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
- All of a sudden, Kyrie Irving is back with the Nets and will be available to play again come Monday. The conspiracies are already out there about a complex plot being pulled off during the past couple of weeks by Kyrie, Harden, the Nets, etc... in order to facilitate a trade in which Brooklyn would put together the Big 3 without surrendering either of Kyrie/KD. Real or not, there are too many coincidences as not to think there was at least something going on there...
- I can’t put together any thoughts about I feel about Karl-Anthony Towns’s COVID positive test. I mean, this man has endured the roughest of years in 2020 precisely due to the pandemic, and he’s now tested positive himself. Sucks for KAT, in all honesty. Hang in there, my man!
- The Wizards are going down hard with COVID tests returning positive results in bunches. Washington will be cleared off the schedule for a few of its upcoming games (Sunday and Monday back-to-back games vs. Cleveland will be postponed), and who knows if we have seen Brad Beal’s last games as a Wiz.
- Re: Bradley Beal. The Heat are still way high on the guard, and with Harden off the market, Beal should/will be the next star on the move.
- Quote of the day by James Harden on his conditioning level: “It’s great”.
- The worst news was confirmed: Jusuf Nurkic will miss eight weeks (at least) while recovering from his right wrist injury and after undergoing surgery.
- Tiny Isaiah Thomas is already holding discussions with multiple NBA teams for a potential comeback. Yessir!
- Andre Drummond is far from reaching an agreement on an extension with the Cavs, which solidifies the strong belief that he will be traded leading up to the trade deadline.
- Victor Oladipo seemingly turned down an extension from Indiana, which aligns with his trade to Houston and makes the transaction a sound one by the Pacers—Cars LeVert is signed for the next three years.
Duds and Studs: Yesterday’s slate roundup
- Looks like someone got worried about something... Andre Drummond had his best game of the season—by far—and reached a monster 74+ DKFP on a night in which he put up a devilish 33-23 dub-dub against New York while adding 3 dimes, 2 steals, and 2 blocks while shooting 55.6 percent from the floor on his 18 FGA, and going to the line 19 (!) times with a 68.4% success rate. All of this, just one day after Cleveland acquired 22-year-old C Jarrett Allen, which is to say the center of the franchise’s future. Dru will get moved before his contract runs out next summer, and whoever gets him will get a bounty of points and boards.
- All other top-5 fantasy players came from different teams, and all of them finished in the 50-to-60 DKFP clip. Among them: Luka (28-9-13), Shai (33-5-10), LaVine (35-7-6 with 8 treys), and LBJ (21-8-11 in 30 minutes).
- Plenty of players (as many as 13) finishing with between 40 and 50 FP, including...
- The ROI King award went to... Immanuel Quickley! The Knicks being the Knicks were able to draft Obi Toppin with the no. 8 pick... yet they hit actual gold with their no. 25 pick by getting Imma Quickley. Quick put up 40+ DKFP yesterday coming off the bench thanks to a sweet 23-5-4-1-1 stuffed line and hitting 3 treys. Lu Dort finished with a higher fantasy tally but was a little bit more expensive, while Terance Mann was the other top-notch value of the night.
- And the DOTS (Dud of the Slate) Award went to... Trae Young! Hard decision between Paul George (35 FP) and Trae, but the latter’s level of play of late is quite concerning... Trae played just 24 minutes yesterday, finished with 22 DKFP and a putrid 4-4-7-1-1 line, and shot 9.1 percent (yes, nine percent) from the floor on 11 FGA. He could only go to the charity stripe two times, and it’s been like that for a few games now. Young is far from the fantasy darling he was just two weeks ago, and that better change soon or he’ll be an auto-fade going forward. Vucevic and Fox also stank big time.
- There were 10 dub-dubs via points and rebounds (Khem Birch put up the cheapest; Portis and Theis missed by two points each; five guys were just one board short) and three between points and dimes (Luka, LBJ, and Shai).
- No triple-doubles yesterday, in a very frustrating night. Luka finished one rebound short of the feat with an otherwise incredible line, LeBron just needed 2 more boards to make it there, and Coby White finished 22-9-7 also getting super close to it.
- More silly numbers: Lu Dort somehow stole 6 rocks, while Nerlens Noel came out of nowhere to swat 6 shots against the Knicks.
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: Enes Kanter (C). This is definitely a risky play, but it also comes with a huge potential ROI. First of all, Nurkic is out for good and Kanter is Portland’s new no. 1 center. Even on a secondary, bench-role, Kanter has posted four dub-dubs already on the year while not having played more than 25 minutes in any of his 12 games. He will now start and log more than 25 ticks easily. On top of that, Atlanta plainly stinks. The Hawks are giving up the most fantasy points to the opposition this season. Finally, if you plan on targeting the Hawks D, you can obviously do with Dame/CJ, but they have the highest and third-highest salaries of the slate (obviously). Ride with Kanter before the algorithm catches up.
- Hate: De’Andre Hunter (SF/PF). The fact that the Blazers defense ranks as the 6th-worst so far this season doesn’t make Hunter a must-play guy, or at least it shouldn’t. That’s not what the stupid algorithm thinks, though, as Hunter has the 13th-highest salary of the slate... See, I don’t hate Hunter. Hunter has played wonderful basketball, but his efficiency is average at best (0.95 DKFP/min; the league average is around 0.93), while players tagged with a price in his range (7.4K to 7.8K) are putting up a much better 1.18 DKFP/min. Hunter has started every game this season for the Hawks for one reason or another, but his minutes have dropped from 33 to 22 and 28 in the last two games he’s played, and his FP have gone down from 37 to 27 and finally 17 against Utah yesterday. Clear fade.
- Love: Chris Boucher (PF/C). It’s about under-the-radar plays today, isn’t it? Boucher cooked Charlotte just two days ago as we enter the second leg of this back-to-back series between Drakes and Hornets. Bouch dropped 25 pops and pulled down 10 boards for his third dub-dub of the year on Thursday. Chris has reached 37+ DKFP in all of his last four games with an average 21-8-1-1-3 line and shooting a mental 65 percent from the floor on 46 total FGA. Boucher has racked up blocks going back to Jan. 8th with 14 in four games, has hit 2+ triples in all games inside that span (topping at 5 against Portland two games ago), and is doing all of that in just 28 MPG. Not sure how long this streak will last, but Boucher is the real deal these days.
- Hate: Fred VanVleet (PG/SG). FVV has been fantastic for the better part of the season, but he’s been hitting a wall since last week’s game against the Kangz. In his last three matches (starting Jan. 10th) against GSW, POR, and CHA, Vleeto has finished with 37, 20, and 30 DKFP even though he’s played 39, 36, and 35 minutes in those games. That has yielded way below-average per-minute levels of production, and the game-highs Freddy has put up in that span would make for a shitty combined 21-5-8-1-1 line that would amount to around 40 DKFP. Again, that would have been his ultimate-high score... Not buying FVV today, even less after seeing him finish 17-1-8 for 30 FP just two days ago against this very same Hornets team.
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!