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) Devonte’ Graham, CHA ($8200, at CLE)
I’m writing this in the very real year 2020 folks, which means you have run out of excuses to believe this Graham is very Golden and tasty. Okay, okay, I might be getting a little bit ahead of myself, but Devo will be debuting in this new decade tonight and who better to have an explosion that the always-helping Cavs? To close 2019 Cereal had a three-game run of reaching 42-plus DKFP against Boston (23-4-10 line with 6 treys), OKC (15-9-13-1), and Memphis (16-4-10). In his last game on New Year’s Eve, he fell to 30 DKFP but still was able to finish the day with an 11-4-7-1-1 all-across-the-board performance and it’s been five games in a row in which Devo has dropped at least 3 triples. The double-double threat is more present than ever and although he needed a super-extended run of minutes (46) against OKC he was this close to his first triple-double falling just one board short of it. Surefire star in the freaking making.
Hate: (PG) Dejounte Murray, SAS ($6000, vs OKC)
I’d be lying if I tell you that I truly hate Murray. At the bottom of my heart, I love him, and I only hope he becomes the next-great Spur. Dejo had a great start to the season even on limited minutes but from the second week of November to this day he hasn’t done a lot even with the minutes ramping up lately to around 28 per game. The production isn’t horrid (1.15 DKFP per minute on the floor) but he just doesn’t cut it for a nightly play. Murray is a 10-to-15 points scorer at his best, and he will give you the 5-5 on the boards and dimes departments almost nightly, but that’s it. The ceiling is low and all of his efficiency is uber-limited because of the short playing time. Sucks, because he’s the only player in the L averaging a 10-5-4-1 line on fewer than 28 minutes on the season (Dejo’s averaging 23.8 mpg this whole year) and I’m pretty convinced he could keep it up on extended runs.
Love: (SG) Spencer Dinwiddie, BKN ($8300, at DAL)
Do you know this guy named Kyrie? So 2010’s. It’s Spicy D time, baby! No joke in Widdie making the All-Star on pure merit and straight balling, because Spence is thriving in a leading role with these Nets. I love Kyrie’s handles, and I can spend 24 hours glued to my laptop’s screen watching his tapes on YouTube, but I could care less about his comeback while Dinwiddie is keeping up this mental level of play. Spence is a 23-3-6 player on the season, is shooting almost 18 shots per game and hitting 42.5% of them from the floor and he’s also going to the charity stripe a massive 7.4 times per while putting 80.1% of his attempts through the rim. The usage hasn’t been lower than 36.5% (!) since Dec. 15, he’s scored 24-plus points in every December game but two, he’s cooked 41, 39, and 36 chicken wings in three of his last six games, and he even dub-dubbed against Houston on Dec. 28 while falling two assists short of the feat against Minny on Dec. 30 to close his 2019. Dinwiddie is as real as they get.
Hate: (SG) Damion Lee, GSW ($6600, at MIN)
Quick reminder: Damion Lee is on a two-way contract, which is unguaranteed, which means Golden State will either have to drop him to the G League ranks or find a place for him in the roster by kicking another fool out of the building via trade. The Dubs are determined to keep him on the NBA roster, though, so bye-bye Marquese, I guess. Anyways. This guy has exploded lately but the Warriors suck and I can’t explain how Lee has done it with a measly under-20% usage rate in virtually all of his starts since Dec. 15. His last four games have been his best: 19 points, 11 boards, and 3 assists per. His prior four (also starting) went for an average line of 13-6-4. His first 12 games of the season, though, look much closer to what Damion really is: a middling 10-4-2 performer stuck in a team that just due to sheer lack of assets is running with him. Lee has been hot as hell on the shooting department hitting 52.4% of his shots from the floor in his last four... Now tell me you trust this going forward and I’ll tell you I met an alien the other day in my granny’s basement.
