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
- You’re reading our NBA DFS column after a looooong hiatus, which means that you’re a loyal FakeTeams follower, and most importantly that the NBA. IS. BACK.
- News from outside the bubble: New York landed his new head coach for the upcoming 2020-21 campaign a few days ago and the chosen one is Tom Thibodeau. Shouts out to RJ Barrett, who is going to sweat a bit on defense and run the floor for 44 minutes or more once the league tips off for the Knicks later this year.
- Jonathan Isaac came back for Orlando’s last scrimmage against Denver last Monday. Those are pretty neat news, as Isaac is the future of the Magic... if they can keep him in town for long, that is.
- Mike D’Antoni confirmed the rumors: Eric Gordon will miss between 2 or 3 weeks thanks to a sprained ankle. Houston is a playoff team already, we all know that, but I don’t think they can afford many hits to their roster so we’ll see how they handle this among all of the small-ball game they’re developing too.
- Miami is plotting a move to snatch Giannis Antetokounmpo from Milwaukee once he hits free agency in 2021 (if he does). That means keeping the payroll as low as possible to lure the Greek with a max offer, which has turned into the Heat thinking about not extending Bam Adebayo at least for now. Things are getting too intense in Florida these days, aren’t they?
- National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts said returning to a bubble might be the only feasible way for the NBA to complete next season. Truth be told, this didn’t catch me by surprise at all as it’s been what I’ve been saying for a while. The problem, though, is that maintaining a bubble is hella expensive and, well, that staying six or seven months straight inside of it might be a little bit of a stretch and not liked at all by players, coaches, and the rest of NBA personnel.
- Former-NBA player Amar’e Stoudamire, an interior-terror in his heyday 10 years back, just won the Israeli league with Maccabi Tel Aviv. Shouts out to him!
- You might have missed the news if you have been living under a rock, but along with the NBA the WNBA started the season last weekend too, only it’s holding its games at IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL, inside a sister “wubble”. If you’re not supporting the W you’re missing on top-tier, high-quality hoops. Oh, and you can enjoy the whole season for the ridiculous price of just $16.99. Steal of a deal!
Duds and Studs: Early bubble roundup
As you know, it’s been more than four months since the last time we watched a basketball bounce in an official NBA game. What I mean, is that I’m not going to review any performance from Wednesday in this section, which will come back to life in tomorrow’s column. Today, though, I will hand you a few names poised to have good seeding games for the next couple of weeks inside the bubble, and others that seem to be falling on the opposite side of things. We’re so close to basketball, folks. Let’s go!
- Stud — Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns: You’re going to pay big bucks for Book, but he’s well worth them. The Suns have a chance—small, but still—of making the postseasons but they’ll be missing Kelly Oubre Jr. and will need to rely heavily on the Booker-Ayton pairing. If you know anything about DB, that’s how crazy he can go scoring. It’s not out of the equation that Booker ends averaging 40 points per game inside the eight seeding games that Phoenix has ahead before they most probably go home. Bet on Book.
- Dud — Kemba Walker, Boston Celtics: Walker’s knee seems to be moderately right, but even if it was in completely good condition and Kemba’s cleared to go play full-time and full-effort, I’d balk on putting him in my lineups. Boston is almost locked into the no. 3 Eastern Conference seed (2.5 above Miami, 3 behind Toronto) and they’ll be cool with that. Winning half of their games will leave them there, and they won’t be forcing Kemba to do it. Pass on Walker while you can.
- Stud — Lonzo Ball, New Orleans Pelicans: The NBA brought the Pelicans to the bubble to feature Zion Williamson, or so they say. Anyways, the key to the Pels forcing a play-in mini-series against Memphis before the playoffs could be Zo. Ball will need to man the team from the point in order to facilitate Ingram’s and Zion’s exploits. Ball comes at super-low prices on a daily basis yet he puts on a quite nice amount of fantasy points without flopping any time. The Pels need everyone playing at their best, and I see no reason Ball won’t step up his game in Orlando.
- Dud — Lonnie Walker, San Antonio Spurs: I don’t think it is that clear that San Antonio will go all-in on youth during the next eight games. Pop is stubborn as hell, and DeRozan will keep shooting 20 shots per game and trying to go all by himself carrying a team that seem to finally be done for good. Lonnie Walker should benefit for that potential turn to the younguns, but he hasn’t proved that much to this point and I don’t think the bubble will be the place nor moment to start doing it. I just don’t see it happening so soon.
- Stud — Rui Hachimura, Washington Wizards: One of my go-to players for the next couple of weeks on DFS contests. The Wizards are a level above depletion entering the home stretch, will need a monster effort to make a run at Orlando/Brooklyn for the no. 8 seed on the East, and Hachimura is probably the only viable option for them to hand the ball and wait for something good to happen. Not saying Rui is a surefire baller posed to burn the league out of nowhere, but only because of the absences of Beal, Wall, and Bertans he should get all of the chances and shots he can handle.
