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) D’Angelo Russell, GSW ($7900, vs DAL)
The season of splits is this one for D’Lo due to different injuries. In the first one from October to mid-November he was great with an average of 47 DKFP per game. In the second one during the full month of December he dropped his level a bit to around 38 DKFP a night, yet he still closed the month with a couple of 50- and 52-DKFP games. Now that he’s back to kick his 2020 off he dropped a gem against Memphis two days ago to the tune of 34 pops, 7 boards, and 4 dimes in 35 minutes for a total fantasy tally of 50 DKFP. With no limits in playing time this is the Freezing Russ we expect going forward. D’Lo is a nightly threat to get to the 40-plus fantasy points easily. Hard to not see him score north of 25 points per game to go with a 5-5 in the other two main cats. The usage (31.5% on the season) is massive in a depleted Warriors team and D’AR is a legit top-15 performer each and every night if healthy.
Love: (SG) Devin Booker, PHO ($8200, at ATL)
Boring pick, but a surefire home run. Let me know when Dev stops thriving; I bet you won’t in the next few months... Sure, the stat line went down in his last outing against Charlotte (he still finished with an all-around contribution of 12-4-9-1-1) as the turnovers (7) and the fouls pilled on him, but other than that D-Book has been on an impossibly great run since Dec. 27: eight consecutive games scoring more than 24 points (seven of them with 32-plus) and finishing as the top-8 performer on the slates he was part of on average. That’s crazy. Just the scoring alone makes him a nightly 30-DKFP getter with upside to bulk those tallies by virtue of rebounding and assisting which he does with gusto (3.8 rpg and 6.5 apg on the season). By the way, Atlanta is the worst team by fantasy metrics in the whole freaking league and the best possible matchup for anyone wanting to get him some tasty fantasy goodies, so there’s that.
Hate: (SG) Spencer Dinwiddie, BKN ($6700, vs UTA)
Hello Kyrie, bye-bye Widdie. Not even 20 minutes were enough to make me go and fade Dinwiddie today with the Illuminati back around Brooklyn again. Irving used 27% of the Nets possessions while Spence’s usage dropped from 30% earlier to 20% while playing next to Kyrie. The minutes fell all the way down to 24, he shot just 7 times from the floor and finished with 7 points against Atlanta, and only the boards and dimes (4 and 8) saved Din’s night to forget (it was still pretty forgettable as he finished with just 22 DKFP...). Pence had been on the low lately already (four games of his last six under 30 DKFP) and if Kyrie’s comeback impact repeats itself tonight and going forward then maybe Widdie gets back to his bench-ridding ways instead of the All-Star-bound guy he looked like with Irving out.
Love: (SF) Kelly Oubre Jr., PHO ($7900, at ATL)
Another boring pick. What is it with them Suns!? I think it has more to do with the Hawks than Phoenix tonight though... Even with that, Wave Papi is a goddamn tsunami and enters this matchup after putting up his best game of the season with an eye-popping 56-DKFP performance against the Hornets in 40 (!) minutes of run. Oubre cooked 25 chicken wings, grabbed 15 boards (which weren’t even a season-high!), dished out just one assist, but contributed 3 thefts and 2 blocks. This Papi I love! That wasn’t a mirage, don’t get Kelly wrong. KOJr. has been doing this for long now: in his last eight he’s only missed on reaching at least 30-DKFP once and he’s averaging 44 fantasy points nightly while performing like a top-15 player in his slates. The averages in this span going back to Dec. 28 read 23-9-2-2, which let me tell you, is just insane in the brain. OuOu is shooting 54.4% on almost 16 attempts from the floor per night while on a miserable 21% usage rate, so yeah, just imagine the ceiling if he was a ball hog.
