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: Devin Booker (SG). Can we all agree that Book is more than just a bunch of empty—basketball—calories? Alright. With CP3 out of G1 thanks to his COVID-related woes and the NBA taking the precautionary road, Book went on to shot the rock 29 (!) times hitting 52% of those attempts for a monster 40-point game aided by a 7-for-7 performance from the free-throw line. Book completed a trip-dub to the tune of a 40-13-11, and yes, those were 11 dimes that came against just 2 TO in his 44 minutes of playing time. Cam Payne started at the point and he still dished out 9 more dimes, but Book was magnificent in all facets of the game, even besting Ayton’s 9 and Batum’s 10 boards on the day. Book is playing without Paul tonight once more, and although there will be (we assume...) some adjustments to tame his exploits, Dev is posied to thrive all throughout the series.
- Hate: Terance Mann (SF). Do you remember Mann’s historic night to close out the Jazz in G6? Ah, good old times... Only, it happened just last Friday yet it feels like ages ago after the dud he went on to put up in the WCF G1. It was going to happen, folks, and it will repeat itself as the series grow older. Mann is not a 50-FP guy, Kawhi playing or not. Mann’s 39-point, 7-trey night the other day was a freakish outlier in a game in which he shot a huge dose of FGA (21) only topped by Paul George’s 24. He also hit them at a 71% clip, which is borderline insane. Obviously, Phoenix took care of Mann and limited him to just 9 points... but more concerning to only 4 FGA in his total 27 minutes of playing time. With that sort of usage (6.7%!!!) Mann is just not going to cut it even if he plays the full 48 minutes. He’s mostly a points guy with some rebounding upside here and there, so if the opportunities are not there for him to hit shots he’ll be just another afterthought.
- Love: DeAndre Ayton (C). I was about to pick Paul George, even more with Kawhi still out and who knows if for the year, but that would have been too chalky and expensive when paired with Booker (read above). Enter Deandre Ayton, who (perhaps now not so surprisingly) put up a sweet outing in which he fell short of dub-dubbing only by a single rebound. Ayton is not going to stretch the field, but that’s alright because he’s hitting a good 71% of the shots he takes inside (14 FGA). Scoring and rebounding are where Ayton finds his mojo. The big man is allergic to turnovers, as only two of 11 games this postseason have seen him log more than one TO. The minutes are high, the usage is low, and even then Ayton is still returning tons of value for his price by maximizing his opportunities.
- Hate: Ivica Zubac (C). Marcus Morris Sr. had to leave the game the other day after getting injured with just 21 minutes in his line. The thing is, LA has been downsizing for a while and it worked for them against Utah. They doubled up on the strategy in G1 going with Batum at PF and MMSr. at C. What now, though? Odds are the Clippers are forced to play biggie boy Zubac mostly because they lack warm bodies. It’s either going to be him, or DMC, but you know at which point in his career Cousins is and how he can barely play 15 minutes on the day. Zubac looked relatively good in 18 minutes the other night, putting up a 9-3 line with a 67% on 3 FGA and hitting 5-of-6 freebies. But Ayton has been eating souls alive in this postseason, the Clippers might turn into a Biggie-By-Committee approach, and who knows how the hell that’ll work for them. Zubac, Cousins, Mann, or whoever ends going against Ayton is going to have a looooong day at the office.
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!