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NBA DFS: Nikola Jokic and best/worst DraftKings daily fantasy basketball plays for Tuesday, Jan. 5th

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.

Phoenix Suns v Denver Nuggets Photo by Matthew Stockman/ 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

  • Steph Curry and Tobias Harris are your latest Players of the Week. Too bad for Celtics and Jaylen Brown stans, who are for some reason trying to make him look like Boston’s true no. 1... even with some Jayson Tatum in town.
  • Derrick White came back from injury last Friday, but he fell down injured once more yesterday fracturing a toe. He will be out indefinitely in which a low blow for the Spurs just days after welcoming White back.
  • The Nets have lost Kevin Durant for the next week due to COVID-19 protocols. Also: Brooklyn is applying for a $5.7M exception after Dinwiddie’s season-ending injury, so they can add another player to the roster within that cap space.
  • Memphis just signed Tim Fraizer to play guard with Morant expected to remain out for a few more weeks.
  • Shaq claimed another victim by beefing with Gobert. Rudy says there’s no such thing as beef with the oldie, but he’s getting mollywhopped by the OG Superman.

Duds and Studs: Yesterday’s slate roundup

  • Back-to-back booming nights in the NBA, now with Luka joining the 70-DKFP club thanks to his 71+ fantasy points against Houston in a monster 33-16-11 trip-dub game in which he played 38 minutes, hit 3 triples, and logged an unsustainable 41.5% usage rate. Luka on some Steph shit.
  • Two more players in the 60+ range, with an expected one in Giannis (43-9-4) and another not-so-expected-until-this-season in Randle (28-17-9).
  • Seven more guys were able to close their nights in the 50-to-60 clip, including Brogdon, Tatum, FVV, Curry, Trae, Ingram, and Barrett.
  • The ROI King award went to... Cedi Osman! I’m lying to you here because there were three players more valuable than Cedi yesterday, but Os was the Man with his 43+ DKFP compared to the others’ 30-to-37 scores. Cedi came off the pine for the Cavs yet he was able to put up a tasty 18-7-7-2-1 stuffed line while hitting 4 triples on his way there. Kudos to Pritchard, Cauley-Stein, and Birch for their efforts, though.
  • And the DOTS (Dud of the Slate) Award went to... John Wall! The truth is yesterday’s slate didn’t yield a lot of duds. Wall might be considered one with just 24+ fantasy points but his salary was at a “low” $7.6K so it’s not that he tanked anyone’s team. In the same vein, Simmons and Drummond fell way short of their 9K+ prices, while Shai, Adebayo, and Jaylen could have done much more too.
  • There were 12 dub-dubs via points and rebounds (four more players missed on it by one board; Khem Birch got the cheapest dub-dub) and three between points and dimes (Trae, Brogdon, Harden).
  • The lone trip-dub of the slate went Luka’s way, whose 33-16-11 line allowed him to lead the day in fantasy points. That also factors in his 8 turnovers, without which he would have posted an incredible 83+ DKFP tally. Jeez.
  • More silly numbers: both Terrence Ross and Mitchell Robinson led all players with 4 steals each, while as many as six fools swatted 3 rocks.

