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) Kyle Lowry, TOR ($8700, at POR)
You know the drill by now: no matter what happens on the court it is virtually impossible to have Klow get fewer than 40 DKFP any night just because of the massive amount of time he plays. Lowry is on the court at a league-leading 38.3 mpg and averaging 41.5 DKFP. See what I was saying? With that hyper-extended run it makes all of the sense. Not that he isn’t helping matters with his great game, though. Kyle is keeping up almost a 21-5-7 line on the year hardly replicated around the Association. Lowry is not the most efficient player ever, obviously, and those numbers are coming because of the volume of opportunities and minutes he’s logging, but there’s that and he’s as sure a bet as anyone. Klow closed 2019 with a massive run from Dec. 16 to Dec. 28 in which he finished every game except one with at least 44 DKFP and already has two outings in the 35-plus zone in this the 2020 year of our Lord. He ate Brooklyn alive in his last game playing almost 43 (!) minutes and dropping 26 pops on the Nets (5 treys included) to go with a stuffed line that also included 4 boards, 5 dimes, 2 steals, and a block. Pure magic.
Hate: (PG) Ricky Rubio, PHO ($7100, vs SAC)
It is not that Ricky has turned into a dud, but he’s definitely lost some of the brightness he shined with during the first few weeks of the year. Maybe we grow bored of it and got accustomed to it and took his game for granted? I don’t know. The season numbers are very neat at 13.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 9.3 (!) apg, and 1.2 spg. You read it right, Rubio is second in dimes only behind LeBron James (11 apg, wtf) and even more incredible is that he’s hitting shots with 41/32/84 splits unthinkable of not that long ago. All of that is good, sure, but Ricky Business has been out of them to start the new year. In his three games in 2020 Rubio hasn’t topped the 30-DKFP mark once, has not reached even 10 points, has kept up his assists at 9 per, but other than that he’s dropped the ball all over the place with just 12 rebounds and 4 steals combined in those three games while shooting at a horrific 36% clip from the floor and lowering his usage to an average of 15%. That doesn’t cut it for me and he might still be a little banged-up after suffering hip problems last Wednesday against the Lakers.
Love: (SG) Andrew Wiggins, MIN ($6900, at MEM)
Drew came back from injury two days ago and might scare you a bit. No worries, mate, as he already played 31 minutes and logged a 30.2% usage rate shooting 19 shots from the floor and a couple free throws already. The accuracy was middling at 31.6% success from the field, but hey, it’d been 10 days off so you had to give him some margin to heat up. This Maple was getting Wiggy wit it early in the season and also by mid-December, performing as a top-25 player nightly. Things have not changed a lot and Memphis sucky sucks a bit, so Wiggins is a great play tonight considering the matchup and the low price as the algorithm has yet to catch up or something. Maple Jordan is a virtual lock to get you 25-7 any night with the upside for more pops—keep in mind KAT is out so he’s the no. 1 option on offense by a mile—and some sweet additions on the dimes and steals categories.
Hate: (SG) Spencer Dinwiddie, BKN ($7600, vs OKC)
The Thunder have a bunch of dogs on the backcourt so I’m not trusting Widdie that much today. Now, if you play season-long fantasy basketball, go get Dinwiddie by any means no matter if it’s via trade, or waiver wire, or whatever. Kyrie is playing with these Nets and who knows when will he play or even if he will at all this year. In DFS, though, temper your expectations with Spence as he’s dropped his levels of performance lately—reasonable, considering he had been torching the freaking league all year long. In his last three games, the Din has played just 23, 31, and 29 minutes and his usage has gone from 36.7% to 31% and trending downward. His role shouldn’t change that much more, but still. He’s on a little bit of a slump in which he’s scored 19, 23, and 16 and has not topped 7 dimes or 5 boards in his best outings for those cats. The 37.4 DKFP he’s averaged in his last six games don’t align very well with his high price so you better look for other options at the guard positions.
Love: (SF) Robert Covington, MIN ($5900, at MEM)
While you have to factor in the absence of Wiggins in assessing RoCo’s play during his last six, the man has excelled given his low price. Cov has played like a top-25 player since Dec. 26 when he started playing more than 30 minutes on a nightly basis (he’s averaging 34.5 mpg since then). He’s made the most of those extended runs by keeping up a 15-8-2-2-1 line on those six matches. That is no joke, as he’s contributing all across the board nightly and not every player has the skills to do that with such steadiness. RoCo is a lock to get you the 15 points, 5-plus boards, 2-plus dimes, and 2-plus stocks per game without even trying. He had a double-double against Golden State two games ago and fell short of another against Milwaukee on Jan. 1 just for three measly points. He’s been two or three boards short of dub-dubbing in three other games going back to that Dec. 26 game against Sacto. Great play if you’re looking for the cheap guy.
