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) Will Barton, DEN ($7600, vs IND)
If you are living under a rock you may not know Jamal Murray is injured. What you probably know even if you live at the bottom of the ocean is that Denver is the third-best team in the NBA (sorry but I had to write that; I’m just another homer). Add that couple of things together and you have a very delicious pick in Barton who is now taking on a heavier role with the Jam out of the toast—Gary Harris is confirmed out too, just in case you needed more reasons to play Will-B. Barton’s last game was all fireworks from the minutes (43) to the points (31), the triples (7), and the rest of the line (5-7-1-1) with fantasy goodies all across the board. Consider that one an outlier if you want, but it’s not far from the average Willy performance. In his 13 games since Dec. 22 he’s averaging 35 DKFP and he broke that mark in seven matches (in fact, two low stinkers drop his average a ton and with those out of the 13-game span he’d be averaging a much better-looking 40 DKFP). The field goal attempts were going up before the injures to around 15 per game, so they’re bound to keep rising even more now. Same with the usage and the rest of the stats in every cat. Sure-fire play these days.
Love: (SG) Jimmy Butler, MIA ($8200, at SAS)
I won’t make you waste any time here: Butler is averaging the 17th-most DKFP on the season. His average price in the 36 slates he’s been part of is of exactly $8.2K. San Antonio’s position in the most-DKFP given up to the opposition leaderboards is seventh. You can’t go wrong with a guy on a relatively “cheap” price for his production, going against a team that gives up tons of fantasy goodies on a nightly basis, and having a season for the ages playing for a very surprising great team in Miami. This Butler is serving his bettors nicely and he’s become a virtual dub-dubber lately. Going back to Dec. 20 (12-game span), Jimmy has had three official double-doubles, five games in which he missed on the feat by either 2 points/rebounds/assists, an official triple-double, and another game in which he finished with a 25-9-9-2-1 line. The 20-7-6-2 Jimmer is averaging on the season is pretty unique and only LeBron (26-7-11-1), Luka (29-10-9-1), and Russ (25-8-7-2) are close or beating it. All of those three usually come $1K-to-$3K more expensive than JB, by the way...
Love: (SF) T.J. Warren, IND ($6000, at DEN)
The low-key winning-pick of the day. Warren was a G to start the season and he regulated big-time during a torrid November stretch in which he played like a top-50 player in the league, far from expectations. Can’t lie about Warren, though, and the truth is he’s been a bouncy player all year long. Slowly but surely he keeps improving nightly and since Dec. 23 he’s averaged 32 DKFP compared to 26 prior to that. It’s been like that since day one. The progress is there and keeps growing. T.J.’s last five games have gone for at least 12-plus points each (including 21- and 28-point performances) and he’s averaged a nice 4-2-1-1 in the rest of the cats. The shooting has improved in that span getting up to 55.4% from the floor on a good diet of 14 attempts per night. On 33 minutes of run against the Wolves at home two days ago Warren had his best game since Jan. 6 going for a 28-5-2-1-1 all-across the board performance that included 3 triples and the third-highest usage rate of his season going back to early December. This is the Warren we want and expect to keep watching.
Love: (PF) LaMarcus Aldridge, SAS ($6900, vs MIA)
Aldridge’s three-pointers in his first 26 games: 14. Aldridge’s three-pointers in his last 12 games: 31. LMAO. Since LMA dropped three long-range bombs for the first time this season against Memphis back on Dec. 23 (40 points that night with a season-high 65.75 DKFP) he has never finished a game without a three-pointer to his name. That, again, is a 12-game streak and counting already. Aldridge is averaging 20 ppg, 7.8 rpg, and 2.3 apg in that span. He’s blocked two or more rocks in half of those games, is shooting 50.3% from the floor even with those increased long-range attempts and he’s basically turned himself into a top-30 player averaging 40 DKFP per game. LaMar wasn’t bad prior to get into the hipster trend of shooting from beyond the arc, but this Dridge 2.0 is a much well-rounded guy no matter how you look at him.
Love: (C) Nikola Jokic, DEN ($9600, vs IND)
This is what boomers call a bad season these days, folks: 19.2 ppg, 9.9 rpg, 6.4 apg, 0.9 spg, 0.6 bpg, 2.7 turnovers, 51/33/80 shooting splits, 59.1 TS%, 7.4 NET rating. Oh, yeah, he’s under 60% true shooting! And he’s under 35% from three! And under 10 rebounds and not even averaging a steal per game! What a shame! Shaking my head... Big Honey is snowballing into the crew of boomers bashing his game, he’s got the 15th-highest DKFP per game average in the league (45 DKFP) while having played in 41 games already (of those above him only Lillard, Drummond, and Giannis have 41-plus games played), the eighth-highest tally of total fantasy points, and he’s averaged 52 DKFP in his last six games. This has been his line in those games: 26-10-7-1-1. All of those numbers are over his season-averages, not to mention he’s shot 56.5% from the floor in those and hit 2.1 triples per game (13 total). I’m sorry but we’re not buying this “bad season” talk here.
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!