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) Shabazz Napier, MIN ($6300, at CLE)
This pick is so 2010s, isn’t it? Napier hasn’t done a lot in the NBA since he became a pro, but hey, he’s a starter these days—actually, he’s been starting for Minny since Dec. 20—and although he struggled a bit in limited minutes at first Shab ain’t taking no Naps lately: Bazz has reached 37-plus DKFP in his last three and scored 20-plus points in each of those games going back to Dec. 30. In this past week, he’s averaging 22 ppg, 4 rpg, and 6 apg to go with a great 58.7% shooting from the field on a very palatable 13.3 fga per game (he’s also played at least 31 minutes in every one of his last three games). The turnovers are high but he’s doing enough to make up for them. The price is getting high quickly though, so perhaps today against a stupidly bad Cleveland team marks the last chance to get some ROI from Nap before he becomes a luxury not worth paying for.
Love: (SG) Devin Booker, PHO ($8200, vs MEM)
Told you to play Booker the other day, keep telling you to use him tonight against the Grizz. Book is a total cook these days. He’s not fallen under 44 DKFP in any of his last five games and he’s dropped at least 32 pops in each of them. He dub-dubbed against Sacto one week ago and in that five-game span he’s averaging a massive 33.8 points, 3.4 boards, and 7 dimes with a 52.4% shooting on 23.2 (!) shots from the field. The usage has been nuts reaching 40.3 five games back and a back-to-back 38.7 and 37.6 rates on his last two. Dev has shown us his scoring ceiling in the past with 50-plus burger performances so the explosion in points might be just around the corner. Add a great set of outcomes in the rebounds and the dimes departments lately and Book is performing as a top-8 player on average in the slates he’s been part of since Xmas day. Memphis is allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to their rivals so you clearly know what to do tonight.
Hate: (SG) CJ McCollum, POR ($7000, at MIA)
Can’t hate a lot on CeeJay because the return could be good any day and the price isn’t overly high, but I opted to list Napier as the starting PG over Dame and that makes me put Mac here—I didn’t list Lillard as a hate because he’s Lillard and seriously if someone can win a game by himself and have a field day against whoever that’s him. Anyway. CJ hasn’t been that great since just before Christmas. In the six games he’s played from Dec. 23 (included) on, McCollum has topped at 40 DKFP and he did so this past Friday against the cupcake Wiz. Other than that, CJ hasn’t scored more than 25 points in that span, only dished out more than 4 assists twice, and fell under 4 boards in two of those six games. Clear drop in performance considering the minutes keep being as high as ever at around 37 per and the usage is still good at 25%. Let CeeJay warm a bit against this Heat before betting back on him.
Love: (SF) Kelly Oubre Jr., PHO ($7100, vs MEM)
I’ve always loved Kelly so this is not a surprise. Never in my life would have I thought this Kelly would be a Machine Gun instead of a Water Gun, though. But oh, boy, has Oubre been putting on a show lately. I get it, I know it, Oubre was pure fuego in mid-to-late November and then went ice cold during most of December but have you looked at his last four!? Since Dec. 28 Wave Papi has always scored 20 or more points topping at 29, but even with that “limited” amount of points and without reaching massive numbers there he’s been exploiting every other cat to get him 53, 50, 45, and 45 DKFP in those games. How come, you say? Well, he started the run with a 20-16-5 game and followed that with three other matches putting up 29-5-2-3, 26-6-3-3, and 29-5-1-3 lines. He hit at least two triples in all of those games and even dropped seven and five treys in two of them. The shooting has been mental at a 60.7% success from the floor on a delicious 16.3 fga... and all of this at a ridiculously low 20.4% usage rate!
Love: (PF) Jae Crowder, MEM ($4500, at PHO)
There is something in Memphis’ air. It happened to Jaren Jackson Jr. and it’s now The Crow’s time. Gotta ride the hot streak, my men! Jae had a game for the ages yesterday against the Clippers scoring a season-high 27 pops including six treys and he was able to add a massive combo of 8 rebounds, 7 dimes, 3 steals, and 3 blocks to the chicken wings to help the Grizz get the W. This is not your average Crowder, mind you, but he’s got a few back-to-back good outings during the last few months so hey, who knows if another one could be right around the corner against an average Suns team? The price is so low you won’t be losing anything playing Jae as your joker tonight, and the rewards might be massive if all stars align so you gotta go for it.
Hate: (PF) Kevin Love, CLE ($7400, vs MIN)
If you haven’t watched Love go murder Sexton in the middle of an offensive play yesterday, go do so. Now that you know what’s going on—as if you didn’t already—in Cleveland, well, you might want to stay off Love until he gets finally moved out of town. Love is great, but sometimes you have to Hate to balance things out a bit. See, while Love is a 16-10 player on the season (that sweet dub-dub!), he is completely out of sync in this team these days and playing for a trade. Three games in a row of under-36 DKFP are bad as hell. He got a double-double against Toronto on New Year’s Eve but even with that the overall performance was disappointing with a 10-11-2 final line... The other two games since have been equally bad and ground-level heart-breaking with a silly 12-3-1 against OKC yesterday and a mediocre usage of 20.2% for someone who should be the no. 1 option on offense in this team.
Love: (C) Hassan Whiteside, POR ($8500, at MIA)
Hassan will be traded. I’m convinced. No matter the “no-effort” voices, the “empty” stats, or whatever you or they want to put on his name. I don’t give a damn about critics. I mean, Mr. White is averaging the easiest dub-dub ever at 15.7 ppg and 13.8 rpg on the season and adding 2.8 (!) blocks to that with only two turnovers per. Hassan is averaging a massive 1.40 DKFP per minute on the court—for reference, Drummond is at 1.45 and Anthony Davis at 1.48. HW counts his games by dub-dubs, seriously, and he has only missed on the feat eight times in his 33 games played, which is basically bananas. In his last three games going back to Dec. 30 Hassan has finished as the third-, eight-, and fourth-best performer of the slates he’s been part of to the tune of 54.5, 43.5, and 61.75 DKFP. That last game brought his best points-rebounds combo of the season, as HW finished with 23 pops and 21 boards (and 5 massive blocks!) against the hapless Wiz.
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!