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) Ben Simmons, PHI ($8100, at HOU)
Try to think about a weirder player than Benny. Sorry for breaking your brain. You clearly can’t because there is none even remotely close to what this guy is and what he does on the court. No BS with BS, though. Simmons is far from averaging a trip-dub a la Westbrook back in the day but he’s putting up a pretty delicious 14.5 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 8.5 apg, and 2.2 spg (!) in his 35 nightly minutes of run. A bunch of everything that is, and daily production all across the board. Simmons is shooting at a 56% clip from the floor on 10.5 fga which is insane for a “point guard”, only that he just dunks the ball so it makes sense. The free throws are atrocious at 59%, but you can’t have everything. No matter what, Biggie Ben is averaging a ridiculous 1.17 DKFP per minute on the court and he’s a walking dub-dub on whatever cats you want to mix and match. One day it’d be points and boards, the next one he’ll do so with dimes, and in some cases he’ll go and post the glorified trip-dub as he did on Dec. 23 when he posted up an impossible 16-13-17 line against the Pistons in what finished as his best game of the year and yielded him 60.25 DKFP.
Hate: (PG) Trae Young, ATL ($9200, at BOS)
Ice Young will be back facing Boston tonight after missing a couple of contests. And Trae is a freaking machine, so don’t hate on him necessarily if you don’t want to. He will probably and score himself some 55 DKFP or something. Anyways, the key here is that he’s back from injury (hasn’t played in a week) and the Celtics aren’t exactly your tastiest cupcake. Again, this fool has played like a top-10 performer in December and has finished inside the top-5 in five of the 11 slates he’s been part of—including two no. 2 finishes and a no. 1. The only reason to go against playing Trae tonight is basically the combination of his high price (reasonable given his season, though) and the potential issues he might experience as he’s getting back from that time out of the court (he played a limited 30 minutes the other time he was banged up all the way back in October).
Love: (SG) Devin Booker, PHO ($7900, vs NYK)
Book is my cook and he’s heating up the stove as it is tradition in these cold winter days. From Dec. 27 on Dev has scored 32 or more points in his four games, has paired those outings with at least 7 dimes three times, and grabbed 3 or more boards also in three of those four games. He had a double-double against Sacto on Dec. 28 (on the second leg of a back-to-back, no less), and he’s been the 9th-, 10th-, 5th-, and 7th-best performer of the past four slates he’s been part of in DK to the tune of 44, 55, 50, and 44 DKFP. Forget about the mid-December slump because that’s so 2010s, folks. Somehow, D-Bo is shooting 50.2% on 17.7 field goal attempts per and hitting 36.3% of his 5.1 long-range tries. His free throws are dropping at a 90.6 percentage and his shooting 6.2 of them per game. The usage isn’t that high at 28% but even with that, he’s putting up incredible numbers. Oh, and the Knicks sucky suck.
Hate: (SG) Evan Fournier, ORL ($6100, vs MIA)
Remember the good old early-season Evan Fournier? Ah, those were great times, weren’t they? FoFo isn’t doing a lot these days, though. The hottest the croissant has gotten lately has been to reach a not-so-great 36 DKFP a few days ago, but other than that Evan is stuck in the 25-to-30 fantasy points range. The scoring is more or less there with him averaging around 17 pops a game in the last 15 days, but the rest of the cats are long forgotten. His 2.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists in the last two weeks are not cutting it for me, and they shouldn’t do for you either. Not that Fournier has been a massive all-around guy this season, but his averages have dropped as hell since he thrived in November. Don’t google Fournier, don’t play him either.
Love: (SF) Jaylen Brown, BOS ($7700, vs ATL)
Yessir we did it! Jay-B player of the week! Proud of my little man I am. As always with the Jays, you can go with the B or the T, only Tatum comes at a high-pressured bloody price of 8.2K while Brown is a tad bit cheaper tonight. The numbers are pretty even, so I’m cool with Jaylen. This kid is for real for real: 20.6 ppg, 7 rpg, 2.4 apg, and 1.1 spg on the season with just a couple of turnovers per are the stuff of dreams for C’s fans all around the globe. The shooting is as stupid as it gets with splits of 52/40/75 considering Jay-B is launching 14.7 shots per game and 5.4 triples a night! Barring his middling outing against Toronto on Dec. 28 Brown has been a top-15 performer in the past couple of weeks. He’s logged four games of at least 40-DKFP and the other one went for 34. No dub-dubs in that span, but he’s been this close three times, falling short just one board while averaging a very delicious 25-7-3-1 line in his last six nights. The prophecy is coming true.
Love: (PF) Julius Randle, NYK ($7700, at PHO)
I can’t believe my eyes, and you won’t believe this but I’m not making it up: The Randlewus is on a two-game streak of logging double-doubles, has reached 47 or more DKFP in his last four games, scored 5 triples three games ago and has surpassed the 35-minute mark in three of his last four. Seriously, this guy is random as hell but he is as hot as he has ever been. Never will I fully buy into Joules but the energy is potent these days. JR is not RJ, that’s definitely true and Knicks fans will attest. His 61 DKFP against Washington to the tune of 30 pops, 16 boards, and 6 dimes made for his highest fantasy tally of the season. There is basically nothing negative on Randle’s game during the past two weeks, seriously. He’s shooting 53% from the floor (averaging 20 fga!), 72% from the charity stripe (4.2 fta), and has hit at least a triple and an average of 3 per game in that span. Play him before he runs out of Joules.
Love: (C) Joel Embiid, PHI ($9400, at HOU)
God bless Embiid for keeping up the big-man role in the L. God double-bless Embiid for also being able to stretch the floor and giving us three-point goodies nightly, too. A true walking dub-dub JoJo is averaging 23.7 ppg and 12.4 rpg this season, so easy. His 3.1 dimes and 1.4 blocks round an excellent line for someone with his frame and game. The shooting is great at 48/34/83 and the usage is massive at 30% in such a stacked Philly lineup that relies on him more than in any other guy, which you have to love. Although the dimes have dropped a bit in his last couple of weeks they are still on his season-average level and it would not be a surprise to see rise a bit to the 5-6 he put up at the start of December. The points won’t stop coming, even less considering Joel is processing his shots at a stupid 56.7% from the floor in his last six games and hitting 93.1% of his freebies too. Top-10 performer on the year at the very least.
Hate: (C) Mitchell Robinson, NYK ($5800, at PHO)
Can’t hate a lot on Mitch because 1) he’s a reserve and 2) his price is low enough. But don’t get caught in the narrative, my man. Sure, Rob looks like the greatest hit of the last few Knicks draftees, and he put his 11 shots against Portland through the rim for an excellent hundred-percent success launching the rock on Jan. 1, but how many times will that happen? Not even that, but actually scoring 22 pops again sounds like otherworldly considering Mitch had only reached that mark once before this season... Robinson is good and will probably end doing something somewhere not New York because they will trade him for peanuts, but don’t give him ample room in your lineups. The most he can get you is the uber-lucky dub-dub if all goes his way, but the chances are closer to zero than anything else.
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!