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) Devonte’ Graham, CHA ($7900, at MEM)
Forty-six minutes. Forty. Six. Minutes. Those are all the minutes I was able to watch Golden Graham hoop last Friday against Oklahoma and I couldn’t enjoy them more. This kid will go places, and he’s far from the forgotten soul he was last season. Vonte is a nightly 20-point, 8-dime, 5-trey threat no matter the opposition. He was hitting high triple-numbers early in the season already but he’s leveled up lately: just in December alone he’s had six games (of 13 played) in which he’s made at least five treys even reaching 10 against Golden State back on Dec. 4. He then exploded for 40 pops against Brooklyn a week later, and he’s gone for 22, 23, and 15 points in his last three with 5, 6, and 3 treys, two dub-dubs, and a this-close-almost trip-dub against OKC with a 15-9-13 line. That wasn’t even close to his best fantasy game of the season even with it yielding DG up to 48.25 DKFP. Believe me, this cereal is so serious.
Hate: (PG) De’Aaron Fox, SAC ($6300, at DEN)
At the time of this writing, it is still not clear if Foxy will make it to the court tonight after leaving Sacto’s last game with back spams just a few days ago. Even if he comes back, though, tonight doesn’t look like the best day to do so. The Nuggets strangle opponents when it comes to handing out fantasy points and De’Fox himself has been kinda meh since coming back from his earlier injury. Not bad, but meh indeed. He’s still a 30-plus DKFP performer on a nightly basis and even reached 52 DKFP against Houston, but hey, it was Houston and he grabbed 9 boards which were one short of his career-high in the cat... Banged up, in a bad matchup, without Bagley, and with some other fools struggling. Nah, I’m passing for the time being.
Love: (SG) Terry Rozier, CHA ($6900, at MEM)
The sweet stack is here. The supposedly leading man in Scary Terry and the true leading man in Devonte’ Graham make for the perfect backcourt today, folks. T-Ro is the most give-and-take player basketball ever graced, but he’s got some delicious ceiling at reach every day. Look, he put on a dud against Boston just a week ago, but other than that Terry has been good in his last four. Excluding that bad outing, his other three games in that span saw him average 43.9 DKFP and score 26-plus points in each. The scoring is always there although the shooting percentages are wild. The other cats are usually low because Graham is a beast, but he will give you your daily dose of numbers all across the board to the tune of some 20-4-4-1 line at the very least. Memphis sucks a bit and they give up the third-most DKFP per game, so you know what to do.
Love: (SF) Brandon Ingram, NO ($8100, vs HOU)
Expensive but the clear no. 1 option and probably lone safe play in New Orleans these days. Going against stupid Houston, too. BI has been automatic from the field shooting 18.3 fga and hitting 48.8 percent of them. The triples (40.7% on 5.8 3pa) and free-throws (85.3% on 5.9 fta) are sublime as well. Never in my life would have I expected such an explosion but I always trusted and rooted for Ingram and he’s now paying back for all the struggles of the past. Good boy. Monster year for Brandon Bones who is on the 45-DKFP per game surroundings and finds almost impossible to fall under the 20-point scoring mark each and every goddamn game. The boards always pad his lines (7.0 rpg on the year) and the assists are as high as they can get (3.9 apg on the season) considering the broken toys he has to play with...
Love: (PF) Jaren Jackson Jr., MEM ($6600, vs CHA)
The mega-hype has gone a little down since he hit 9 treys and cooked 43 chicken wings against Milwaukee back on Dec. 13 but Junior has been able to keep it quite up still. This man is a virtual 20-5 performer and he’s doing it in no more than 30 minutes of run and under a 25% usage. The 1.6 assists and 1.3 blocks per are magnificent for a big and the shooting splits really good at 47/40/76 considering he’s launching 13.6 shots from the field, 6.5 treys, and 3.2 freebies per. If it wasn’t for Ja, Triple-J would be the Man Bear Grizz, and just looking at the games since Momo came back there is an argument to make in actual favor of JJJ being the no. 1 guy in Memphis these very late-year days.
Hate: (PF) Richaun Holmes, SAC ($7100, at DEN)
Orale, Holmes! A lot of time since his last appearance in the column, but sadly he is not for the good here today. The Kings looked great, then the Kings turned inevitably into the ever-sucking Kangz. Buddy wants out no matter how he phrases it. Fox is bangy banged up. Bagley has been out and is hurt again. No one gives a crap and does nothing. Holmes hasn’t been that bad, and he even posted up a 20-18 game against Minny last Thursday, but he needed 45 minutes of run to do so... The usage is as low as it has ever been (around 17% in his last five) and although Rich the kid has had his highs here and there (three dub-dubs in his last four, gotta acknowledge that) he’s paired those outings with some horrid performances this month. He’s a 33-DKFP player in December and this team is so discombobulated that I wouldn’t risk a penny on him.
Love: (C) Derrick Favors, NO ($6500, vs HOU)
As Tim Kitzrow would have said: He’s heating up! He’s on fire! Do yourself a Favor and play Derrick, please. Since coming back DF has played eight games and he’s kept an upward trajectory all the way to this day. He started slow but by his third game he was already grabbing double-digit boards and by his fourth dropping 10-plus points. He’s logged three dub-dubs since Dec. 13 and he’s fallen short of a couple more for just a few points. Favors even toyed with the trip-dub on Xmas day when he finished with an 8-13-8-1-3 line against Denver in just 30 minutes of run. Give him four more and there you have it. Too bad New Orleans sucks big time and couldn’t even do Derrick those Favors... Houston allows fantasy wonders as no team and they won’t have either Nene nor Capela in the paint today, so yeah, pretty much Derrick’s Day ahead.
Hate: (C) Kristaps Porzingis, DAL ($8200, at LAL)
Don’t hate The Zing because he stings. With Luka out, Kristaps played an otherworldly game all by himself and rediscovered his old self for real. The run was amazing: 51, 53, 51, 54, and 44 DKFP with The Don out of the team. Then Luka came back and in two games KP has come back to his early-season 32- and 38-DKFP ways... Shaking my head. It’s very frustrating because in that aforementioned span Porz was dropping dub-dubs nightly and averaging 22.4 ppg and 13.8 rpg, but those numbers have fallen to 15.5 and 7.5 in his last two games. The treys are always there to give him a little bump, and he blocks shots like a mad man, but his upside is super cut down with Luka in. In two games against the Lake Show Kristaps laid two huge eggs while Doncic couldn’t play better. Expect the same story 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!