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NBA DFS: Donovan Mitchell and best/worst DraftKings daily fantasy basketball plays for Sunday, Jan. 3rd

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.

Denver Nuggets v Utah Jazz - Game Four Photo by Kevin C. Cox/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

  • Rest in peace, Paul Westphal. The Hall of Famer left us yesterday at 70 years of age. Personal note: Westphal—along with Dave Cowens— is probably one of those figures that when I took seriously to study the NBA’s past I still found incredible to have not heard about almost ever. Sometimes, one’s just wrong. All of the time, one doesn’t know enough.
  • While James Wiseman had to leave last Golden State’s game due to injury it seems he will be back tonight already. Dodged a bullet and we’re happy it went that way.
  • Speaking of damaged goods, it seems like there will be an update on Kemba’s knee through next week. Keep an eye on him and how his return impacts Boston’s lineups and different players’ fantasy upside.
  • No wonder Danilo Gallinari will be out two weeks with a broken-glass injury, I mean, an ankle injury.
  • John Wall proclaimed himself the “GOAT shot-blocking point guard”.
  • Marvin Bagley’s dad sent a tweet yesterday asking Sacramento to trade his son away. Then, as if nobody had noticed, he proceeded to delete the message. In this the year 2021 of our Lord he thought he could game the system. LOL
  • Mike D’Antoni might be opposing a trade for James Harden by the Nets. Brooklyn’s brass might be interested in such a deal, but given D’Antoni’s input on the potential of the move, it looks like the stove has cooled off.
  • Malik Monk seems to be pissed off about his playing time, which amounts to zero minutes this season through five games of Hornets ball. Monk has had his issues off the court, and we’ll see where all of this ends. I stan Monk, though.
  • Melo is already the 14th-leading scorer in NBA history after surpassing Tim Duncan in the Blazers' win over the Warriors last Friday. It’s going to be hard, but Melo has a shot at finishing as high as the 8th most-prolific scorer of all time, though it might take a Herculean effort from the vet.

Duds and Studs: Yesterday’s slate roundup

  • Doc Rivers aka The Tobias Whisperer did his job and now Tobias Harris is leading fantasy slates. Oh, yes! Tobi put up a stuffed 24-9-6-4-3 line for the Sixers and racked up 57+ fantasy goodies. That’s plenty great, and something we hope to keep watching through the rest of the season.
  • Malcolm Brogdon was the closes man to Tobi with 54+ DKFP himself, but the truth is that Brogdon played more minutes to get there. He posted a 33-3-7 with 7 treys on the day. Simmons, Vucevic, and FVV all reached 50+ DKFP yesterday too.
  • As many as 12 fools finished in the 40-to-50 fantasy-point clip, not bad considering we had just five games on the slate: Wood, Bledsoe, Hayward, Ingram, Rozier, Capela, Embiid, Wall, Randle, Bazley, Sexton, and Ross.
  • The ROI King award went to... Clint Capela! Is Atlanta for real or what!? The Hawks lost yesterday to the Cavs, sure, but Atlanta looks fantastic and definitely projects as a playoff team these days. Cap put up a nice 16-16 dub-dub to go with 3 thefts and a couple of swatted shots shooting 66.7 percent from the floor himself. Eric Bledsoe was a real value too thanks to his 19-5-10 line in 31 minutes, while Tobias Harris could be added to that pair although he was a lit bit more expensive.
  • And the DOTS (Dud of the Slate) Award went to... Pascal Siakam! The more time Toronto wastes in flipping Siakam for Harden, the fewer chances they’ll have to pull the steal off. Siakam stinks, plain and simple. He has only had one game above 36 DKFP in the four he’s played, and he comes off his worst of the season. Yesterday, playing just 24 minutes, Siakam put up a dud of 10 points, 4 rebounds, and a single steal and dime. That for the heavy price of $8.3K... and all of 17 fantasy points. Negative kudos go to Andre Drummond too as somehow he managed to finish with a 12-11 dub-dub and 25 DKFP while carrying a $9.2K salary.
  • There were 10 dub-dubs via points and rebounds (Larry Nance came close with a 9-11, Biyombo finished 9-9, and Kevin Huerter put up the cheapest one at just $4.5K) and just two between points and dimes (Trae’s 16-10 and Bledsoe’s 19-10).
  • Just one triple-double in Simmons’ who logged a borderline-qualifier of 15-12-11 with a dime and a block to put the cherry on top. The kid can do it all, but his shooting still leaves a little bit on the table with just 9 FGA, 5 FTA, and no treys on the game.
  • More silly numbers: all of Tobi, Hayward, and LaMelo stole 4 balls and Christian Wood was the one to lead the slate with 4 blocks.

