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) Chris Paul, OKC ($7400, vs ATL)
Welcome to Point God’s World, a wonderful universe in which the older you get, the better you play! The Rockets thought Russ was the solution CP3 never was for them and welp, turns out CP3 is being the actual answer to OKC’s playoff questions. Pauly is averaging a massive 17-5-6 line on the year playing almost 32 minutes per. Players doing that in the league: eight including Paul and Steph (four games played though...). Players doing that at age 34 or more: Paul and LeBron. Chris is for real, folks. CP has been a top-35 performer on the season and a top-25 one in his last 16 games spanning a month. Paul has broken the 45-DKFP mark in three of his last five games, his usage has been north of 28% in his last three games, and in those, he’s averaged an impossible 26-5-5-2 line. Atlanta sucks, so you know what to do.
Hate: (PG) Lou Williams, LAC ($7400, at MIA)
While Lou-Will put up nice lines in his last five games, only one of those was good enough to make him a valuable pick in this DFS thing. He broke for 32 pops, 4 boards, 5 rebounds, 2 steals and a block against New Orleans a week ago, but other than that 52-DKFP performance Lou has been a 30-DKFP averager in that stretch. The price keeps a tad high for that return, truth be told. This is more Sour Lou than Sweet Lou, which one has to hate. Willy is almost a lock to finish every game with 15+ points and more than a 5-5 in the rebounds/assists cats, but that is all he’s doing these days, which doesn’t cut it for his salary. The shooting has been atrocious lately at 32.6% from the floor in his last four on 17 fga per game, and Miami strangles opponents in terms of fantasy production.
Love: (SG) Andrew Wiggins, MIN ($7000, vs HOU)
Maple Jordan is far from his early-season version but this is still an upgraded body of work over what he would have expected from him when asked about it last October. His little drop in production has made him available for a bunch of fewer bucks, which is nice for us. The 22.4 ppg, 5.1 rpg, and 3.7 apg are still high enough, and though he can’t hit a three for the love of God (31.5% on the season), he’s still keeping up a good 44 fg% from the floor on a very healthy diet of 19.2 fga per game. Houston is known for giving away a lot of fantasy goodies, so Andrew might get Wiggy wit it tonight. That would mean extending on his current streak of good performances going back to last Saturday: the average line from his last three games reads 19-7-7 and although the points have gone down lately (blame the KAT coming back) he’s been producing all across the board, including getting a triple-double against Toronto to the tune of 18 pops, 10 boards, and 11 assists to go with a cherry—steal—on top of it.
Hate: (SG) Buddy Hield, SAC ($6900, at CHI)
My Buddy should make some calls and build a circus in town, because his carousel of performances is so bouncy it’d call the attention of all kids around the place. Hield is a man of streaks: he started the season with a 14-game stretch in which he averaged 30 DKFP, then he had a 10-game span averaging 44 DKFP, followed that one with seven games averaging 26 DKFP, entered 2020 averaging 40 DKFP in five games, and is currently at an average of 32 DKFP in his last seven outings. In fact, if we don’t count his 51-DKFP burger against Miami on Jan. 20 (on 42 minutes of run though...) he’d be putting up a horrific 28.5 DKFP per game in his last six. Ugh. Hield is no Buddy Buckets anymore, folks. Sorry to tell you, but that is how things are these days. BH has reached 25 pops only twice in his last 19 (!) games. The rebounds are on a downtrend, the assists have stayed there but he can get you two as easily as seven with total randomness baked in, and the steals are also super unpredictable. Gotta find new Buddies to bolster my circle of friends.
Love: (SF) Marcus Morris, NYK ($6000, vs TOR)
This is more about the what if/upside than anything else. Looking at MaMo’s game log you might think I’m crazy picking him, but hey, don’t be so fast getting to conclusions. Morris is priced at $6K and the average player on that range is rewarding his owner with something nearing the 30 DKFP per night. Morris’ is averaging exactly 31 DKFP per game this season, but he’s shown he can be a tick better than that lately. It’s not been a lot better, but Morris has had more games than not in his last nine in which he has broken for at least 32 DKFP and he’s even reached 40 and 53 in two of them, against Phoenix and the Clippers. With RJ Barrett out injured, the usage will probably be up for MaMo tonight—as it has been the case in the last couple of games—and the minutes should be as higher as they’ve ever been this season (north of 35 guaranteed). The slightest improvement on fantasy points would make for a great return, so I’m betting on Mo tonight.
