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) De’Aaron Fox, SAC ($7000, vs MIN)
Well, well, well. Four games, that’s all it took the Fox to start running around fools. Just last Monday he put together his best game since coming back and performed like a top-10 player in DK to the tune of 52.25 DKFP in 36 minutes against Houston, dropping 31 crickets on the rockets to go with 9 boards and 6 dimes. It was the first time he finished more than 25% of possessions since he went back on Dec. 17, but that 32% usage had been the norm earlier in the season so it’s to expect he keeps it up going forward. DA Fox is a 20-6-6 player on the season easy (he’s actually averaging 18.8 ppg, 4.2 rpg, and 6.7 apg) and now that he seems to be at 100% again that is just his baseline. The shooting is great at 46.2% in 14.2 fga and he attacks the rim without remorse so he visits the line fairly often (6.6 fta) though he should improve his percentages there (68.6%).
Hate: (PG) Ja Morant, MEM ($6900, at OKC)
Not liking having Jamel on the hate side but hey, it is what it is. The Thunder rotation of guards is ridiculous with CP3, SGA, and Schroder messing around it. Morant is great, but Ja won’t Rule tonight. In fact, he hasn’t ruled that much lately... Morant has been really on the low since coming back from those back issues/injury. He had a booming game just after getting back on the court (41.5 DKFP on Dec. 9) but he hasn’t broken the 40-point barrier ever since. He keeps scoring on the 15-20s range but the assists have dropped considerably. JM is flying up for dunks, but not so much in the best-performer leaderboards. He’s a top-50 performer in December with a line of 17-3-7 but those numbers are a little inflated by a couple of 10- and 11-dime outings against Miami and Cleveland. The usage has been very low (around 23%) compared to the first month of the season (around 30%) and that’s killing the Rim Murder.
Love: (SG) DeMar DeRozan, SAS ($6500, at DAL)
It looks Mar than good for DeRozan tonight going against a Mavs time still wondering if they should or shouldn’t play Luka and for how long in his comeback game. DeMar you think about the situation, DeBetter it gets. DeRozan is playing for the showcase and will be sent out packing sooner than later—I have no sources but I trust my brain, dawg. Truth be told and analytics be damned, DeDe is a goddamn walking bucket. He’s dropping 20.9 ppg in 33.7 mpg while shooting 50.9% from the floor. The treys are nowhere to be found, but you know what you’re getting in DeRozan. Not many players are keeping up a 20-5-5-1 line through virtually 30 games already played this year—nine including DeDe and not counting Kyrie and Steph, both with under-12 games played. The Spurs their worst version in like 50 years, so it’s understandable that DeMar is flying a little bit under the radar but you can’t be wronger if you think he is cooked. Far from it.
Hate: (SG) Buddy Hield, SAC ($6300, vs MIN)
Whatever my Buddy was eating for breakfast, he ran out of. Shaking my head. What’s the deal, Buddy? No buckets no more, dude. Buddy Love was a freaking walking bomb waiting to explode every, single, game, during the first month and change of the season and then... Well, and then present-day Buddy Hate made his presence felt. Buddy is on a four-game streak of falling short of even reaching 30 DKFP, he’s played less than 30 minutes in three of those games, his usage is all the way down to 22.4% in his last four (season-average of 28% prior to that...) and he has lost his Cupid touch. Fox and Bagley coming back from injury have killed him for real. Remember when there was a discussion—little and brief, but still—of Hield being a potential All-Star player due to his torrid late November to early December hot game? That’s way 2010s, man. Buddy better right his game or he’ll fall into the abyss of the forgotten.
Love: (SF) Andrew Wiggins, MIN ($7800, at SAC)
Not that Drew is much in a much more comfier zone than Buddy... but he’s keeping it up somehow. Be it KAT sitting out, or a Canadian Miracle in the season of the love, Wiggins is all Wiggy he can be wit it. Sure, he’s not a nightly 50-DKFP performer anymore, but he’s still putting up numbers in the 38-to-45 range with gusto. The playing time has been mental with KAT out and he’s logging 38 mpg in his last seven games. The usage is all the way up to 30% in that span and he’s finished 38% and 35% of Minny’s possessions in his last couple of outings. That, my friends, is a little something called craziness. In the last couple of weeks Maple Jordan is averaging 27 pops, 5.2 boards, and 2.2 dimes—not low considering his teammates... Wiggins has played 25 games and though he’s shooting 20-plus rocks per game he’s still hitting them at a 45.5% clip from the floor and a 33% from three (6.6 attempts). Not MVP-Wiggins, but finally Great-Wiggins after all the years of waiting.
Love: (PF) Blake Griffin, DET ($6800, vs WAS)
Wait a minute and don’t close the tab yet. I know what I’m doing here. Bear with me. Loving Blake? Is that even possible? Lol. I know it’s crazy, but if there is a day for the Griff to rack up numbers then that day must be today. The Wiz are sucky-sucky and allow the most fantasy points per game to the opposition. Blake the Fake hasn’t been great, we know that, but he should smash Washington’s “bigs” at home tonight. I’m not going to make a case for playing him because I’d be lying to myself. Seriously, he’s been B.A.D. bad. So this is the last chance for you, BG. If the Griff shows some life, he might make it back to the column here and there, either for the Love or for the Hate. Blake, you just made the list! If you put on a stinker, I’m afraid your name will be crossed out forever. Chris Jericho style, baby.
Love: (C) Andre Drummond, DET ($10000, vs WAS)
Clear stash here and I don’t usually play by these rules. If Blake is good, cool, you get two by the price of one. If he sucks, not bad, as you still ge Dre playing to his average 20-20 line. Crazy but real, my man. No matter what happens with the Griff, Drummond will be his best version as he always is. And that version of Dr. Dre is nothing close to retirement and by no means producing remixes of old success. No sir. He’s dropping unreleased bombs nightly, this Dre. The 18-16 on the season is insane by itself, but Dru is contributing all across the board with 2.9 apg, 2.0 spg, and 1.7 bpg as bonus tracks to be found in his Album Of The Year candidacy. Dre is averaging 49.3 DKFP per game and he’s only fallen under 35 DKFP four times through 29 played games. He’s basically a top-10 performer nightly and has a dub-dub in 24 of his 29 matches. Big guys are out fashioned, big guys don’t matter, big guys suck... BS. Give me Dre all day.
Hate: (C) Hassan Whiteside, POR ($77000, vs UTA)
Hassan will probably go and have another 15-15 game tonight, and he’ll make me look bad, but logic tells me Utah—Rudy Gobert, basically—will make things a tad harder for him than usual. Whiteside is sublime, but Gobert is no croissant himself. GoGo is putting up 2.6 stocks per game and grabbing 16.1 boards. Hassan is at 13.5 rebounds and 3.3 stocks. The battle is guaranteed, and I’m betting on Whiteside suffering at least some bump down in numbers given the French presence out there. Dunno, call me crazy, but I’m buying the “no-effort Hassan” narrative today and thinking it’ll play a role in the outcomes of those two.
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!