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NBA DFS: C.J. McCollum and best/worst DraftKings daily fantasy basketball plays for Thursday, Aug. 6th

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.

Houston Rockets v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Kevin C. Cox/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

  • Second super-wave of tests for COVID-19 positives inside the bubble, second super-wave of negative returns from it! You might love or hate the L, but they’re managing this situation as well as we could have ever imagined. 343 players tested time, with all of zero being positive.
  • It looks like media is making headlines out of thin air these days. The LA Times went ahead and published words from a scout claiming that “nobody wants the Blazers in the first round”. Portland? A threat? Color me shocked!
  • Gotta appreciate Austin Rivers’ confidence in himself: “PJ is a great defender. I believe I’m a greater defender. I think I’m one of the best guard defenders in the NBA”. And I’m backing him all the way up.
  • League executives claim Buddy Hield came back from the hiatus out of shape, pulling off a reverse-Jokic.
  • Do you know who is out of shape too? The horrid 0-4 Young Grizzlies...
  • Injury watch (Part I): Ben Simmons left yesterday’s game with a left knee injury and didn’t return. No news yet other than the MRI came back negative, but if Philly needs something this is definitely not it. Day-to-day status for BS for now.
  • Injury watch (Part II): Aaron Gordon got screwed by a Kyle Lowry Flagrant 1 foul yesterday, landing awkwardly and getting his left hamstring injured. No serious damage, as AG will get a re-evaluation in a few days.
  • Gregg Popovich compares Nikola Jokic to Larry Bird. Nothing to add.

Duds and Studs: Last night slate roundup

  • Not a day for sky-high scores or fantasy fireworks. Joel Embiid led the slate with 58.25 DKFP to the tune of 30 pops and 11 boards with 3-3-2 one dimes, steals, and blocks. It was a nice all-around game, sure, but far from spectacular with the most impressive thing perhaps being that JoJo reached those marks on just 32 minutes of playing time.
  • There were only two more guys reaching 50+ fantasy points, but both of them were far more valuable than Embiid. Michael Porter Jr. looks like a revelation since he’s starting games and finished with a nice 30-15 dub-dub for 53.75 DKFP while Rudy Gobert smashed Memphis hard with a 21-16 game for 53 fantasy points.
  • A bunch of guys dropped 40+ DKFP but only three finished in the 45-to-50 clip: Jokic with a great 25-4-11-1 game, Thomas Bryant being the only salvageable thing in Washington, and VanVleet having good back-to-back performances for the Raps.
  • He wasn’t the actual ROI King, but I have to go with Michael Porter Jr. today. The rook put on a show cooking 30 chicken wings (including 5 treys) and grabbing a monster 15 boards. Now, if we go by the actual ROI leaderboard, the two best values of the slate were Robert Williams and Brad Wanamaker. Both Celtics reached 31+ DKFP while priced at the minimum $3K. Not bad.
  • And the DOTS (Dud of the Slate) Award goes to... Anthony Davis! Back-to-back victories for me, as I picked two superstars yesterday and two days ago (Khris Middleton) as absolute-fades and nailed it both times. It was clear that LA wouldn’t give a crap with the no. 1 seed already locked, and AD put on a dud on that level. The Brow finished with 9 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists... and 26 DKFP in 29 minutes after carrying the third-highest price of the slate ($10.3K).
  • Shout-out to other super-duds in Siakam (23.5 DKFP), Ben Simmons (24.5), and Tatum (27.5).
  • Paltry slate when it came to dub-dubs... Only six between points and boards (Gobert, MPJ, Valanciunas, LeBron, Embiid, Thomas Bryant) and two between dimes and pops (Jokic and FVV).
  • That being said, Luka broke basketball with his 34-20-12 trip-dub. Damn.
  • Things got weird with thefts, with as many as five guys stealing 3 rocks (Smart, SGA, Augustin, Embiid, Dejounte), with one clear winner on the blocking department: Embiid and his 4 blocks.

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

  • Love: (PF/C) Deandre Ayton, PHO ($7200, vs IND): While Ayton struggled a bit facing Dallas—he got in foul trouble and was limited to 21 minutes—the truth is that he has looked phenomenal since the restart and in the other two games he’s played with the surprisingly-good Suns he’s dropped fantasy scores of 49+ and 33+ DKFP. The best of all is that Ayton combines your typical big-man expectations (pops and boards) with some long-range shooting prowess and nice assist numbers. I have written about this in earlier columns, but Indiana stinks a bit in the paint, which is Ayton’s playground. No starting center has fallen under 42 fantasy points against the Pacers and all three of them finished with a dub-dub, so you know what to do.
  • Hate: (PG) Malcolm Brogdon, IND ($6800, at PHO): Brogdon has played two games for the Pacers since this thing got going. His averages in those two read 16-5-7, which isn’t bad, but isn’t otherworldly either for just 35 fantasy points per game. The problem with The President, though, is that he’s playing hurt, but overcoming those health issues to just put his body on the line when he steps on the Disney courts. Brogdon played back-to-back games on Monday and Tuesday, and that second one was a letdown as he could only reach 12 points and 8 assists (29 DKFP) in 32 minutes. This is not a back-to-back game and he comes from a two-day rest, but I’m still not fully trusting him nor these Pacers and won’t probably do till we reach the playoffs. Look anywhere else to fill your PG slot.
  • Love: (PG/SG) C.J. McCollum, POR ($7900, at DEN): The obvious pick is always Dame, but he’s super-close to the $10K tag and that price is way overboard. Lillard’s partner in crime has a much sweeter and affordable price in today’s slate. With the Grizzlies absolutely stinking, it makes sense for Portland to go for the neck and try to snatch that no. 8 seed from them sooner rather than later to not only force the play-in but being the favorite to get into the postseason with just one win once there. Denver is 2-2 inside the bubble, and a potential underdog to win the chip. Denver is also a team missing three starters in Murray, Barton, and Harris, who all happen to play guard or small-wing positions, pretty much CJ’s mojo. So far, McCollum has played three games and is the 22nd-best player since the restart with 42 DKFP on average and a good 23-6-5-1 line shooting 50.8%.
  • Hate: (SF/PF) Robert Covington, HOU ($6500, vs LAL): RoCo doesn’t come at a crazy price and if you’re looking for a relatively cheap yet productive guy at the wing you might want to go with him. That being said, buyers beware. The two times these Pocket Rockets have faced the Lakers, which is far from the most competitive team now with that no. 1 seed secured, RoCo didn’t get more than 38 fantasy points. Why? Because Harden and Russ overate as hell, leaving him with just around 18% of possessions to finish. That usage rate stinks, and it is not that the Rockets will change the game plan here. I think the Lake Show will try to rebound after getting destroyed by Utah—whether they went for the win or not—if only because of the pride of LBJ and AD taking over. In that case, there is no way RoCo put on a good enough amount of DKFP, thus the fade.

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!