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NBA DFS: Julius Randle and best/worst DraftKings daily fantasy basketball plays for Thursday, Dec. 31st

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.

NBA: New York Knicks at Cleveland Cavaliers David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

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

  • LeBron turned 36 years young yesterday and celebrated by dropping his 1,000 consecutive double-digit scoring game. WTF.
  • The hoops gods blessed us with Masked Kawhi. Can’t be happier about it.
  • Our beloved media and pundits, obviously, is making a big deal of the Wiz 0-4 start to the season. Russ has put up three trip-dubs in three games, and Beal has played great. Do you know what’s wrong, though? Washington is a two-man crew, and the depth and talent are dried after those two. That’s why the Wiz are down four. Not hard to understand.
  • Gallo came back for Atlanta after missing two games... only to get re-injured after three minutes of playing time. Dani can’t catch a break.
  • Ricky Rubio bitched about his teammates “playing selfish”. Not good, Granda Rick.
  • The Nets might be plotting a trade for James Harden, but more importantly, they look to be after Jamal Crawford. Gimme the latter over The Beard every single day.
  • Brandon Ingram opened up on his/AD trade saga making it clear that it was a struggle for the young Lakers back in the day. Good for all parts involved, the deal surely looks like a win-win for both sides these days.

Duds and Studs: Yesterday’s slate roundup

  • About time Giannis does something right... Not entirely, but after putting up a dud against Miami two days ago, Giannis finally boomed with a 68+ DKFP performance that included a 26-13-10 trip-dub to go with 3 steals and a block. The Greek finally shot a perfect 4-for-4 from the line and 55.6% from the field while hitting a couple of treys. This is the Giannis we want to watch nightly, but we hadn’t quite been able to up to this point. Five games into the season, we only hope he’s gonna put on more shows once for all.
  • As ridiculous as Giannis was, KD played his part for the Nets in a game in which he finished 33-11-8-1-1 stuffing the line and reaching 63+ DKFP. The usage was bonkers at 34.5% and he turned the ball over “only” four games while shooting 22 field goals.
  • Five more players finished in the 50-to-60 DKFP-clip, including Jaylen (42-5-4 with 7 treys), Bam (22-8-10), Trae (30-6-11), PG13 (23-10-7), and Kawhi (28-3-7-3-1).
  • Eight more guys dropped between 40 and 50 DKFP, including...
  • The ROI King award went to... Miles Bridges! This is literally what a ROI King should look like every day. Miles crossed the Bridges to fantasy wonderland and put up 48 fantasy points while priced at a ridiculously low 4.9K. That’s what we love. LaMelo comes in second in the ROI leaderboard with his 44 FP at just 4.7K. Quite the day for the Hornets in demolishing the Mavs. Bridges finished with a 20-16 dub-dub (4 treys) while LaMelo dropped a season-high 22 pops while contributing an 8-5-1-1 rest-of-line.
  • And the DOTS (Dud of the Slate) Award went to... Luka Doncic! Sooner or later, it had to happen. Luka played only 24 minutes in a very disappointing game by the Mavericks overall in which they could do nothing to stop Charlotte. The run was short for Luka, as it made no sense to keep him on the court. The Don did the most he could with his 12-2-5-2 line, but the 24 DKFP were very putrid for someone carrying the second-highest salary of all eligible players yesterday. More stinkers came from Dame (32 FP) and Tatum (29)
  • There were eight dub-dubs via points and rebounds (Shout-out to Enes Kanter, who somehow finished with a 10-10 for the first time this season coming off the pine and provided the cheapest dub-dub) and just two between points and dimes (Trae’s 30-11 and Bam’s 22-10).
  • Just one triple-double in Giannis’ thanks to a very saucy 26-13-10 line including 3 thefts. Finally, we got to watch the reigning MVP ball hard.
  • More silly numbers: Jeff Teague was the only fool to reach 4 steals, while Robert Williams did so in the block-department with 4 swatted shots.

