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NBA DFS: Damian Lillard and best/worst DraftKings daily fantasy basketball plays for Saturday, May 22nd

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 Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images

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: Damian Lillard (PG). I would have assumed Dame would have a top-5 salary on the day, but no sir. He has the seventh-highest and it is even below the $9.5K mark. That’s absolutely bonkers considering 1) we’re talking about Lillard, 2) Denver has a lack of warm bodies to throw at Portland’s backcourt, and 3) it’s hard to envision the Blazers hurting the Nugs other than with their small men, as Nurkic will be pitted against MVP Nikola Jokic inside. This play doesn’t merit much explanation. The Playoffs does to Dame what spinach does to Popeye. As if they needed any boost... Lillard’s put up a 29-4-7-1 line on the year is shooting a ridiculous 10.5 three-pointers per game, and hitting 39% of them. What did he do to close the regular season, you ask? Dropping 42+ FP in 10 consecutive games spanning all the way back to Apr. 30. Geez.
  • Hate: Kristaps Porzingis (PF/C). Didn’t trust KP throughout the season, much less am I going to start doing so in the postseason... Show me what you got first, and it better be much better than the RS 38 DKFP per game. Porzingis and the Mavs face the Clippers for the second year in a row, and for the second year in a row, you can most probably pay big bucks for Luka but not so much for Kristaps. Smart people out there often say that players like Andre Drummond are just empty stats assets. Well, that might be true in the real world, but they often thrive in fantasy thanks to monster counting stats nightly. Porzingis, though, I don’t even know how to classify. He is a 20-9-1 player on the year, yet he looks middling in both the real and fantasy basketball realms. Not liking this play one bit, even less at his top-10 salary.
  • Love: Jimmy Butler (SF). Folks, they have arrived. It’s Playoffs Timeeeee baby!!! I can’t contain the excitement. It’s been quite a struggle of a season with all of the injuries, COVID-healthy-protocols-related absences, postponed games, etc, etc... but here we finally are. And who better to kick things off than Jimmer’s sweet outlook for tonight’s debut against old-foe Milwaukee? Butler was bad to close the regular season against Boston and Philly... but he played 17 and 29 minutes respectively resting for the real thing and looking at his per-minute numbers they were actually as good as they’ve been all year long, so there’s that. The good thing about those two games is that they fooled the algorithm into tagging Butler at just $8.4K tonight while projecting to 50+ FP. The potential ROI can’t get much better than this.
  • Hate: Michael Porter Jr. (SF/PF). Hard to hate on MPJ, but this is more about the high salary considering what we’ve seen of Porter in the postseason than anything else. MPJ will need to level up a ton compared to his 2020 efforts, which means he should keep up his 2021 RS level of play for Denver to have any chance at reaching the second round and making a deep run. I’m not saying he can’t do it, as he’s been there through the last few months with Jam out, but we’ll see how the postseason treats him. The problem here is that while capable of binging on DKFP, MPJ has the 11th-highest salary of the slate and one above those of Middleton, Kawhi, McCollum, Paul George, Kemba, Jrue, and Nurkic. I’m sorry but that’s a bit too much for me considering the firepower available at lower prices.
  • Love: Kemba Walker (PG). Kinda-sneaky play of the day, as it is not like the salary is at $4K or something like that, but an actual healthy $7.5K. That’s a bargain every day, though. Let me tell you one thing. Kemba from January to mid-April: 33 FPPG; Kemba in the past month of games: 45 freaking FP per game. This is definitely the Kemba I like and the one we stan in this crib. Walker missed some games before the play-in, but he came back and had a delicious 49-FP game against the Wiz in which he played a bulky 34 minutes, contributed a 29-7-2-2-1 stuffed line hitting 6 treys, and only committed 2 TOs on the night. In the eight games he’s played since Apr. 17 Kemba has played below-average on a per-minute basis just once (against Miami) while hitting 45+ FP in six of those eight games. Not that bad, am I right?

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!