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: Chris Paul (PG). Da Point Gawd is back! We are this close to a full postseason run by Paul, and I can’t be happier about that fact and for the man himself. Paul missed the first two games of the series going through the NBA health and safety protocols, but he’s been cleared for G3 tonight. Not that Phoenix has missed him a lot, truth be told... Good for us, though. The algorithm has gone crazy about Book tagging him with the second-highest salary of the slate only behind Paul George. CP3, on the other hand, comes with the third-highest price but he’s at a way lower scale considering the $1.4K distance between him and Dev. There is some risk involved in this play given how insane great Cam Payne has played starting at the point. Could Chris be relegated to the second unit? Could he cut his minutes to hand Cam a larger role? We’ll see, but for the price he has tonight, Paul looks like a must-play guy out there.
- Hate: Cameron Payne (PG/SG). Did anybody know Cam had all of that game inside of him? Good lord. Payne took full advantage of CP3’s absence, but now that Paul is back the most reasonable outcome is going to be for him to hit the pine and see limited time on the court with Paul taking on the heavier load. While playing in the second unit, Payne was good-not-great. He was actually terrific against LA in the first round, stringing four way-above-average efficiency games hitting 1.08 FP/min from G2 to G5 and always finishing above 25 FP in those matches. But other than that and against Denver, his minutes went down to below the 20-mark and he just couldn’t produce a thing. He’s played 29 and 37 minutes with Paul out and even got to rack up a 32.7% usage rate last Tuesday reaching a season-high 53 DKFP. Those days should be over with Paul back, so it’s reasonable to hate a bit on him—or, at least, on the situation he finds himself at now compared to the first couple of games.
- Love: Deandre Ayton (C). The algorithm is tripping, for real. Ayton is tagged with the fourth-highest salary today yet it’s only at a very cheap $6.6K. Ridiculous tag for a monster-man. Ayton is proving fools wrong, thriving in his postseason debut (he’s a 22-years-old kid...), and already has a game-winner oop that has even gotten its own name for the rest of history. No joke. Deandre Ayton is here to stay, and he’s the next biggie boi in line to excel in the paint. Not happy enough with his first four games against the Lakers—all of them with 37+ DKFP—he went on and put up his best playoffs-game to date with a massive 48-FP performance against a Clips squad that had zero answers to counter his game. 24-14-1-1-1 stuffed dub-dub with a pinpoint accurate shooting day hitting 75% of his 16 FGA, only 1 TO, and some über-efficient 1.37 FP/min mark. Can’t hate anything about that.
- Hate: Nico Batum (SF/PF). It is not that Batum was incredible at any point throughout the playoffs for the Clips, but he was part of LA’s gameplan of downsizing to defeat both Dallas and Utah in the prior two rounds. In the ECF, though? Things have changed. Batum started G1 but he went to the bench for G2 after putting up a dud in the series debut reaching just 24 DKFP in 37 minutes. The line back then read 5-10-3 with a block, the shooting wasn’t bad at 40%, but he just attempted 5 FGA all game long, the usage was rather putrid at 6%, and he was not great at anything all things considered. G2? I don’t even know if you want to hear about that one—just in case: 3-2, that’s all he did while shooting once in the game... Batum looked more like an afterthought than anything else as it looks like this will be a Zubac/Morris type of series.
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!