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NBA DFS Digest: Caris LeVert and best/worst DraftKings daily fantasy basketball plays for Tuesday, Dec. 22nd

Duds and studs. Good and bad plays. We take a look at the past and upcoming NBA games to let you know what’s going on and how to tackle your DraftKings plays.

Brooklyn Nets v Boston Celtics Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

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, statistical trends from the past few days, some studs/duds from the last slate of games, and much more!

Hoop Land Times: News and notes from around the Association

  • The NBA is back! That’s it, that’s all you need to know.
  • The tale of the tape for Opening Night is hella sweet and packed: we have the LA Demolition Derby and Cupcake-KD hosting his former Warriors. Oh boy, what a way to welcome the hoops back.
  • I can’t say that the preseason has been insufferably long or anything like that, but we were anxious about having the ball rolling for another season and here we are!
  • We won’t have crowds for the time being, sure, but the NBA is removed from Orlando’s bubble and that’s more than enough for now. We’re inching closer and closer to a fully-set-up league and that’s awesome. It’s just a matter of time, and hopefully, things will most probably get back to their normal ways sooner rather than later.
  • For those of you a little out of the loop, here are some actual headlines from the past few days as we gear up for a daily dish going forward.
  • Giannis Antetokounmpu re-upped with Milwaukee and signed the largest contract ever handed to an NBA player. No more rumors about the Greek Freak leaving town for a few years, which is good.
  • James Harden is not impressed by the additions of DeMarcus Cousins and John Wall and is still seeking a trade out of Houston. Madness around this story, as one minute we get a leak of Philly negotiating and including Ben Simmons in the deal, and the next one we get informed Philly is absolutely not entering any type of discussion, and such.
  • Russ is going to play ball in Washington, with John Wall joining DeMarcus Cousins in Houston. Gordon Hayward is now a Hornet. The Hawks are a completely revamped team featuring near 25 new players or something like that. The NBA offseason didn’t disappoint.
  • Jeremy Lin could—or could not—join the Warriors in a few hours or days. It’s all a matter of papers and administrative operations to finish with the Chinese CBA, so we’ll see how this ends.
  • LaMelo Ball is delightful, which is not news at all, but still is worth mentioning just in case.
  • Rudy Gobert, somehow, and for some reason, is now the owner of the third-largest contract in NBA history. You read that right, blame the Jazz.
  • Speaking of contracts, a ton of players extended their rookie deals (Derrick White, OG Anunoby, Markelle Fultz, Jonathan Isaac,...) but some others didn’t and will become restricted free agents next summer (Lauri Markkanen, Jarrett Allen, John Collins, Lonzo Ball, Zach Collins, Frank Ntilikina,...)

Duds and Studs: Last night slate roundup

  • No last-night slate, so no roundup today. But fear nothing, as this marks the first night we will watch actual basketball being played around the nation!
  • That means that we’ll be covering the best and worst performances of each day in this space, providing a quick overview of what happened around the league to keep you up to date.
  • And hey, if you missed some action or don’t know what game to watch on replay, this little section might come in handy to help you pick what and what not to look after in your spare time!

