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NBA DFS: Deandre Ayton and best/worst DraftKings daily fantasy basketball plays for Friday, Jul. 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.

Toronto Raptors v Phoenix Suns Photo by Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images

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

  • We only had two games yesterday, but what a couple of bangers to relaunch the season those were! Six more for today, and it’s going to be like that for quite some time, so get ready because we have some hoops ahead.
  • Of course, Rudy Gobert scored the first official points inside the bubble... and also closed the first game hitting a couple of freebies. Who would have said?
  • The Pelicans are all-in on their future, judging by the limitations they put on Zion Williamson’s minutes against the Jazz. Even with the game on the line—and a very real chance at forcing a play-in for a place in the postseason—they kept Zion benched at that sucked to watch.
  • Victor Oladipo practiced with the Indiana Pacers yesterday and it was later known that he will make an official announcement about his participation in the rest of the season on Saturday. Can’t wait.
  • Denver Nuggets’ rookie Michael Porter Jr. had something very controversial to say about this whole COVID pandemic, and it might have caused some chemistry issues in both Denver’s locker room and the league as a whole. Not very clever of him...
  • In his introduction as the New York Knicks head coach, Tom Thibodeau said that getting to coach the Knickerbockers is “a dream come true”. We’ll see if he holds onto that opinion in six months’ time when New York is struggling with a 3-22 record.

Duds and Studs: Last night slate roundup

  • Can’t complain at all with the first night of NBA basketball being back in our lives again, but it was far from great on the individual side of things. As expected, the Angeleno Derby was bonkers and produced the best four performances of the night. Anthony Davis led the slate to the tune of 49 DKFP thanks to his 34-8-4 line—see? nothing otherworldly—followed by Paul George (47.25; 30-5-3-3 with 6 treys) on the other side of the court.
  • The other two Los Angeles high-scorers: LeBron James (44.25) and Kawhi Leonard (45.75), which I guess won’t surprise anyone.
  • Kudos to Donovan Mitchell (41.75; 20-5-5-3-1 all-around line) from carrying the Jazz to a very important win over the Pels and becoming the only 40+ DKFP scorer other than those featuring in the LAL-LAC affair.
  • Our first ROI King inside the bubble, my boy Jordan Clarkson! Yessir! J-Clark has it all to become one of the best DFS plays for the remainder of the season, or at least until the algorithm catches up and raises his price at all. Clarkson reached 37.5 DKFP (23-5-3-2) priced at just $4.2K, making him the ultimate bargain. The other great play of the day was J.J. Redick with 30.5 DKFP at a ridiculous $3.6K. Shouts out to Dion Waiters (20.25 at $3.1K) too!
  • And the DOTS (Dud of the Slate) Award goes to... Lonzo Ball! The Pels dropped their first game and will need to put on a very serious fight to force the play-in. Ball entered this contest priced at a high $7.4K... and could only finish with 24.5 DKFP. Ugh. Zo’s putrid 4-6-7-2 line was a tad low, and he shot .154 (!!!) from the floor yesterday in more than 27 minutes.
  • Can’t kill him, cause he finished with a dub-dub, but LeBron James’ 44.25 DKFP while priced at a monster slate-leading $10.7K felt like a disappointment.
  • Slow start on the double-double side of things. Only James (16-11-7-1-1) and Rudy Gobert (14-12 with 3 blocks) were able to reach the marks on points and boards. No dimes dub-dub, with both Bron and Zo leading the slate with 7 assists each.
  • Tons of thefts inside the bubble we might need to call them cops soon. Five players (PG13, DoMi, Jrue, Favors, and Melli) finished with 3 steals, which was pretty neat to see.

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

  • Love: (PF/C) Deandre Ayton, PHO ($7900, at WAS): Phoenix can’t afford to lose a single game inside the bubble. Phoenix already has won half a game indirectly after New Orleans was unconscious enough to leave Zion on the bench and lose their debut game against the Jazz. Phoenix will be all about Booker and Ayton with Kelly Oubre Jr. out at least for the time being. Oh, and Phoenix plays against the worst bubble squad to ever play an NBA game. The Wizards look and certainly are depleted. Ayton is a monster averaging a sweet 19-12 dub-dub on the season to go with a couple of dimes and blocks per. He’s shooting 54.8 percent, which makes sense as he mans the zone with gusto, and the best Washington has to stop him there is... who? Thomas Bryant? LOL. Not even at $8K Ayton looks like a must-play tonight and someone to definitely lock into your lineup and build around.
  • Hate: (PG) Kemba Walker, BOS ($7100, at MIL): Good news, as Cardiac Kemba will make his debut with the Celtics tonight and—we have to assume—play every seeding game unless there is nothing to play for, either for the good or for the bad. Bad news, Kemba won’t be too Cardiac tonight as he will have a minutes restriction of 15-20 per the latest whispers and that cuts his upside in half... if we believe he’d even reach those marks. Playing almost 32 mpg Kemba is averaging 21-4-5-1 on the year, which is pretty sweet and amounts to 1.17 DKFP per minute on the court, but if he is a little bit rusty or sees his run limited in half or more that value would go south quickly. And hey, it is not that the Bucks are a bad team on defense ranking 10th in fewest DKFP allowed to the opposition. Not trusting a booming performance from the point tonight at all.
  • Love: (PG) Ja Morant, MEM ($7000, at POR): What are we doing here? What is the algorithm even thinking? Ja for $7K. You better be hitting that “Add” button because this is absolutely dumb and you gotta take all of the advantage out of this stupid situation. The price is not surprising considering Morant’s track record of salaries in past slates, but these Grizzlies are in for the kill in Orlando and ROY-to-be Ja will put on a show for eight games—and then some. Morant’s usage went all the way up from 18.7% to kick March off to 29.3% on March 10 before we hit pause. At that rate and dropping 20+ points per game with 5-and-5 boards and dimes almost guaranteed, you can bet on Morant handing you some fantasy goodies tonight. Also, this is a do-or-die match between two teams fighting for that no. 8/9 seed, so it’s not that Ja will keep anything for himself.
  • Hate: (C) Hassan Whiteside, POR ($8100, vs MEM): If you know me you know I love Hassan’s empty stats. Sure, I feel the voices calling for an ass-sitting move from the Blazers, and it makes sense having both Zach Collins and Jusuf Nurkic back and ready, but if you don’t care that much about the actual game and are only looking at fantasy numbers then Whiteside must always be one of your go-to plays almost nightly as averaging a 16-14 (with 3 blocks) per game is no fantasy joke. Now, you already have read the main reasons to fade HW. Portland doesn’t need empty calories—or stats for that matter—but actual game-winning contributions, and with those two biggies back in the lineup odds are Whiteside rides the pine more than his current 18 minutes per game. Perhaps I’m wrong and the Blazers keep banking on him, but I won’t believe it till I see it. And I won’t be risking lineup spots on a potential dud either.

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!