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 Petty Lakers won’t unveil their no. 17 banner until fans are allowed into the Staples Center. They lost yesterday. They deserved it.
- LeBron James might not miss a lot of games, but he will play in “short bursts”, per HC Frank Vogel. Take that bit of information as very relevant when it comes to fantasy contests.
- It looks like James Harden is committed to getting out of Houston as soon as possible. The Beard pulled off a Jimmy Butler by confronting and shouting to his teammates in practice. Odds he made it past Jan. 1st as a Rocket?
- The Nuggets explored a potential trade for Harden but ultimately quitted it as the Rockets seemed to be interested in it only if Jamal Murray went their way... something Denver is opposed to do. That being said, Michael Porter Jr. might be the key that opens Houston’s door.
- Kemba Walker is looking like “a long way away” from an injury return. Sucks for the Celtics, which have already lost Gordon Hayward to Charlotte this past season and will need to squeeze everything off Marcus Smart and the small rookies they just drafted.
- Shout-out to Juan Toscano-Anderson, who just got a two-way contract from the Golden State Warriors.
- The future looks expanded for the NBA: Adam Silver acknowledged a potential expansion not long from now and the league could add a couple of franchises to its current roster of teams. Seattle is a lock, with other options being Las Vegas, Louisville, Kansas City, and Ciudad de Mexico.
- Another bit from Adam Silver: the 2021 All-Star game is not canceled yet, with the chance at a postponement being discussed.
- Missing from yesterday’s HLTimes: Frank Kaminsky has signed with the Suns and will return to Phoenix this season.
Duds and Studs: Yesterday’s slate roundup
- Paul George left his Pandemic P persona at home, and brought the best version of himself to the first game of the 2021 season, leading all players involved in yesterday’s slate with 47 DKFP. Not bad line of 33-6-3 with a steal and 5 treys, shooting 72.2 percent from the floor in 35 minutes.
- Four more players finished with 40+ DKFP on the first night of the season, including LeVert (20-9-5-2-1), Steph (20-4-10 dub-dub), Schroder (14-12-8 dub-dub), and Durant (22-5-3-3-1).
- Not the greatest of starts to the year, all things considered. Nobody reached 50 DKFP in the two games played yesterday, but with 13 (!) matches on the schedule today all points toward a few high-scoring performances leading up to Xmas day.
- The ROI King award went to... Dennis Schroder! And it wasn’t even close, to be honest. Schroder started for the Lakers, something that could change with time, and put up a 14-12 dub-dub to which he also added 8 dimes for a total of 43 DKFP while priced at a low 5.8K. If this is the new Lakers PG, they hit a goldmine. The second-highest ROI also came from the Lake Show in Harrell, while slightly-more-expensive LeVert closed the top-3 in that department.
- And the DOTS (Dud of the Slate) Award went to... Anthony Davis! Incredibly putrid game by The Brow, reaching a measly 27+ DKFP on 30 minutes while carrying a 10K price... Andrew Wiggins (who I told you to avoid at all costs) was also horrid with just 18 DKFP.
- Only two dub-dubs via points and rebounds (Schroder and Harrell) and one between points and assists (Curry’s 20-10).
- Kudos to KD for putting together the lone three-steal performance of the day. If only was KD snatching balls instead of hearts, though...
What’s cooking? Statistical trends from the preseason
- The season has just started, 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 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: Andre Drummond (C). If you know anything about me, you know I love some good old big men. Dr. Dre is about to hit a fantasy bounty in his season debut against Charlotte with Kevin Love out for tonight’s game and Charlotte featuring a lowly Cody Zeller inside and a bunch of forwards-turned-centers along with him. Drum played three preseason games and already averaged a 12-10 dub-dub in only 19.5 MPG, which bodes very well for him and his fantasy upside.
- Hate: Russell Westbrook (PG). It is not that the Wiz have a lot of great players in their roster that will take from Russ—Bradley Beal is the only one—but even then I’m not in a triple-dub mood today... Russ will go on and finish with his 40+ DKFP if things go relatively well for him, but the Sixers are no joke and Russ is projected to finish with the fewest DKFP of players tagged at more than 8.7K in today’s slate. On the other side of the court and at the same position, Ben Simmons (PG/SF) is way cheaper and projects to the same or more fantasy points than Russ while being surrounded by much better teammates that could absolutely raise his floor and upside.
- Love: Zach LaVine (SG). I might be alone on this island, but I like what the Bulls are building. They have plenty of young talent around, and they are led by a clear no. 1 in LaVine. I mean, let’s be honest for a minute here, and acknowledge one of the few things that are set in Chicago’s stone: Zachary is the go-to guy and he will eat big time nightly. And that starts tonight against Atlanta. The Hawks were bad in defense last season, the worst team at it in fact. They now have a bunch of new bodies to put on the court, but they have yet to gel and the very own Hollywood LaVine comes from averaging a resounding 20-5-4-1-1 preseason line. Must-play guy this Zach.
- Hate: John Wall (PG). It doesn’t get much better than Wall’s preseason numbers for someone that has been out of basketball courts for the past 15 years or something. Johnny averaged a 16-3-5-1 line in three games this preseason logging almost 23 minutes of playing time on average. That’s great. What is not great is the stinky situation in Houston thanks to James Harden's willingness to do something to get the hell out of town. Harden could bomb Houston if he wants to by shooting 50 shots tonight, turning the ball over 20+ times, and doing whatever the hell he can think of to either look good himself or make the rest of the bunch look bad. I won’t be feeling anything-Houston until James gets shipped away.
- Love: Luka Doncic (PG). As expensive as Luka is today (third-highest price), he can very well make up for it against Phoenix in Dallas’ first game of the season. If you have paid any attention to the usual preseason predictions and all of that stuff, you know that Doncic is entering 2021 as the clear no. 1 contender to lift the MVP trophy by the end of the season. Kristaps Porzingis is still recovering from surgery and out for a while, and Dallas enters this season after putting together the most-efficient offensive play in NBA history. That’s no joke, and Luka’s expected to have improved his game, which means plenty of fantasy goodies are going to end in his bag each and every day. Just take a look at his three preseason games: 20-5-5 average line shooting a bad 39% from the floor (good for you, because that will positively regress) in just 24.3 minutes. Lovely German is lovely.
- Hate: Ricky Rubio (PG). The trade back to Minny turned Ricky Rubio into Ricard Rubio or Rick Rubio or Rubio Sr., whatever you prefer. Rubio is now a goddam grandad among kids including DLo, KAT, and newly-acquired rookie Anthony Edwards. That’s good for Rubio’s teaching and leading abilities, which will undoubtedly be on display in real life. The problem is that those skills don’t translate to fantasy contests, which makes Rubio a high-risk, low-reward play in DFS. The price is too high (6.6K) for the projections and any of the top-3 Wolves will eat all of the fantasy cake before Rick can get even remotely close to it.
- Love: Tobias Harris (SF/PF). Do you know who was coaching Tobias Harris when he put up his best pro-season in the NBA? That’s correct, Doc Rivers in the Clippers. Doc is now in Philly, and Harris remains a starter for the Sixers. The minutes will be there, the schemes should favor his game, and this team—at least on paper—should improve its nightly outcomes. Harris is the cheapest of high-volume and important 76ers in tonight’s slate, projects to 35+ DKFP, and his price makes Tobi a bargain. Also, it’s Washington the Sixers are going against...
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!