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NBA DFS: Trae Young and best/worst DraftKings daily fantasy basketball plays for Sunday, May 23rd

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.

Houston Rockets v Atlanta Hawks Photo by Kent Smith/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: Trae Young (PG). Somehow, the algorithm is tagging Trae only with the eighth-highest salary of the slate. I mean, that’s high, but it’s not top-tier, which is pretty much all Trae is entering this one. Young projects to almost 50 FP against the Knicks, and it all makes sense. Young cooked New York for 55 FP back in January, for 40 in February, and finally for 53 a month ago in just 30 minutes of playing time (20-2-14-4 was the line, and he struggled with a 35% shooting from the floor). Everything points toward Trae’s exploding tonight and throughout the whole first-round series. The Knicks will have it easy in scheming against Atlanta if only because Trae is the clear must-stop guy, but that doesn’t mean he won’t find a way to demolish NY.
  • Hate: Donovan Mitchell (PG/SG). Dom is back after missing a lot of games during the home stretch. Mitchell hasn’t been on the floor for more than a month now having played his last game back on Apr. 16. And the truth is that although he had a bunch of great games in April, he also struggled a bit at the start of the month with four below-40 FP games in a row. Utah will need Dom and then some if they want to make a deep run, and although Memphis shouldn’t be that big of a problem it might take a bit for Mitchell to get into some rhythm. Let Mitchell marinate for a bit before playing him as we see how he comes back (he’s available tonight, but who knows what will the Jazz ask from him).
  • Love: Rudy Gobert (C). Gob, on the other hand... Rudy is virtually a must-play every day he’s in the slate of games. Biggie boy going against another great fantasy player (Valanciunas) while slightly cheaper than his foe tonight. Feel free to go with any of these two, because they will both put on bulky scores. Gobert disappointed a bit in his last outing against the Griz back in March with a low 8-12-4-1-2 line, but that was kind of an outlier in Rudy’s season as it was one of only four games all year in which he shot <50% from the floor and <30% from the free-throw line. Bet on a dub-dub here. Gob has six in a row averaging 13-17-1 lines with 2.2 stocks per game entering the playoffs while hitting 40 FP in four of those last six games.
  • Hate: Bradley Beal (SG/SF). Beal is going to cook because Beal just doesn’t know how not to. Only, Beal is a little bit banged up and that might go against his upside, not to mention the Sixers stiff defense. Keep in mind Brad is a freaking superstar. I mean, he’s going to most probably get his 40 FP because that is what Beal does and actually what he’s achieved in all of the last eight games he’s played. Is that fantasy mark good enough for someone with the seventh-highest salary on the day? Hmmm... I’m not entirely sure. There are other guards/forwards projecting to much higher ROIs than Beal. I’m a friendly one, so here are some names: Tobi, Rose, Simmons, RJ Barrett, and...
  • Love: Chris Paul (PG). CP3 is back at it. Another team, another postseason. This guy is just insane, and I’m full of the ringz talk, so just accept the greatness and move on folks. Paul is amazing, has put together a 16-5-9-1 season, shot 50/39/93 splits on the year, and averaged 39 FP per game. Do you know how many players have done that in this the year 2021 of our lord? Paul, Russ, Harden, Trae, Jokic, and Luka. That’s it. That’s the whole bunch. CP3 put up a dud against the Hawks at the start of May, sure, but he only played 34 minutes back then in that game. Other than that, this is May for Paul: 36, 69 (!), 43, 42, 48, 37, and 40 DKFP in the games he’s played. The per-minute efficiency is bonkers to say the least, and Christopher is a lock for a sound 19-3-9 any day, Lakers in front or not—by the way, he cooked the Lake Show with a 13-4-10-4-1 stuffed line for 42 FP on May. 9.

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!