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) Damian Lillard, POR ($8300, vs NO)
Dame Dolla, Dolla Dime, Lillard Time. Remember the last time Lillard didn’t score in double-figures? Reasonable you don’t, as it was all the way back on Nov. 13. Other than that, he has never dropped under-13 crickets against no team and he’s averaged over 30 ppg this past week (four games) to go with 3 rpg and 7.6 apg. Those are very delicious numbers on the Christmas menu, let me tell you, and his average of 49 DKFP per game speaks volumes of Dame’s late exploits. That four-game stint has Lillard performing as the 14th-best player nightly with a no. 1 and a no. 6 finish against the Warriors and the Magic respectively, and he’s been a top-7 fantasy player in his last three with outings of 62, 52, and 47 DKFP. The Pelicans are the Knicks only with another name and playing in another city. I mean it in that they suck way more than you’d think. Big-game Dame about to hit the stage.
Hate: (PG) Kyle Lowry, TOR ($8800, at IND)
I’m about to get some heat here, but I’m not trusting Klow today. Hear me out. I know Lowry had a monster of a game yesterday and finished this close to trip-dubbing (32-8-10 on the night of The Comeback). He even hit five treys and shot 52.2% from the floor. He was great, but he also played 41 minutes. As he did against Washington two days ago. And in December he’s averaging 39 mpg, which is basically insane and will end in something bad and a drop of production slowly but surely. Kyle’s current run (spanning four games at-or-over 44 DKFP) has raised his price a ton but again, I don’t trust the producing staying this high. We’re talking about a guy who almost has two triple-doubles and four double-doubles in four games... The crash back to Earth is for real for real and as close as it can get.
Love: (SG) DeMar DeRozan, SAS ($6800, at MEM)
Gotta go with DeDe if only for the discount. Sure, he’s been on the low lately and big time, I’d even go to say, but he’s dirt cheap thanks to that and Memphis can make for a get-right game. The more he plays DeMore DeRozan’s value drops, but the Spurs will move on from him and LMA sooner rather than later and the showcase must start at some point if this fool wants to get traded to a contender. There is no chance—I hope—Memphis turns this into a blowout and DeRozan sits for long time as was the case in his last outing, so he’ll have the minutes and chances to put up big numbers. You won’t see he hit a three, but DeDe is dropping 49.9% of his shots from the floor and sinking 80.7% of his 5.8 free-throws per. The boards and dimes sit around 5 each so that’s some extra-production to like too.
Hate: (SG) Jordan Clarkson, CLE ($5500, vs ATL)
This close I was to pencil Clarkson in as a Love target, but I just can’t. Let’s be real here. Yes, Atlanta screams “play whoever goes against the Hawks” but Clarkson is a low-profile player with the eventual explosion hidden—too deep—inside him. It occurred the other day when he went for 33 points and 6 rebounds against Memphis in just 30 minutes of run, but that was just one of two games he’s had in the 40-DKFP surroundings. We might have to wait another month to see something similar again, so paying for this guy—who rides the pine, by the way—is not worth it at all. Put your bucks in any other starter of the Cavs, but fade J-Clark all the way.
Love: (SF) Tobias Harris, PHI ($7200, at DET)
This will never change, I’m afraid. Tobi is destined to be a forgotten soul in NBA circles. Shaking my head... That’s why I’ve taken on the task of keeping his name flying high here in the column. One has to love Tobi. It is what it is. You are going to come and tell me he’s bad, or does nothing, or whatever. I won’t buy it. Other than his outlier game against Dallas the other day, Harris is a top-25 fantasy player in December. He’s posting a 22-6-3 line and stuffing the stat sheet all across the board nightly. His usage has dropped in his last three games but those have been legit so weird that I don’t believe the numbers and think it’ll regress to his average 25-28% clip. Seriously, Tobi is a 20-5-3 lock every day and that puts him around the 35-plus DKFP range almost by default. Detroit won’t have Blake nor Christian Wood, which also helps.
