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) Lou Williams, LAC ($7300, at ATL)
It’s been a while since the last time we met, Lou! The Underground GOAT makes his triumphal comeback to the column with a very delicious matchup ahead—with Kawhi resting and PG13 potentially out too, just in case Lou-Will needed more sauce. I’m not discovering anything new here, folks. Lou’s been so Sweet you’d call him Sweet Lou indeed and it’d fit. He’s at 1.14 DKFP per minute on the court, which means he’s producing and being more efficient than guys like DeRozan, Jrue, Mitchell, or Tatum just to name some... The shooting has been ridiculous through 41 games with splits of 43/38/86 on more than 15 fga per game, which is something only three other players are doing midway through the season—Bojan Bog, Kemba, and George. Top-20 performer in January averaging 37 DKFP a night while finishing around 30% of the Clips possessions, and almost a lock to give you north of a 20-4-5 line any day of the week.
Hate: (PG) De’Aaron Fox, SAC ($8300, at DET)
Foxy was hot hot prior to last weekend but then I guess the parties piled up and he got all the way cold in his last couple of games this past Saturday and Monday. Those came against tough Utah and Miami teams, though, so he could rebound a bit against Detroit, but I’d let him marinate for a night or two before playing him, much more considering his sky-high price tag. I mean, we’re talking about $8.3K for a man that is putting up 38 DKFP per game this season, while players averaging that price on the year are posting around 45 DKFP day in and day out. The bump has been ridiculous following those good games he had during the second week of the month, but it’s not worth the risk yet at least to my eyes. Probably going to finish with an easy 20-10 in points and dimes, but the rest of the cats are bouncy and he shot a mediocre 31.8% from the floor two days ago on 22 totally unhealthy attempts.
Love: (SG) Fred VanVleet, TOR ($6600, vs PHI)
This, my friends, is exactly what we love here. Awesome name (FVV)? Check. Great performance levels (38 DKFP per game)? Check. Delicious discount (16th most-expensive player at SG today)? Check, check, triple-murderous-check. Gotta love Fred. VanVleet came back from an absence a couple of games ago but he hasn’t skipped a bit. Sure, he had a booming 48 DKFP game against Minny on Jan. 18 followed by a worse 34 DKFP outing against Atlanta, but he played 28 and 26 minutes respectively so those were still completely reasonably great levels of play. The minutes should be going up sooner rather than later so there’s that. No matter what, FVV still put up lines of 29-4-2-4 and 20-4-2-3 in those two matches and even hit 7 (!) treys against the Wolves. Nothing surprising, though, as he’s averaging 2.7 triples per game on the season and has failed to score at least one only once in the total 33 games he’s played! The usage is very healthy at 26% in his last 10 games the dub-dub is always at reach in the dimes department.
Hate: (SG) Alec Burks, GSW ($6400, vs UTA)
Unreal bump in price after an unreal—and unrepeatable—performance in his last game. ABCD. The algorithm ran the simplest of formulas here, it seems. Burks had his best game on the season against Portland on MLK Day to the tune of 60 DKFP that came via an impossible 33-7-8-1-2 stuffed line. He shot 23 times (he hadn’t shot more than 20 all year long) and his usage reached 27%. He logged a massive 39 minutes, had no turnovers, hit all of his 9 freebies, and just for the shit and jiggles he fouled out. He was basically all around the place, which I’m sorry but I don’t think he is able to do constantly nor showcases his true talent-level. Burks has been an under-30 DKFP per game player on the season... His price is usually closer to $5K than anything else, and even with that the ROI normally comes low as he regularly falls to the 20 DKFP. He can give you some buckets and get inside the 15-to-20 pops scoring, but that’s all. The boards aren’t bad but the assists are random as nothing and the rest of the cats (including his shooting) suck a bit.
Love: (SF) Gordon Hayward, BOS ($5800, vs MEM)
Say hey to Hay, because the occasion well merits it. If you have been reading this you know I’m not a fan of Gordon. He’s a headache and I don’t know how to asses his game. He’s so in the middle, but also he’s so good, but also he’s so bad... Ugh. I think the simplest way to put it is by using his DKFP per minute on the court: 1.01. As bland as it can get. No matter what, though, the averages on the season are good at 16-6-4 with just 1.6 turnovers on a more than high 32 minutes per contest. He’s shooting like he’s never done at 51/36/86 on 12.9 attempts from the floor (4 3pa per) and a couple of free throws. Hay-Day a couple of games ago against Phoenix (22-7-7-1-1), but somehow his price dropped for the match against the Lakers and is now back up even after a meh performance. One has to hope that Memphis fixes him and puts him back at the 40-DKFP mark tonight on another north-of-20-5-5 line at the very least.
