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) De’Aaron Fox, SAC ($8600, vs NO)
After what felt like a billion years the Kangz won a game against the Grizz (...) two days ago and with Fox not even reaching 30 minutes of run he torched Memphis to the tune of a massive 27-4-9-5-2 line that filled boxes all across the board. DAFox missed time earlier in the year but since coming back on Dec. 17 he’s been heating up progressively and he’s had three 40-DKFP performances in his last five games with his last one being the best of all. The points are always going to be over 20 and the dimes should establish around 7 without much trouble... unless the Kings start to Kangz big time. Swipa is a borderline dub-dubber on good nights but it’s often a struggle for him to reach those dub-double-digits because his teammates suck more than a bit. Anyways, his usage is more probable than not to end inside the 28-to-32 percent nightly so he will eat no matter what.
Hate: (PG) Collin Sexton, CLE ($5800, vs OKC)
Not a lot to hate here because the price is silly but if you’re looking for a starter with heavy playing time that comes with a bargain price then definitely Sexton shouldn’t be your no. 1 target. The upside is lower than the Cavs chances at a title run this season. Sex isn’t giving much pleasure to his bettors. Sure, he’s dropped 18-plus points in nine of his 11 games going all the way back to Dec. 11 but other than that he does nothing. The usage is high at 27.4% in that span, but considering he’s averaged 29 DKFP in those 11 games and that his assists have been at a mediocre 2.1 per, it is not easy to imagine where those possessions have gone... Correct: the turnovers are ridiculous. Young Bull is unchecked emotion shaped like a basketball player and he’s turned the ball over more than three times per game on average in his last seven, with season-high marks of 6 and 4 TOs in two of his last three. If you are comfortable with those 20 pops, good for you, but if you’re looking for a little bit more or anything else, forget about having Sex.
Love: (SG) Buddy Hield, SAC ($7100, vs NO)
Speaking of sex... Buddy Love is in the house! Since my Buddy threw his mean words toward the Kangz his light has turned on. Is Buddy showcasing himself to get out of town? Who knows, I wouldn’t say it is not the case. Hield has scored at least 20 points in his last four, has two top-10 performances against Denver and Memphis, and he’s contributing in every single cat you can think of. He’s dished out 3-plus assists in his last three, grabbed 5-plus boards in his last four, and even blocked a shot in three of his last four games. The triples have come back two with five consecutive matches in which he’s made at least three of them finishing with five against Memphis a couple of days ago, something Buddy Buckets had not done since Dec. 13. However this story ends Buddy is finally catching fuego so we better ride with it while it lasts.
Hate: (SG) Jamal Murray, DEN ($7500, at WAS)
Sometimes I love you, sometimes I hate you, Jamal. Murray is so volatile that even against a cupcake like Washington I don’t want anything to do with him. Such is life with Jam. He comes from a good game in which he dropped 22 on Indiana while adding 5 rebounds and 7 assists, but he hadn’t broken the 35-DKFP barrier since Dec. 23 against Phoenix and Murray has been more of high-20s-to-low-30s player than anything else on the year with the eventual 40-plus fantasy points explosion sprinkled here and there. The usage (22.8% since the start of December) is low for the supposed no. 2 of the Nuggets but it makes sense given he’s shooting 40.7% on the season and a horrific 33.2% since Xmas day. Pundits keep talking about how Denver is getting results even playing bad offense and how it will eventually come, but man, it’s been two months and change already and this guy better step up.
Love: (SF) DeMar DeRozan, SAS ($6700, at MIL)
DeMar and LaMarcus, LaMarcus and DeMar. Is it the multi-capital-letter thing in the names? I dunno, but it’s working. Both of these two are thriving, although the Spurs have basically nobody else that could do so it’s logical. DeMore DeRozan plays DeBetter DeRozan gets. DeDe’s slump in mid-December turned into DeDe’s breakout since Dec. 23 included: five games played and four of them reaching 39-plus DKFP on the night for an average finish of a top-17 performer on DK slates. For some reason the algorithm people keep DMDR’s price as low as it can get and even after he dropped 30 pops with 4 boards and 3 dimes on the Thunder in his last game his value dropped from $7.4K to $6.7K today. Lol. The shooting splits are dope on the year with him hitting 52.3% of his shots from the floor and 80.5% of his freebies, but his last six games shooting from the field has been built with the stuff clouds are made of: 67.2% success on 16.5 fga per. For real, for real, folks.
