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) Damian Lillard, POR ($9000, at HOU)
Harden got mad, challenged Ja, and subsequently got burned. Imagine if instead of Morant it’d have been Dame at the other end. I can already smell chicken wings cooked to perfection. Good for us, we will be able to witness this masterful cuisine tonight as Dame Dolla goes against the Rocks. Houston keeps being plain bad at defending and ranks sixth in most fantasy goodies given up to the opposition on the season, which is great for Dame but not for them I guess. Lillard himself is already mastering this thing called basketball with virtual averages of 27-4-8-1 on the season. Simply put: 46.5 DKFP per game and 1.27 per minute on the court while playing 36.6 a night. Lillard has been part of 37 DK slates (39 total games played) and the worst he’s finished all season long is 54th with 34.75 DKFP. That’s seriously ridiculous. Top-15 player on average, top-10 since the flip of the calendar page, six straight dropping 20-plus points, one dub-dub in that span, three other (at least) 20-3-8 games, etc, etc...
Love: (SG) Malcolm Brogdon, IND ($6700, at MIN)
God bless injuries! Actually, nope, God bless injury comebacks instead! Brogdon went down at the end of December but returned on Jan. 13 two nights ago to basically torch the Sixers and put on a show: 21 pops, 7 boards, 9 dimes, and 1 steal made the line. The shooting was bad at 33.3% from the floor but he shot and shot and then shot even more so it’s reasonable. All in all, 46-DKFP performance to improve what he had been doing during Santa’s month. I have to think this is the real Malcolm I want in the Middle of my lineup every night. He was playing to this exhausting level during the first month of the year, so he’s shown he’s able to. Minny sucks more than its fair share, so this is another great chance for Mr. President to keep it up. Very serious 20-5-8 threat if all goes well.
Hate: (SG) Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, OKC ($7400, vs TOR)
Lord have mercy. The algorithm should be a little bit subtler, shouldn’t it? Shai posted the first 20-20-10 in ages and he was the youngest to do it, and this and that. I get it. I love it. I can’t be happier about SGA doing this type of thing as a second-year player. But this fool’s price has gone up from $6.3K to $7.4K overnight while he’s really a 33-DKFP averager on the year and has only bested that mark once in his last five games other than the explosion against the Wolves... The 20 points are almost guaranteed (he’s at 19.9 ppg on the season) but other than that the return is rather mediocre with 5.7 rpg, 2.9 apg, and 1.2 spg. The shooting isn’t bad at 46.8% from the floor but for the 35-plus minutes of run he gets per night his numbers are low low and giving him only 0.98 DKFP per minute in return. That’s ugly. Remember: run the hot streak, not the hot game, much less at this price.
Love: (SF) Ben Simmons, PHI ($8700, vs BKN)
Not a lot to say here that hasn’t been said or that you don’t know already. Benny isn’t here for the BS. He can’t be playing more (35.6 mpg) yet he’s rewarding his bettors with 1.19 fantasy goodies per minute on the court. That tells you all you need to know. All-across-the-board stuffer as no one in the league, Simmons is averaging a 15-8-8-2 line on the year but he’s leveled up lately—remember Embiid is out injured—and since the start of the year he’s getting 39 minutes of run in which he’s posting 20 ppg, 11.2 rpg, 7.2 apg, 2 spg, and 1 bpg. BS is a walking dub-dub these days no matter if he gets there via assists or rebounds, and a serious candidate to finish any giving night with a trip-dub if he wants to. The shooting is magnifique as he’s averse at long-range tries and you can always count on his 40-plus fantasy points. Top-10 player in 2020 so far (five games played).