Hate: (SF) Kelly Oubre Jr., PHO ($6600, at DEN)
Wave Papi bounced back a bit against Houston this past Saturday but he’s been far from the Tsunami Papi we experienced earlier in the season. That was a guy with upside to reach the 45-50 DKFP any day and he was doing it constantly by using more than 25% of the Suns’ possessions. This guy is finishing only 21% of those nowadays and has topped 20 points in only four games this month while playing in 11 of them and averaging a more than good 36 mpg. The boards and dimes have dropped in December under his season-average marks and his DKFP per minute have also fallen under 1.0 and stay currently at 0.97 through 29 games on the year. Denver is the third-best team at limiting fantasy production, by the way.
Love: (PF) Kevin Love, CLE ($7400, vs ATL)
What’s not to Love!? Good price and better matchup. Read all I said about Jordan Clarkson? Well, this is the opposite. Atlanta is bad and worse at the same time, gets scored on big time, and is bringing back John Collins tonight in which will be his first game after missing the last 25. It might work from the get-go, or it might create a mess in a team full of young brainless fools. Kevin Love, folks, will eat in preparation for Christmas Eve. In case you’ve not been paying attention because Cleveland stinks, Love is averaging a dub-dub on the year to the tune of 16.1 ppg and 10.8 rpg. Not only that, but he’s also providing 2.8 dimes per. His shooting is pretty nice at 44/38/85 splits, which only 10 players are keeping up at this point while attempting more than 10 field goals per game. In his four games with 28-plus minutes of playing time this month he’s averaged 21 points, 13.8 rebounds, and 3 assists. Those minutes should keep up so the production will stay around the 40 DKFP, which is about Love’s average this year. Love me some Love.
Hate: (PF) Serge Ibaka, TOR ($7700, at IND)
First of all, the Raptors are slim in options because of injuries. That’s a positive for Ibaka, sure. The problem is that Air Congo was hydro-over-performed by Chris Boucher in yesterday’s massive comeback and that is worrying at least a bit. This guy played 24 minutes and started the game, yet he could only score a measly 6 points and grab 5 boards. He shot 11 field goals and hit three of them... for a 27.3% success at it. Boucher backed him up and in the same 24 minutes—his off the pine—he dropped 21 crickets, caught 7 rebounds, stole 2 balls, and blocked 4 (!) shots. That’s what I call a very solid outing, and not what Ibaka did. My man Serge is in the middle of nowhere and I don’t trust him just one bit, even less if we consider he’ll be going against two monsters in Domas Sabonis and Myles Turner tonight.
Love: (C) Hassan Whiteside, POR ($7900, vs NO)
What Portland will or won’t do no one knows. Will they trade for Love? For Aaron Gordon? For any other available player? Seriously, who knows. What is clear, is that if that is the case, Hassan will probably have to go the other way. Such a shame. Shaking my head... H-White is averaging one of the easiest dub-dubs of the whole league at 15.7 and 13.4 points and boards per. Ha is also blocking 2.7 (!) shots per, which is basically a monster number and ranks no. 1 in the league. At this point in the season, only Drummond could be argued as a rival for Hassan’s candidacy to best pure big-man in the Association, though Whiteside has been much better at shooting the rock and boasts a 2.9 net rating to Dre’s negative-1.3. Don’t pay attention to the “guy lacks passion” comments flying around. If you want to score you big fantasy points go pay for and play Hassan.
Hate: (C) Karl-Anthony Towns, MIN ($10400, at GSW)
I’m a hater for putting KAT here without even knowing if he’ll play or not, but I just can’t pass on the last chance before Santa arrives. Look, Minny stinks incredible and is on a 10-game losing streak. Early-season KAT was tiger-KAT more than cat-KAT. Even if KAT plays tonight, the Wolves have nothing to risk Town for. They are going down and down, and if there is a moment to ease him in slowly it is now. I don’t see Minny doing anything this year so hey, let’s treat Towns a bit, am I right? Incredible season, not so incredible situation right now though.
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!