Hate: (SF) Gordon Hayward, BOS ($7000, at CHI)
G-Hay is the weirdest story and unluckiest player ever—other than Boogie, of course—in the history of the L. So much, that he’s almost an afterthought in tons of places after being massive for Utah earlier in his career. Anyways, Hayward looked awesome at the start of the season but after getting back from (oh, surprise) injury on Dec. 9 he hasn’t done that much. Only one game of eight getting more than 36 DKFP speaks volume of Gordon’s contributions. The Celts avoid him to finish plays (19.3% usage rate since coming back), his boards and dimes are low at 5.3 and 4.5 in the last month and the scoring is just nowhere to be found with his ceiling topping at 20 points in the best-case scenario. The minutes are high, though, with Hay playing 35 or more in his last three, but even with that extended run the best he’s done has been putting up a 21-10-6 line accompanied by 13-6-3 and 18-6-1 efforts. Good, not great, kind of ugly in ROI terms. Totally fadeable even against the lowly Bulls.
Love: (PF) Domantas Sabonis, IND ($8900, at ATL)
Domas and Myles keep starting in the Pacers frontcourt but the difference can’t be greater between their outcomes. Seriously, Indiana, reconsider your position about building around the two and trade Turner the hell out of town. Only three times this season (33 games played, that is) has Domas finished a game without either 11-plus points or 9-plus boards. In those 33 games, the Fake American has logged a double-double 27 (!) times and he’s had eight 15-15 games with his best one against Milwaukee on Dec. 22 (19-18-5-2-2, 50% shooting on 16 fga including two triples). I’m pretty confident saying no one expected Sab Jr. to be a top-20 player on the season, me the first one. He’s doing it all with a paltry 23.6% usage rate, which makes it all nuts. The trip-dub is just a matter of time and in his last game against Denver two days ago he was this close to getting it by finishing the match with an 18-9-9 line. Sucks when that happens.
Love: (C) Nikola Jokic, DEN ($9400, at WAS)
Niko keeps making history. Not since October 2017 had Jokic finished a game without a single assist, which he repeated two days ago facing Indiana. That’s no bueno, but hey, it’s another thing to put in his book and everything counts I guess. Now seriously, the Joker ain’t joking at all this year no matter what the whispers and voices of them haters say. Forget about last season’s playoffs comparisons and BS like that, and focus on 2020 Jokic because that is what matters now. I mean, we’re talking about a guy that in his worst night ever will probably finish with a 15-8-5 line at the very least. I’m not making this up: Jokic has played 34 games and in his worst 17 matches by DKFP scores he’s averaged 14 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 4.8 apg and shot 50.4% from the field. That, my friends, is something called a ridiculously high floor. Don’t believe me? Only two players are averaging those numbers on the season: Giannis and Luka. I have not mentioned the Wiz will be at the other end of the floor today, that Jokic will get assists even if he doesn’t want to, that he will have the whole paint to operate without opposition, and... Whatever. Do yourself a favor and play Big Honey.
Hate: (C) John Collins, ATL ($7700, vs IND)
JoCo left the game against Boston yesterday and didn’t return. The Hawks stink big time and are looking for solutions in the shape of veteran help (Drummond is going to be a Hawk, it’s been said). Other than Trae, the team sucks. Collins looked great in his first three games since coming back from the suspension but then put on a dud against Orlando even while logging a 10-11 dub-dub (29.75 DKFP on the night). In contrast with Jokic’s if you read his blurb above, Collins’ floor is ground-level although he brings some high ceiling with him. The risk will always be there and the usage has been wild ranging from 17% to 39%, which is bananas. Not saying you shouldn’t keep an eye on him going forward, but definitely get off his bandwagon tonight with the injury issues floating around his name and not the greatest of matchups against the Domas-Myles tandem in the paint.
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!