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) Eric Bledsoe, MIL ($6300, vs BOS)
There is not a lot to love about Eric-B if you look at his numbers over the season, but I don’t the points of this slate all look so weak. Don’t get fooled by Bledsoe’s last outing against the Knicks, as the Bucks had a 25-point lead at halftime and basically let the Walking Muscle rest so he only logged 21 minutes on the night (thus the low 23 DKFP). Prior to that game, EB had played in back-to-back 41- and 42-DKFP games that saw him stuff the stat sheet to the tune of 24-4-5-1-1 and 29-4-3-0-2 lines very much in line with what should be expected from him on his average 30-minute dose. The usage is never too bad floating the 25% and the points are more often on the north-side of 15 than south of it. The price is very low and although Bled is averaging just 30 DKFP since coming back from injury on Dec. 30 he’s shown that he’s able to put on an average of 40 DKFP if he hits his peak-level—which he did for a long stretch spanning three weeks in November by averaging 39 DKFP and playing like a top-30 performer.
Love: (SG) Devin Booker, PHO ($9000, at NYK)
At the risk of paying for someone that rides the pine just because the Knicks suck—read the blurb on Bledsoe, Eric—you have to ride the massive hot streak DeBoo is currently carrying. In all but one of his last 10 games Book has cooked to at least 42 DKFP including six games in the 50s and a very delicious 56-DKFP explosion two days ago against Atlanta (39 points, 7 boards, 3 dimes, 2 steals, 52.2 fg%, 13 fta/ftm, 39.5% usage rate). That last game isn’t far from average-Booker, truth be told. Kid’s been incredible all year long and his 10-game run has him playing as a top-10 player in the whole league. Going back to Dec. 27, only four players (Luka, LeBron, Vucevic, Harden) have racked up more fantasy points than him in the last two weeks and change and Dev did so playing fewer games than two of them. Again, the Knicks stink, but the potential for another 50-point outcome is as real as it gets.
Hate: (SG) Donovan Mitchell, UTA ($7400, at NO)
DoMi’s price may look surprisingly low to you, but check the numbers and you’ll find a very solid reason for the drop. The Pelicans are a cupcake and are allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to the opposition this season, but this Spida has been far from scary lately. It’s been seven games those he’s played since Dec. 30 and only once did he break for more than 36 DKFP... He’s even had a 14-fantasy point performance against Charlotte the other day. Shaking my head. Mitchell has been a monster on the full season with an average of 39 DKFP a night and a 24-4-4-1 line, but those marks are not even remotely close to his last ones. In the aforementioned seven-game span Mitch has dropped his scoring more than five points while his boards are down in half. The shooting has regressed too with a paltry 39.4 fg% in his last four games compared to his 46% on the year. Probably just a silly slump, but meaningful enough to fade him until he gets back on track.
Love: (SF) Khris Middleton, MIL ($7300, vs BOS)
Pretty much as every Buck the other night against the Knicks, K-Midd got rested big time and only logged 21 minutes of playing time. No worries, though, as prior to that forced-stinker he had reached the 40-fantasy goodies three games in a row. Those 41-, 51-, and 40-DKFP performances came just a week after having another four-game streak in which he also finished each of those games in the 40s. Khris has been heating up since Xmas and is now a 39-DKFP nightly averager playing like a top-25 player in the league since then. In that span of 11 games going back to Dec. 25 Khris’ shooting has been exactly in the Middle at 50.4%, which is more than great—he’s shot 75%, 64.7%, and 66.7% from the floor in his last three! The points are racking up quickly to an average of 22 ppg, the boards sit at 6.3 rpg, and the assists are also boosted with an outcome of around 4.4 apg. All of those are improvements on the season numbers and it doesn’t look like they’ll be going down any time soon.
Hate: (SF) Gordon Hayward, BOS ($6400, at MIL)
Beantown is so good that even whiffing on Hayward they’ve always remained as perennial contenders to this point in time. But Hayward is one to hate all the way. Bad luck guy, I know, but he’s never done anything of substance if we’re honest. His price talks about the real player in ways my words can’t describe. Good, not great. Middle-of-the-pack if you push me. The per-minute production is as low as 1.03 DKFP per as he’s logging north of 31 and putting up a 16-6-4 line. As I said, good not great. Plus he’s done that in 23 games compared to the 31 (Kawhi) or more than the rest of players with those averages have played so far. Gordon is no Flash and has yet to reach 40 DKFP this decade even though his minutes have ramped up a bit. All things considered, a bit too random of a guy for my blood.
Love: (PF) Julius Randle, NYK ($8000, vs PHO)
This could be a get-right game if the Randlewus was on any kind of slump, but Julius is full of energy these days. Do you know how good JR has been since Dec. 23? You can’t imagine, don’t lie. Top-13 player in his last nine games with an average of 46 DKFP per game. Lol. What the hell is this thing? You told me my eyes would witness this and I’d have kicked you out of my room in a second, that’s for sure. Back are the days of JR playing more like RJ than anything else. This JR is again a virtual lock for finishing every game with a dub-dub having five in his last seven games. If we give him a little bit of breathing room in the double-digit department, it’s been an eight-game streak in which Randle has finished with at least a 13-8 line in the points and boards cats, and he’s adding around 3.5 dimes per to go with a nightly steal. Somehow the Randlewus is hitting threes on a nightly basis too, something unheard of in the 2010s. The times they are a changin’.
Hate: (PF) Aaron Gordon, ORL ($6000, at LAC)
As cheap as he comes Gordon isn’t probably the worst play you can go for tonight. But check this out: AG got the Magic the W against the Lakers tonight and you’re telling me you trust him doing the same, in back-to-back games, now against the Clips? Check your brain, please. Gordon has been mediocre all year long and he’s not even averaging 30 DKFP on the year. His 13-8-3 line is good all-around but not spectacular in any department, which hurts him well in fantasy terms. When someone gives you good value/ROI yet still can’t break the 35-DKFP barrier you know something is wrong. That’s the problem with Aaron. His price is low but his ceiling is lower. He hasn’t got to 36 DKFP in his last seven games and he barely gets to the 15-8 any day.
Love: (C) Rudy Gobert, UTA ($9200, at NO)
I like to pick big men for nightly slates because virtually all of them are walking stat-padders with fantasy value. I hate to pick big men for nightly slates because the combination of values, and prices, and production, etc. breaks my brain trying to get the best potential play. Differences are so small between these guys I always spend most of my time here doubting myself. Anyways. Gobert is a 15-15 guy on the season, which is to say Gobert is the only 15-15 guy on the season other than big old Dre (Capela is close but nope). Oh by the way Gobert’s team is 27-11 while Dre’s team is 14-26 so yeah, maybe the impact of the former is somewhat a little more important than that of the latter. That doesn’t matter in fantasy so don’t kill me Pistons fans. The Croissant is on a four-game streak of dub-dubbing with 16-16, 15-13, 21-14, and 22-18 lines to which he’s added 3.3 apg, 1 spg, and 2.5 (!) bpg nightly. The shooting in those four has been mental at 78.8% from the floor on a combined 37 shots. The Pels come in hot but Rudy is not up for jokes.
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!