Love: (SF) Paul George, LAC ($8800, vs DET)
Lots of time since I picked one of Kawhi or PG here, but I guess it’s that wonderful time of the year. If you can name the starting five of the Pistons, kudos to you because you truly earned them. No matter how many minutes George is on the floor tonight, you know what will happen. PG13 is averaging 1.31 DKFP per minute, which makes sense considering his 23.6 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 3.8 apg, and 1.5+0.5 spg+bpg. The shooting can’t get much much better with 42/38/92 splits on the season while launching 18 shots overall, more than 9 from three, and 5 from the line. Young Trece couldn’t think of a better way to wave goodbye to 2019 than dropping back-to-back dub-dubs on the Jazz and Spurs, falling just one dime short of the trip-dub on Dec. 31. Massive line that one with 21 points, 11 boards, 9 assists, and 3 steals in 40 minutes of playing time. The lead-up to Xmas day was a little cold with outcomes in the 22-to-33 DKFP range, but Pauly has been heating up in his last two to the tune of 41- and 57-DKFP performances that sound like music to my ears entering 2020.
Love: (PF) LaMarcus Aldridge, SAS ($7600, vs OKC)
Keep sleeping on LaMarcus... LMAO. Aldridge is priced at the exact same value as on Dec. 31 even after finishing with a 17-12-4 line and 3 blocks against Golden State, and after putting on a massive 25-12 effort (with 5 treys) against Detroit just three days earlier. Whoever is coding the algorithm doesn’t know crap, and I rejoice. You should, too. LMA has been nuts since the start of last month: 42.9 DKFP per game, top-20 performer nightly, and all of that while finishing less than 25% of the team’s plays in all but three games. Odds are LaMar will end any given night closer to the 45 DKFP than he is to finish a game on the 30-or-under side of it. Not a perennial dub-dubber yet on the year (19.4 ppg and 7.7 rpg) but one in the month of Santa averaging 21 points and 10 boards since Dec. 6. The shooting efficiency is nuts at 54% in his last seven games while attempting 11-plus shots in each of those games and up to 25 against Memphis—and he hit 68% of them including 3 triples!
Love: (C) Andre Drummond, DET ($9800, at LAC)
“Oh, dude, Andre Drummond is so 90s...” Straight bullshit. I want Dre in my team every. Single. Night. This guy is keeping Detroit from folding and becoming a G League team. Drum is magic on the court, big-man essence dripping on the Pistons floor night in and night out, the image of a walking double-double embedded in Motown. On the year, Dr. Dre is averaging the cleanest of dub-dubs to the tune of 17.9 ppg and 15.9 rpg. He’s adding 2.8 assists, 2 steals, and 1.8 blocks to that. The shooting is magnifique at 54.2% on 13.7 fga and he’s still keeping a relatively average usage of 24.7%. We’ve come to a point in which watching Drummond finishing a game with a 20-15 is disappointing, which let me tell you is close to stuff only Harden—scoring fewer than 45 points nightly—or Westbrook—not averaging a trip-dub every day—made our brains thought. Seriously serious player here.
Hate: (C) Nikola Jokic, DEN ($9100, at IND)
No one Jokic stan here, I must say. Homer in that too as he’s the heart of the team I call mine even having never visited Denver and living planets away from even USA as a whole. Whatever. Jokic has been on the low to close 2019 with two 33- and 34-DKFP performances against Sacto and Houston. He still put on 17/21-8-4 pretty similar lines only different on that 4-point different, which look good to me, but he left his late-average dub-dubs out of the equation and that sucked. In fact, Jokic had not only put some double-doubles on the table but actually more than a few triple-doubles on the month. Little valley here he’s going through, it looks like. No Joke, so I’m better off him for now and even more today against a pretty big Indy team with both Domas and Myles in the paint and stretching the floor potentially tiring an already always-looking-tired Big Honey. Now he will go and score himself a 50-DKFP night. Meh, at least in that case I would celebrate as a Nuggs fan, I guess.
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!