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: Trae Young (PG). Third-highest salary of the day, which still feels low for Trae. Game 7 tonight for a very surprising Hawks squad looking to make it to the conference finals against a much better team (on paper, at least) in Philly. Young has been ruthless all postseason long, both in five games against the Knicks and the six already players in the second-round series against the Sixers. Trae had a magnificent G1 going to 58 DKFP and then dropped down a bit with 43 and 44 FP, but he’s back to his highest of levels of play with three consecutive 56+ fantasy point performances and two above 60 DKFP in that span. Philly is just finding no answers to counter Young, and that’s why Trae has put up 34+ points, 7+ dimes, and 3+ steals in each of the past two matches. The usage can’t get higher, the shots are coming in bunches (27 FGA per game), and the freebies are not always in double digits but looking at that G5 19 FTA has me excited. Here’s hoping Trae makes it big time.
- Hate: Paul George (SG). Obviously, that G5 was a freakish outlier. George reached a season-high 71 DKFP back on Wednesday, but he then went down for a (still great) 54 FP in the series G6 finale. This postseason, George can pretty much be counted on as a 45-to-50-FP daily performer, although I’m not entirely convinced if I’m happy paying top-money for that production. Also, consider PG-13 has dropped below 42 FP four times in 13 games already. Kawhi will miss today’s game at the very least, and that means George will get back to his high-30s in terms of usage, but that also means he will turn the ball over insanely (4.2 TO/G in the past five). All of the cons probably won’t outweigh the pros, but they will be there no matter what. I want to watch the Clips approach to facing Phoenix, and whether they opt to go bigger or stay small against the Suns. As is the case more often than not, I would give this guy a game to settle and see where things are rather than risk a top-tier play going at a massive price on the night.
- Love: Devin Booker (SG). It sucks. It truly sucks to watch Chris Paul play basketball almost knowing that there is a 99% chance he will at some point get benched and forced out of this or that game. He dodged a serious injury against the Lakers, didn’t get banged against Denver... and then COVID went and took him out of the fight. Yikes. Paul will miss at least G1 due to safe and healthy protocols, which means Book is going to eat everything and then some to kick the WCF off. Book’s last three games: 34 FP to 42, to 57 in G4 to send the Nugs packing in a sweep. Dev is improving by the day, and he's a postseason rookie. It’s just insane to watch him navigate the game. The average line in the last two games of the second-round series went up to 31-8-4-1 with a 46% accuracy from the floor on a more than healthy 24 FGA per game. Insane. The freebies are hitting at unreasonable levels (91.2 FT% over the full postseason), the usage is above 30% easily, and the only kinda-blemish you can find in Booker’s game these days are the turnovers. Not that they’re impacting his upside that much, though. Also: no Kawhi for the Clips in G1.
- Hate: Clint Capela (C). Capela bounced back a bit in G6 two days ago, but he’s been rather forgettable against the Sixers and JoJo Embiid. Capela wasn’t otherworldly against the Knicks either, but he still was able to dub-dub in the last three games of the series while shooting 40%+ in every one of the five games of those series. Philly is making things harder for the biggie boy, as Captain Cap is shooting just 55% from the floor on fewer than 10 FGA, his freebies are low and not getting through the rim when attempted, and he’s failed on dub-dubbing three times in the last five games. Trae is carrying this team, and the point man is relying more on John Collins as his big target rather than on Capela. That doesn’t look like changing today, thus the hate.
- Love: Deandre Ayton (C). If you have been paying attention, you know Ayton is building his case to be deemed a worth no. 1 draft pick. I know, there is no way we can really put him up there with the likes of Trae and Luka around, but have you watch this man’s first postseason games played!? He went down on his averages against Denver... while facing the reigning MVP Nikola Jokic, but he demolished the Lakers in R1 and that could be the case once more entering the WCF. Even against a very good Joker he still averaged a 14-10 dub-dub in sweeping the Nugs. Facing the Lakers the numbers were just unbelievable and better at 16-12 (remember, those were the first minutes he played in the postseason in his career). The Clips have gone small of late, but even if they go big that will only mean Ivica Zubac will be the assignment. Ayton has everything to thrive in this series and while he will have to endure a no-CP3 unit odds are he takes some of Paul’s touches and opportunities for himself and racks up some bonus points.
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!