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NBA DFS: Khris Middleton and best/worst DraftKings daily fantasy basketball plays for Sunday, Dec. 27th

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.

Golden State Warriors v Milwaukee Bucks

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

  • It was reported by Woj that Houston is waiting on Harden’s offers to improve as we get deeper into the season. It makes sense because Harden is still out there balling and he put up a 44-burger in his season-debut against Portland yesterday. The Beard won’t give a damn about a thing until he gets moved, which means he will try to rack up numbers, which means it’s all good for fantasy GMs.
  • Speaking of Houston, all of Cousins, Gordon, Mason Jones, and Wall were forced out quarantining yesterday, and they will have to stay off for seven days. Sucks for us fans, but if you break the code, you pay for it, folks. They are scheduled to be back to practice next Wednesday, so it’s probable they the floor for the first time against the Kings next Friday.
  • Kawhi Leonard is questionable for the Clippers game tonight, which, I mean, the man just got hydro-hit in the mouth two nights ago and needed eight stitches to keep blood on the inside part of his system. Won’t surprise me a bit if he misses the affair straight getting back to his load-management ways.
  • It looks like John Collins rejected $90+ million from the Hawks and opted to become a restricted FA next summer. I think Collins will fill his bag sooner or later, in Atlanta or somewhere else. So I’m not mad at him. If he wants that max, let the man prove he deserves it and grab that cash come July.
  • As if the Knicks weren’t bad enough already, they will be without rookie Obi Toppin for a week to around 10 days as he recovers from a calf strain.
  • Ja Morant has surpassed 500 assist in his short two-year-and-two-game career. Ja Morant is also part of a budding feud with Trae Young and the Hawks in which I think could turn into a great battle going forward in both point-guard careers.
  • Steve Kerr acknowledged James Wiseman as “a focal point of [GSW] future”. Yessir, Kerr’s damn right.

Duds and Studs: Yesterday’s slate roundup

  • If this is the Harden Houston is trading away, then oh boy will that make an impact on Houston—be it for the good (the bounty could be crazy) and the bad (Harden is mental). The Beard, in an OT-game, put up a monster 79 DKFP (!) in which is the best performance of the season to date (and most probably also by season’s end) to the tune of scoring 44 chicken wings to go with 4 boards, 17 (!!!) dimes, and a steal. Harden hit 6 treys, shot 54.5% from the field, and used 34.6 of Houston’s possessions on offense. Let the man eat.
  • Harden’s game doesn't take from the other two crazy games we witnessed tonight: CJ McCollum opposed James and finished with 66+ fantasy points himself on a 44-3-8-1 effort on 30 FGA, while Dre Drummond put up 64 FP to the tune of a stuffed 23-16-5-4-3 line that I’m still trying to comprehend.
  • More than 10 folks (11!) in the 50-to-60 DKFP clip, which is nothing sort of impressive. And they came from everywhere, and in all shapes and forms. Kudos to the Wiz Backcourt Boyz because they look absolutely stunning—Russ had 57 DKFP and Beal 58.
  • The ROI King award went to... Chris Boucher! This one couldn’t have been a closer race, it must be said, but I had to go with the Rap as he played no extra-time and reached his 53 DKFP in just 28 minutes of playing time. That compares to Jerami Grant’s 52+ DKFP in 42 minutes. George Hill was very impressive too with his 34 DKFP at juts $3.4K, but the overall goodies were far lower than those of the other two. Try again, Lil G. Shouts out to Garland and Christian Wood, too, though both played OTs.
  • And the DOTS (Dud of the Slate) Award went to... Zach LaVine! The Bulls are bad, and other than LaVine they don’t really have a tested-and-proved stud in their squad. But if this is the Zachary they’re going to get this season, they’ll hella suck. ZLV put up a dud of 23+ DKFP while carrying a massive $8.9K price, which really sucked for those betting on the guard. Another stinker came from Suns’ biggie Deandre Ayton, who could only reach 28 DKFP and fell short of even scoring ten points...
  • There were a tasty 17 dub-dubs via points and rebounds (too many to list; shouts to Darius Bazley for getting the cheapest one of the slate) and a nice five between points and dimes (Harden, CP3, Garland, Devonte’, and Lowry).
  • With such a statistical explosion on the dub-dub front, it makes sense that a bunch of players reached triple-double-digits yesterday. Three of them, in fact, with all of Russ (15-15-12), Sabonis (22-10-11), and Dejounte (11-10-10) getting to trip-dub wonderland.
  • More silly numbers: both Drummond and Danny Green led the slate with 4 steals, while Chris Boucher was in a league of himself blocking a slate-leading 7 shots.

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: Khris Middleton (SF). Boring as always, but lethal forever. That’s Khris for yall, folks. Khirs was absolutely in the Middle-of-a-Ton of plays in Milwaukee’s Christmas excursion, putting up a nice 31-4-5-2 stuffed line in a Giannis stinker while hitting 6 treys. Middleton’s price has gone up a bit, but nothing remotely close to the value he provides nightly, which is at 1.7 DKFP per minute in his two games this season on average. That mark is only at the reach of only one other player so far, and that’s Kyrie Irving, who is way more expensive than Khris. Tasty matchup against the Knicks to put the cherry on top.
  • Hate: Anthony Davis (PF/C). Don’t touch him even with a ten-foot pole. AD is tagged as questionable for tonight, and he already played seemingly banged up in LA’s Xmas affair with Dallas. He excelled back then, sure, but the Lakers will rest bodies as frequently as they can leading up to the playoffs and a match against Minny surely calls for it, and for LBJ/AD to play limited minutes.
  • Love: DeMar DeRozan (SF/PF). It was obvious that DeDe will drop from his first game’s 56 DKFP-tally, but he didn’t put up a dud in his second game of the season to the tune of 49+ fantasy points. You could have doubts about the first one against Memphis, but the second one facing Toronto was a much tougher matchup but DeRozan solved the puzzle with gusto. The Spurs are going against the Pels today, and the Pels are 0-2 and though they can put the ball through the rim they’re a little bit worrying on D (7th-worst unit through two games). Not a stretch of the imagination to imagine DeDe reaching his season-averages (27-7-8-1) tonight for another 45+ DKFP game.
  • Hate: Larry Nance Jr. (PF/C). I know that Nance is not at the top-tier of players, but you can take this as a warning to avoid him in any and every DFS contest and fantasy league out there going forward. Nance looked incredible in Cleveland’s first game of the season earlier this week. LNJ scored a saucy 52+ DKFP then with a 13-13-8-3-2 stuffed line and dub-dub. He used 14.5 percent of the Cavs’ possessions, which was a low usage rate but still viable as his performance proved. Yesterday, with Love back in the lineup for the first time, Nance just died in front of a nation of viewers. He played 24 minutes but didn’t start the game and logged a putrid 7.2% usage rate. He attempted the shots and only his 7 rebounds “saved” the day for him and his 15+ DKFP... With Love and Drummond starting games and Nance back to the pine, this is the Larry you’ll get from now on. A one-game wonder that will live forever in our hearts, but shouldn’t do so in your lineups.

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!