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. On top of that, I’ll bring you some news, statsitcal trends from the past few days, some studs/duds from the last slate of games, and much more!
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.)
Hoop Land Times: News and notes from around the Association
- LeBron James (33,655) surpassed Kobe Bryant (33,643) in the all-time scoring list yesterday in a loss against Philly. If you didn’t have LeBron James on your radar, he seems to be a good target to acquire in re-draft and dynasty leagues, and also to play in DFS contests every night. But hey, only if you didn’t have him on your radar.
- Not mentioned in yesterday’s edition of the HLT, Lauri Markkanen went down injured and will be out for around a month. With that, Chicago has achieved the ultimate feat of improving their roster without making a trade prior to the deadline! Yay! Now, jokes aside, Markkanen has been a little bit disappointing this season with an average line of 15-6-1 on a more than enough 30 minutes per game. He’s been totally fadable in DFS contests over other much more appealing players, but he’s still someone to have rostered on standard leagues.
- Also missing from previous editions, but worth including here to keep you updated: Trevor Ariza has played his first game as a Blazer on Jan. 23...
Duds and Studs: Last night slate roundup
- ...and as it always is the case in Portland the team achieved the ultimate feat of rejuvenating an old-ass corpse as it did with Melo earlier in the season. Ariza went off for 21 points, 7 boards, 2 dimes, and 2 steals hitting four triples and shooting 63.6 (!) percent for the floor for a really nice 38 DKFP that, given his low $3.5K price, made him one of the most valuable plays of the night. Hit that roster/add/trade button and get Ariza. The minutes are going to be huge and he will eat all he can hold.
- Getting back to the present, yesterday was all about Zachary LaVine taking full advantage of his sole leading-role with LM out. 72.5 DKFP to his name as he dropped 44 on a putrid Cavs team to go with 10 rebounds and 8 assists. He hit the 42.9% usage rate mark on the night!
- Kyrie Irving (65 DKFP) and KAT (64.5) were the only two other players to break for more than 60 fantasy points. Nothing surprising with those names.
- A few unexpected-yet-pretty-hot bodies? Jarrett Allen (50.75), who played an impossible 40 minutes and finished with a nice 20-15-1-1-4 line; Shabazz Napier (50), who is handling business for the Wolves these days and reached a dope 10-10-13 trip-dub with two steals to spare; and Tomas Satoransky (41.5), who stuffed the box score with a 19-6-6-3 line. If any of those three—most probably the last two—is available in your league then you should go and snatch him.
- The best of unexpected values, though, came from Hamidou Diallo, who posted a borderline 10-10 double-double while priced at just $3.1K on the slate.
- A very disappointing night for those who paid top dollar for Spencer Dinwiddie (23.5 DKFP at $7.2K), who is now a bench-player again and will make us keep an eye on him to see how much value he retains going forward. More duds: Steven Adams (only 23 minutes, 11.75 DKFP, $6.2K) and Shai GA (27.25 DKFP on a high 34 minutes at $7.6K).
What’s cooking? Statistical trends from the past seven days
- There are a couple of players making a name for themselves lately: T.J. McConnell and Derrick White. Both have played four games in the last seven days and both of them are averaging 30-plus DKFP. McConnell is doing so at a ridiculous price of $3.8K on average and White (35 DKFP) at $4.5K. That should translate to low-ownership in most commons season-longs fantasy leagues out there, so go get yourself a gift.
- As incredible as it sounds, Russell Westbrook is averaging a trip-dub in the three games he’s played during this seven-day span: 35-11-10-2 reads his line. See it to believe it, folks.
- Both Malik Monk and Reggie Jackson are worth keeping an eye on. They have usage rates over 33% in their last couple of games while playing 27 and 21 minutes on average respectively, which have bolstered his chances at better performances just on pure volume of opportunities.
- As noted at the start of the column, Trevor Ariza might be the next big thing. Only one game in Portland, sure, but he looked great and he will enjoy ample playing time and chances to thrive. Insta-add in any league, worth considering in DFS given his ground-level price.
- You won’t believe this, but it is true: SGA is averaging 2.3 blocks per game in his last four games inside the last week. Seriously. He’s the only guard doing so in as many games, with Torrey Craig coming in second at just 1.5 per.
Gotta Win The Day: Best/Worst DraftKings plays for tonight’s slate
- Love: (PG/SG) Devin Booker, PHO ($8100, at MEM): I have some insight to share with you: the more Book loses, the better Book keeps getting at basketball. Lots of jokes about Booker unfruitful scoring prowess, but the man is a machine. He’s dropped 24+ points in 13 of his last 15 games, broken the 41-DKFP mark in all those 13 matches, averaged 51 DKFP in the aforementioned group of slates, and played like a top-10 player in them. All of this goes back to Dec. 27. More recently? Just two days ago he got himself a dub-dub with a neat 35-4-10 outing building on what he did three games prior to that one, when Book was this close to triple-doubling stuffing the line and finishing with 39-10-9-2 numbers.
- Hate: (C) Hassan Whiteside, POR ($9400, vs IND): Hard to find me hating on Hassan, but here we are. The price is nuts and the return... I’m not so sure it’ll be that good to make up for it. Indy has some big bodies in the paint and that is basically all the territory Whiteside occupies on a nightly basis. Just the other day against Dallas (and they lack biggies) he dropped a dud with a paltry 14-10 line in 33 minutes, and two games prior to that one he also fell under 10 in both points and boards (6-9, only saved by four blocks). Fade him today, come back later.
- Love: (PF/C) Julius Randle, NYK ($7600, vs BKN): Not a slate winner, most probably, but still a pretty nice play on paper for tonight’s set of games. The Randlewus hasn’t dropped from 33 DKFP since Dec. 21 and that makes it 15 games and running in which he is averaging 42.6 DKFP. Tons of fantasy goodies those he reward his owners with on a daily basis. The dub-dubs have come back to its early-season randomness but he’s still putting up lines of around 20-10 with gusto. The assists are great at 3.5 considering the stinky lineups New York deploys, and I can only hope the three blocks he had against Toronto two days ago were not a mirage and stay up for a while.
- Hate: (PG/SG) CJ McCollum, POR ($8000, vs IND): CeeJay will be back tonight after missing a few games injured. The algorithm must not have noticed the absence because that salary is nuts for the risk he carries with him... Too rich for my blood, I guess. Can’t lie here, and Mac has been great this year, but Lillard can’t be hotter, Ariza is in the lineup now, and Melo... well, Melo will keep throwing rocks no matter what. Too many mouths to feed? Let’s see how things go and then we’ll make a more informed decision. Passing on CJ for now.
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!