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) Collin Sexton, CLE ($6500, vs WAS)
The fact that the Cavaliers are the fourth-worst team in the league definitely must be giving Sex the impression he can shoot his shoes every night. Sex is shooting a Ton of rocks per game (16.3) and averaging 19.1 ppg, which is definitely not bad, but the fact that he plays in a sinker is killing him. He’s only racking up 2.4 dimes per and the boards are at 3.3. All in all, the overall numbers aren’t that bad and CoSex is the youngest—along with Shai, Trae, and Tatum—player in the league averaging a 19-3-2-1 line of the 33 doing so on the season. Washington stinks probably even more than Cleveland, which means he could be in for a good explosion. Since entering 2020 Sexton is averaging 33 DKFP and performing like a top-35 player in the slates he’s been part of. That is not bad. The points are almost always over 25 on a healthy diet of almost 20 attempts per game lately, he’s hit every single goddamn freebie he’s shot in the last five games (14 total) and the usage has been bumped all the way up to 31.2% in the last four games—he’s played 33-plus minutes in the last three.
Hate: (PG) Darius Garland, CLE ($5500, vs WAS)
And at the other end of the Cavs spectrum... no man’s Land. Garius Darland comes way cheaper than Sexton, but it is logical given his horrific rookie season. He’s giving his bettors no more than 22 DKFP per game on the year while playing 30 minutes a night, which means... he’s barely getting 0.70 DKFP per minute on the court. Shaking my head. Cleveland has nothing to lose, in fact, they probably want to lose even more, and Garland is definitely helping them reaching the deepest of depths. Although he’s finally found his way to finishing every night with double-digit points, that’s pretty much all he’s doing. He can help you with some triples, which he’s been great at hitting (35.5% on a high 5.2 attempts per), but the dimes and boards aren’t so good at 3.6 and 2.0 per considering the time of run. And I haven’t mentioned the 2.7 turnovers, which make things even worse.
Love: (SG) Bradley Beal, WAS ($7700, at CLE)
What happens when you pick up a blender, throw in a little bit of stinky defense, and pour a good dose of a smooth liquid shooter? You get plenty of fantasy goodies! That blender, by the way, was supposed to represent Beal and his matchup against Cleveland tonight. Just in case. Beal is playing a staggering 35.5 mpg only bested by seven other fools in the Association. He’s making the most of them, though. The DKFP per minute on the court are sitting at 1.27 through 36 games, which is ridiculously high given the run, and he’s getting there to the tune of a very delicious 27-4-6-1 line on par with those of Harden, Dame, Trae, Luka... and that’s it. This Beal was out for a while after Jan. 1 but since he came back he’s been cooked to the perfect point: five games played, minutes bumped up nightly until topping at 38 against Miami yesterday, scoring numbers getting up and up, etc. In that game yesterday Brad got to 59 DKFP on a 38-9-5-1 effort shooting 66.7% from the floor (24 shots, no less!), hitting his four freebies, and scoring a couple of treys just to put the cherry on top of the Beal.
Love: (SF) Tim Hardaway Jr., DAL ($4700, at POR)
The Mavs came out of nowhere—actually they came out of some Eastern Europe country, I guess—and are right there more than fighting for the playoffs. Not saying Luka or even Porz aren’t the main win-feeders, but Timmy is also doing his part. Since getting the nod as a starter (that was all the way back on Nov. 20) he hasn’t look back and has been a fixture in the starting five every single night. He’s keeping up a virtual 16-3-2-1 line since then in the 27 games he’s played and averaging 26 DKFP. I know, I know. Those are pretty bad numbers for fantasy owners, but consider his price for a second. The upside is massive every night and even more going forward with Dallas making it official that Luka will be rested in first- and third-quarters to keep him as fresh as possible. You don’t need to look far from this very day to find some booming Hard performances: just last Friday Timmy got to 37.5 DKFP after dropping 29 pops (5 triples included) on Portland while grabbing 4 boards. And he didn’t even log an assists! Just imagine what could happen if all stars align... and in case you missed on it he did that against the very same team he’s facing again tonight.
