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NBA DFS: Khris Middleton and best/worst DraftKings daily fantasy basketball plays for Thursday, June 17th

Duds and studs. Good and bad plays. We take a look at the past and upcoming NBA games to let you know what’s going on and how to tackle your DraftKings plays.

2021 NBA Playoffs - Brooklyn Nets v Milwaukee Bucks

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: Khris Middleton (SF). It’d be reasonable to pick one of Giannis and/or KD to lead the column today, but that’d also be boring as hell. Midd is great, but not on that level. Three straight 40+ FP games are no joke, though. Khris is getting it right when it counts, and although Durant’s G5 performance was an otherworldly one and made it impossible for Milwaukee to get a W, Midd still put up 40 DKFP in 45 minutes of playing time. That’s another thing entirely. Khris has gone from averaging around 34 MPG to play 41+ in the last three with the Bucks needing everything and then some from their top players. And Middleton has stepped up like a champ. 35, 19, and 25 points adorn his past three lines. He’s hit 3 treys in four consecutive games, grabbed 15 boards just a couple of games ago, and is averaging 6.5 APG in the last two. The shoot can still improve as he’s at a kinda-low 38% from the floor in the second round, so there’s that. Win-or-go home situation here, which means Midd better keep it up.
  • Hate: James Harden (SG). As important as Harden’s presence might be for the Nets in order to open the defense a bit and make things easier for KD on offense, he should still be an afterthought in fantasy contests. Harden came back in time for G5, replacing now-injured Kyrie, but he was as bad as no one could have thought. Even though James Harden played a ridiculous 46 minutes—again, in his first game after he left G1 43 seconds into it—all he could do was reaching 20 DKFP on a night in which he scored 1-of-10 attempted shots, grabbed 6 rebounds, and dished out 8 dimes. The turnovers were high at 4, and the usage was putrid at 16% on the night. This is obviously not the Harden we know, and it’s almost impossible he puts up another dud like that one. Even then, though, I think we all know who the top dog is among this squad’s folks.
  • Love: Jeff Green (PF). Surprisingly good game for Jeffrey Lynn Green last Tuesday, who doesn’t know how to age in any sort of bad way. This is definitely a flier, and you should know that, first thing in the morning. Before his G5 explosion Green had only played one game in this series and he came off the pine for just 15 DKFP in G4. That changed on Tuesday when he played 34 minutes (again coming off the bench) and finished with a monster 27 points, 7 triples (!), a rebound, and 3 assists to go with a block to put the cherry on top. Green shot out of his mind hitting 7 of his 11 FGA on the day and going 4-for-4 from the free-throw line. No turnovers on the day with the only blemish in the PF department, as he finished with 5 fouls to his name. It’d be hard for Green to replicate that outing, but the 30-to-35 FP shouldn’t be hard to come his way if only because of pure need.
  • Hate: Jrue Holiday (PG). It feels a little bit harsh to hate on Jrue, but with the couple of Giannis & Khris out there and Milwaukee needing the W to stay alive, I’m just not convinced on Holiday being that relevant in G6. Jrue hasn’t been fantastic in this series, either, having his best game in G5... with just 35 DKFP. The points are there more often than not, but it’s taking Jrue a lot of shots to reach even 15 points as he’s shooting 41% and barely visiting the free-throw line. His true shooting percentage is atrocious, and his efficiency has cratered with an average of 0.78 FP/min in June (five games against BKN) compared to an impressive 1.20 mark in the month of May (seven regular-season games + first round of the postseason). We know Jrue, and we know he can do it any day. But I don’t think that day is today.

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!