Welcome to your daily NBA DFS digest at Fake Teams, gents. Every day I’m here with a handful of pro-tips to roster a winning team just a few hours from now. And on top of that, I’ll bring you some statistical trends from the past week of games!
Gotta Win The Day: Best/Worst DraftKings plays for tonight’s slate
- Love: Bradley Beal (SG/SF). There is a very important decision for the Celtics to make tonight. Who are they going to leave “open” between Russ and Beal? Marcus Smart can multiply and he will be tasked with putting the clamps in one or the other, with the freed one getting covered by Kemba Walker most of the minutes. I gotta go with Russ getting the stiffer D if only because he’s a much more productive player on all fronts from scoring to diming to rebounding. That means will have quite a few open looks, and if you have been paying attention Beal finished second in the scoring race only behind some Steph Curry... Beal will have all of the chances to rack up goodies tonight and the Wiz should beat a Jaylen-less Beantowners. Now, watch out for potential limits in minutes as Beal is a little banged-up. Even then, though, and given the “low” price, Beal looks like a real build-around play in this two-game slate.
- Hate: LaMelo Ball (PG). First “postseason” or high-stakes game of LaMelo’s career if you will. Not quite a playoffs match, this one, but still the most important game Charlotte will play since 2016 when they last made it past the regular season. Can Ball put on a show in this environment? You bet. Will it actually happen, though? That’s a little bit more in the air. I don’t have any doubt Melo has it all to get himself a good bounty and put the Hornets in the no. 8 vs. no. 9 second play-in game, but Ball has been a little bouncy of late and since returning from injury on May 1. In the 10 games he’s played this month Melo is averaging 35 FP but his shooting has been rather bad at just 36% from the floor on a more than healthy 14+ FGA. The points are down to 12 PPG in the last week (four games), and he’s struggling to contribute heavily on the assists front. Not the hottest streak entering a win-or-go-home game.
- Love: Caris LeVert (SG). While LeVert was forced out of Indy’s last regular-season game against Toronto on Sunday, the truth is that he should be ready to go and could have played more minutes had the Pacers needed him. He’s tagged with a “probable” situation for tonight’s match, but a migraine is most probably not going to affect his availability in a do-or-die game against Charlotte that would still mean “nothing” even if ends in a W, as Indy would need another win to get into the postseason. The limited 21 minutes of playing time cut CLV’s upside in half a couple of days ago making him finish with just 27 DKFP, but he had been incredible prior to that: five games with an average of 55 FPG, playing 39+ MPG, and putting up 27-6-9-2-1 average lines. Domantas Sabonis will cook his sauce, obviously, but Caris comes at a much more affordable price and with (at the very least) the same upside.
- Hate: Jayson Tatum (PF). Are we sure Boston won’t tank its way out fo the 2021 campaign early? This team has nothing to win this year but quite a bit to lose if—let’s hope it’s not the case—they suffer any sort of random injury that adds to Jaylen Brown’s wrist problems. I don’t know to which extent it’s important for Boston to make it to a first-round sure exit if we’re realistic, although it’s not that they will throw it all away. Tatum should hit big-time FP as the lone viable contributor in the squad in the play-in mini-tourney, but we’ll see how he’s managed. The salary is sky-high (third-highest), and he has produced as hell in the last week of games, but he’ll need to keep it up and it’s not going to be easy as he comes shooting a ridiculous 51%+ in the last four, including two 57% and 69% (!) performances from the floor in the last nine days. This play makes me a little nervous and I’m just not feeling it tonight.
What’s cooking? Statistical trends from the Regular Season
- Nikola Jokic is about to become the reigning MVP... in the NBA, but not in the fantasy world! Russell Westbrook, who has been on a tear for the last month-and-change, is the one on that front, folks. Westbrook closed the season averaging 58.2 FP per game, good enough to edge Nikola Jokic by a measly 0.6 FPPG!
- On a pure counting basis, though, Jokic gets the edge as he played seven more games than Russ. The final tally is Jokic 3,914 FP, Russ 3,548 FP. No other player crossed the 3,400-FP mark on the year.
- The most efficient player of the season was Giannis Antetokounmpo, who posted 1.72 FP/min in 57 games averaging 33.5 MPG. Both biggies Jokic and Joel Embiid rounded up the top-3 with similar scores of 1.62 FP/min.
- It is reasonable to expect centers to top the Points Per Shot leaderboard as they operate in the paint most of the time. The top-3 players were Rudy Gobert (1.84 Pts/Shot), Jarrett Allen (1.78), and Dwight Howard (1.76). But there is a clear outlier among the top scorers: Kevin Durant with 1.70 Points Per Shot. That’s absolutely bonkers for a non-center player. If we don’t count Zion as a wing (he’s a biggie to me given his shooting profile), then Durant is the only qualified non-center in the top-20, with Jimmy Butler at no. 21 but already down at 1.51 Pts/Shot.
- As stupid as it sounds even if nobody wants to acknowledge the feat anymore: Russ has just wrapped up his fourth season averaging a triple-double. What the hell, dude? Russ closed it on a 22-11-11 average line. Bonkers.
- Silly cheap values (min. 30 games played): Kenyon Martin Jr., Ty Jerome, JaVale, Stewart, Brunson, Melton, Hart, Rudy Gay, Portis, Nunn, Robert Williams, Reiz, Cody Zeller, Whiteside, Diallo
- A little more expensive but still with massive ROI: Olynyk, Garland, Thad Young, Plumlee, McConnell, Dray, Harrison Barnes, Derrick White, Lonzo, Holmes, Rose, Anunoby, Nurkic, Ant Edwards, Haliburton, Bobby Portis, Kemba
- Some very expensive players not doing enough: Anthony Davis, Simmons, Booker, Ingram, Porzingis, Drummond, John Collins, Nance, Aaron Gordon, Kuzma, Harrell
- Cheap points: McDermott, Monk, Quickley, Lonnie, Bacon, Reid, Poole, Bullock, Mills, Jerome, Grayson Allen, NAW, Monte Morris, Lamb, Forbes, Gary Harris
- Cheap threes: Danny Green, Ellington, Bullock, Mills, Forbes, Monk, Jerome, Grayson, Shamet, Cam Johnson
- Cheap boards: Willy Hernangomez, Stewart, Noel, Mo Bamba, Whiteside, Tony Bradley, Birch, Vanderbilt, Favors, Taj Gibson, Biyombo, Kleber, Bruce Brown, Kenyon, Baynes, McGee
- Cheap dimes: Satoransky, Rondo, McLaughlin, Ish Smith, Tyus, Jerome, Saben Lee, Campazzo, Cam Payne, Cory Joseph, DJ Augustin, Monte Morris
- Cheap steals: Thybulle, Danny Green, Campazzo, Neto, Caruso, Melton, Okeke, Noel, McLaughlin, Bazemore, Vanderbilt, Nwaba, NAW, Okoro, Cory Joseph, Iggy
- Cheap blocks: Noel, Gafford, Mo Bamba, Bitadze, Stewart, Whiteside, Biyombo, McGee, Gasol, Thybulle, Taj Gibson, Reiz, Favors, Len, Pokusevski, Derrick Jones, Eubanks
- Cheap FG% (min. 8 FGA): McDermott, Reid, Monte Morris, Bullock, Jerome, NAW, Cam Johnson, Jaylen Nowell
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!