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NBA DFS: Donovan Mitchell and best/worst DraftKings daily fantasy basketball plays for Friday, June 18th

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 - LA Clippers v Utah Jazz Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

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: Donovan Mitchell (PG/SG). No player will be under heavier scrutiny tonight, folks. I know, the Sixers tanked their way to a 2-3 in their series against Atlanta, and both Embiid and Simmons will also be under pressure to perform tonight. But Embiid is banged up because of his nature and Simmons just can’t shoot to save his life, so both come with some excuses, I guess. DoMi, though, is playing to kick Shaq in the freaking mouth and force G7. And Mitchell has been absolutely insane in the postseason. While he came back from injury in G1 against Memphis and was kinda eased in playing just 30 MPG, he’s now in full force averaging 37 MPG against the Clips. That’s good and all, but what matters to us is how he’s stuffing the line: 34-4-4-1 is the average, which has translated to an average of 49 DKFP in the last five games including a couple of 53+ FP-explosions. Mitchell struggled last Wednesday in Utah’s loss with a rather low 38-FP game, but that should change and DoMi should get back to his prior 52 FP average tonight. The triples are insane (5.4 3PG), the points can’t get much higher (30+ pops in four of the five matches), and he’s also adept at visiting the free-throw line. The only Spida I can’t hate.
  • Hate: Ben Simmons (PG). Benny definitely played us, fooled us, toyed with our brains and made us believe he might have changed something in his game. Nope. Simmons went back to his stupid shooting trends and attempted a measly 4 FGA in G5 to finish with 8 points... and that was shooting 50% from the floor (6 points) yet a putrid 28% on 14 FTA. That’s right: hack-a-Ben is a thing and it is most probably here to stay. Simmons is an atrocious shooter no matter where he set his feet. Not only does he struggle to hit the triples he doesn’t even shoot, but he’s also now putting up duds from the free-throw line. That means Atlanta is playing Whac-A-Ben, which is also forcing Benny off the court in some key defensive possessions and thus the returning offensive charges. Simmons can do it all, sure, and his 8-4-9-1-1 line in G5 proves it, even on the low side of things. But this type of production is not going to cut it either for me nor Philly if they want to make the Conference Finals. The Process on the verge of collapsing for good; Ben on the verge of getting traded away. Cold world.
  • Love: Paul George (SG). I was this close to going ahead with Young for this pick but ultimately opted to include PG-13 instead. The difference is salary is rather non-existent, but the difference in upside is quite wide if you ask me. Both Atlanta and Los Angeles are leading 3-2 and facing a potential win-and-get-in G6 couple of games. They will face stiff opposition if only because their rivals are on the verge of getting eliminated, which should make things a bit tougher for them. BUT. The Clips are playing without Kawhi, and PG-13 is basically all LA has to oust Utah tonight, as they did in G5. In that match, George went off the charts to put up a ridiculous 70 DKFP, the most he’s tallied not only this postseason but actually all season long. Seriously. George finished the game with a 37-16-5-1-2 stuffed line, shot 54% on 22 FGA, hit 9-of 11-freebies, and did all of that in just 40 minutes of playing time. George has three games of 49+ DKFP in the past four, with the other one ending with him at 41. Not bad for a guy fighting to rebuild his legacy and playoffs narrative.
  • Hate: Tobias Harris (PF). There was a moment I was in love with Tobi, but we’re getting further from it each passing day, folks. Tobi has gone from scoring 43 to 38, 39, 31, and finally 14 (!!!) FP against Atlanta. That, simply put, sucks. Harris was the first to say that this Philly squad was comprised of a Big 3 made of JoJo, Benny, and himself. Yeah, sure mate. Harris had scored 19+ points in all postseason games after he went molly-dried in G5 shooting 18% on 11 FGA to finish with a putrid 4 points to go with 4 boards, 3 dimes, and a block. No freebies, 2 TOs, and 4 PFs... Yikes. That game was probably an outlier, but that game also gives me tons of pause entering a more than crucial G6 tonight. It’s been two matches in a row already in which Harris has put up below-average FP/min with marks of 0.81 and 0.38. Not liking this play just one bit.
  • Love: Bojan Bogdanovic (SF/PF). Time to move on from Bogdanovic and bet on Bogdanovic. Oh, sorry, from Bogdan to Bojan, I meant. Both Bogs play tonight, but Bojan looks the better play today as he comes off a couple of 34+ DKFP games, including a 39-FP performance his last time out when he hit 32 pops and a mighty 9 (!!!) triples on the day while pairing that scoring outing with 3 boards. See, Bog is pretty much a scorer with little upside on the boards and pretty much nothing else. That being said, though, you already saw how he played in G5’s losing effort. Utah will need that and then some from BojBog, but he delivers more often than not. Only once this postseason has he dropped below the double-digit points mark, and he’s shooting 47% from the floor since G1 against Memphis, is starting every game, playing 36 MPG, and shooting a healthy 13 FGA to go with 4 FTA every night out there. Quite a nice last-spot addition for your fantasy lineups in a win-or-go-home game.

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!