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
- Kyrie Irving is finally back—for real this time—and held a virtual press conference yesterday, explained pretty much nothing about his absence, and should play tonight against Cleveland in the first true Nets Big-3 experience.
- JoJo Embiid should also be back today to go against Boston, same as Seth Curry. On the C’s side of things, though, it is still not clear if Tatum will make it back to the court in time for Saturday’s second leg of the 76ers back-to-back series.
- In a complete out-of-left-field bit of news, Shams informed of a fracture in Myles Turner's hand, which will keep him off the court for a few days pending further evaluation. He is not expected to require surgery, though, so he truly dodged a bullet there.
- The Raptors waived Alex Len yesterday, mostly due to the impressive start to the season that Chris Boucher is having. Not a worldbeater, but Len could very well become a bench guy for some team out there hurting for a biggie—Nets, Blazers,...
- Karl Malone called out Zion and his “lack” of shape. I wish Zion could dunk on Malone’s forehead and upload it to IG for my enjoyment.
Duds and Studs: Yesterday’s slate roundup
- We couldn’t ask for a lot given yesterday’s slate featured all of four teams in two games, and that’s probably why we only got to watch one player perform above 46 DKFP... Jokic led the slate with a good-not-great 56 FP on a night in which he logged just 28 minutes yet was able to finish with a sweet 27-12-6-1-1 dub-dub line shooting 57.1% from the floor and committing just one turnover. The Nugs demolished OKC and Jokic wasn’t that needed, so his run was cut big time.
- Four men finished in the 40-to-50 clip, including another biggie in Gobert (13-18 with 3 blocks), Zion (32-5-3 attempting—and missing—a trey), DoMi (28-7-4 with 4 triples), and Millsap (13-12-3-2-1 in 26 minutes).
- The ROI King award went to... Paul Millsap! You already know about Pauly. Millsap played less than 30 minutes like every other Nugget yesterday because the Thunder were no threat and that cut everybody’s upside short. Millsap was really efficient in his minutes, though, reaching 40 DKFP at a laughable salary and finishing with a 13-12 dub-dub at a very low 17.1% usage rate. Isaiah Roby was the starting C of OKC and the second-best value of the night. Dort and Clarkson returned good value too.
- And the DOTS (Dud of the Slate) Award went to... Jamal Murray! It is legit starting to get worrying, folks. Yesterday wasn’t the game to really make any hard conclusions about Murray’s levels of performance to start the 2021 season, but Murray has truly been horrific this year. In 20 minutes against OKC he only put up 17 DKFP in a 5-2-4-2 effort shooting 20% from the floor (2-for-10). That sucked big time. Brandon Ingram didn’t reach the expectations given his salary, same as Shai and Conley.
- There were three dub-dubs via points and rebounds (Gobert, Jokic, and Millsap) and none between points and dimes (Conley was the lone 10-dime player but could only score 6 points).
- No triple-doubles yesterday, of course, with Jokic getting the closest to it with a 27-12-6 line in 28 minutes. Had he played his season-average 35 MPG, odds are he could have gotten there.
- More silly numbers: Isaiah Roby somehow stole 4 rocks, while Rudy Gobert was the only walking man to swat 3 shots.
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: Nikola Vucevic (C). With KAT out for tonight's game, Vuc looks like a massive hit and a must-play guy today. Even if KAT had made it to the game, Vucevic has been virtually matchup-proof—as always. Vuc is not the best Niko in the NBA, that’s right, but he definitely is one of the most underrated and overlooked players ever. Vucevic is putting up dub-dubs with gusto, has scored 22+ points in five of his last six games, and in all of those matches, he also grabbed at least 10 boards. Seriously. Vuc’s averaging a 25-11-3-1 line while manning Orlando’s center position, which is more than great. He’s shooting 53 percent from the floor, avoiding foul trouble, and the best of all he’s hitting 2.6 3PM per game on the season and an average of 3.0 per on his last six matches, including a couple of 4- and 6-trey performances. All of it for the just 18th-highest salary and only the fifth-highest among C-eligible players today.
- Hate: Kevin Huerter (SG/SF). The fuck is wrong with the algorithm? No, seriously. Huerter has the ninth-highest salary on the slate. Trae Young is averaging 17 DKFP per game more and he has the 11th-highest price. Huerter is above 36 (!!!) players in the salary ranks while averaging fewer DKFP/G than all of them. WTF. Even with Detroit as its opponent, Atlanta is 1) not missing any player other than Gallinari, 2) giving Huerter a starting role of 35+ minutes but a putrid 17% usage rate and 3) Huerter himself is a 0.90 DKFP/min player on the season (way below average). I mean, I could see good boy Kev reaching something like 30 FP on the night... but he’s tagged at a stupid $9.5K compared to $5.7K two days ago. Smh...
- Love: Chris Boucher (PF/C). The Raptors waived Alex Len yesterday, and although Len had already turned into a bit of an afterthought when it happened, odds are this means more touches, minutes, and opportunities for Boucher to keep building his 6MOY candidacy. Boucher has yet to start a game (seriously) with Baynes and Siakam starting at the C and PF positions, but Bouch has played 29+ minutes in all but two (27 and 23 in those) of his last six games. Boucher’s per-minute efficiency is truly bonkers: the third-year biggie is putting up an average of 1.54 DKFP/min (!!!) going back to Jan. 8th, is on a four-game streak of scoring 20+ points and grabbing 8+ rebounds, and he also has blocked 10 shots in that span. Miami poses a tough challenge, but Boucher’s price is ridiculously low.
- Hate: D’Angelo Russell (PG/SG). The Magic have been bad, but they have somehow limited guards in fantasy contests. Only James Harden in his debut was able to score more than 30 DKFP against Orlando in their past three games, and prior to that... it was Harden again who did so, and Luka/Burke/Hardaway after that in an absolute massacre. What I mean, is that other positions are the ones truly eating against the Magic, and on top of that DLo is not convincing me that much. The late absence of KAT has boosted Russell’s usage to 32+ percent in each of the past three games, and that has boosted his numbers, but Russell has been more of a 19-3-5 player (first nine games averages) than the 27-3-6 of late... I’m betting on regression to the mean here, and DLo’s mean is nothing to call home about.
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!