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

  • Nobody has been able to keep up a 60-DKFP average through last week. That being said, Jokic closed it on Sunday with a 59.1 fantasy-point average in four games played. Four more players in the 55/56 clip (Curry, Westbrook, Harden, LBJ) with three more at 50+ (Giannis, Durant, Tobias).
  • The algorithm has yet to catch up with Tobias’ exploits, though, as his 50.1 DKFP per game are the most for anyone averaging salary tags below 8.9K compared to Harris’ 7.1K price on average.
  • Perhaps it’s time for the Hornets to put LaMelo in the starting lineup? Ball is averaging—by far—the most fantasy points among bench-players with 37.8 per game in three matches this week. The second-best player without a start this past week (min. 3 games) is fellow Hornet Miles Bridges already down to 29.3.
  • Silly cheap values: Brunson, Dieng, Roby, McGee, Olynyk, JaMychal Green
  • A little more expensive but still with massive ROI: LaMelo, Tobias, Michael Porter, Jamal Murray, Seth Curry, Tyler Herro
  • Some very expensive players not doing enough to help their owners: Luka, Dame, Drummond, Booker, Siakam, Butler
  • Cheap points (min. 3 games played in the past seven days): Brunson, Avery Bradley, Carmelo, Monte Morris, Bryn Forbes
  • Cheap threes: Saddiq Bey, Avery Bradley, Powell, Kleber, Connaughton, Bane, Wesley Matthews
  • Cheap boards: McGee, Ed Davis, Carter-Williams, O’Neale, Jaxon Hayes, Dieng, Marc Gasol
  • Cheap dimes: Killian Hayes, Brunson, McLaughlin, Monte, Konchar, Pritchard, Patty Mills, McConnell, Thad Young, Reggie Jackson
  • Cheap steals: James Johnson, Layman, Justin Holiday, Teague, Pritchard, Derrick Jones
  • Cheap blocks: Eubanks, Olyny, Robert Williams, Theis, Noel, Jaxon Hayes, Alex Len
  • Cheap FG% (min. 9 FGA): Avery Bradley, Monte, McGee, Bacon, Bane, Brunson, Powell

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

  • Love: Nikola Jokic (C). I’m not a fan of writing about the most expensive player of the day as someone to love, but here we are. The numbers posted by the Joker so far are making him an impossible player to fade, and a must-have play around which to build around the rest of your lineup. Jokic is averaging an impossible 22-11-13 line, 1.2 SPG, and 0.5 BPG. He’s slashing 62/44/89 on 13.5 FGA and 2.7 3PA per game, doing all of that on a very reasonable 25.9% usage rate, and generating an unheard-of 1.70 DKFP per minute on the court. Denver plays Minnesota. Even if the Nugs get 50 points ahead by halftime and sit Jokic, Niko would have probably done enough damage already. And it is not that the Nuggets are a juggernaut these days, so odds are Jokic gets an extended run tonight.
  • Hate: Anthony Davis (PF/C). Tough hate this one, but I’m going with my gut feeling. This is the second leg of the LAL-MEM ongoing matchup, and Davis needed 3 steals and 3 blocks to boost his fantasy score two nights ago when he still could only reach 40 DKFP (it would have been 28 without those two cats reading 3 each). It’s not that Davis hasn’t had great games this season (he has a couple of 50+ performances) but the Lakers aren’t risking a thing and AD himself is just not needing to put on monster performances to help the Lake Show win games. Davis is always going to bring a sky-high ceiling, but his floor is a little bit low for someone tagged with a $9.5K salary.
  • Love: Caris LeVert (PG/SG). There is no point in sugarcoating LeVert’s last three performances coming off the bench for the Nets. He was incredible in G1, and then when he started on Kyrie/KD’s absence back on Dec. 28th, but since then he’s been just bad. Caris' last three games watched him finish with 27, 16, and 25 fantasy points, which is horrific considering LeVert is expected to be Brooklyn’s third-best player and the leading man of the team’s second unit. That bad stretch should get fixed tonight as KD is out and Caris could be put on the starting lineup again, even more with Brooklyn being 3-4 on the season and looking to get back on the W column. The usage should get bumped up, and it’s more probable than we get something closer to a 15-5-6 line with upside for more than anything else.
  • Hate: Zach LaVine (SG). The Warriors dropped 137 pops on the Blazers forehead just two nights ago. Portland is hosting a Zachary-led Bulls squad tonight and hoping to get it right after Steph demolished them to the tune of 62 points all by himself. The thing is, LaVine is the lone scoring threat of these Bulls and I don’t think there is going to be another 50-point explosion against Portland on back-to-back games. The D has sucked a bit for the Blazers this season, but if they—as I expect—dry LaVine’s scoring he will end the day putting up a dud. Zach is averaging almost 40 DKFP per game, but only 16 of those 40 come from non-point categories... LaVine also scored 39 two days ago while his season-average was at a much lower 22.1 PPG prior to that. Put it all together and you’ll build yourself a 30 DKFP play in the best of scenarios at an unreasonable $8K price.

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!