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NBA DFS: Zion Williamson and best/worst DraftKings daily fantasy basketball plays for Friday, Jan. 15th

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.

Charlotte Hornets v New Orleans Pelicans Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./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

  • Ben Simmons dodged the first bullet, but there are whispers already out there talking about a potential trade between Philly and Washington that would see Benny and Beal swap places. We’ll see how it ends.
  • The Rockets officially announced Harden’s trade yesterday, and it’s now up to the NBA to make it all official and approve the moves from all four sides involved in order for Harden—and the rest of the players traded—to be eligible to play. The soonest he could appear would be tomorrow against the Magic.
  • Jusuf Nurkic fractured his right wrist yesterday and he could miss three-to-eight weeks depending on the severity of the fracture.
  • Kemba is closer to his return, but not quite yet per Danny Ainge. In better news for the Beantown Boys, the Celtics are expected to play today after a week full of suspended games due to COVID protocols.
  • Ja Morant has not been cleared yet, but he’s already listed as questionable for tonight’s game against Minny. About time we get Ja back!
  • Another vet going to the G League: Jarrett Jack, who will be part of the fresh G League Ignite squad.
  • Tweet of the day, by Iman Shumpert: “I’m around”. Someone bring this guy back to the L, please.
  • Dame Lillard doesn’t want another bubble, same as De’Aaron Fox (as he told Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson in their pod). The problem is the season is in danger of getting derailed and we’ll see if the NBA doesn’t take to a bubble if only for the postseason.

Duds and Studs: Yesterday’s slate roundup

  • Two things were made clear yesterday: the Warriors are made of Steph Curry and a bunch of JV players, and Nikola Jokic is as serious an MVP contender as anyone in the Association. Niko led the slate with 64+ DKFP in 36 minutes of playing time helping the Nugs defeat GSW while putting up a 23-14-10-3 line. Jokic has finished all of his 12 games so far with at least a 15-8-4 line, and nine of those at least 15-9-10. The trip-dub average for the season is nothing crazy to think about more than 15% into the season.
  • Getting back to Steph, he closed the night second in the DKFP leaderboard with 59 FP himself. The line read 35-11-4-2 to go with 5 treys and a sweet 60.9 FG% on 23 FGA, but that wasn’t nearly enough for Golden State to defeat Denver.
  • Three more players on the 50-to-55 clip including Wood (27-15), Sabonis (23-15-5), and Milton (31-2-7). As many as nine players put up between 40 and 50 FP.
  • The ROI King award went to... Sterling Brown! Not entirely predictable, but somehow expected. Sterling and Jae’sean Tate were the two most-valuable players of yesterday’s slate... while both started for the depleted—if only for a day—Rockets. Brown put up 41 DKFP, and Tate finished with a 13-10 dub-dub for 38 DKFP. The third-best play of the day was Shake Milton, whose monster 51 FP are going to be hard for him to surpass at any point ROS.
  • And the DOTS (Dud of the Slate) Award went to... Joel Embiid! Horrific performance by a low-use Embiid yesterday, as he just got 23 minutes of run and couldn’t do more than finish with a 9-5-1-1 line for 17+ DKFP. Dame, FVV, DeRozan, and Tobias were also on the losing side with every middling games.
  • There were seven dub-dubs via points and rebounds (Precious Achiuwa put up the cheapest; Jamal and JaMychal missed on it by one rebound) and three between points and dimes (Lowry, LaMelo, and Tate).
  • Two triple-doubles yesterday, one coming from Forever-Sixer Benny Simmons with an edgy 10-10-12-3 line and the other one from the Mighty Serbian Niko Jokic and his 23-10-14-3.
  • More silly numbers: Dejounte Murray was the lone player to reach 5 steals on the slate with Thybulle getting 4 in just 17 minutes, while Myles Turner led the slate once more in the blocks department with 4 swats.

What’s cooking? Statistical trends from Week 3 (Jan. 4th to Jan. 10th)

