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
- Playoffs time baby!!!
- I stopped writing this column during the weekend because there were no DFS contests around... and oh boy did news start dropping all around the league! Tons of them!
- Not the earliest of news, but definitely the greatest: Portland is a playoff team after beating Memphis last Saturday... and Dame Lillard is your reigning, defending, undisputed, first-time-ever Orlando Bubble MVP!
- Dame D.O.L.L.A. has also dropped a short EP Live From The Bubble.
- The Chicago Bulls fired head coach Jim Boylen on Friday. About damn time, folks. You know the names floated around for the position: Kenny Atkinson, Wes Unseld, Adrian Griffin, Darvin Ham, Ime Udoka, Ty Lue, Jason Kidd, etc...
- Mo Bamba left the bubble on Friday to undergo a post-COVID evaluation, and with that, his season is a wrap. It looks like the Bucks’ first-round sweep of the Magic is nothing but guaranteed.
- Totally opposite side of the coin: Montrezl Harrell is back, has cleared quarantine, and will be active for the Clippers Game 1 against Dallas. Yay!
- Back to bubble-exits: Mike Conley left the complex yesterday because of his newborn baby. The Jazz don’t have a clear idea of when he will be back, and then he’ll still need to quarantine for a while. Not the best of things for Utah facing Denver in the first-round series slated to tip-off today.
- Russell Westbrook will miss—most probably—a few games in the first-round series against OKC. Sucks for the Rockets, and sucks for us because we can’t wait to watch how that Russ vs. CP3 plays out after the trade between both franchises.
- Vlade Divac decided to step down as the Sacramento Kings GM. Joe Dumars will take on both the VP of basketball operations and interim GM going forward. Peja Stojakovic also left his role and the franchise. Kangz gonna Kangz.
- Related to Divac’s news: Luke Walton is still the Kings coach, but we’ll see how that develops and if he retains his job. The Kings seem to be cool with him staying at the position, but it’s not often that a new GM keeps the coach-in-place in town.
- The Nets might pursue Gregg Popovich to be their 2020-21 head coach. Sorry, but I just don’t see Pop mixing with Kyrie...
- The Pelicans joined the Bulls in the coach-kicking trail and fired Alvin Gentry. Some voices say that GM David Griffin had already decided on that before the restart inside the bubble, which could be more than possible considering Gentry was doubted way back while the regular season was still going in March.
- Isaiah Thomas, now a free agent, is shopping himself... to the Golden State Warriors as a bench/role player. Bring IT back for the 2021 season!
Duds and Studs: Seeding part of the restart recap
- Without games yesterday after Portland clinched a playoff spot as the West no. 8 seed, let’s go through a bunch of interesting numbers from the seeding part of the restart gearing up to the postseason games.
- The League came back in Jul. 30th and we got to watch games over the span of 17 days. In those two-plus weeks, there were ten 40-point performances, of which Dame Lillard had four (45, 51, 45, 42). That simply lapped the field, as only Harden was able to repeat by scoring 49 and 45, and JoJo, Warren, AD, and Rivers were the only ones with one such hot game.
- I kinda expected more randomness in the trip-dub front, but there wasn’t as much with only six triple-doubles inside the bubble. The most stupid thing is that three of those belonged to Luka Doncic, who was mental in the seeding restart. Jokic, Valanciunas, and Ja had the other three combined.
- Three players inside the bubble finished the regular-season part of the restart averaging 60+ DKFP, those being Harden (65.4), Dame (61.2), and Luka (60.3). The averages speak for themselves with JH posting a 34-8-9 line, Dame at 37-4-10, and Luka at an impossible 30-10-10.
- Want some good-looking treys? Ask our friend Dame. Lillard went nuts inside the bubble for the restart while carrying Portland to the playoffs hitting 5.4 triples per game. The second-best at it were Harden, Paul George, and JJ Redick... at 4.0 per. That 1.4 difference is the same as that between those three and 26th-best Brook Lopez and C.J. McCollum. Crazy.
