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NBA DFS: Donovan Mitchell and best/worst DraftKings daily fantasy basketball plays for Sunday, Jan. 17th

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.

Atlanta Hawks v Utah Jazz Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/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

  • Harden is officially officially a Net. Quite the debut for the new Brooklynite, who put up a triple-double in his first game for the franchise, and that was without Kyrie available. Can’t wait for MLK’s game versus Milwaukee potentially featuring the Big 3.
  • In related news, Caris LeVert was traded to Indiana but will be off basketball courts indefinitely after the medical tests he had to go through revealed a small mass in his left kidney. This is very worrying, and it is a low blow for the Pacers. All of the strength goes from us to Caris. Wishing you a full recovery asap!
  • Kevin Durant needed all of 10 games as a Net to set a new scoring record for the franchise hitting 42 pops on the Magic forehead in which came to be his ninth consecutive game scoring 25+ points. That’s efficiency.
  • CJ McCollum suffered a foot sprain and depending on the severity of the injury he could be out for weeks. Keep an eye on this, as Portland might be forced to hand the rock to Dame more than anyone has in the history of the game—although it’s terrible news for the franchise just hours after losing Nurkic for two months already...
  • Cavs GM Koby Altman has seemingly informed Andre Drummond about him keeping the starting role at the center spot at least in the near future. In his words, “he’s earned it” and that won’t change now that Jarrett Allen is part of the squad—although I guess a trade involving Dru could happen any moment, though.
  • Michael Porter Jr. keeps missing time after testing positive for COVID more than a while ago. It’s been 15+ days since he first missed active time, and the last news speak of a potential return come next Friday. This sucks for the underperforming Nuggets.
  • Ja Morant returned from injury and already carried Memphis to a W. Not bad.

Duds and Studs: Yesterday’s slate roundup

  • Oh boy, oh boy, if this is the Harden we are about to watch nightly in Brooklyn... In his first game for the franchise, James played all of 40 minutes and debuted with a trip-dub to the tune of a 32-12-14-4-1 line that was absolutely bonkers and gave him 79 DKFP. He also racked up turnovers, as many as nine, falling just one short of pulling off the quadruple-trouble.
  • The other top-3 players of the slate came from the same game: Durant (62 FP) completed a 42-4-5-2-2 masterful scoring performance while Niko Vucevic (69) got himself near trip/quad-dub territory with a 34-10-7-5 line shooting 63.6% from the floor on 22 FGA.
  • Only seven players closed the day in the 50-to-60 FP clip: Wood (24-18), Jerami, Dame, Caplea (25-15), Kanter (12-15, 5 blocks), Bam, and Trae (26-7-11)
  • The ROI King award went to... Jakob Poeltl! Tight race for the lead between Poeltl and Mason Jones, but the biggie gets the award for putting up a dub-dub in just 29 minutes of playing time off the bench. Poeltl reached 40 DKFP with a 13-11-3-1-3 stuffed line on just a 12.5% usage rate. Jones started for a barred Rockers and got 37 FP himself. Isaiah Stewart, Xavier Tillman, and Dwight were other cheap and valuable plays.
  • And the DOTS (Dud of the Slate) Award went to... John Collins! CJ Mac got injured with just 18 minutes of play, so he gets a pass. Collins’ 22 DKFP, not so much. JoCo played 31 rounds, and could only put up a putrid 8-6-2 line with 2 blocks for 22 FP on another horrific night for every Hawk other than Trae (surprise, surprise). Siakam was horrid too, same as LaMelo, Morant, and De’Andre Hunter.
  • There were 10 dub-dubs via points and rebounds (Stewart got the cheapest one; three guys missed on it by points; four more were just a single board shy of making it) and three between points and dimes (Trae, FVV, Dragic; Delon Wright missed on it by 2 pops; Simmons by a single dime).
  • One resounding triple-doubles yesterday, from the Great Belly Harden. 32-12-14 was the line, to go with 4 steals and a block to spare. Not the greatest of performances, as he turned the ball over 9 times, but hey, a trip-dub is a trip-dub and the quad-trouble was this close to happen.
  • More silly numbers: Nik Vucevic led the slate with 5 steals, and Enes Kanter blocked the same number of shots with 5 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: Donovan Mitchell (PG/SG). If you remember what happened in Orlando’s bubble 27 years ago, DoMi and Jamal Murray put on a show once the playoffs rolled, going at each other fiercely and gifting us plenty of fun games. The Jazz are facing the Nugs tonight, and while Mitchell hasn’t been incredible this season (37.8 FP) he has been improving steadily as the season has grown a bit. Mitch has scored 26+ points in all of his last four games, including hitting 4+ treys in each of those. The rebounds and dimes are still a bit low (3.3 RPG and 4.5 APG in that span) but he’s shooting off the charts, avoiding committing too many turnovers, and logging usage rates above 31% more often than not.
  • Hate: Ben Simmons (PG/SF). Embiid will remain out tonight. Benny should be playing back-to-back games for the third time this season, and the prior such matches didn’t go that well for him. The first that happened Simmons played 28 minutes against Cleveland and finished with a putrid 33 DKFP, and in the second one he played 31 minutes against BKN and finished with 22 (!) FP. That sucks. And it will suck once more tonight as Philly takes on OKC. The Thunder are bad, I know, but Cleveland was so, and look at Simmons’ 15-6-4 line... Benny keeps doing it all besides hitting treys, but I’m not confident in putting him in my lineups today.
  • Love: Myles Turner (C). Myles has said that his no. 1 goal is to win the DPOY award and make the All-Defensive First team this season. I mean, not that those two things are a stretch of the imagination to think of Turner doing... Turner has blocked 50 (!) shots in 12 games. Yes, that comes down to more than 4 BPG, which is absolutely crazy. Only 18 players in the history of the NBA have blocked as many shots as Turner in their first 12 games of a season, and only 12 have scored more points than Myles among that group. Turner has put up three dub-dubs in his last four games, is logging 36+ MPG these days, and he’s doing it all with a usage rate of 15.5%. Loving Turner so much.
  • Hate: Buddy Hield (SG/SF). I’m sorry, but Buddy ain’t my buddy anymore, I’m afraid. Hield has started every freaking Kings game this season, contrary to what happened last year when he was given a sixth-man, microwave-y role. Starting, Hield sucks. He has scored 10+ points in all but two of his 13 games. Not bad. He has scored 20+ pops in just two games. Not good. Other than the nights the Holy Spirit comes down from heaven and rubs his head making him a three-point god, Buddy is hell on earth. That’s all can do—when he does it, which is not often. Other than scoring here and there, Hield gives you nothing (4 rebounds, 4 dimes, less than a steal per game on the year) and he knows no way to the free-throw line. Not playing my Buddies in fantasy contests.

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!