Hate: (SF) Kyle Kuzma, LAL ($4600, at BKN)
I didn’t understand the Lakers’ position of not wanting to trade Kuzma before. I did even less now that I’ve studied this fool’s numbers. Look, if you’re a member of any basketball FO, no matter if it’s the Lakers’ or whatever, you don’t get attached or don’t trade players because they are “draft success stories”. What the hell... Kuzma is averaging 13.1 ppg, 4 rpg, 1 apg on the year while shooting 43/36/74. Those numbers are bad. Plain and simple. He’s doing so in almost 25 minutes of playing time. That saves him a bit, as no other player is getting there in those minutes, but even with that, the efficiency is as low as it gets. In fact, the names that pop on the list of players with that average line just bumping up the minutes to around 27 or 28 includes names such as Bledsoe, Herro, JJJ, Middleton, Harrell, etc... which are putting up massively higher stats. If anyone comes calling for Kuzma you pack him in a hurry and rocket him toward Mars. Somehow there seem to be fools out there liking him...
Love: (PF) Davis Bertans, WAS ($5000, at CLE)
So it’s been half a season already and 34 games for our friend Bertans in his coming-out party of a year. After that number of matches, playing 29.2 mpg, it is more than fair to say this guy can shoot for a living: the splits don’t lie at 43/42/88 while logging 11.5 fga, 8.7 3pa, and 1.9 fta per game. Obviously, the points aren’t super high because the usage is mediocre at 17.9% and the minutes aren’t crossing the 30-mark barrier, but the efficiency is sublime. Other than that DB is upgrading his database nightly with averages of 4.7 boards, 1.7 dimes, and 1.2 stocks while turning the ball over less than once per game. The current version of Bertans might not please you a ton, as he’s far from the early-season one, but just yesterday he showed what he can be up to any day: 24 points on the Heat on 32 minutes of run including 4 triples, a rebound, 4 assists, a steal, and a block to stuff the line all across the board. The usage, logically, sat at a high 29.7% and we can only hope it gets there on a daily basis to get the full Bert experience.
Hate: (PF) Carmelo Anthony, POR ($6000, vs DAL)
The hype finally died, folks. Melo came, put the league on fire, burned Twitter feeds, and after 30 games he’s just another boomer playing a heavy-not-productive role in a team struggling to make anything of substance. It was something we should have expected, though. Melo is playing more than 32 minutes per game, which is basically nuts considering his 0.90 DKFP per minute on the court. Sure, the points keep somewhat up at 16.2 per, and the boards aren’t bad at 6.3 a night, but other than that he’s not doing too much. The fact that Tony is a top-50 performer on average is pretty incredible and I didn’t expect it, to be honest, so I guess he’s at least doing something right here and there. The points are far from the nightly 20-“explosion” and closer to the mid-teens than anything else, and the boards are as bouncy as they can get lately (he’s gone from 2 to 11 to 6 to 12 to 5 to 4 to 9 in his last seven games...). Such random production is not worth the risk of a very rich $6K for someone that can as easily put up 40 DKFP as he can go and have a 10-DKFP dud the next day.
Love: (C) Hassan Whiteside, POR ($8800, vs DAL)
Hassanity in the building! Even if you don’t pay tons of attention to the media fools out there, you still know every single soul is blaming Whiteside for his lack of effort, this, and that. To hell with them, I say! Not only is Hassan dropping nightly 15-15 lines, but he’s also blocking shots like a mad man lately: a combined 15 (!) in his last three with a 5-4-6 streak against Dallas, OKC, and Golden State. That, my friends, is insane. The next guy in blocks since Jan. 17 is Jakob Poeltl with 10 in four games. As stupid as it might sound, no one has logged 15 total blocks other than Hassan going all the way back to Jan. 11. That is ridiculous. What took Lopez, Collins, Poeltl, and Gobert six or seven games Hassan did in his last three, in a span of four days, including a back-to-back on the road. The worst of Whiteside games can see him finish with 25 DKFP, sure, but he’s gotten fewer than 30 DKFP in just eight of his total 41 games and did so just three times since mid-November!
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!