- Want a sniper? Go with Joe Harris. The Nets are absolutely depleted of talent, but Harris has been pinpoint accurate. Harris’ got the highest fg% (.623) among players with at least 10 fga (13.2) and has averaged 20 ppg on 28.8 mpg of playing time in 6 games. Not bad, with Giannis being the only other player with a .600+ fg% in the same group.
- As far as the most valuable players in terms of fantasy ROI (price vs. DKFP), those have been Darius Bazley, Tyler Herro, Michael Porter Jr., Keldon Johnson, Brook Lopez, Warren, Ish Smith, and maybe Thomas Bryant, just to name a few of the best bets of the past couple of weeks.
- On the other hand, the worst of the worst have been Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Jrue Holiday, Lonzo, Siakam, Marcus Smart, and P.J. Tucker. Not your best fantasy plays, to say the least.
Gotta Win The Day: Best/Worst DraftKings plays for tonight’s slate
- Love: (SG) Caris LeVert, BKN ($7600, at TOR): There is nothing to hate here. If you know anything about Toronto, that is for sure the fact that they can’t for the love of God win a Game 1 in the playoffs. Also, LeVert is coming cheap as peanuts. On top of that, check Bubble-Caris’ numbers: 25-5-6-1 for 44.3 DKFP per game. That’s insane, and it’s not that the Nets will be able to rely on many more players other than their current leader CLV. LeVert has been a true beast in the restart and he’s the 12th-highest fantasy scorer in the whole league these days. Toronto forces foes to shoot threes, but LeVert is not bad on that front either hitting 1.3 per game. Nothing to lose playing Caris here.
- Hate: (C) Tobias Harris, PHI ($7800, at BOS): The Sixers have a lot of question marks floating its forehead. Simmons is out for good, and JoJo should be fit and ready to go but this squad is a mess and their only plan of attack should be dumping the ball inside the paint to try and get advantage of Boston lack of biggies. So expect Horford and Embiid to run for extended periods, and JoJo to become the no. 1 option on offense as he’s been a monster against the C’s. Now, about Tobias. He’s had four games over 40 DKFP and three below 35 inside the bubble. He’s been as good as to post a 23-15 against Orlando, and as bad as to post a mediocre 16-7 against Portland. Jaylen Brown will be putting his clamps on Tobi and to be honest, I’m expecting ToHa to lay an egg. The last two times Philly faced Boston Harris finished with 16-7 and 10-6 lines in 35 and 32 minutes, which truth be told sucks as hell. Don’t rule out another measly 30-DKFP performance from Tobi.
- Love: (PG) Jamal Murray, DEN ($6500, vs UTA): If you have read the news section above or paid any attention to the league beat during the last 24 hours you know Utah will be missing Mike Conley as he’s left the bubble. No huge deal, because Conley hasn’t been overly great for the Jazz, but what he’s been is a steady starter next to Donovan Mitchell in the backcourt playing around 34 mpg since the restart. With Conley out of the lineup, Donovan will need to double on defensive efforts while Utah as a whole will need to throw either Jordan Clarkson or Emmanuel Mudiay in there to fill Conley’s minutes. Murray is now healthy and should give fits to the Jazz everywhere around the court. Jokic will also drag Gobert out of the paint and that will create corridors and space for Murray to exploit on his way to the bucket. I’d be shocked if Murray doesn’t bomb Utah all the way to a monster game today.
- Hate: (SF/PF) Michael Porter Jr., DEN ($7100, vs UTA): Mike has been absolutely incredible and as a mid-stan of the Nuggets that makes me happy and it also makes me picking against him today, but I just don’t think he will be out there booming today. Jamal Murray is a sound pick (read above) and I think Jokic will outperform Gobert for good too (only he’s super super expensive in today’s slate), so I don’t believe in the need of run a lot of plays through MPJ, lowering his upside. Also, keep in mind we’re talking about a rookie debuting in a playoff setup—weird setup, for sure, but a postseason one no matter what. Let Porter marinate for a game or two and then we’ll see if we can trust him for good once the dust of the first couple of games settle.
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!