What’s cooking? Statistical trends from the preseason

  • The season tips-off today, so we don’t have much data to look at today. That being said, the preseason games held during the past few days provided us with some interesting things worth considering while sheets start to fill with meaningful numbers.
  • We’ll get back to the usual seven-day trends once we have enough games on the season log, which will almost be by the start of the new 2021 year when we flip the calendar page.
  • Until then, here are some quick bits from the preseason—and during the next few days, we’ll look at some early trends from the first bunch of regular-season games.
  • Only 13 teams have played the max-four games during this shortened preseason. Combining all players from those 13 franchises, a total of 114 different players have logged at least a minute of preseason-ball.
  • Two Lakers lead the way in preseason per-game minutes: Kyle Kuzma (33.9) and Talen Horton-Tucker (31.6). Makes sense, considering LBJ and AD weren’t in the mood for—or need—many preseason fireworks. Kuzzy better levels up his game, because THT is coming strong, though.
  • Marquese Chriss has ball-hogged like a champ for the Warriors, logging the highest usage rate of the preseason at a monster 40.5 percent to the tune of 8.7 fga and 1.3 tov per game.
  • Speaking of Warriors, it looks like Steph Curry was eager to get on the court. He’s closed the preseason scoring more than anyone (min. 3 games played) at 22.7 ppg in 26.1 mpg.
  • Other than THT (20.5), no real “surprising” player has finished this short preseason with a high ppg average. Terry Rozier and Jordan Clarkson both hit 17.0 ppg, but they are already vets known for heating up here and there.
  • Another heater: Buddy Hield. He’s closed the preseason hitting 3.8 3pm per game for the Kings, and we’ll see how the season develops for him and Sacto after he was thrown to the bench during last year.
  • When it comes to bonkers numbers, Josh Richardson played three preseason games attempting 3.7 treys per game and scoring on 73.3% of those shots. No one shot better than 67% on at least 3 3pa per contest.
  • In this the season of giving, Ja Morant was this close to finishing with the lone points-dimes dub-dub of the preseason closing his run with a 17-9 line (9.8 apg, that is).
  • Nikola Vucevic was in fact a dub-dubber for the Magic, racking up a 19-12 average line. Domantas Sabonis and Andre Drummond dub-dubbed too. More interesting: Thunder’s rook Aleksej Pukusevski closed his preseason stint at a very neat 11-9 with 1.3 spg to spare.
  • Andrew Wiggins is now a blocking machine (2.0 bpg), tied for second in the preseason leaderboard in that department (?). Knick Mitchell Robinson led the pack at 2.5 bpg in his four games playing 25.1 mpg.
  • God bless Trae Young, turnover deity. Trae averaged 4.8 tov per game in 25.7 mpg while still putting up a 13-5-3-1 line. Talk about stuffing the sheet.

Gotta Win The Day: Best/Worst DraftKings plays for tonight’s slate

  • Love: LeBron James (PG/SF). While expensive as hell (9.8K), LBJ is still below Anthony Davis’ and Kevin Durant’s prices tonight. That automatically makes LBJ a must-have in your lineup, as there is no way he misses any time or rests for long in the season debut of the reigning champs Lakers—much less against the bitter Clippers.
  • Love: Caris LeVert (SG/SF). Will most probably come off the bench for the Nets, but Steve Nash is committed to turning LeVert into this era’s LeGinobili. Even with that off-the-pine role, CLV should be a great play because he’s super cheap (6.5K), has averaged 18.0 pops in his lone preseason game while playing 20+ minutes while grabbing a couple of boards and dishing out a dime. Those numbers should go up a lot as the leader of the second unit of Brooklyn with everything for him to eat.
  • Hate: Andrew Wiggins (SG/SF) and Kelly Oubre Jr. (SF/PF). Both have played in all three Warriors’ preseason games during the past few days. I don’t think I trust any of the two this early in the season with their roles and usage rates still to become clear. They have similar prices (7K and 6.7K) tonight, and their averages are rather similar overall in terms of fantasy scoring at 13-2-31-2 (Wiggins) and 14-4-1-0-1 (Oubre) in 25.3 and 22.8 mpg respectively. Go with Steph Curry (PG), but avoid the supplementary pieces of Golden State for a few days at least.
  • Love: James Wiseman (C). He has yet to play his first NBA minutes as he didn’t debut in the preseason at all. Wiseman is the seventh-cheapest center of the slate, and although he has yet to showcase himself in the L we know one thing for sure: Draymond Green is out for tonight’s game, which will open the door for Wiseman to get all the interior-ball he can handle.
  • Hate: Dennis Schroder (PG/SG) and Kyle Kuzma (SF/PF). Something similar is happening in LA with these two. Both of them have still-to-define roles (one as a borderline starter, the other one more of a benched power-microwave) and both of them look as true boom/bust players to start the year.
  • Love: Talen Horton-Tucker (SG/SF). Kuzma has played four preseason games and 33.9 mpg in those, which is insane, yet he’s only averaged 17-2-5. If you’re going to take Lakers-risks, make them have Talen Horton-Tucker’s name: the sophomore has put up a 20-6-3-2 line in his four games playing 31.6 mpg. If your ship is going to sink, let it be in THT name instead of Kuzzy’s.
  • Love: Kawhi Leonard (SG/SF) and Paul George (SG). If only for once, we are positive Kawhi and PG13 will play tonight and won’t be load-managing this one. I guess that’s something to exploit (?).

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!