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: LeBron James (PG/SF). Can’t go through a full postseason without picking LBJ at least once, and today’s the day with the Lakers facing the chance to go up 3-1 against the no. 2 Suns. Oh, hey, and it’s not that you can find LeBron below $10K every day. See, the thing with this play is that Anthony Davis has a probable tag (read below) for tonight’s affair, and that would make LBJ’s upside as high as a Georgia pine. While LeBron has seen his FP gone down for four consecutive games, going from 62 to 48 to 47 and finally 41, the truth is that he’s still returning tons of value and he’s been on the verge of dub-dubbin in all of those four matches. He just fell one dime short of it in the last two, and he trip-dubbed against Golden State to start that run. No joke, this LeBron. If only for a day—a day that could pretty much mean the Suns are done for the year—odds are you can score yourself a winning play on James for not a lot of money.
- Hate: Kristaps Porzingis (PF/C). It’s incredible how Porzingis has gone from True Unicorn to Worst Contract in the span of what... two years? KP is an absolute disaster. Seriously. This is not just factoring in his deal, far from it. Porzingis’ three playoffs games this postseason have seen him go for 22, 36, and 21 FP... That’s ridiculous and a joke, folks. Luka has been fantastic for the Mavs, but all Porzingis has done in his 103 minutes of playing time against the Clips is putting together a combined 43 points, 11 rebounds, and 5 assists. Putting that in context, Luka had a single game (G3, even in a losing effort) in which he finished with a 44-9-9 line that was this close to beat KP’s full series line. That’s equal parts stupid and very real. The algorithm doesn’t like KP and the salary is low, but even then, I like nothing about this play.
- Love: Trae Young (PG). Serious question: will we ever see Trae tagged with a $9K+ price this postseason? What the hell is wrong with DK? As long as this lasts, you just molly-blast that “add” button and put Young in your daily lineups. As simple as that. The FP tallies have gone up to 57, 41, and 45 in the first three games of the series, and while it was always going to be hard for Young to reach his G1 level of play, it’s not that he has crattered. No, sir. Trae is hitting 20+ points and dishing out 7+ dimes every game. He’s not doing it on the boards, sure, but the shooting is tasty and he’s finding teammates with gusto. Even with a usage drop on a game-by-game basis, going from 39 to 33 and then 31 percent, he’s racking up points and becoming New York’s nightmare. Game in the A to put the Hawks up 3-1 and leave the Knicks against the wall getting back to MSG. Can’t get much better.
- Hate: Anthony Davis (PF/C). If you read LeBron’s blurb above, you know Davis is banged up and might miss today’s game or gets limited playing time. Davis himself has said that “there is no chance that I don’t play [today]”. That’s obvious from his POV, but we—or, better said, Coach Vogel—should take into consideration how important AD is for the Lakers on the large picture and through the remainder of the playoffs if they truly want to maintain the “reigning champs” title. Are you throwing money down the sink by rostering Davis? Probably not, because even if he goes to play just 30 minutes he might still put up some stupid 40+ DKFP. Davis struggled in G1 with just 31 FP but he rebounded with back-to-back 50+ FP topping at 67 in G2. In any case, and given the doubts around his health—and, let’s be honest, the Lakers most probably getting away with a 3-1 lead by the final buzzer—I’d pass on him for a day.
- Love: Deandre Ayton (C). If you have been reading this column for a while, you know I usually reserve the last spot to a sneaky play with boom potential and big upside while carrying a low salary. What about Ayton? Not even reaching $7K, Deandre is just the 18th highest-priced man of the slate. Not bad for us fantasy GMs building lineups, given this fool is putting up numbers and racking up fantasy goodies in a very spicy way. It’s been three games playing 36+ minutes (41+ in the last two) and has dub-dubbed in all three of those matches. Remember, these games marked Ayton’s first postseason appearances, and he’s not flinching in the slightest of ways. Steady 21, 22, and 22 point stream. 16, 10, and 11 boards against all of Davis, Harrell, Drummond, and Gasol. The shooting is pinpoint accurate on a healthy 13 FGA dose. Bang for the buck.
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!