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) Ricky Rubio, PHO ($7100, at GSW)
You would have never thought this Rubio version existed, but oh boy is Ricky balling these days. Rick won the World chip with Spain this summer and he hasn’t looked back ever since. He’s been able to improve in all of the cats, from points to dimes to boards to whatever you can think of. Double-R is a top-30 performer on the year and he’s currently averaging 37 DKFP per game to the tune of a 14-5-9-1 line almost unmatched in the league. He’s second only to LeBron in assists per game (9.4 to James’ 10.6; no other player is even at 9 per) and those two plus Simmons and Doncic are the only ones averaging 14-plus ppg, 4.5 rpg, 8 apg, and a steal on the season. The jump has been considerable and Phoenix has benefited as hell, though the Suns have been a little bit mediocre lately. Rubio has been tearing it in December with a 40-DKFP average and four dub-dubs and even a triple-double (10-11-14) against Portland.
Hate: (PG) Chris Paul, OKC ($7300, at CHA)
Who the hell said CP3 was done!? Our elder (mine at least) has been putting on a show this season, but he’s on a little bit of a slump I need to confirm he’s out from before playing him again. I said that because the Point God slashed Memphis yesterday with a 23-6-11-3 line (54 DKFP) but prior to that he had put on three ugly games that didn’t yield him more than 35 fantasy points and in which he couldn’t reach either 20 points or 8 assists. One of those duds came against Memphis, so that shows how volatile Pauly could be these days, going in a range of almost 20 fantasy points against the same rival in a span of just eight days. Charlotte has a bunch of guards with way fresher legs to cover him and he’s quite pricey, so let’s give CP3 some time to settle before we go with him again.
Love: (SG) Devin Booker, PHO ($6900, at GSW)
Although it is surprising to find Book this low on the salary scale, it is also reasonable. I’d kill for Dev, as I love his game, but he’s been a little meh in 2019 for one reason or another. But don’t get me wrong, because even in a low season D-Book is keeping up more than good numbers and averaging 1.12 DKFP per minute on the court. He’s going for more than 35 minutes nightly and dropping 24 ppg with 4 rpg and 6.4 dimes. His 3.8 turnovers but fear nothing, folks, as his shooting is sublime: 59/38/91 are the splits on 17 attempts from the floor (5.3 triples) and 5.6 from the charity stripe on a very delicious 27% usage rate. The start of December was torrid for him: top-20 player in his first five games of the month averaging 29 pops, 4.6 boards, and dishing out 6 dimes per. He’s got one dub-dub against the Grizz and was this close to logging two more (he fell one assist short in both) against the Pels and Thunder. That game versus New Orleans three weeks ago was peak-Booker: 44 crickets, 8 rebounds, 9 assists, 2 steals, 54.2% from the field, 13-13 free throws. That’s the Book we want and expect tonight against a shitty Warriors squad.
Love: (SF) Khris Middleton, MIL ($7000, at ATL)
When Philly went all-in against Giannis the other day—the situation is far from similar tonight as the Hawks stink big time, but still—K-Midd was there to help the Bucks save face a bit. Atlanta won’t stop Giannis, so the Greek will feast. But other than him, Khris should also be in the Middleton of things. He’s scored 23-plus points in two of his last three, dropped 31 against Philly on Xmas (along with 8 rebounds and 4 dimes), and Khris has also scored 20-plus points in six of his nine games in December. The minutes are always around the 30-mark and the usage varies wildly from 20% to 30%, but Middle always rewards his players with a Ton of production: 1.19 DKFP per minute played, that is. He’s shooting incredible well with splits of 49/41/89 on 14 attempts per, and even finishing 25% of the team’s possessions he’s only turning the ball over 1.9 times per. If the run is large, the numbers will always jump off the page.
Love: (PF) John Collins, ATL ($7600, vs MIL)
Oh man, was I desperate waiting for Johnny to get back from his suspension. And he didn’t disappoint at all: 27 crickets, 10 boards, 2 steals, 2 blocks. Sure, on the Cavs, but that’s a dub-dub after being almost two months off. Collins didn’t miss a beat, played almost 35 minutes and was trusted along with Trae to carry the Hawks last Monday. Don’t expect that to change any time soon. JC has played just six games this season, but his numbers are promising as hell. He’s averaging 18.7 ppg and 9.0 rpg while adding a 1-1-2 and just 1.2 turnovers. The shooting has been crazy at 54.3% from the floor factoring in his 4.0 3pa per game (he’s hitting 45.8% of them!). We’ll need to wait a bit and see where all of those season-numbers end settling, but so far so good. And again, other than Trae there are no sure-things in this Atlanta’s team so it’s all going to go through Young and Collins there.
Love: (C) Steven Adams, OKC ($6200, at CHA)
Who the hell codes this algorithm? Shaking my head... The disrespect for the Kiwi is real. Gotta love kiwis, so green yet so sweet. Stevie is missing on the season dub-dub by this little as he’s averaging 11.6 ppg and 9.7 rpg. Won’t be surprised if he gets there before flipping the calendar page, to be honest. The 2.8 dimes per are great for a big and even more considering the pieces he has to work with these days in comparison to the good old times. You won’t get a three from him, but the 62.7 percent on field goals is ridiculous. He’s getting his 30 minutes of run nightly and although the usage is not super large due to the heavy-guard lineup of the Thunder and the quality of those, he’s still getting to his 40 DKFP in most games. The Kiwi has been a dub-dub machine in December as he’s logged seven of those in 12 games and missed on another three either by a single point or a single rebound.
Hate: (C) Myles Turner, IND ($5600, at MIA)
Can’t hate Turner a lot here because of the bargain price, but he’s running out of Myles... The Samurai was a big thing until Domas got the heavy starting role inside and basically let him know who the true Sensei is. The production is horrid no matter how you look at it. Per game? 27.2 DKFP. Per minute? 0.92 DKFP. Counting stats? 12.1 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 1.2 apg... and 2.3 bpg that are pretty much saving him from being cut or send packing to the G League. Well, maybe that’s a stretch, but you know what I mean. Indiana is keeping possessions from him (17.7% usage rate) and it makes all of the sense. Turner has been bad, plain and simple. He’s improved moderately since December’s mid-point (a couple of 40 DKFP games) but he needed 36 minutes (!) to reach those heights against Toronto and most of his extra-value came from an unheard-of five triples on the night... Not buying it.
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!