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) Kyle Lowry, TOR ($6800, at CHI)
I’m officially surrendering to the powers of The Klow. Lowry came back from injury and has played more than 40, 41, and 37 minutes in each of the three games he’s played since. Lowry knows no limits. And not only has he played, but he’s also been a top-18 player at the very least. Some vets never die. Just yesterday against Philly Low-Low dropped 26 pops to go with six boards, five dimes, and two steals. That was nice, but in the other two games after getting back to the lineup he reached 11 and eight assists. Low can do it all, and his season averages on 11 games are 21 PPG, 6.9 APG, 4.6 RPG, and 1.2 SPG. Not to mention his mental 90.8% from the charity stripe on some very sweet 5.9 FTA per and his 44/39 floor/three-point splits. Take advantage before the price catches up to the production.
Hate: (PG) Chris Paul, OKC ($7200, at UTA)
Enough snitching, my man. Chris Paul did it again against Melo as he bitched after missing a rebound and he snitched on him and the refs gave Anthony the T. The Point God is just over the bar and it won’t last. The cops are coming and they hail from Salt Lake City. CP3 is having a great season, at least for one his age, but Utah is having a better one as a defensive unit. Obviously, Paul came back to Earth yesterday against Portland after his massive 50-DKFP game versus Minny last Friday. He still scored 20 points against the Blazers, but he needed three steals (something he hadn’t done since Nov. 19) to help him reach the 35 DKFP he finished with. Paul has also logged 28 and 26 percent usage rates in his last two, something unheard of this season for him (he was averaging 20.9% prior to those two). Not liking snitches here, dawg.
Love: (SG) Buddy Hield, SAC ($7100, at HOU)
Great play at a very delicious price. Both Devin Booker and Ricky Rubio (PG-SG pair) shot more than 15 times against Houston two days ago and finished with 50 and 38 DKFP. Get-right game for Buddy this one—not that he’s done much wrong lately, though. In fact, my Buddy has been a top-20 player in five of his last seven games and has dropped 20-plus points in seven straight including a 41-point explosion back on Nov. 25 against Boston. In that seven-game span he’s averaging 26 PPG, 5.6 RPG, and 3.6 APG, something only James Harden and Luka Doncic have been able to match. Buddy Love enters this game against Houston hotter than a stove after scoring 26 yesterday with five threes to his name on a 66.7% from the floor, to which he added four boards and five dimes (all of this on an almost season-low 21.4% usage rage and just 34 minutes of playing time while he’s been logging around 39 lately). Go-to guy at the position today.
Love: (SF) OG Anunoby, TOR ($4700, at CHI)
Totally hot-play here, folks. When someone is on fuego, someone is on fuego. OG was a real gangster yesterday indeed. In case you don’t believe me: 47 DKFP to the tune of 19 pops, 10 boards, two assists, four (!) steals and a block. 57.1% from the floor and all of that on 35 minutes and just a 17.2 usage rate. Uh, oh, flex on the devil. Noby as priced at $4.4K and he’s only $300 more expensive today against the mess the Bulls are. Gotta give him some run, like it or nah. OG is not going to catch bodies every night as he did against Philly on a Sunday night, but you have seen the ceiling and the upside. Sure, you’ll be risking putting someone with a 15-DKFP floor in your lineup, but the Bulls really stink more than your average team and he should get both the minutes and the chances to put up points today again.
Hate: (SF) Paul George, LAC ($7800, at IND)
This is more about the whole situation and scenario than the player, don’t get me wrong. Picking Kawhi would be too easy, because there is no way The Klaw works two days in a row. Royalty doesn’t do that type of thing. Second-fiddles do, though, so George should play today again after doing so yesterday. PG-13 had a monster game yesterday on just 25 minutes of run: 27 crickets, six boards, six assists, and four (four!) steals. Too bad he messed with the fouls more than he should, though he finished with a massive 35.9 usage rate. His 52.5 DKFP were the fourth-most on the night, only because two fools were partying in LA while the Clips were visiting the nation’s capital and Kawhi was beating him as the no. 1 guy in this team. Assuming George plays I’d bet on a limited role and by no means will he be as efficient as he was yesterday—gotta guess—even with Leonard out. Plus hey, Indiana is defending really nice this season so it’d be a tough out for not-yet-Playoff P.
