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: Michael Porter Jr. (SF/PF). I told you not to risk the biscuit a couple of days ago in Denver’s postseason debut when it came to adding MPJ to your lineup. Well, I guess MPJ doesn’t give a damn about whether he’s playing a regular-season or playoffs game, so you can very comfortably go ahead and grab him today. While Porter closed the season with a couple of stinkers—pretty much because of the silly 23 and 15 low-minutes played—he went back to his nonsensical ways against Portland in G1 with a 25-9 near-dub-dub to go with a couple of swats. Denver will need that and then some from Porter and all of the squad to get past the Blazers and make it to the second round. Nothing has changed in the rotation from the first game, MPJ will keep eating and playing a ton of minutes, and odds are he keeps thriving for the Nugs. Bargain at his salary for the upside he carries.
- Hate: Khris Middleton (PG/SG). I know. K-Mid won Milly the first game of the series against Miami. That’s cool and all, but that’s also putting Middleton in the top-5 group of highest-salaried players tonight. That, paired with his projection to 39 FP in G2 gives me pause when it comes to rostering Khris. The truth, though, is the projection isn’t that crazy or low: Middleton has had exactly one game above 40 FP (G1 against Miami) in the last six he’s played, and only five going all the way back to April 22 (14 total games played in that span). Middleton is great, but he’s got a pretty limited ceiling around 40 DKFP. Given the salary, though, that doesn’t yield monster ROI marks and he will need to hit that fantasy score nightly to be considered a winning play. Not buying.
- Love: Bam Adebayo (C). I don’t think Miami took any advantage of having Bam in their time through G1, although it must be said that he had a horrid postseason debut when he had the opportunities. Bam finished with a super-low 9-12-5-3 line shooting a putrid 27% from the floor on 15 FGA. The amount of shots was healthy (in an OT game, mind you) but the usage cratered at 17% and he just went to the free-throw line once while committing 5 PF himself. This is far from the Adebayo we know, and even on such a bad outing, he reached 37 FP against Milwaukee’s thin paint presence. Bam averages almost 40 FP while having a sound 50-FP ceiling if he eats, and I’m betting on both an improvement from him and a higher usage and better gameplan giving him more chances to rack up goodies.
- Hate: Aaron Gordon (SF/PF). There is not a lot to hate about a player averaging $5K salaries, and the return in terms of ROI is often good because of those stupid prices, but the overall production won’t probably cut it for most fantasy GMs out there. Gordon adds to the Nugs, sure, but he’s not the Magic player he was not long ago anymore. He’s much more of a role player in Denver, averages some 26 MPG, and his usage rates are down below the 20-percent mark in the Rockies compared to his healthier 24% mark when he was down East in Disneyland. It sounds unbelievable, but Saturday’s 30-FP game was the second-best in Gordon’s game log getting back to Apr. 14, just imagine. He’s averaging a rather forgettable 20 FPPG in the past month and playing way below-average per-minute basketball with a 0.77 FP/min in that same span while the league average sits at 0.90. Ugh.
- Love: Jusuf Nurkic (PG). Nurk was fantastic in Portland’s win last Saturday, and he’s been even better looking back a month since Apr. 23. In that span, Jusuf has played 15 total games starting all of them and falling below 30 FP just a couple of times while playing above-average per-minute basketball in all but one match. That’s pretty nice, and I haven’t even mentioned his ground-low salary. In the two last games he’s played—both against Denver in the RS and then the PO—he’s hit 46 and 42 DKFP to the tune of an average 18-12-3-1-1 line in just 27 MPG. Nurk is not a lock to dub-dub every night as many other top-tier biggies do, but he’s often in the 20s when it comes to usage rates, is free inside thanks to the threat of Dame/CJ/Powell outside, and he’s proved to be quite a great play against the Nugs.
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!