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) Trae Young, ATL ($10200, at SAS)
The season has been quite an experience around Trae already but all we’ve seen has been Sad Trae. Yesterday news broke that Atlanta is trading for Jeff Teague, and well, not a league winner but I guess that’s a reinforcement of sorts? Does this mean we’re about to watch Happy Trae now? If that’s the case, then I’m all in. Imagine what Sad Trae (29.1 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 8.5 apg, 1.2 spg) can do when turned into Happy Trae (I assume 48.7 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 17.2 apg or something). Now seriously, Trae will always be Ice no matter what. That’s why in this the year 2020 he’s played six games and other than against the Wiz in “limited” minutes (31 still) he’s averaged a massive 61.6 DKFP a game while keeping up a 35-6-10 nightly line. Even in his down game against Washington a week ago he still finished with a pretty nice 19-4-7-2 contribution that got him to 35.5 DKFP. That’s the lowest of lows you’ll get with Trae. Safest play ever. Top-5 player more often than not.
Hate: (SG) Ja Morant, MEM ($8000, vs CLE)
Your heart wants to play Ja but your mind shouldn’t fall for it. This is the first time in the season Mo is priced at $8K. Players valued as highly have averaged north of 40 DKFP per game while Morant is south of 35 through 35 games played. You can go and play him without much trouble because at the end of the day it’s Cleveland and they suck, so that average is a virtual lock for him to get to. But forget about a potentially huge ROI from him. Also: Morant is playing 29.7 mpg on the season, and although he’s logged more minutes than those in his last four games he’s also maintained that average of 30 minutes per for quite a long time before. Don’t rule out an extended pine-ride tonight if Memphis can grab a good lead and the Griz rest Morant for a bit longer than usual.
Love: (SG) Zach LaVine, CHI ($8700, at PHI)
When Young Hollywood plays, Young Hollywood plays. Dumb as it sounds, but you know what I mean. I’m still a non-believer in this guy’s abilities to run a team as the head honcho of the operation, but he’s working hard to prove me wrong, truth be told. It’s been 42 games for him already and his splits of 44/40/83 with an eFG% of 52.4 are all besting his career averages. He’s also improved his numbers in every other cat—seriously, I’m not making that up—and he’s become the leader of a still mediocre Bulls team that maybe has its legit long-term no. 1 in Zachary. If you want to find the moment when LaVine turned it up a notch you probably have to go all the way back to Dec. 9. Since that day (included) he’s averaged 44.8 DKFP per game in 18 played, he’s inside the top-20 performers around the league and he’s posting nightly 28-5-4-1 lines to stuff the stat sheet all across the board. The usage has been bumped up to 34% lately, which doesn’t hurt.
Hate: (SG) Kevin Huerter, ATL ($6700, at SAS)
Our beloved pumpkin had quite the game against Phoenix three days ago posting his first dub-dub (23-15) and falling just two dimes short of a triple-double. That, my friends, was peak-Kev (58.25 DKFP) right there. The only other game in which he was close to such line was against Indy on Jan. 4 but he needed 41 minutes of run and his numbers weren’t that close at 26-6-5 for 45.5 DKFP. Other than that, and even just counting games from Dec. 17 on (the moment when he started to play 30-plus minutes virtually every night) Huerter is more of a middling 30-DKFP player with upside to getting to the high 30s at most if all stars align. The assists will go down with Teague around (not tonight, but still), and the price is getting high for the—most probably low—potential returns.
Love: (SF) DeMar DeRozan, SAS ($8100, at ATL)
Forget about those saying that triples are the only thing that matters these days. DeMore DeRozan uses the mid-range shot, DeMore he thrives. DeDe isn’t giving a crap about analytics and that’s why he’s shooting 15.9 times per game with only 0.6 of those attempts coming from beyond the arc... and he’s keeping up a massive 54.2 field goal percentage on the season! The line on the year through 39 games is at a very delicious 23-5-5-1 but it’s been even better since Dec. 23 when he had one of his best games as a Spur. From that day on, Double-D is averaging 45 DKFP per game, performing like a top-15 player in his slates, and dropping 27-5-6-1 lines nightly. Getting back to the shooting, he’s on a six-game streak of hitting more than 57% of his attempts from the floor and keeping up a massive 65.7 fg% in that span!
Hate: (SF) Josh Richardson, PHI ($6600, vs CHI)
Even with JoJo out and still starting and playing more than 33 minutes in every game since we flipped the calendar page, J-Rich hasn’t been able to amount to anything. Josh’s last six games have him averaging fewer than 30 DKFP and returning almost no value to his fantasy bettors. Quite worrying, in fact, considering the usage has gotten up during that stretch from 22% on the season prior to that to 25% these days. Not a huge jump, but still. The 20 points drop almost nightly, but other than that the boards are low at around 3 per and the dimes are so random ranging from 8 on a superb day to none when things don’t work for him. The 0.87 DKFP per minute on the court are ridiculous and make sense as he’s playing 32.4 mpg yet doing close to nothing in those extended runs.
Love: (PF) Paskal Siakam, TOR ($7900, vs WAS)
It is all confirmed by now. Sure, Pask has missed time and only played 29 games this season, but after getting the ring last year and crowning himself at the top of the NBA this kid is for real for real. Siakam (36.2 mpg) is playing almost as much as Lowry (38.3) which if you have been paying attention to the league averages is ridiculous. Even with that huge number, Spicy P is getting 1.21 DKFP per minute on the court! That, for you slow at math out there, amounts to an average of 44 DKFP per game. Some serious stuff, that is. It’s only been two games since Siakam returned from injury and the outings have been good-not-great with his last game finishing with him at just 37 DKFP. The minutes are getting higher by the day though and he shouldn’t be limited anymore with a very delicious get-right game on tape against the Wiz tonight. The 45-plus DKFP explosion is in serious consideration here.
Hate: (PF) Lauri Markkanen, CHI ($5900, at PHI)
This the Yang to LaVine’s Yin. I don’t believe in anyone carrying a team as true leaders of the bunch, but while Zach is trying his best to make it on these Bulls Lauri is dropping the ball so hard. Markk is playing more than 30 minutes per game and posting a 15-6-1 line on the year, but the overall production is so low for the time of run that he’s at just 0.95 DKFP per minute on the court. That hurts to read. In the past month or 12 games, whatever you prefer, the Finnisher has been far from that: Lauri has reached more than 35 DKFP only once and averaged a paltry 27 DKFP in the rest of his games... He’s barely inside the top-70 players of the year and has performed out of that range in his last five games on average; normal considering the drop in minutes and stats during that span.
Love: (C) Domantas Sabonis, IND ($8600, vs MIN)
Back to Domination with my favorite Fake American Dom Sabonis Jr. Been a while since the last time I called his name, but here we are again. Reasonable, considering he’s this close to reaching the 40-game mark on the season yet still hitting 53% of his 13.7 shots from the field while dub-dubbing with 18-13 averages this year. Those numbers don’t look as good as those of other true big men out there, but Sab can do it all and is padding his line with 4.3 apg and 1.4 stocks. Maybe the KAT comes back one day, who knows, but it won’t be today, so there’s that in Domas favor too. Eight-game streak of breaking the 35-DKFP barrier with seven of those eight games watching him reach at least 43 (!) and three of the last four into the 50s (!!) for good measure. Walking with dub-dub with triple-double upside if the dimes are bumped up just a couple of ticks on any given night.
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!