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NBA DFS: Khris Middleton and best/worst DraftKings daily fantasy basketball plays for Monday, Jan. 18th

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.

Dallas Mavericks v Milwaukee Bucks

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

  • The Knicks beat Boston 105-75. Are we back to the 90s, or what’s going on here?
  • Speaking of Beantowners, Jayson Tatum remained out for yesterday’s matchup and there is no definite timeline on his return. He should be back this week, but HC Brad Stevens didn’t confirm it. Back for the C’s, though, was Kemba Walker.
  • Luka Doncic, after putting up a 36-16-15 line yesterday, said he was “too selfish”. Let me repeat something, just in case: Doncic dished out a freaking 15 dimes. Jesus Christ.
  • Turns out the new Big 3 of Harden, Durant, and Irving is the highest-paid trio in NBA history combining for $114.8 million this year. You won’t believe this, but before this group got together the most-expensive trio was that of Steph, Klay, and Wiggins. LOL
  • The Nets have tagged Kyrie as questionable for today’s game against Milwaukee. Not a confirmation of his presence in the match, but definitely an indication he’s as close as it gets to make it back to the court.
  • Victor Oladipo has left the door open for a potential contract extension with the Rockets if he feels the fit is right. I still think he will test the FA waters, but we’ll see if Houston can convince him to stay with a relatively good run this season.
  • The Wizards are waiving Anzejs Pasecniks, who will bag himself a guaranteed $350K.

Duds and Studs: Yesterday’s slate roundup

  • If you read the news I wrote above, you already know about it: Luka was unstoppable yesterday—unlike the Mavs as a whole, though—and put up a monster 87+ DKFP on a night in which he finished with a silly 36-16-15 trip-dub that included hitting a slate-leading 6 treys. Even shooting a ridiculous 30 FG and 6 FT, Doncic was still able to average 1.0 PTS/Shot.
  • Two more games in which two other players excelled yesterday: Fox had a career-night dropping 43 pops on New Orleans while also pulling down 4 boards, dishing out 13 dimes, and stealing 4 rocks for 77 FP; Nikola Jokic was once more super-close to a trip-dub with a 35-14-9-2-1 stuffed line and 72-FP performance.
  • As stupid as it sounds, nobody finished in the 51-to-70 clip yesterday, with Sabonis (19-14-6-2) being the only player outside of the top-3 to hit 50 DKFP. The rest of the 40-to-50 guys: Randle, Markkanen, Murray, Bagley, Barrett, and Zion.
  • The ROI King award went to... De’Aaron Fox! It is really really hard to find true value in a $7.9K player, but Fox pulled off the feat by reaching 77+ DKFP on a night for the ages. Foxxy’s 43 points are the most by a King since DeMarcus Cousins dropped 46 almost four years ago in Jan. 2017. Below Fox—and by a mile—were Garrett Temple, Bagley, Quickley, and Marcus Morris as other nice ROI values.
  • And the DOTS (Dud of the Slate) Award went to... Kawhi Leonard! The Fourth-highest salary of the slate that of Kawhi and all he returned was a putrid 17-7-5 line for 33 measly FP. Kawhi sucked, as sucked Paul George too. Zach Lavine was terrible, same as Brandon Ingram. None of those four aforementioned players could top 35 fantasy points, while all of them had salaries inside the top-10 highest.
  • There were eight dub-dubs via points and rebounds (Bagley got the cheapest, while Otto Porter was the only player to miss on the dub-dub by just one board) and two between points and dimes (Fox’s 43-13 and LaVine’s 10-10).
  • One triple-double yesterday, from our Euro God Luka the Don thanks to a stuffed 36-16-15 line. Perhaps most interesting was the near-trip-dub by Jokic (35-14-9), who has fallen short of doing it a few times already this season but who is still averaging a trip-dub line on the year (25-11-10).
  • More silly numbers: Wendell Carter Jr. figured out a way to lead the slate with 5 steals, and with Myles Turner out yesterday, not a single player blocked more than 2 shots (nine of them swatted a couple of rocks).

