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: Bradley Beal (SG/SF). The story has not been around for a while because of Washington’s great ending of the season, making an unprovable postseason appearance that was unthinkable of no more than a few months ago. But... is Bradley Beal playing his last game for the Wiz tonight? Could very well be the case if Washington opts to think long-term instead of patching current holes most probably for nothing, as Westbrook is going down and into his 30s while Beal will find himself alone sooner than later. Anyway, Russ is a little bit banged up entering G4 and it’ll all be about Beal cutting the bread in today’s affair if the Wiz want to at least make this series a gentleman’s sweep. High price, but high chance he hits big time.
- Hate: Russell Westbrook (PG). Even though he enters G4 with a questionable tag attached to his name, Russ is definitely going to be out there battling today to keep Washington alive. That being said, though, and although he comes off his best game of the series (and play-in games) when he reached 60+ FP two days ago, it’s explosion-or-bust with Westbrook in this one. That’s because Russ is carrying the highest salary of the slate today, and that means he either hits 50+ FP or his value will stink. And I’m not sure he can get there. He got 44 FP in G1 and followed that up with just 33 in G2. He’s played 42, 29, and 34 minutes in the first three games, yet the scoring has been below 20 pops in the first two, and he’s missed on trip-dubbing (or, if you want a lower threshold, reaching 7 boards) in those two. The shooting came back on Saturday with a 50% accuracy from the floor but cratered one game before with a putrid 20 shooting percentage on a paltry 10 FGA in G2. Not really liking the salary/upside combination here.
- Love: Donovan Mitchell (PG). Mitchell is heating up on a daily basis, yet the algorithm is for some reason undervaluing him and making his salary drop for today’s game... Damn. Mitchell played 26 minutes in his return, then raised that mark to 30 minutes, and odds are he puts on some 34 ticks as that’s barely his season average and it’s not that he’s carrying health concerns anymore. The usage rates have been ridiculous at 36 and lately 45 (!!!) percent, he’s scored 25+ points in his two games since coming back, and he only has to get up his boards and dimes a bit. Other than that, sweet play this one with Utah welcoming back a player that since getting back has seen the Jazz go 2-0 against the Griz.
- Hate: Jonas Valanciunas (C). Impossible to fully hate on JoVa, but he’s definitely having himself a rough one throughout this series against the Jazz. What was a lock to hit 40+ DKFP no longer than three weeks ago is now down to an average of 34 FP per game against Utah. Valanciunas has dub-dubbed twice in three games, sure, but he’s doing a lot less damage on the swat/steal departments, his shooting is down a bit, and he’s gone from taking 14 shots to 12 in G2 and lastly just 9 FGA in G3. The minutes are high, but the biggie boy isn’t just cutting it these days. Low salary that still has him as a potentially valuable play because even hitting 40 FP would be more than enough to return some good ROI, but definitely not a play with booming expectations.
- Love: Tobias Harris (SF/PF). Turns out playing Washington was all Tobi needed to regain his mid-season mojo, folks. Three games, three sublime performances against the Wiz in the postseason. Even in G2 when he logged only a low 23 minutes, Tobi finished with a tasty 34 FP that meant he put up a 1.41 FP/min mark. It’s win-and-advance day for the Sixers. The Wiz should at least put on some extra effort to avoid the sweep, so I guess this will end a close one with both squads running their starters for long—and if Philly wins they will still have some resting time ahead with most series still to be decided. Harris is averaging 25-9-3 in his 31 MPG—which translates to a near 30-10-4 in 36 minutes—in the first round, and the Sixers are loving it.
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!