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
- Two slates of seeding games to go before the Western Conference play-in and everything other than that matchup is already set for the postseason. The only question mark hangs over who between Memphis, Portland, Phoenix, and San Antonio will be playing Saturday for a shot at the playoffs.
- Joel Embiid came back yesterday and Philly dodged a goddamn bullet. The injury bug hit Embiid again and he had to leave with a bugged wrist, although the x-rays seemed to come back negative.
- Injury Watch: Russell Westbrook suffered a strained quad injury and won’t be playing tomorrow. He will be re-evaluated before the playoff start, and Houston better hopes everything checks because if they miss Russ they’ll suffer much more than they should from round-one on.
- Giannis got a one-game suspension for headbutting Mo Wagner and he will serve it tonight, which, okay, more rest for the man leading up to next week’s first round of the playoffs.
- Do you remember Dame Lillard’s 61-point performance two nights ago? Well, C.J. McCollum wasn’t of much help even though he played 38 minutes, and it was all because he played through a back fracture. Keep an eye on this one because it looks serious and could affect Portland’s chances down the road a lot.
- A couple of head-coaching news hit the wire yesterday: Indiana extended Nate McMillan’s contract while Boston did the same with Brad Stevens.
- Goodbye Ante Zizic, future Maccabi Tel Aviv player and soon-to-be former Cavs legend.
Duds and Studs: Last night slate roundup
- It is so weird inside the bubble these days, because there is an absolute craze of lineup moves going on. James Harden didn’t skip a beat yesterday, though, and led the slate with 87.75 DKFP almost doubling the second-best performer. Harden actually beat Lillard’s 61-point game in fantasy points, and that was thanks to a monster 45-17-9-3 game in which The Beard hit 7 treys, shot 61.9 percent from the floor... and committed 6 turnovers (smh). The usage rate was mental at 37.9%, and it was a shame he couldn’t complete the trip-dub because the fantasy tally could have been historic.
- As dumb as it sounds no player was able to finish with more than 47 DKFP, let alone reaching 50 or approaching 60, 70, or Harden’s 80+ fantasy points. Jokic (17-7-13), Herro (30 pops), and Paul George (27-4-4-3) all finished with 45+ while Bazley, Tobias Harris, Kawhi, and Myles Turner all finished inside the 40-to-45 DKFP clip.
- With so many role players and reserves seeing playing time during the closing games of the seeding part of the restart, we’re finding newcomers to the ROI King Award daily. Yesterday’s King: Furkan Korkmaz. FuKo put up 38.75 fantasy points while priced at a silly-cheap $3.2K thanks to a 21-5-4-2 effort in which he also hit 5 triples. Two more great values from the slate: Edmond Sumner (who!?) from the Pacers and Raul Neto also from Philadelphia.
- And the DOTS (Dud of the Slate) Award goes to... Joel Embiid! I already gave JoJo the BOTIM (Benefit of the Injured Man) a few days ago, but I just can’t hand him too passes in the span of a week. JoJo came back from injury, got re-injured in his 13 minutes on the court, left the floor, and all he did was reaching 17.75 DKFP at the second-highest price of the slate ($9.9K). He should be back next week and ready for the postseason, but if this becomes a trend he’ll become the ultimate fadable player. Jimmy Butler had a stinker and teammate Bam Adebayo mimicked him, although both of them only played 16 minutes.
- Putrid double-double night. Only three on points and rebounds(Harden, Myles Turner, Zubac) and one between pops and dimes (Jokic).
- Shame on Harden who fell one single assist short of an impossible 47-17-10 triple-double with 3 steals too.
- At least four players stole 3 rocks (Harden, PG13, Gabe Vincent..., and Alize Johnson.........), while Chris Boucher led the slate with all of 4 blocks.
Gotta Win The Day: Best/Worst DraftKings plays for tonight’s slate
- Love: (PG) Damian Lillard, POR ($11200, at BKN): Probably none of this makes sense by the end of the night, as who knows what the hell will happen with rotations and all, but whatever. If you are willing to lose money today, play DFS! But if you want to have fun while doing it, then put Dame in your lineup. Perhaps Portland starts strong, runs Brooklyn off the court in a couple of quarters leading by 40 at halftime, and Lillard doesn’t even play in the second half. It could happen. Let’s hope he at least reaches 35 or 40 points by that time to go with a bunch of assists and triples. McCollum is injured—or at least pretty banged up—and will get resting time to not risk further damage, so you know who Portland will rely on tonight even against a middling Nets squad. Gimme another 60-pop performance, Dame, please do!
- Hate: (C) Nikola Vucevic, ORL ($9100, vs NO): This pick comes straight outta left field. I wanted to find a super expensive player without anything to play for, and no injury concerns or whatever attached to his name. Vucevic looks like a fit for the profile. He enters this slate healthy and tagged at a monster price, but Orlando already knows that it’ll be facing Milwaukee and although the most probable outcome is an 0-4 and a sweep from the Bucks, they shouldn’t put more bodies on the line this week. Vucevic, other than Aaron Gordon, is Orlando’s best player to try and at least snatch a game from Milwaukee in a week’s time. If the Magic are clever enough they’ll give Niko some rest against a Pelicans team that has already ruled out Ingram, Holiday, Zion, and Hart for tonight’s game.
- Love: (PG) Ja Morant, MEM ($9000, vs MIL): Same as with Lillard’s pick, this is almost a win-or-go-home match for Memphis and Morant, although expensive, is the Grizzlies best bet to get that W. Milwaukee will be missing Giannis to suspension and they will just simply leave the starters on the bench resting. Or so they should. Someone has to play, and Memphis has sucked so who knows if they’ll flop and lay another egg, but Ja has been a steady force inside the bubble averaging 43 fantasy points per game (20-5-10 line) so he’s a lock to finish high in the leaderboard no matter what. Pay for the man, as there aren’t many more surefire picks to make in today’s slate.
- Hate: (PG) Ricky Rubio, PHO ($7300, vs DAL): I don’t really hate Rubio’s game or chances at having a good performance here, but I’m thinking that Phoenix will get an easy win here and that Rubio won’t be doing that much because the Suns won’t need him to put on any otherworldly performance. On top of that, Rubio hasn’t done much in Orlando through the past couple of weeks, with only two games of 35+ fantasy points and a single dub-dub against the all-bench 76ers a couple of days ago. As I see it, Book will drop his good 40 pops on a Dallas squad that will probably rest every starter or be pretty close to it, Phoenix will be leading all game long, Rubio will be limited to under 25 minutes even though Phoenix will most probably be leaving the bubble sooner rather than later, and the Spaniard would make you waste some good bucks you might want to allocate in other, more profitable ways.
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!