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: Jimmy Butler (SF). I know it’s been a rocky, bouncy postseason for Jimmer and the Heat, but in a win-or-go-home situation, I have to believe Butler will try and move heaven and earth to force the series into—at least—a five-game affair and to avoid the sweep. Butler was great in G1 with 47 FP, same as he was in G3 with 40 DKFP, but he was atrocious in the G2 sandwiched between those other two with a silly low 22 fantasy-point outing. Butler has not been the problem for the Heat, but rather Bam and the rest of the squad wildly underperforming the expectations. Jimmer looks like a lock to hit his 40 FP for the third time in May against Milly, and his line shouldn’t drop for a baseline of 10-8-6-1 at the very least with upside for much more if he gets back to his 25%+ usage rate and shots 20+ FGA while scoring on his season-long shooting averages.
- Hate: Donovan Mitchell (PG/SG). Yes, DoMi had missed a ton of games since coming back for G2. He had not played competitive basketball since Apr. 16. That’s more than a month on the shelf. Then he came back and put up 31 FP in 26 minutes of playing time against Memphis. Good, not great. Meh performance. The limited minutes should see an uptick starting tonight, but I’m not sure he will put up on another super-efficient game. I don’t know, I’m just hesitant. He shot 42% on 19 FGA while hitting 5 treys for 15 of his total 25 points, four of which came via freebie. Other than that, he sucked. Only two rebounds, no assists, and one steal somehow adorned his line. Again, that sucked. Yet here we are looking at a top-9 salaried player in this Saturday’s slate. Yikes.
- Love: Rudy Gobert (C). Discounted play perhaps because Mitchell is back, though he didn’t go for more than 25 minutes in G2 after the misunderstanding with Utah’s medical department that left DoMi out of G1. Anyway. I’m not saying GobGob is the Jazz best player—that’s Conley—but he’s clearly the best out there these days and that’s reason enough to play him each and every day while the salary doesn’t go through the roof. Gobert cooked Memphis for a 21-13-3 dub-dub with 4 swats to go. He’s shot 4-for-for and 9-of-11 in the past two games while hitting 6 freebies. Even on foul trouble back in G1 and playing only 25 minutes, he still got to 35 FP for a tasty 1.43 tasty FP/min mark. The value is always high because the salary is always low. Must play the Frenchman.
- Hate: Giannis Antetokounmpo (PF/C). I guess you know where this is coming from. The Bucks are up 3-0 and even if they drop one I don’t have any doubt they won’t give much of a crap about it... I told you two days ago when I highlighted Jrue as one of my Loves: only Holiday is keeping his fantasy numbers up in this series as Milwaukee runs Miami off the court on a nightly basis. Khris and Giannis are going with the flow, doing this and that, excelling, but (more in G3 than ever before) just having another day in the office. Giannis’ minutes went from 45 to 31 to 32, and if Milly puts up another show tonight it’d make sense for them to have Giannis rested before taking on a much tougher foe in the Nets a few days from now. Not saying Antokounmpo isn’t talented enough to drop 60 FP even if he plays walking, but we better not risk it with his second-highest salary.
- Love: Jusuf Nurkic (C). Speaking of biggie-loves, such as that of Gob, what about the Nurk? Portland was absolutely demolished by the Nugs with Nurk off the court, so you know he will be there as long as he doesn’t go nuts and fouls out (as he’s done in the last two games) early. Even though Nurkic is not a huge-ceiling player, he comes with 40+ FP upside, and even though he has yet to play more than 33 minutes against Denver in the past four matches (RS finale + G1/G2/G3) he has hit 41 DKFP in three of those games. Nurk is a walking dub-dub for the Blazers, a lock to put up some 13-13 with some dimes attached to those numbers, and someone who should keep his percentages up even in small shooting samples. It’s not that you can pay so little for a sure-thing ROI-returner every day, folks.
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!