Hate: (SF) Gordon Hayward, BOS ($6800, at ORL)
The same as I virtually did with Kevin Love back in the day, I’m about to do with Gordon Hay. This case is just not worth paying attention to no more. Seriously. Gordon has not been priced this high since all the way back on Jan. 8, which means he’s been on the $6.6-to-5.8K clip in his last eight games. That changed today, as he comes at a completely unreasonable $1K bump over his last price... after logging a 23-DKFP game against Memphis. Shaking my head. Gordon has averaged fewer than 30 DKFP since the start of 2020, has played as a top-48 player—or put in other words, he’s been worse than a top-30 performer in 10 of his last 12 slates—and all of that while playing north of 33 mpg. The usage is as ugly as it can possibly be (between 17% and 19% more often than not) and while the Celtics are thriving, Hay is on his own fadable wave.
Love: (PF) TJ Warren, IND ($6000, at GSW)
Read Morris’ blurb and flip the names. TJ has been a good-not-great player this year, but he has been steadily improving his numbers as the season has grown older. He’s gone from a top-100 player in October to a top-65 in November, top-55 in December, and now top-35 in January. Although he’s had a couple of duds this month, those came on low-minute, injury-related nights in which he didn’t even reach 24 ticks of the clock. Other than that, though, Warren has regulated and given his bettors the bang for the buck. In those “other” nine games in January, TJ is averaging 35 DKFP while priced at an average $5.7K per game. That return on investment is lovely, believe me. The points are crossing the 20-pops mark almost nightly (22 ppg in the aforementioned span), and it’s also an up-and-up trend for the boards (4.4) and dimes (1.8) when compared to his season line of 18-3-1. Golden State is, well, a stinky team at the very least, so this matchup should keep TJ’s nice month up and running.
Hate: (PF) John Collins, ATL ($8400, at OKC)
Against a depleted Clippers team missing 11 of 12 players or something like that, and without Trae Young in the Hawks lineup, Collins exploded two days ago for a massive 67 DKFP translated to 33 points, 16 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals, and even one block. That was a great game, and something meriting a bump in his price. A bump of this caliber, though? WTF. Collins is a big man and that, in fantasy games out there, is already a win no matter what. I mean, big men are fantasy gods because they rack up points and boards like no one and those are easy-to-come fantasy goodies. But Collins is also a 35-DKFP player on the season, don’t be fooled. Players giving back those points are priced at $6.5K on average, yet here we have Johnny Co. at $2K more. LOL. Trae might miss this one again, but 1) OKC won’t be missing half of its roster and 2) there is no way in hell Collins put up 65-DKFP games.
Love: (C) Clint Capela, HOU ($7600, at MIN)
I love Clint because he’s always the poor’s man overpriced-big-man of the bunch. Only two times has Double-C broken the $8K threshold since Dec. 21, and when tagged below that mark he’s still averaged a great 40 DKFP per game. That, all-season considered, makes him the 7th-most valuable big man in the NBA only behind Hassan, LMA, Domas, Holmes, Vucevic, and Montrezl. If we take into account the DKFP he’s averaging, Cap would be over three of those seven other players, though. That is why Clint is always someone to save your lineup if you’re running out of funds in DFS. Just in January Capela is averaging 40.5 DKFP (eight games played) and has broken for more than that average in four of them even logging a couple of back-to-back 58- and 59-DKFP performances against Philly and Atlanta to kick the month off. He comes from murdering Denver two days ago to the tune of a 14-11 dub-dub with an extra dose of power in the shape of 5 (!) blocks. Sweet Clint.
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!