Hate: (SF) Robert Covington, MIN ($5900, at CHI)
RoCo keeps making the daily rumor-rounds and whoever ends up with him will get a solid, good-not-great boy. See, this is what happens with Cov: the price is usually low, but the return is never that good. RoCo has started all but one of his 42 games this season but he’s mostly an afterthought on offense using just 18% of his team’s possessions. He’s only shot 20 field goals once this season (two games ago), and he’s averaging half those attempts on the year while dishing out 1.2 dimes per yet turning the ball over 1.5 times a night. That’s not bueno at all. The high steal numbers (1.7 per) and the 12.7 ppg are somehow saving him, but he’s not doing anything worth highlighting on a nightly basis so he’s better left aside than put in your lineup. Perhaps if he’s finally moved and lands in a completely different environment he thrives, but he’s already starting and playing more than 29 minutes so I don’t envision any major improvement.
Love: (PF) Zion Williamson, NO ($5000, vs SA)
ZION. SZN. HAS. ARRIVED. ZION. SZN. IS. ON. I don’t care if Zion is priced at $5K, or at $25K today. I knew I was going to play him. I have been waiting 13 goddamn weeks for this moment when I was told I was going to have to wait just six of them. You have been waiting for this too. Your father has too, even if he hasn’t told you. You know it. I know it. Everybody knows it. First pro-game of Zion’s magnificent, never-ending, GOAT-esque 30-year career which starts tonight in the very own town of New Orleans. Wash your eyes and sit in front of the TV for five straight hours tonight, pre- and post-match coverage included, because we’re witnessing history. God bless.
Hate: (PF) Jaren Jackson Jr., MEM ($6500, at BOS)
Remember when JJJ hit 9 treys to help him get to a massive 43 points? That happened all the way back on Dec. 13! It’s been more than a month. Seriously. I can’t believe it myself, but I’m not making this up. Don’t panic if you’re part of the Grizz fanaticada, though, as Memphis can’t be playing better with what they have available, which is a bunch of youngins that as things look these days came ready to fight whoever is willing to step in their way from day one. Triple-J had a good start to 2020 but he’s lowered his level during his last five games, and you can consider that a reasonably long stretch of games that spans from Jan. 10 to Monday. The points have stayed high at 17.8 per, though the 3.4 boards and 0.8 dimes are down compared to the season averages of 4.8-1.5. The stocks are sweet, though, at 2.1 on the year and 1.1 in the last five, but overall the return hasn’t been great with an average of 28.5 DKFP. Better times must be ahead, but when will they come I can’t tell.
Love: (C) LaMarcus Aldridge, SAS ($6800, at NO)
As a coward cover-play, I’m going to give you Zion’s counterpart tonight in LaMar. Ha! Kind of cheating, I know, but he comes so cheap and he’s playing so well that you gotta take advantage of it all. The torrid mid-to-late December run obviously slowed down a bit once we flipped the calendar page but no matter what LMA has scored himself more than 35 DKFP in his last three. He’s keeping up the 20-plus points per game, has stayed on point from long range with at least a three-pointer in his last 14 (!) and he’s averaging a good 18-6-2-1-1 line since we welcomed the new decade. His usage has gone all the way up to 28% on average in his last three games topping at a massive 35.2% three games ago against Atlanta before he fouled out after getting to 28 minutes of run. As always, the Spurs will find a way to make the playoffs and they’re in a position where I’m starting to doubt if they’ll move either LMA and DeDe or just run and squeeze them. Maybe that’s the best for all parts involved.
Hate: (C) Derrick Favors, NO ($6700, vs SAS)
Both Favors and Okafor are questionable to play tonight, which is reason enough to fade them provided they might not be at their full levels. On top of that, Zion is back and even on limited minutes (god forbid), he will be another interior body to feed on offense and taking minutes from Derrick on defense too. Let’s say he won’t be making D no Favors tonight. The last couple of games from DF have been massive, though—21-11-3-2-3 and 22-11-3-1 against Utah and the Clippers respectively—so keep his name in the Love column for the next few games if/once Zion settles in the lineup and we know more about how the new Pels approach their game going forward.
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!