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 Big Baller Bowl ended with LaMelo getting the best of his bru-bru Zo. Kudos to the youngest of the Balls for winning the first NBA Ball Derby. Shouts to me Melo because he was just one dime short of becoming the youngest trip-dubber in the history of the Association.
- Beal has 101 points combined in two consecutive games. The Wiz, as expected, lost both matches. Bradley Beal also had the quote of the night: “We can’t guard a parked car.”
- A little over two weeks into the season, COVID-related issues are finally hitting the league big time. The Sixers had Seth Curry testing positive for coronavirus, and they now have seven players going through “health and safety protocols”. They need eight players to play against Denver today but they only have six truly available players with seven more “questionable”, so the game is now on the verge of getting canned.
- Three Mavs are also out due to health and safety protocols: Josh Richardson, Jalen Brunson, and Dorian Finney-Smith.
- Four Celtics are also going to be quarantining for a week: Tristan Thompson, Grant Williams, Robert Williams, and Carsen Edwards. Seven days off—at least—for all of them.
- Speaking of Celtics, Kemba Walker has been cleared for practice and HC Brad Stevens has already said that he’s close to a return. Another potential return: KAT tonight for the Wolves to face San Antonio.
- Not so close: Obi Toppin, who’s already warming up in games but at least one week away from returning to the court.
- Durant is missing time, same as Michael Porter Jr., or John Wall/DeMarcus Cousins a few days ago, etc... It’s going to be a looooong, long season, folks.
- John Collins was a harsh critic of Trae Young’s leading ways with the Hawks in a video session a few days ago. Young already bitched about the franchise’s brass/head coaching last season for not doing enough to put the squad on a winning position, and Collins—after rejecting/not negotiating an extension with the Hawks—is now the one throwing darts.
- Another vet signing a G League deal: Super Mario Chalmers. Put them all together—Mike Beasley, Lin, Gelo Ball, Lance Stephenson, Allonzo Trier, Festus Ezeli, Chalmers...—and let that squad run in the NBA, please. I need some bonkers basketball in my life.
- We won’t see the league expand—or rather, start the process of expansion—until 2022 at the very least, but the thing looks like a lock to happen in the near future nonetheless. Your no. 1 upcoming franchise: the Seattle Somethings. About time we get the Sonics back!
Duds and Studs: Yesterday’s slate roundup
- Golden State came back big time and defeated the Clips led by, who else, Steph Curry and his 38 pops (including 9 triples). Steph broke the slate with 68 FP to the tune of a 38-2-11-3 line, logging a 34%+ usage rate once more. The Warriors are going to need Curry doing some very heavy extra work all season long if they want to make the postseason, so we’ll see when Curry breaks at this unsustainable pace.
- Special mention to both Zach LaVine and Caris LeVert, who tied for second in DKFP with 59+ each. Zachary couldn’t put Chicago over the Lakers though he finished 38-5-6, while LeVert started for the no-Kyrie/no-KD Nets and put on another show with a 43-5-6 line and 7 treys.
- Nine more guys in the 50-to-58 clip: Jaylen, Giannis, Mitchell, Middleton, Shai, FVV, Siakam, and Beal.
- The ROI King award went to... Hamidou Diallo! Oklahoma pulled the upset against the Knicks (?) and snatched a win with Diallo playing sublime ball off the pine. Diallo got himself a 23-11 dub-dub in just 29 minutes and added 2 dimes and a steal to that line. All in all, 43+ DKFP for just $3.5K yesterday. Close to the Thunder guy were Chris Boucher (23-10-2-1-3 stuffed line) and Royce O’Neale (18-8-6-3-1).
- And the DOTS (Dud of the Slate) Award went to... Russell Westbrook! It took Russ a bunch of games to align his game with the Wiz losing ways, but it finally happened. Westbrook's 28 DKFP while carrying the third-highest salary of the slate were below upsetting. Russ played a healthy 33 minutes, yet all he could do was finish with a very low 12-4-8 line shooting a putrid 25% from the floor on 16 FGA. Seven turnovers on the night murdered his score (even more). Other than Russ, not-entirely-great performances from John Wall, De’Aaron Fox, Kawhi, and Devin Booker.
- There were 13 dub-dubs via points and rebounds (Gobert fell one point short, Siakam one board, and Jeff Green a point and a rebound) and five between points and dimes (Harden, Siakam, Curry, Tyus, Conley).
- No triple-doubles yesterday, although LaMelo (12-10-9) was one dime away from becoming the youngest player ever to pull the feat off while Siakam (17-9-12) would have needed just one more board to put up a trip-dub himself.
- More silly numbers: Tyus Jones did it all for the Grizzlies, including leading the slate in steals with 4 along with Patrick Williams; while Marc Gasol and Rudy Gobert also tied for the lead in swats with 4 blocked shots each.
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: LaMelo Ball (PG). The youngest of the Balls comes from the second-best game of the year on a pure fantasy basis, and from his closest-to-a-trip-dub performance as a Hornet after finishing 12-10-9. This is not an overreaction, though. Ball is, well, balling. He’s gone from 31 to 37 to now 40 DKFP since the start of the 2021 calendar year and he will be hitting the starting lineup sooner rather than later. Even coming off the pine, Melo is playing 27+ MPG in the past six games and finishing with a baseline of 10-6-7 nightly. Sure, that’s not a lot of fantasy points, but he’s shown more than enough to believe in his abilities and he’s been one of the best players on a per-minute basis averaging a ridiculous 1.37 DKFP/min since Christmas. Just for context: AD, Trae, and Dame are exactly at that mark on the season.
- Hate: Devin Booker (SG). The Suns have been great and are currently holding onto a nice 6-3 winning record. That being said, Booker has not played to the levels he’s shown he’s capable of in the past. In nine games this season, Book has yet to hit 30 points and has scored 4+ triples only once—yesterday against Detroit. Booker is one of the least efficient players on a per-minute basis, logging 35.6 MPG yet only averaging 0.95 DKFP per minute on the court. That mark is the lowest among the 26 most expensive players in tonight’s slate (Book has the 16th-highest salary) and Phoenix faces a stout Pacers D that ranks as a top-6 unit in preventing fantasy points from the opposition.
- Love: Bam Adebayo (C). I don’t think Brad Beal could have made it clearer: “we can’t guard a parked car”. And he’s not wrong at all, truth be told. The Wiz are conceding the fourth-most DKFP per game, and Bam has only the 11th highest salary of the slate, which is nothing crazy considering 1) his production at 1.26 FP/min and 2) the Heat are facing the lowly Wiz tonight. Bam is posting average 18-8-5-1-1 lines for Miami this season in just 31.7 MPG while shooting a great 64.9 percent from the floor and 81.1 percent from the free-throw line. Bayo has yet to hit a triple, but so far so good for the biggie this season, who in his last four games is averaging 44. DKFP per game and a 19-9-7 near-dub/trip-dub.
- Hate: Buddy Hield (SG/SF). If you remember what happened last season, the Kings removed Hield from the starting lineup and somehow they fixed his game and turned him into an off-the-pine microwave. Hield has started all nine Sacramento games this season, though, and he’s sucked hard. Put this man on the bench again, you Kangz! Buddy is playing a monster 35.3 MPG and the only thing the Kings can be happy with is the fact that he just has a usage rate of 20.5% because he’s just been horrid this season. Hield has just one 20-point game, he is hitting triples nicely but shooting a measly 35% from the floor, and has yet to reach DKFP on a match. Clearly a below-average performer these days with a silly 0.78 DKFP/min on the year... Ugh.
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!