Hate: (SF) Andrew Wiggins, MIN ($6800, vs IND)
So was it all a mirage? Shaking my head. This Drew ain’t getting Wiggy wit it, for sure. Just check this out: Wiggins averaged 40 DKFP in the first two months of the season (21 games), but he’s averaging 32 DKFP in the last one (10 games). The scoring keeps high at 23.2 points per but the splits are not encouraging at 44/32/75 while attempting more than 19 shots a night. The usage is obviously high at 28.3% but that should drop a bit once/when/if KAT comes back from injury and starts eating. Even as the leading man, Maple Jordan has dropped the ball more often than not in his last few games. Since he came back on Jan. 5 he’s played five games, and only in one of those did he break for more than 33 DKFP... Other than that, the production has been mediocre. In the span from that comeback game to now (five games) he’s averaging 26 fantasy points, scoring fewer than 15 per, and not reaching averages of neither 4 assists nor 4 boards. Horrific slump the one Drew is going through.
Love: (PF) Jayson Tatum, BOS ($7600, vs DET)
I’m probably wrong and under the effects of the alcohol but aren’t prices a tad bit low these days for some top-tier guys? How come Jay-T is under $8K? Some things one never understands... Tatum is having quite a year producing over 21 points, 7 boards, 3 assists, and 1 steal per for the Beantown Celtics. I guess Detroit will throw some bodies at him tonight, but I don’t have any idea who they will be and if they will be able to do anything to stop him even at the slightest of levels. Tat had a couple of down games to start last week but he’s righted his wrongs in his last three averaging a great 26-7-3-3 line against Philly, New Orleans, and Chicago. He dropped 41 points on the Pels and logged a dub-dub against the Sixers. That game against New Orleans, in fact, was the second-best of the season for him (63.5 DKFP, 41-6-4-3, 72.7% from the floor, 31% usage rate) and he just played 30 minutes! Even when cut in playing time he thrives, so there is no risk in picking him tonight against the stinky Pistons as he’s virtually matchup-proof.
Hate: (PF) Serge Ibaka, TOR ($7500, at OKC)
Don’t hate the player here, hate the situation. Marc Gasol should be back today and even in his comeback game, he might start for the Raps. That can only mean one thing: benchity-bench time for Serge! A pine-rider for $7.5K is too rich for my blood, and even if that is not the case and Ibaka starts he will still lose minutes no matter what. If we factor in that Oklahoma ranks as a top-10 team in limiting fantasy points it is reasonable to not like the situation a lot. Serge is a nightly dub-dubber these days and he’s achieved the feat in his last eight games but he’s needed more than 32 minutes in six of those eight to get there and he was averaging just 22 minutes before getting the starting gig on Dec. 20. Volatile mixture here tonight.
Love: (C) Nikola Jokic, DEN ($10100, vs CHA)
Glad I’m back at picking some Niko. I know, the price is high as hell, but the upside puts you in heaven. The Hornets have between a half and zero big men capable of stopping Jokic and Big Honey is primed to feast on them tonight. Honey. Hornets. I guess it makes sense to an extent. Anyways. Nik is on a four-game streak in which he’s gotten to at least 43 DKFP topping at 72.5 on Jan. 6 in what was his best game of the season (47-8-5-2-1 massive line). Even if he fails to put up the double-double he still stuffs the stat line with gusto and will give you goodies in the shape of dimes, steals and blocks here and there. The 51% shooting from the floor is ridiculously high considering he’s launching 14.6 fga and 4.1 3pa per game. The 1.44 DKFP per minute on the court are hardly seen around the league and only topped by your usual beasts (Harden, Doncic, Bron... but not many more).
Hate: (C) Bam Adebayo, MIA ($8300, vs SA)
I hate when someone says a player is “underperforming considering what he did in the past” while that guy is still putting up big numbers out of context, but that’s not Bam’s case. Not is he just falling short of his potential, he’s just not doing enough for someone with his price. While Bayo scored 20 and 22 to go with 8 and 6 boards in two of his last eight games, the rest of them have seen the big man fall under the 38-DKFP mark nightly. Once a walking dub-dubber, Bam is not there anymore. The points are at around 15 but the boards have dropped from double-digits to close to 8 while the assists have also dropped a bit to 4 per. The numbers are still great and Bam is still a 15-10-4-1-1 player on the year but I’m holding my horses a bit with him at least for the time being.
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!