Hate: (SF) Joe Ingles, UTA ($6100, at BKN)
What do you make of Ingles? He needed an empty court due to his teammates’ injuries to reach his first 40-plus DKFP performance since Dec. 26, and he did so in 33 minutes of playing time with a 20-2-9-2 line that wasn’t that impressive... against the Wiz. Shaking my head. Real-life Ingles is more of an Average Joe than anything else: a middling 31-DKFP per game player in his last 11 games going back to Dec. 21. The scoring is in the 10-to-20 range and the boards-dimes cats more often than not fall short of the 4-5 marks. Other than hitting a good amount of three-pointers (41.7 3p% on the year while attempting 5.3 per) this Joe won’t give you a lot... The usage is dumb-ugly at 15.7% and Ingles is an afterthought when Utah deploys the full-force starting five. Fadity fade.
Love: (PF) Montrezl Harrell, LAC ($7000, vs CLE)
It’s been a good while since I last picked Monty, so it’s time to make amends and bring him back. Makes sense, because the Cavs stink so much I can smell them from across the pond. Trezz keeps playing a good amount of minutes nightly (29-per on the season with just two starts) and the usage is delicious on the second unit (30% average on his last five). In that span of five games, Harrell has dropped 23-plus points four times and the time he didn’t he still dub-dubbed with an 11-10-3 outing against the Warriors. The scoring is plenty great nightly, the boards come like metal to a magnet, and the dimes are spare and low yet consistent. With no treys shot at all, his percentage from the floor is always sky-high and at 61.7% during his last five! Keep banking on your 6thM-GOAT Trezz.
Hate: (PF) Deandre Ayton, PHO ($7800, at ATL)
The Suns are running with Ayton from the pine and have confirmed he will still ride it tonight, so you better stay off DAy today. If you still think that is not reason enough to fade him, peep his late numbers: three games in a row grabbing 9 boards while scoring 21 or fewer points just don’t cut it for me. Ayton’s 2020 hasn’t been that bad with three 41-DKFP performances, but other than that he’s gotten himself 36, 31, and 34 fantasy points in the other three games he’s played inside this decade. The good ones went for dub-dubs but the bad ones (coincidentally his last three...) didn’t take him there. Perhaps the most worrying thing is that he’s dropped his performing levels while getting a sizable jump in usage (from 20% to 27% in his last two), which I don’t like just one bit as the minutes have not changed that much even playing off the bench.
Love: (C) Clint Capela, HOU ($7800, at MEM)
Captain Capela is in for tonight and (probably) resting tomorrow, that’s assured so we’re good on the playing-without-risk front. Russ is confirmed out, so that’s one fewer mouth to feed there. Memphis is currently the fourth-best fantasy-cupcake in the NBA. All systems check, folks. Cap had a mental run during the month of November in which he averaged a ridiculous 50 DKFP per game in a nine-match span. Then cooled off a bit to start December, but from Dec. 14 to Jan. 8 he again averaged a great 44 DKFP while performing like a top-20 player at the very least. OKC was able to cut Clint’s production short in his last game (although he only played 29 minutes), but before that one Clinton had gotten six straight dub-dubs and he’s only missed on the feat in seven of his total 31 played games this season. Double-C is a walking dub-dub, basically and put plain. He’s at 14-14 on the year, something only Dre Drummond and Rudy Gobert are keeping up along with Clint.
Hate: (C) Jarrett Allen, BKN ($5700, vs UTA)
As much as I love Allen, it seems Brooklyn hates him. Get DAJ outta here and play Allen 40 minutes, fools! On short runs and little playing time Allen is showing a lot, as his 1.13 DKFP per minute show. No matter what, though, the Nets keep playing him 26 ticks per... Shaking my head. He’s so close to the dub-dub on the season with 11.5 ppg and 9.9 rpg, and that could change today as he’s reached double-digits on both points and boards in his last two outings, but let me doubt it a bit. Utah features some fool who goes by the name of Rudy in the paint, and beating his game is often a tall task (no pun intended). The price is super low for JA, sure, but I don’t think he’ll rule tonight. Better stay off for a day at the very least. At the very least, that is, because Jarrett’s on a disastrous 10-game span in which he’s only bested 30 DKFP twice and fallen under 20 four times. Pretty bad numbers overall considering what he did from mid-November to mid-December when he played like a top-35 player.
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!