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) Kemba Walker, BOS ($7400, at DAL)
While you gotta hate Dallas as a matchup on the season, you gotta love Dallas as a matchup these days with Luka out, leaving K-Walk the whole court open to exploit. My Kemba has been on point this season and by no means is he having a flat-year: the 23.1 ppg and 5.3 apg are already at just 10 player’s reach (including him), but if we also throw in his 4-plus boards and the steal then Kemba becomes Cardiac. There is basically no Walker of this league better than Kemba is. This guy has been a top-17 player in December through six games and the only two times he’s dropped out of the top-20 were due to his run going for shorter than 30 minutes on the floor. Walker is averaging 44.9 DKFP in his last six and he dropped 44 crickets (including 7 triples!) against Indiana last Wednesday to go with 3 boards, 7 dimes, and 2 steals. 40.3 usage rate. Kemba in a nutshell.
Hate: (PG) D’Angelo Russell, GSW ($7800, at POR)
D’Lo was a top-30 fantasy player before succumbing to injury and he’s now barely a top-55 one since coming back and through six games in December. That stinks. D’Love is no more, and it’s all about D’Hate these days. Other than torching the Knicks last week (32-3-6-2), Russell hasn’t reached even 25 points in three of his other five games... This Russ ain’t no good. His minutes have dropped while his usage has risen, so yeah, something is wrong. In 27 minutes against Sacramento in his last game, he could only score 8 points and although he dished out 8 assists he finished the match with 4 turnovers, 4 personals, and shooting a horrid 22.2% from the floor... The Warriors need the best D’Lo if only to get some good bounty in a potential trade, but this is not going to get them much in return.
Love: (SG) Zach LaVine, CHI ($8100, at WAS)
What a year for the Bulls, man. They can’t catch a break and Chicago stinks big time. Zachary is making all he can to keep the boat afloat, tho. He leads the team in minutes (32.8) and points (23.2), is third in boards (4.4), and second in assists (3.8). As my good friend Monta Ellis would say, “Zach LaVine have it all”. And oh boy, does he have it all. Just in this past couple of weeks, Hollywood LaVine has been all but a mere dunker. He’s putting up 40.8 DKFP per game and he’s scored 20-plus points in six of his eight games in that span. He dropped 35 on Atlanta a week ago on just 25 minutes of playing time and 39 on OKC two days ago shooting 60% from the floor and hitting his 6 free throws on a season-high 41.3 usage rate performance. I don’t know if LaVine is a franchise player or not, or if he can lead the Bull anywhere, but I’m totally sure he will put on a show again tonight against a pretty easy-to-score-on Wiz.
Love: (SF) Andrew Wiggins, MIN ($7600, vs NO)
There is an in-house bet about what is going to happen before, Zion’s comeback or Gentry’s firing. I’m going all-in on Zion, eyes closed. The hell are these once “playoff-hopeful” Pels!? This team stinks, and Wiggins will get Wiggy wit ‘em tonight. Drew has only dropped the ball—this meaning putting on a sub-38-DKFP performance—once since Nov. 23 and it was against the Lakers when he played just 29 minutes (he still hung 19 on them, though). Believe it or not, Maple Jordan is for real for real this time around. He’s scoring 25 ppg on the year while pairing those crickets with averages of 5.1 boards and 3.3 assists per. He’s launching more than 20 (!) shots toward the rim per day and hitting them at a 46.1% clip, and 6.6 (!!) of those attempts are coming from beyond the arc (33.3% success there). The usage is sublime at 28.8 even with the KAT around and eating plenty himself. With NO stinking so bad and Towns banged-up, it’s possible that Minny opts to rest him. Go pay for Wiggins if KAT plays and straight snatch him and ran if Towns is out.
Hate: (SF) Jimmy Butler, MIA ($8900, at PHI)
The most expensive SF in the slate? Going against Philly? Knowing what happened the first time they clashed? This Butler is too rich for my crib and the upside is nil. Here is Jimmy’s line from the other game he’s played against the Sixers this year: 11-5-3-2, 30.8% shooting, all in 30 minutes for a score of 25.3 DKFP—his season-low, that is. Revenge game my ass. Maybe this is the true revenge game, but they, I’m not paying almost $9K to find out, honestly. Jimmy has been getting buckets and handing production for a while now and in practically every game since that stinker back in late November, he’s gotten to more than 43 DKFP nightly. I’m not saying Jimmy B is a bad player—which he is not, just in case there are some fools still out there—but he might fall short of expectations for what you’d be paying for him today. Go for a cheaper guy. Plenty of them around with stuff going their ways.
Love: (PF) Kristaps Porzingis, DAL ($8300, vs BOS)
Had I to bet I’d say Dallas carries the L today but who the hell is going to stop The Zing in the paint-and-out? KP already showed us what he can do when unleashed: 51 and 53 DKFP without the Luka-hog around, that is. Porz has posted up a couple of two consecutive dub-dubs (22-14 and 26-12) in his last two against Miami and Milwaukee and he looks like the KP we imported from the far East back in the day. The Unicorn had not lost his horn, he was only still growing it and it has now fully erected it. Porzingis isn’t joking just one bit and his last two outings had him ranked as the seventh- and fifth-best player of each respective slate. His usage without Luka is up to 28% and you have to love watching it unfold. Don’t be surprised if he breaks the 30% barrier today because Dallas needs him and Boston has no biggie around to stop him.
Love: (C) Hassan Whiteside, MIA ($8500, vs GSW)
For all the heat and hate he’s receiving, Hassan is handling it with gusto. Just peek at his season line: 15.9 ppg, 12.5 rpg, 2.5 bpg in 28.5 minutes of playing time nightly. That’s some easy dub-dub through 24 games and nothing is changing, folks. HaHa is averaging a massive 1.39 DKFP per minute on the court. That is more than the very own Joker, and as close as it gets to what Andre Drummond (1.46) is doing in Detroit. I know Portland might move on from him to fetch some other fool (shouts Kevin Love!), but Hassan is seriously laughing on some faces this year. Mr. White is on the right Side. Just in December alone he’s a top-16 player averaging a 19-13 double-double, he is on a seven-game streak of putting up the double-digit pair, and he’s blocked at least 3 shots in six of his last eight games. Seriously, Hassan is destroying the game of basketball, effort-critics be damned. Golden State... well, is Golden State.
Hate: (C) Bam Adebayo, MIA ($8000, at PHI)
Edrice comes packed with the full arsenal, not gonna lie. This Bam of a Man is averaging a borderline double-double on the year to the tune of 15.2 points and 10.7 boards, and he’s also adding 2.7 stocks to that and 4.6 dimes. Seriously, Adebayo is dope. The problem—kinda like with Jimmy, read above—is that Philly and most of all Embiid did eat him alive back in November. Bam was more Bluff in that game and he also had his worse performance of the season: 12 points and 5 rebounds for a measly 18.75 DKFP... while he had been averaging 40 DKFP prior to that to the tune of a 14-11 dub-dub. Either Shaq & Chuck go on a mid-day rant against Bam before the game’s tipoff or I see no reason to trust Adebayo tonight.
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!