10-or-10 since Nov. 23 (a 12-game active streak dub-dubbing, that is), and he’s even had a couple of 15-14-8 lines in that span. Dom is doing it all in the court no matter the cat you look at, and his usage has been rather low (20.3% on his last five) which makes the effort even more impressive.
Love: (C) Julius Randle, NYK ($7000, vs ATL)
The Randlewus ain’t dub-dubbing anymore (17.4-8.7) on the year, but he seems to have found the right path to good performances again. In his last four, he’s bested 36 DKFP three times, and when he failed at it (against Portland) he still posted a 15-7-3 line while shooting 54.5% on the night. Atlanta lacks quality all around the roster and JR could put on a show along RJ tonight, making it the Palindrome Night at MSG. Julius keeps being a little frustrating, though, as he’s often so close to the double-double but ultimately fails at it by one rebound, but we’re not going to kill him for that: he’s only one of four players (along with AD, Aldridge, and Jokic) to have a five-game-or-more active streak in which he’s finished with at least a 15-7 line, which is bueno. I’m not making this up: Randle is a top-25 player in December and a top-15 in the past week. Sometimes you just gotta fear The Randlewus, kids.
Hate: (C) Deandre Ayton, PHO ($7400, vs LAC)
Demyth, Deman, Deandre is back! I’m pretty excited about this because I don’t get the hate toward this guy. Sure, Phoenix passed on Luka, but Ayton is a monster, folks, and well worth a no. 1 pick. This guy finished last season averaging a 16-10-2 line on fewer than 31 minutes per game—yes, that’s a double-double as a rookie on low playing time and also something only Ayton and John Drew all the way back in 1975 have done in the NBA. I’d play the hell out of Ayton tonight just to celebrate his comeback, but I’m better off holding my horses a bit. Sure, he started the year with a bang (18 points, 11 boards, 4 blocks), but he’s been out since Oct. 23 and even if he’s healthy he might be rusty as hell. Let’s give me a couple of nights to feel good and avoid this hellish matchup against the Clips. I don’t doubt Phoenix and him making it all work, but this price for someone coming back after almost two months without playing and the opposition calls for patience here.
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!