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: Kevin Durant (SF/PF). The price is high, but more than right. “Only” the third-highest-priced player today, that simply makes no sense. Durant is the only player of the Nets vs. Bucks series putting up three consecutive games above 50 DKFP. The only one, in a series that includes Kyrie, Giannis, and Khris Middleton just to name a few... KD is insanely great, back in full force after missing a full year in 2020, and the man making Harden’s absence a non-factor for BKN’s postseason aspirations. The line in the three second-round games reads 30-8-5-2-1, Kev is hitting 51% of his shots from the floor on monster volume, logging silly usage numbers, and playing a fuckton of minutes nightly. Best Durant is definitely this Durant. Must play.
- Hate: Michael Porter Jr. (SF/PF). Can’t molly-blast MPJ because he got his back screwed and he’s not been the same since there. That being said, though, the truth is that Porter hasn’t been that good through all of the postseason, putting up just two 40+ FP games in the 10 he’s played already, both against Portland in round one to close the series out. Does that mean MPJ’s best games are still to come, with him playing to greater levels when the back’s against the wall? We’ll see, but odds are he does not. The Suns have limited Porter to just a couple of 28 DKFP matches and another one below 20 FP. Ugh. The minutes aren’t mindblowing but they aren’t low either at around 30 per game, so that’s not an excuse, and that shows when looking at his poor efficiency with 0.83 FP/min. Good-not-great numbers all across the board, sure, but often low for what we would expect and never above 15 points nor 7 boards. Not cutting it for me.
- Love: Chris Paul (PG). At some point, Chris Paul must drop down his level of play a bit, am I right? I’m not entirely sure. The algorithm keeps sleeping on CP3, who is projecting to a “low” 41+ DKFP tonight after hitting 49, 48, and 52 in the past three matches. That’s absolutely bonkers, but it speaks volumes of Paul’s greatness and infinite talent. Paul is making Denver dance for good and has Phoenix up 3-0 in what is pretty much a done series now only waiting to determine if this will end in full- or gentleman-sweep. Paul has scored 17 points in all three games compared to only doing so once in the seven matches prior to the ones against the Nugs. The rebounds are high fighting a depleted Nuggets backcourt, and the dimes can’t get higher with an average of 11 APG against just 1 TOPG. Fantastic run that will see Paul making the conference finals and who knows if finally getting that elusive chip once for all with the Suns.
- Hate: Jrue Holiday (PG). What the hell is going on with Jrue!? Eight postseason games, and a steady decrease in performance levels, that’s what. Jrue put up 42+ FP in the first three games against Miami, went down to 33+ in the next two splitting them between Miami and Brooklyn, and then proceeded to put up two serious duds in G2 and G3 against the Nets with putrid back-to-back 23 FP games. Ugh. Holiday played a massive 46 minutes in that last game, yet all he could do was finish with a ridiculously low 9-1-4-5-1 line shooting a paltry 28% from the floor on a healthy 14 FGA, not going to the free-throw line even once. Jrue had scored at least 11 points in all games prior to that G3 stinker, so he might get back to his averages... if he can actually hit a shot, which wasn’t the case last Thursday. The Nets know how to spot the Bucks, let alone Jrue which is struggling mightily to do anything even remotely positive in this series.
- Love: Deandre Ayton (C). Not even the very own Ayton knows how the hell he’s playing so well against the reigning MVP of the season. It’s been an incredible postseason debut for Ayton, Booker, etc... but the biggie boy has certainly been sublime while still way undervalued by the algorithm. The usage is low because the Suns are stacked on offense and Book/Paul are the ones always going to get touches in bunches. Even then, though, Ayton has put up dub-dubs in all games against Denver with averages of 15-12 and although the points have gone down five points each passing game, the boards have actually gone up from 10 to 15 in the last outing. Again, against Jokic. And in just 33 MPG. Not a player to win you the slate by himself, but definitely a sound addition to any and every lineup with an open spot at the center position.
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!