What’s cooking? Statistical trends from Week 4 (Jan. 11th to Jan. 17th)

  • If you remember what happened last week, Doncic was—along with Brad Beal—the only player to average 65+ DKFP per game, although he played just three games. Well, Luka has improved on that and this past week, in three more games, Doncic (33-13-12-1-1) has averaged a stupid 75 DKFP. Only Jokic (27-12-10-4-1) came remotely close to Luka with 68 FP himself.
  • Kevin Durant only got to share the court once with newly-acquired James Harden, but KD led the week among players with 3+ games played in PPG notching 34 pops a night in three games. Doncic and Dame were the only other players to average 30+ PPG in the past seven days.
  • Myles Turner missed Sunday’s game but he still played 3 other times last week averaging a stupid 4.0 BPG. Noel ranked a distant second with 2.8 BPG in four games. LOL
  • Enes Kanter’s über-efficient season might see a drop in per-minute numbers now that he will be starting for Portland, but Kanter kept up the highest DKFP/min average among players valued below $5.5K during the past week putting up a 1.46 mark. Clarkson, Tillman, and Boucher were some other overly-efficient per-minute players during the last seven days.
  • 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: Alexander-Walker, Quickley, Bruce Brown, Tillman, Tate, Grayson Allen, Vincent, Poeltl, Achiuwa, Okoro, Dort
  • A little more expensive but still with massive ROI: Boucher, Duncan Robinson, Myles Turner, Clarkson, Fox, Danny Green, Wood
  • Some very expensive players not doing enough to help their owners: Ingram, Trae, Paul George, Porzingis, VanVleet, Gobert, John Collins
  • Cheap points (min. 3 games played in the past seven days): Alexander-Walker, Gabe Vincent, McDermott, Quickley, Marcus Morris, Lu Dort, Caldwell-Pope, Kennard
  • Cheap threes: Isaiah Joe, Marcus Morris, Dort, Caldwell-Pope, Kennard, NAW, Vincent, Redick, McLemore, McDermott, Trent Jr., Knox
  • Cheap boards: Achiuwa, Bruce Brown, Biyombo, JaMychal, Jaxon Hayes, Zubac, Poeltl, Roby, Birch
  • Cheap dimes: Iguodala, Tate, Quickley, Aaron Holiday, Vincent, Kennard, Caruso, DJ Augustin
  • Cheap steals: Okoro, Tillman, Dort, Vassell, Connaughton, KCP, Sumner
  • Cheap blocks: Noel, Gasol, Poeltl, Biyombo, Tate, McGee, James Johnson, Favors, Pokusevski
  • Cheap FG% (min. 9 FGA): Bruce Brown, McDermott, NAW, Marcus Morris, Trent Jr., Redick, Okoro, Quickley, Bacon, Dort

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

  • Love: Christian Wood (C). Wood is the most expensive biggie of the main slate on MLK day, but it’s not that you find below-9K big men every day, let alone with Wood’s upside. Chris W, in his first season in Houston, is averaging a very tasty 23-11 dub-dub with 1.9 BPG to put the cherry on top. If you’ve not updated your stat sheet, there are nine players putting up that 20-10 average on the year, Wood among them. Oh, and he is turning the ball over just 1.9 times per game compared to the 3+ times the rest of the qualified players (except Vucevic) are doing so. Wood is on a two-game streak of hitting 54+ DKFP (back-to-back vs. San Antonio) and that shouldn’t change tonight facing a Bulls squad that has a bottom-half fantasy defense these days.
  • Hate: Andrew Wiggins (PG/SF). As good as Wiggins has been—considering the expectations, I mean—he’s still widely underperforming for his average prices, let alone today’s crazy $8.6K tag. Wiggins is good to give you some 30 DKFP, but you’re just not dropping more than eight-grand on a guy like that. Drew has scored 16+ pops in his last seven games, gathered usage rates north of 24% on the season, and has played 35 MPG in his last three games. That’s cool, but for those hyper-stretched runs of playing time you would expect more than an average 18-4-3 line... that he has made look much better because of his 10 (!) blocks in those three matches. Not trusting this fool just one bit, much less at his top-tier price.
  • Love: Khris Middleton (SF). There is a bug in the algorithm the folks over DraftKings have yet to fix. Midd is tagged at the same price as Dennis Schroder and below Wiggins and Porzingis. WTF. Khris is putting up 41 DKFP per game and a massive 1.27 FP per minute on the court. Seriously. I know Midd is playing “only” 32.3 MPG, but even then odds are he finish his nights with 40+ fantasy points easily. He’s contributing across the board with 22-6-6-1 season-averages and has actually topped 40 DKFP in five of his last six games, in which he scored 20+ points every time, at least 2 triples, grabbed 5+ boards, and dished at 3+ dimes. Also, this matchup against Brooklyn should be an ECF preview and the stakes are as high as they get.
  • Hate: Kristaps Porzingis (PF/C). If you read Khris’ blurb above, you know where I’m coming from. It makes no sense to overpay as much for KP as you’d be doing by rostering him today. Three games played, 31 DKFP on average. Kristaps can do it all, but precisely because he wants to do it all, he screws stuff more often than not. Porzingis is a dub-dub averager on the season with ease, but he’s falling short of doing it so far (17-7) while shooting incredibly badly (39/26/75 splits). Let Porzingins marinate for a while, Luka cook, and the algorithm low his price before you even think about putting Porz in your daily lineups.

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!