- Dud — Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers: Check this out. Davis got poked in the eye, will probably play tonight against the Clippers but maybe sees limited minutes, and it will be the same going forward. The Lake Show is entrenched in the no. 1 seed and will stay there no matter how atrociously they play during the remaining eight games. It’s about a postseason run for these Lakers, and there is no way they are going to risk a potential injury or any other issue happening to Davis nor Bron. That being said, we know the algorithm will keep pricing those two at $10K+ daily, but we also know and expect them to lower their performance levels at least during the regular season. Pass on The Brow, pass on The Bron.
- Stud — Jonas Valanciunas, Memphis Grizzlies: What I wrote about the Pelicans in Lonzo’s blurb also makes sense here. Sure, the Grizzlies are currently inside the playoffs and hold the no. 8 seed, but they will need to play as if there was no tomorrow in order to secure that spot and avoid the play-in, or at least remain the favored team getting into it by holding onto that eight slot. With Ja as the leader of the team and a quite pricey asset, though, I’d turn my eyes to JoVa. Pretty much like Zo, he’s a really great fantasy performed (go get those dub-dubs!) at quite reasonable prices.
- Dud — Paul George, Los Angeles Clippers: Copy and paste AD’s blurb here. The Clippers would be delusional thinking they can get the no. 1 seed from the Lakers, and there is virtual no way that they drop from the no. 2 spot even with Denver just 1.5 games behind. What I mean is that we’re combining 1) a season-long approach to the game based on load management with 2) a team that is almost locked into its current seed, and 3) a player in PG13 that has had injury issues for a while and won’t risk the postseason or missing any time to snatch a win here and there that would amount to nothing in the long run but potentially could impact the Clippers chances at the chip. Clear fade until we reach the bracket.
Gotta Win The Day: Best/Worst DraftKings plays for tonight’s slate
- Love: (PG/SG) Donovan Mitchell, UTA ($7000, at NO): The Jazz must go all-in during the remaining eight regular-season games. There is just no other way they can play those contests. Utah is 1.5 games behind no. 3 Denver but only one game above no. 6 Houston and 2.5 above no. 7 Dallas. The playoffs are locked, sure, but the Jazz would rather face Oklahoma or Dallas while holding home-court advantage (whatever that means) than any other team. Who can keep this team afloat? DoMi, that’s for sure. The Jazz are a two-man army and Gobert is a pretty nice play for this slate too, only $100 more expensive than Spida. Mitchell hadn’t been tagged at $7K in his last 10 games prior to the hiatus, though, so you gotta take advantage of this situation as he’s a 40-DKFP player on a per-game basis with upside for more against a Pelicans squad that will give minutes to Zion for the first time inside the bubble...
- Hate: (PF/C) Zion Williamson, NO ($7,500, vs UTA): ...which brings me to the very own beast-of-a-rookie. Only on the negative side of things. At first Zion missed scrimmages due to injury, then because he had to leave for personal reasons, and finally because he was still quarantining after getting back inside the bubble. This game will be Zion’s first in this new environment, but even with that he’s priced with the sixth-highest salary of the slate. I mean, we all know what Zion can do (his 1.24 DKFP per minute are on par with Brandon Ingram’s or Paul George’s) but I’d play it safe and let the rook marinate for a few days. The Pels need to win every single game to make a run at Memphis, sure, but there will be better times to put their assets in your lineup than in the first game back to action in Disney, much less for someone who hasn’t even tested the waters magical waters of the bubble yet.
- Love: (C) Jordan Clarkson, UTA ($4,200, at NO): I pointed to J-Clark as a potential slate-breaker during the regular-season home stretch in the bubble previews. Clarkson was basically reborn once he was traded from Cleveland, and had a terrific season playing from the Jazz in the 34 games he did so. Just peep: in those 34 contests Clarkson averaged 24 DKFP while logging around 25 minutes of playing time on a moderate 25.5 usage rate. These numbers are not world-beaters, but Utah is now 1) missing Bojan Bogdanovic and 2) needing someone to keep the team afloat when DoMi and Rudy take a breather. Clarkson is a surefire bench player and a second-unit monster, and he’ll be facing the sixth-worst defense in this game. The line read 15-3-2-1 by March, but it can go way higher now that he’ll be handed a true sixth-man role for the remainder of the regular-season schedule.
- Hate: (C) Anthony Davis, LAL ($10,000, vs LAC): You might think I’m crazy for hating on The Brow, but hear me out. Davis was poked in the eye a few days ago in the Lakers last scrimmage game and he has missed practice time. This game can’t come with higher stakes—I mean, we’re talking the LA Derby here—but the truth is that the Lakers will get the no. 1 seed and the Clippers stay at the no. 2 spot at the end of the regular season, no matter what. With the Clips missing Lou Will and Monty Harrell already, and the Lakers locked into the first seed, I have serious doubts any of those two teams will put on a show in the opener. That, combined with the issues around Davis’ eye, lead me to fade him at least today... and look at that monster price again!
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!