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NBA DFS: D’angelo Russell nd best/worst DraftKings daily fantasy basketball plays for Thursday, Jan. 7th

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.

Minnesota Timberwolves v Denver Nuggets Photo by Bart Young/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

  • Crazy developments those of yesterday, and way larger than hoops. Here’s hoping everybody reading this was safe and well.
  • The NBA went ahead with the 11-game slate and no postponements were agreed with all teams expected to take the court doing so and some putting on sound protests. Kudos to them.
  • This sounds like a joke, but it’s as true as it comes: Kawhi Leonard played back-to-back games for the first time since April 2017. You read that right. It looks like the very own Kawhi has communicated to the medical staff of the Clips that he is down for playing in such games, but we’ll see if that turns into reality or not.
  • Worst possible news for hoopheads out there: Markelle Fultz will miss the remainder of the season—and potentially be out for a year—after tearing his ACL yesterday. Sucks for the kid as he was getting it right once for all in Orlando and steadily improving.
  • The Pistons will miss rookie Killian Hayes for the next four-to-six weeks. The Knicks will be without Alec Burks for at least 7-to-10 days when he will be re-evaluated.
  • Keep an eye on Russ’ status after he left yesterday’s game with 26 seconds to go. He injured his hand (dislocated finger) and that will bear monitoring.
  • Kristaps Porzingis’ return seems to be closer than ever. We hoped for a late-January comeback, but he might be on the court earlier than expected, perhaps in just a week by mid-Jan.
  • Harden Trade Tracker: Miami was interested in The Beard and seemingly offered a couple of young players to go with a first-rounder and Iguodala+Olynyk to make the salaries traded work. Not bad. Nothing new on this front though, so we’ll need to keep waiting.
  • LaMelo Ball has been warned by the league about his flopping ways, which are rather easy to spot and flagrant... Not that the Balls don’t have big bags to pay any fine the youngest of the Triple-B gets handed, though.

Duds and Studs: Yesterday’s slate roundup

  • Remember Steph’s 62-point game this past weekend? Well, Bradley Beal leveled up yesterday facing Philly and cooked himself a 60-burger to go with 7 boards, 5 dimes, and steal while shooting 57.1 percent on 35 (!) FGA. Beal had scored his 60 points with 6+ minutes still to be played, so he could have very well finished with a historic mark. Not that his 79+ DKFP weren’t good enough.
  • That monster game doesn’t take from Embiid’s and Hayward’s exploits yesterday, though. JoJo (66 DKFP) was unstoppable and helped the 76ers overcome the Wiz with a 38-8-5-3-3 stuffed line while Hayward (61) scored a career-high 44 pops to go with a 7-2-1-1 rest-of-line against the Hawks.
  • Seven players in the 50-to-60 clip yesterday: Randle, Russ, Brogdon, Jaylen, Coby, Siakam, and Shai.
  • The ROI King award went to... Saddiq Bey! Yes, Saddiq Bey is an NBA player and I’m not making up this just for the column. Bey plays for the Pistons, and coming off the pine yesterday he put up a 20-10 dub-dub including hitting 6 treys, dissing out 3 dimes, and stealing a rock. All in all, 43 DKFP went to his bag. Two players finished as close as tied in ROI with Bey: Haliburton and Cousins. The literal-best ROI player from the slate, though, would have been Austin Rivers, only he fell a bit short in DKFP with just 35.
  • And the DOTS (Dud of the Slate) Award went to... Trae Young! Who would have though... Trae has started the season as a potential MVP contender. Seriously. Not yesterday, though, as Trae (16 DKFP) could do pretty much nothing against Charlotte finishing with a 7-5-3 line in 35 minutes, turning the ball over 7 times, committing 4 personal fouls, and shooting a putrid 22.2 percent from the floor on just 9 FGA. Steph made his fantasy GMs vomit too with 28 DKFP in 25 minutes and a 13-4-5 line.
  • There were 17 (!) dub-dubs via points and rebounds (Capela missed on it by three points, Cousins/Mitchell Robinson/PJ Washington by one point, and Lowry/Siakam/Oladipo by one board) and four between points and dimes (Russ, Simmons, Harden, Bam).
  • One totally-unexpected triple-double yesterday thanks to the Kiwi Steven Adams. Stevie put up a solid 10-11-10 line for the Pels in a one-point losing effort against OKC. Couldn’t get much better for Adams, who hit 4-of-5 FGA, and finished yesterday with 44 DKFP on just an 11.3% usage rate.
  • More silly numbers: Shai was the only player to reach 5 steals yesterday, while Myles Turner was once more a menace swatting 8 shots.

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: D’Angelo Russell (PG/SG). Understand this first: this play is not for the faint of heart. DLo has struggled mightily to kick the season off: his line reads 19-3-5 on 30.3 MPG of playing time through 7 games. He has had to endure KAT missing time and an off-the-pine rookie in Anthony Edwards, and it is not that these Wolves instill fear in anyone... That being said, this is more about the spicy matchup than Russell himself. Portland has allowed opposing backcourts an average of 77.5 DKFP between the starting PG/SG players. That means Russell could be on his way to a 40-FP floor with upside for much more (Harden reached 79 DKFP, PG13 52, Curry 45 and 75, and just two days ago LaVine and Coby hit 40 and 42 respectively). DLo feels like a virtual lock to hit the jackpot.
  • Hate: DeMar DeRozan (SG/SF). DeDe has flopped more than LaMelo lately. DeRozan enters tonight’s game against the Lakers not only facing the strongest fantasy-defense out there but also in a two-game streak in which he has clearly underperformed. DeDe has finished 19-5-4 and 6-5-6 in 26 and 28 minutes in his last two games against the Jazz and the Clippers. His salary, for some reason, went up two days ago even after Sunday’s stinker and has remained the same for today’s matchup. The algorithm is stupid sometimes, and for DeMar’s price, you’ll be better if looking into other options.
  • Love: Jusuf Nurkic (C). If not today, then when? Nurk and the Blazers take on a putrid Minny squad that ranks third-worst in fantasy points allowed this season. That looks like a very tasty, get-right matchup for a struggling Nurkic. It is not that Jusuf has been bad, even less given his average 24.9 MPG of playing time, but he should be doing a little bit more overall to be a sound fantasy play worth playing nightly. Nurk has just three dub-dubs in his seven games this year, and none of those went for more than either 12 points or 12 rebounds. Nurk has the ability to do much more than this even when sharing the floor with two usage-rate beasts in the backcourt. Let’s hope for the explosion happening tonight.
  • Hate: Jarrett Allen (C). If the Nets come to their sense once for all and start slotting Allen in the center position and the starting lineup, then it won’t make sense to hate the ‘fro anymore. You saw what happened two days ago with Jarrett starting against an All-NBA center in Rudy Gobert: 32 minutes, 19-18-1-3-2 dub-dub, and 54 DKFP on the night. That’s insane and won’t happen every day. That’s also what Allen can do if given enough playing time and chances. Embiid comes in hot at the other end today, though, and I’d say Brooklyn will go with the veteran DeAndre Jordan for this one, at least for the tipoff, and keeping him on as long as DAJ stays off foul trouble. Fading Allen until he gets a strong hold of the staring C spot.

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!