Hate: (SF) Harrison Barnes, SAC ($5900, at PHO)
You can look at Barnes from two angles: if you think he’s trying to kill Sacramento, he’s succeeding at it; if you think he’s trying to win Sacramento some games, he’s being freaking awful at it. Whatever you prefer you can go with, but at the end of the day, this Harrison is someone to avoid all the way. Barnesy is playing more than 35 minutes per game yet his production is mind-bending at 0.77 DKFP per minute on the court. That is one of the worst marks of the whole NBA, and it takes a great effort to put on such a bad performance on that massive amount of minutes. Although HB finally reached 40 DKFP against the Pels on Jan. 4, it had been almost a month since the last time he did so (Dec. 6 versus the Spurs) and he’s being so crappy day in and day out. Barnes is finding it hard to break the 20-point mark and only the three-pointers are saving him. The rest of the cats are often ground-level low with no more than 3 or 4 rebounds per game and 3 assists at most if all stars align. Not the player Sacto expected when it paid him the big bucks.
Love: (PF) Julius Randle, NYK ($7300, at LAL)
Don’t shy off the Randlewus because he’s facing the Lake Show as this fool is somehow turning matchup-proof. Who would have said. Lol. Joules is bringing the energy to the Knicks and he’s been a top-12 performer in his last six games going back to Dec. 23 when he dropped 35 on the Wiz. He followed that game up with a couple of 33 and 30 pops performances in which he also dub-dubbed once. It’s been three double-doubles in his last four games and in the one prior to that he fell short but just two rebounds but he made up for hit by hitting 5 (!) triples, a season-high for JR. The Clips cooled him off a bit two days ago but he was still able to finish with an all-around line of 16-8-4-2 on the night, so he was still good enough to get to the 35-DKFP mark. He’s more of a 40-plus fantasy points getter these days, though, with five of his last matches up to that mark and topping at a season-high 61 DKFP in Washington on Dec. 28 when he had a 30-16-6 night or the ages in the context of the Randlewus’ abilities.
Hate: (PF) Kevin Love, CLE ($7500, vs DET)
Shouts to my man Kevin for finally getting traded. Not confirmed by Woj yet, but stay off him until the news drop, no matter if takes a day, a week, or a month. No Love to find here.
Love: (C) Andre Drummond, DET ($9700, at CLE)
Who is supposed to stop Dre? Cedi Osman? Tristan Thompson maybe? Love might be traded and Drummond too, but the situations can’t be more different. You have to play Dre all day. Blake is out for now and who knows if the remainder of the season. The Pistons suck big time and have no more than the Doctor and some reborn D-Rose as viable offensive options. So yea, it’s all about the Drummkit in Motown. Andre is averaging the easiest dub-dub ever to the tune of 17.4 ppg and 15.9 rpg on the season and he’s adding a very very delicious and healthy 2-2-2 on dimes, steals, and blocks to that. The free throws suck as they always have but the 1.44 DKFP per minute on the court are this close to what the likes of AD and BronBron are doing. Insane in the brain. Although the scoring has dropped a bit lately to the 10-to-15 points range Dru is still a walking 15-15 with upside to getting into the 20 pops-and-20 boards line with ease. The steals are massive (2.6 per game in his last five) and the blocks a nightly event (2.8 per game in that same span). Can’t miss with Dre.
Hate: (C) Jonas Valanciunas, MEM ($7200, vs MIN)
JoVa ascended back to heaven against Phoenix this past Sunday, but that was the day of our Lord so don’t too caught up on it. Remember: you gotta ride the hot streak, not the hot night. That’s something I learned with time, and only time, because I was a fool, but I am no more. Prior to that 52-DKFP game, Jonas had been a pariah more than a Brother: five-game streak out of the 40-DKFP mark and an average of 32 fantasy points nightly. Sure, he logged some dub-dubs here and there, but that wasn’t enough to put him in the pantheon of greats. The minutes are on the low again with JoVa playing an average of 25 mpg in his last five with a usage rate of around 29%. If it is not going his way on the boards you can forget about him giving you big fantasy goodies as the scoring is on the teens more often than not and at the very best. Forget about the rest of the cats as he doesn’t even know they exist.
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!