Love: (PF) Nemanja Bjelica, SAC ($5700, at HOU)
If you are 1) a European playing DFS, or 2) an American who loves European players, or 3) a Bjelica sucker who wants to play him any time you can, or 4) a Marvin Bagley hater, or 5) a hot-player lover, then you should definitely play Nema today. Bagley has been ruled out of the game against Houston but he’s as ready to play as he can be, so Bjelica’s chances are this close to vanishing in the air once the Bag returns to the lineup. On top of that, Nemanja comes hot hot to this game after scoring a season-high 30 points yesterday against Dallas and finishing with his best fantasy tally of the year at 50.75 DKFP. You don’t see that often, but don’t be fooled: Bjeli is a good bet to reach 35 DKFP nightly and he’s been seeing up to 25% usage rates in four of his last five, which is nice. Nemanja will give you points, rebounds, and dimes easily and his shooting is sublime with 48/43/93 splits. He could be doing a little bit more on his 26.3 MPG, but so far so good and again, Bagley is still out so Bjelica is a safe play and live to see at least another game.
Hate: (PF) Aaron Gordon, ORL ($6700, at MIL)
Flash Gordon returned to action on Nov. 29 after missing three games. Since then he’s played five (that one included) and has had exactly two good outings: a dub-dub (18-11) versus Washington that I could have got myself and a 32-point night against Phoenix last Wednesday. That’s it. That’s all Gordon has done. It’s being a quite disappointing season in the Gordons house. Double-Zero is averaging 31 MPG but he’s only dropping 13.8 PPG and grabbing 6.5 RPG. His 2.9 assists, 0.7 steals, and 0.5 blocks are plain low for someone playing those minutes at his position, seriously, and his shooting has been average at best falling on the low side more on the high one. Not the most expensive of guys out there, that’s for sure, but it’s also logical considering how middling he’s been and today’s nightmarish matchup against Milwaukee and Giannis.
Love: (C) Andre Drummond, DET ($10100, at NO)
I’ve already told you in the past: when you have to pay, you have to pay. And hey, we’re talking about Dr. Dre here. Man’s got a reputation. Gotta respect the Doctor. You know the numbers on the season: easy mirroring dub-dub of 17.7 points and 17 boards (insane), 3.1 dimes (top production for a biggie), 1.7 steals (unheard of among towers), and a massive 2.0 blocks (virtually league-leading). Dre doesn’t give a dam about threes or free throws, but his 54.5% is sweet as the best of cakes on 13.7 FGA. Drummond is averaging 1.47 DKFP per minute play on 34.2 MPG, so you do the math (nah, don’t waste your time, the result is a ton of DKFP per game anyways). The Pelicans are a fun bunch, and they’re young, what can you blame them for? They try but they lack size and interior presence as hell, and are giving up the third-most DKFP per game. Dr. Dre about to drop some bombs.
Hate: (C) Steven Adams, OKC ($6400, at UTA)
Kiwis are no bueno and make you poop your pants. Avoid them if you don’t want that. I’m doing so after trusting Steven in the past. The Caveman looked like he had finally gotten it right, only he had not. What was that against Portland!? Six points? Shaking my head. The nine rebounds and four assists helped him saved a little bit of face—not much though with a final 22.75 DKFP on the night...—but he did nothing yesterday and logged a stupid 12.3% usage rate (second-lowest of the season). Adams is a 30-DKFP player on average, full stop. That 51-point performance the other day against Minny was a total mirage and he’s far from that true-talent level, I’m afraid. Live’s tough when you don’t have Russ playing next to you, I guess, and Rudy Gobert is one of the best musicians of these Jazz. Ugly play.
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!