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) D’Angelo Russell, GSW ($7600, at POR)
No matter where he is playing by season’s end, Russell will always be one to DLove. Only four games since coming back from injury with a middling stinker against Dallas (26 DKFP) but other than that this Russ is the real deal. In this late run of three games (excluding the one against the Mavs) DLo has put up 26.3 ppg, 4 rpg, 8.3 apg, and 1.3 spg with a 30 percent usage rate. Russell keeps being the only viable playmaker the Warriors can use nightly and it shows. Even in his lowest of nights such as that against Dallas he was a couple of dimes short of dub-dubbing, so just imagine. The points are almost always in the 20-to-30 clip with upside for the high-30s if all goes nicely and the assists don’t usually drop from 6 or 7 per night. The threes are unique to DLo as he’s hitting 3.4 of them per game and he already has scored 15 long-range bombs combined in three of his last four outings averaging five per in those games.
Hate: (PG) Ricky Rubio, PHO ($8000, vs SAS)
I’m starting to really dislike Papa Rubio and the algorithm is making it even easier. Look, Ricky has been priced higher and higher for four consecutive games while starting at $6.8K. That’s a $1.2K already and all he’s done is having one good great game (65 DKFP) sandwiched between two duds (27 and 28 DKFP). The problem is that RR is no Rolls-Royce these days as to be priced like one. Since the start of the year, Ricky has played eight games and his average fantasy points sit at 35 DKFP. That is the real Ricky, not the 65-point one. The averages on the month for all of the cats are rather low with an 11-5-10-2 line that while is still keeping him at a dub-dub pace is far from real given that the points are super bumped by his 25-pops outing a couple of games back against the stinky Knicks. Without that one he’d be averaging a ridiculously low 8.7 ppg and given his usage rate is at a season-low 18% these days I don’t think there is a lot to love here. Super low ROI only worth it if he explodes, which... Nope.
Love: (SG) Devin Booker, PHO ($8600, vs SAS)
Hard to think of anyone hotter than Dev. He’s rewarding his bettors with 49 DKFP per night since Dec. 27 and that means he’s been doing so for 12 games already and counting. Counting because this run seems to have no stop. Take Book’s last game against Boston: almost 41 minutes squeezed to the limit in which he dropped 39 on the Celtics foreheads, added 10 boards, 9 assists, and 2 steals, shot 60% from the floor on 20 (!) attempts, scored 14 of his 15 freebies and logged only a 30.8% usage rate. And even with that the 69 DKFP weren’t his best tally of the season! Crazy. Booker has only dropped from 41 DKFP once in his last 12 matches. He toyed with the triple-double against Boston falling just one assist short (he also was that close against Minny back in November) so he’s shown he’s got it in him and that it’s only a matter of time before it happens.
Love: (SF) LeBron James, LAL ($10800, at BOS)
Sorry to let you down. I know, I know. I know Bronny Sr. comes with the über-high price tag today, but man is there a day when he deserves it more? Boston is depleted for real tonight. Jaylen and Kemba are questionable. Rondo is down for the Lakers and Anthony Davis also has a Q attached to his name for today’s showdown. The Lake Show will be the Bron Show more than ever. Let the King eat in peace. Not that I’m going to provide any info you don’t already know here, but here’s the scoop: 56 DKFP per game on the season, and 1.60 per minute on the court. 26-8-11-1 line on the year, which is something only Russ did in his trip-dub seasons and Harden in 2017—they did at between 27 and 29 years of age; LeBron is 35. Top-12 players in his 40 DK slates this season, top-6 in the 35 slates he’s played more than 30 minutes. His worst combined line of the season would be 13 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists; only 36 players in the whole NBA (min. 30 games played) are averaging more than that line on the season. Goddamn, son, I think I’m going to pass out.
Hate: (SF) Draymond Green, GSW ($5700, at POR)
You can’t hate a lot on someone with this price, but consider this a warning. All the way back to when Steph went down and Green had to take the bull by the horns along with DLo to run the Warriors I already posed the question: will Dray take on the do-it-all, caring-papa role, or will Dray take on the smashing-bulldozer one? Turned out more often than not he’s playing the caretaker part. Not that it’s bad for the real-life Warriors, but for fantasy owners and players it’s a deal-breaker. Green’s virtual 8-6-6-2 line is as special as it gets with just another nine superstars (seriously, check the names if you want to) averaging those four numbers in the respective cats. The problem with Dray is that those are very low outings that are only getting him to 1.0 DKFP per minute on the court while playing under 30 per game on the season... All of those other players are putting up double digits in at least one cat, something Green isn’t. Definitely a 5-5-5 walking machine, but nothing more than that.
Love: (PF) Domantas Sabonis, IND ($7900, at UTA)
Don’t focus on the matchup, focus on the delicious run. Yes, Domas dropped an egg against Minny three days ago but he only played 25 minutes so he’s forgiven. God bless Sab’s soul. This towering man is making Myles look tiny, literally and figuratively. Domas has played 10 games since Dec. 28 and he’s gone for 43 or more DKFP in eight of them. His current level is outstanding. He’s a certified dub-dub with nine in that 10-game span and 32 on the season (40 games played). Those would be 33... only that the last one turned into a triple-double against Denver yesterday to the tune of a 22-15-10 performance shooting 62.5% from the floor in 40 minutes (!) of run. Sab Jr. has been incredible this season and I don’t think many folks expected this jump. Such is Dom’s season that he’s a top-20 player in his slates and only one of seven guys averaging at least 43 DKFP while having played at least 40 games.
Love: (C) Deandre Ayton, PHO ($8300, vs SAS)
The sky is finally opening for Ayton and he’s about to find his place in Heaven. I only hope this is for real for real. It’s been 11 games since coming back, so let’s review what this volcanic volcano has done. 10 of 11 games getting to at least 30 DKFP? Good-not-great. Six of 11 getting to at least 40 DKFP? Great. Back-to-back 59- and 52-DKFP outings? The choir of angels has just arrived and it comes full of trumpets and delicious melodies, my men. Deandre’s last two games have gone for 26-21 and 26-15 points and boards. No matter if he doesn’t get anything else, that’s already insane. Ayton would have dub-dubbed in every game since coming back had he not missed on the feat three points (Dec. 30), or just one board in three other occasions. So yeah, you read that right, DA is averaging 17.6 ppg and 12.3 rpg. Those are basically mini-Drummond numbers, or Giannis-like stats as Ayton is shooting more and better than any other biggie around the Association. Seriously, I only hope he stays at this level because it’s a pleasure.
Love: (C) Hassan Whiteside, POR ($7500, vs GSW)
If you’re not a poetic lover and Ayton is not someone who convinces you, here’s your double dose of love at the Center position—pro tip: Ayton comes as a PF/C so you can play both him and Hassan! Whiteside goes against a D-II team in these Warriors tonight and CeeJay Mac is questionable to play. If you don’t care about “fools that don’t put on the necessary effort on the court” but definitely care about fantasy goodies, Hassan is your man. The 15-14 pairing ain’t going nowhere anytime soon. Whiteside will keep blasting stat lines and putting up double-doubles for as long as he has tow functioning legs and a long pair of arms. Even his worst nights the dub-dub is always close to going his way, just imagine...
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!