What’s cooking? Statistical trends from Week 2 (Dec. 28th to Jan. 3rd)

  • Only two players (min. 3 GP) have been able to keep up a 60+ DKFP average through the last week of games: James Harden and Nikola Jokic. Both of them, though and logically, carried average salaries above 10K.
  • Of players with 4+ games played, Jerami Grant has finally found his place in Detroit’s system and the algorithm has not caught up to Jeri’s exploit yet: Grant is averaging 42+ DKFP at a laughable 6.1K. Go take advantage of this. Also, steal some Richaun Holmes, Mike Conley, and Julius Randle shares while you can.
  • Silly cheap values: Kelly Olynyk, Richaun Holmes, George Hill, Monte Morris, Bismack Biyombo
  • A little more expensive but still with massive ROI: Jerami Grant, Christian Wood, Mike Conley, Julius Randle, C.J. McCollum, Darius Garland
  • Some very expensive players not doing enough to help their owners: Luka Doncic, Trae Young, Devin Booker, Zion Williamson, Ben Simmons
  • Cheap points (min. 3 games played in the past seven days): Lu Dort, Monte Morris, Avery Bradley, George Hill, Patty Mills, Raul Neto
  • Cheap threes: Dort, Mills, Bradley, Muscala, Saddiq Bey, Solomon Hill
  • Cheap boards: Biyombo, O’Neale, McGee, Marc Gasol, Jakob Poeltl
  • Cheap dimes: Satoransky, Tyus Jones, McConnell, Hayes, George Hill, Monte Morris
  • Cheap steals: Jeff Teague, James Johnson, Justin Holiday, Pritchard, Aaron Holiday, Derrick Jones
  • Cheap blocks: Marc Gasol, Robert Williams, Olynyk, Noel, Pokusevski
  • Cheap FG% (min. 9 FGA): Monte Morris, Bradley, Geroge Hill, Lu Dort, McDermott, Gary Harris

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

  • Love: Donovan Mitchell (PG/SG) & Rudy Gobert (C). Are we stacking? Sure are we stacking. I was asked yesterday if trading for Donovan Mitchell would be buying low in a season-long fantasy league. You bet on my answer. DoMi will rebound, whether it’s today, tomorrow, or two days from now, but DoMi is not a 34-fantasy-point player, that’s all I know. Gobert is the same Croissant he always was, so no issues on that front with another 14-12 dub-dub coming the Frenchman’s way. Mitchell, on the other hand, has yet to surpass the 40 DKFP on a single game this season, but his points are up at 19.8 PPG and only an atrocious shooting accuracy of 36.1% from the floor is leaving him off bombastic fantasy tallies. The boards and dimes and good, he’s hitting 2.8 treys per game, and everything is there for him to start putting on shows nightly.
  • Hate: Luka Doncic (PG). Betting against Luka is like betting against LeBron: you just don’t do it. But I’m a fool writing from his mom’s basement so I lose nothing by doing so. Anyways, when Dallas mollywhopped the Clips a few days ago Luka played all of 25 minutes, and then he repeated on that mark one game later against Charlotte. He comes off a matchup against Miami two nights ago in which he played a season-high 36 minutes... and also had his best performance of the year to the tune of 58+ DKFP. It hasn’t been so rosy for Luka, though, and though he’s produce tons of goodies those have not been at the level we expect from him. The Don has a very high price for the ROI he could yield today against a lowly Bulls time that probably helps his resting ways.
  • Love: Caris LeVert (PG/SG). LeVert’s bad couple of outings against the Hawks this week have lowered his price to ground levels, making him available for just $6.5K in today’s slate. Those two bad outings coincided with Caris getting back to an off-the-bench role and season-low usage rates of 23.3 and 19.5 percent. Both Durant and Irving should play today, which will obviously cut LeVert’s upside, but facing a Wizards squad that just can’t be worse, odds are LeVert found his way to rack up a good amount of points today even leading that second unit. Removing his last game’s line, LeVert is a 14-6-4 player and he’s doing that in just 26.4 MPG for one of the most-efficient DKFP/min marks of the season through Saturday’s games.
  • Hate: D’Angelo Russell (PG/SG). I’m done with DLo. He’s cooked, same as the whole franchise of Minny. Russell is the 17th most-expensive play of the day, is averaging a silly 28 DKFP in five games even though he’s logging 29 MPG and has started the last four games he’s played, and his ROI values are mediocre at best. Even his combined best-line-of-the-season would be at just 25-5-6-2-1, which would translate to around 40 DKFP. For context, players in his price range are averaging more than 36 fantasy points per game. Massive fade these days.

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!