What’s cooking? Statistical trends from the preseason

  • Luka is starting to drop more-than-expected fantasy goodies of late related to his price... Doncic has the lowest ROI among all players tagged at 8.5K+ on average through Wednesday, which we fantasy players don’t like just one bit. Luka is averaging 40.9 FP while priced at an average 10.5K, and that won’t cut it for long. The line is at a reasonably good 24-6-6-1 but that’s not what you expect from a top-salary guy.
  • Of those in the group of super-expensive plays (8.5K+), both Jokic and Drummond have been the two most valuable players so far this season. Their tags are already through the roof, but they could climb even higher if they are able to keep their exploits up. Anyways, they’re very well worth their prices.
  • Silly cheap values: Josh Jackson, Darius Garland, Lu Dort, JaVale McGee.
  • A little more expensive but still with massive ROI: Dejounte Murray, Julius Randle, Jerami Grant, Jaylen Brown.
  • Some very expensive players not doing enough to help their owners: Luka Doncic, Devin Booker, Ricky Rubio, John Collins, Kelly Oubre, Will Barton, Anthony Davis.
  • Cheap points (min. 3 games played in the past seven days): Lu Dort, Josh Jackson, Avery Bradley, Patty Mills, Gary Trent, Cam Reddish, Monte Morris, Mike Muscala.
  • Cheap threes: Gary Trent, Lu Dort, Patty Mills, Reggie Bullock, Desmond Bane, Damion Lee.
  • Cheap boards: Enes Kanter, Royce O’Neale, Jarrett Culver, Aron Baynes, Jakob Poeltl, Bobby Portis.
  • Cheap dimes: Tomas Satoransky, TJ McConnell, Cole Anthony, Dante Exum, Killian Hayes.
  • Cheap steals: Jeff Teague, Danny Green, Justin Holiday, Payton Pritchard, James Johnson.
  • Cheap blocks: Robert Williams, Nerlens Noel, Aleksej Pokusevski, Patrick Williams, Hassan Whiteside.
  • Cheap FG% (min. 9 FGA): Avery Bradley, Lu Dort, Josh Jackson, Doug McDermott, Cam Reddish, Aron Baynes

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

  • Love: De’Aaron Fox (PG). These Kangz are Kings. Maybe. We’ll see when we get deeper into the regular season, but so far so good for 3-1 Sacto. Fox is yet to hit unaffordable salary tags on DK, so we better take advantage of that while it lasts as the Foxxy is averaging 40+ fantasy points in games he plays the role and minutes he should (he didn’t in the Kings loss to Phoenix on Dec. 27). Fox is hitting his good 20 pops a day, dishing out 7+ dimes per, and also grabbing a relatively healthy number of rebounds at 3+ while also posting 2 stocks per game. The turnovers are kind of controlled, and the shooting should get up a bit as Fox is just 44.3 percent from the floor but a nice-to-see 80.8% from the charity stripe.
  • Hate: Fred VanVleet (PG/SG). Not the greatest of starts for newly-rich FVV and the Tampa Raps. Freddy ain’t no Krugger these days, at least not when he faces tough competition instead of the San Antonio Spurs... In two games against the Pels and 76ers FVV finished with an average 8-4-4-2-1 line compared to 27-3-9-1 against SA. The fantasy points were good facing the Texans and the ROI was nice, but other than in that single match FVV has been more fadable than not. The Knicks don’t stink per see, and the guard rotation isn’t mindblowing, but I’m not trusting FVV these days and the Raptors are playing away (LOL).
  • Love: Julius Randle (PF/C). There is nothing like rostering Dr. Julius to end getting a dose of Mr. Randle. That’s the thing with The Randlewus, but more often than not he’s provided plenty of fantasy goodies so we have to keep going with the hot hand till it gets cold. Four games in, three in the 20+ pops, one with a dub-dub, and the last one with a trip-dub. Randle’s fantasy scores to start the year read 39, 39, 61, and 63. At this pace, Randle will break the roof, folks, so we hope he keeps it up. The Jules can’t be measured at these levels, and Julius is looking better and better on a daily basis. Have the Knicks finally found a good player for the first time since they waved goodbye to Pat Ewing?
  • Hate: DeAndre Ayton (C). Speaking of biggies, I’m staying off Daytona’s Speedway tonight. For one, Ayton is playing below 28 MPG, which you can’t love. Then, Ayton is averaging 1.15 DKFP per minute on the court; that’s an above-average mark, sure, but not even remotely close to that of other biggies like Gobert (1.41), Randle (1.34), or Embiid (1.57). Ayton is averaging a dub-dub, but of the lower-variety at 11-12 with 2 dimes to spare. Not liking this thing, even with CP3 dishing out the rock around ‘Zona these days... and with the Croissant waiting at the other end.

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!