  • It sounds very stupid, but two guys (even on small samples of just three and two games) were able to keep up averages of 65+ DKFP per game: Doncic and Beal. Luka closed last week averaging a 30-12-11-2 line in his three games, while Beal dropped a 50-5-4 nightly line. Jesus Christ those 50 pops a game.
  • Tim Hardaway Jr. was the only player to average 25+ PPG last week while carrying an average salary below 6K. The next player below that price was De’Andre Hunter, already down at 20.0 PPG.
  • The minutes have worked in Jarrett Allen’s favor, as the biggie-fro has played 30.5 MPG this past week and closed it averaging the cheapest dub-dub of all men at 15-11-3. Thank God Brooklyn finally came to its senses and put Allen in the starting five.
  • The algorithm has yet to catch up with LaMelo Ball’s game, no less than the youngest of trip-dubbers in NBA history. Ball has played four games this past week putting up an average of 43 DKFP at just $6.2K. Somehow, the Hornets keep playing him off the bench and starting Rozier and Graham...
  • Silly cheap values: Hamidou Diallo, Khem Birch, Haliburton, Troy Brown Jr., Dorian Finney-Smith
  • A little more expensive but still with massive ROI: LaMelo, Tim Hardaway Jr., PJ Washington, De’Andre Hunter, Jerami Grant, Caris LeVert
  • Some very expensive players not doing enough to help their owners: Trae Young, Russell Westbrook, Bam Adebayo, Devin Booker, Tobias Harris
  • Cheap points (min. 3 games played in the past seven days): Mills, Maxey, Diallo, Justin Holiday, Gary Harris, Cam Johnson, Lonnie, Pritchard, Temple
  • Cheap threes: Mills, Cam Johnson, Danny Green, Temple, Rivers, Justin Holiday, Brook Lopez
  • Cheap boards: Dwight Howard, Khem Birch, Willie Cauley-Stein, Juan Hernangomez, JaMychal Green, Derrick Favors, Maxi Kleber
  • Cheap dimes: Damyean Dotson, Pritchard, Augustin, Ish Smith, Pat Beverley, Danny Green, Delon Wright, Theo Maledon, Brad Wanamaker, Mills
  • Cheap steals: Gorgui Dieng, Patrick Williams, Ish Smith, De’Anthony Melton, Stanley Johnson, Jevon Carter, Grayson Alen, Derrick Jones
  • Cheap blocks: Brook Lopez, Marc Gasol, Pat Beverley, Daniel Gafford, Derrick Favors, Maxi Kleber
  • Cheap FG% (min. 9 FGA): Diallo, Maxey, Gary Harris, Pritchard, Justin Holiday, Austin Rivers, Taurean Prince, Cam Johnson, Danny Green

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

  • Love: Jonas Valanciunas (C). Memphis is facing Minny, and Minny currently has the third-worst defense in preventing fantasy points from the opposition. Valanciunas is far from a top-tier player even while being a biggie, but he’s averaging a 15-10-2 line on the season to go with 1.8 stocks per game. That’s not bad as is, but odds are JoVa bumps up that baseline today against the Wolves. You just need to look at what happened two days ago when the first leg of this matchup was played: 30 minutes of playing time, 24 pops, 16 boards, and a couple of blocks for a 50-DKFP burger against this same bunch of Minnesota guys.
  • Hate: Anthony Davis (PF/C). AD is questionable for tonight’s game against NOLA, but I’m writing this assuming he plays. Whether if he does or not, you should still fade Davis these days. See, the Lakers are cruising through the regular season. They get Ws with ease and that means they don’t need to play LBJ nor AD for long stretches. That’s why both guys are averaging 31.8 MPG on the year... but have played 30 or fewer minutes in all last three games (HOU, HOU, OKC). The Pelicans are better than those three teams, but shouldn’t be getting the W. Davis will finish with 40 DKFP, sure, but is that enough from the guy carrying the fourth-highest salary today? Hardly. AD’s last three fantasy scores: 38, 46, and 28 with only one dub-dub in those three games. I’m sorry, but I’m passing.
  • Love: Zion Williamson (PF/C). Prior to yesterday’s game against the Clips, the last game New Orleans had played took place a week ago against New Orleans, back on Jan. 8th. That’s also the last time we saw Zion in action, who missed yesterday’s affair due to safety protocols after he took an inconclusive COVID test. Zion is back for tonight’s game against the Lakers, and the Lakers, as you know, are a monster squad killing teams without effort and not needing to do a lot these days to get Ws. DeRozan, LaVine, Wall, Wood, Cousins,... have been able to put up at least 35+ DKFP on the Lakers through the last week of games, so odds are Zion gets there with ease given his role in New Orleans and that both LeBron and AD are questionable—and even if they play it wouldn’t be a surprise to find them on the bench more often than not.
  • Hate: Trae Young (PG). Betting against Trae is the dumbest of things you can do. But I’m writing this from my mom’s basement and playing with your money, not mine, so I’m good. No, seriously. Since John Collins dropped the criticism on Trae, Young has been on the low side of things scoring 16, 32, and 45 DKFP in his last three games. That’s an upward trend, sure, but Trae is far from his best self, is shooting 34.6 percent from the floor since the start of the calendar year (six games), and going back to Jan. 1st he’s just gone to the line 37 total times in the past six games compared to 62 in the first four (Dec. 23th to 30th). Trae will get his game right sooner rather than later, but I’m not risking this biscuit for now.

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!