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
- Brandon Ingram and Domantas Sabonis are your Players of the Week. Started from the bottom, now we here, folks.
- Frankie Smokes Ntilikina didn’t get the fourth-year option in his rookie contract exercised but he’s out there playing backup point for the Knicks on a nightly basis and odds are if he can keep his production up he’ll re-up with the Knickerbockers.
- The news of the day came from Brooklyn. Dinwiddie is going to be out for the remainder of the year while recovering from a partially torn ACL and that means the Nets have lost one of their top-4 players and definitely the third-best starter behind KD and Kyrie. Watch out for the impact of this on the squad, because it could absolutely change Brooklyn’s season.
- We’re also holding our collective breath after Ja Morant had to left yesterday’s game sitting in a wheelchair after injuring his ankle. Sucked to watch, and we all hope it’s all good and Morant doesn’t miss any time or, if anything, it’s just a few games.
- Isaiah Thomas is trying to sell himself to Boston and is throwing Tweets claiming for a chance at helping the Cs this season. Would love to watch him back, but it is not that he’ll improve the Celtics that much these days...
- Nick Young, the veteran spirit animal, is signing a contract with the Zheijiang Lions of the Chinese CBA. I have to assume basketball is the drug that keeps these fools alive because this is the most ridiculous thing ever. Can’t wait to watch Swaggy P’s highlight mixtape.
- According to John Hollinger, James Wiseman’s tiny hands are hurting him because he can’t convert one-hand alley-oops. Alrighty.
Duds and Studs: Yesterday’s slate roundup
- All hail Niko the Joker because he’s been nuts to start the season. Second trip-dub of the year for Jokic in three games thanks to a monster 19-12-18-3-1 performance against Houston, all for a very tasty 72+ DKFP. The most incredible thing is that Jokic logged an incredibly low usage rate of 18.4 percent, which is mental considering the fantasy goodies and the stat line he generated.
- Caris LeVert, as the lone bright light in a depleted Brooklyn squad (Dinwiddie injured and KD/Kyrie rested), was the only other player to reach 60 DKFP in yesterday’s slate dropping 28 pops while starting for the Nets. He added 11 dimes to those points to get a dub-dub and put up 4 boards and 5 steals on top of that. The kid attempted a slate-leading 29 (!) field goals, one shy of McCollum’s season-high 30 from last Saturday.
- Four dudes in the 40-to-50 DKFP clip, them being Harden (34-6-8 with 5 treys but 5 turnovers), LBJ (29-9-6-2-1 stuffed line), Conley (!) (20-10-9 near-trip-dub), and McCollum (20-11 on pops and dimes with 3&3 boards and steals).
- The ROI King award went to... Josh Jackson! Another tight run for the best ROI yesterday, but I have to go with JoJack. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot was the literal best ROI play (37 DKFP at 3.1K) but Josh Jackson had a slightly more rounded game with a 27-4-2-1-1 line including 3 treys, shooting 57.9% from the floor, hitting 50 percent of his freebies, and losing just one ball in 32 minutes for 40 DKFP. The other contenders were Gary Trent Jr. and LeVert (though Caris came at a high 6.6K price).
- And the DOTS (Dud of the Slate) Award went to... Anthony Davis! There were worse plays in yesterday’s slate, such as Ja Morant, but the second-year man got injured and had to leave the game after just 12 minutes so it’s not fair to kill him. AD, on the other hand, sucked. Davis played almost 38 minutes and finished 13-10 with five dimes but just 35 DKFP while carrying the third-highest salary among all eligible players... Ugh. Monty Harrell was also horrid, same as fellow Laker Kuzzy and the Hawks John Collins.
- There were six dub-dubs via points and rebounds (Valanciunas, Kanter, Jokic, Nurkic, AD, Gobert, Conley) and two between points and dimes (LeVert and McCollum).
- Only one triple-double yesterday, and quite a predictable one as it came—who would have said...—from Jokic to the tune of a 19-12-18 performance. The Joker is playing sublime basketball, having two trip-dubs in three games played and falling just one rebound short of being three-for-three.
- More silly numbers: LeVert led all players with 5 steals while both Gobert and DeAndre Jordan blocked 4 shots each.
What’s cooking? Statistical trends from the preseason
- The season has just started, so we don’t have much data to look at these days. That being said, the preseason games held not long ago 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). There are 12 players involved in the Knicks vs. Cavs game tonight that are currently expected to be out, probable, questionable or carrying any other silly-fantasy-injury-tag. The Doctor, though, is not one of them. Drummond has always been a monster, but he’s been leveling up even more to kick the year off. That’s why Dr. Dre’s price is skyrocketing quickly and we might have to fade him sooner rather than later as he gets just too expensive—not that he wouldn’t merit rostering him anyway. Drumm is posting a bonkers 20-14-4-2-1 line and generating virtually the most DKFP per minute on the court at 1.65 per. Only Jokic (1.76) is above that mark in today’s slate.
- Hate: Domantas Sabonis (PF/C). I know. I know Dom just earned his shiny PotW award. That’s cool, and the truth is that Sab Jr. has played top-tier ball through his first three games. But the averages should go down a bit (he’s at 24-11-7 shooting .574/.444/.577 these days) and it could very well happen against the fourth-best fantasy defense in today’s matchup against Boston. Sabonis won't benefit from Oladipo’s absence tonight as the latter rested on Sunday but will be back on the five today. Odds are Sabonis put up his 40 DKFP, sure, but that doesn’t quite align with his top-12 price and expectations, which should definitely be tempered today.
- Love: Goran Dragic (PG). The Dragon has the 62nd-highest salary of today’s slate of games. Sixty. Second. What the hell. We all know how Miami uses Dragic, and we all know Dragic rides the pine, but we all also know that Dragic is efficient as hell (1.47 DKFP per minute) and that he more often than not plays 25+ minutes, which isn’t a low amount these days. In his first two games, Dragic reached 37+ and 40+ DKFP which, at his laughingly low prices, made him one of the best ROI plays out there and someone to put serious consideration into rostering to fill your final lineup gaps. Dragic is a virtual lock to finish with a baseline of 20-3-5 any given day, doesn’t turn the ball over a lot, and has pretty great shooting percentages with steals adding some sauce to his lines.
- Hate: Ben Simmons (PG/SF). For someone inside the top-10 most expensive plays, I’m not quite loving Benny. Philly faces Toronto, and Toronto is stingy every goddam game. Simms has been doing it all this season, as is always the case with him, and is averaging an all-around 15-8-5-1-2 stuffed line. That’s cool but none of those numbers truly jump off the page so if his production gets cut in any of those cats his upside would drop a lot. Simmons has gone downhill from G1 to G3, scoring 45 DKFP, then 39, and finally 33 against Cleveland two days ago. The 35-to-40 points are probably a lock, but again, we’re talking about an $8.9K player here...
- Love: Alec Burks (SG). Burks is on the injury report entering tonight’s game and we won’t know how he feels and his situation until shootaround. That being said and if Burks ultimately plays, he might be the most under-the-radar slate-winning play of the day. Burks has been terrific for the Knicks coming off the bench. He’s scored 18+ pops in all three games he’s played, has hit 10 treys already, is shooting 55.9 percent from the floor and going to the line often, and he’s also posting up numbers in all boards/dimes/steals/blocks cats. A do-it-all guy playing 26 MPG and available for peanuts.
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!