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: Deandre Ayton (C). The algorithm seems not to know the meaning of the word “respect” and keeps doing dirty to Ayton. The biggie boi just can’t get any better. No only was he good throughout the first-round series against the Lakers. Not only was he good throughout the Nuggets’ second-round sweep. No. Not happy with that, he put on an excellent show in G2 to the tune of 48 DKFP against the Clippers... and he went absolutely crazy in G4 to help the Suns in putting up a 3-1 that has them this close to making it all the way to the Finals. Ayton comes off a 61-DKFP performance in which he played a silly 41 minutes, finished with a stuffed 19-22-3-1-4 dub-dub, shot a rather low (so expect some positive regression!) 57% on 14 FGA, went 3-for-3 from the free-throw line, and all of that while committing a damaging 3 TOs and 4 PFs. Not that those latter two numbers mattered that much, though, as you see in his sky-high fantasy tally. Ayton stays on the $7.5K realm, which is a joke and something you should exploit without hesitating for a second.
- Hate: Devin Booker (SG). Dumb to Hate on Dev, I know. But since he got mollywhopped and his nose got destroyed Booker just has not been the same. Neither has Chris Paul since coming back from that COVID-related hiatus, but Book comes with the higher salary so it makes sense to hate on him rather than on CP3. Paul’s two games back went for 43 and lastly just 33, shooting below 28% from the floor in both outings. Book has been even worse, with three straight games without even reaching 30 DKFP and putting up 0.72 FP/min on average. Obviously, Phoenix depends mostly on those two to make the almost-there Finals, so the usage rates will stay as high as a Georgia pine. That being said, Booker has disappointed at his best trait: shooting the rock. Devin is shooting just 30% in the past three games on a combined 60 FGA. The freebies keep falling, with Book going 22-of-24, but other than that nothing is working for Masked Dev. Tons of TOs (7, 4, and 5 in the past three games) and foul trouble (5, 4, and 6) are hurting him, and although it’s reasonable to expect a bounceback at some point, I think I’ll rest easier fading him today.
- Love: Reggie Jackson (PG/SG). This can very well be the sneaky play of the day, mostly because Reggie Jax comes off his worst game in the past couple of weeks and that made him available at a laughable salary. Jax has been fantastic for the Clips on Kawhi’s absence, reaching 33+ DKFP in all games against the Suns except in G4 (although it must be said he shot an outlier-ish 33% on a massive 24 FGA). I kind of hit on Hating on Reggie for G4 given he underperformed on that one, so there’s that. Now, though, I have to bet on a bounceback and another 35+ DKFP game from Jackson, once more starting for the Clips as has been the case all postseason long—and even more consider Lue might downsize his team today. Reggie has scored 19+ pops in six straight even on that putrid 33% shooting night two days ago. The line is often on the low, but packed, pretty much with a 4-3-1 baseline. Reggie does it on shooting, and that’s all there is to him. He’s hot and he will stay there, shoots 15+ FGA a game, is playing more than he ever dreamed of (37+ MPG), and not committing a lot of TOs too often (3.5 to 1.7 AST-to-TO ratio in the past two rounds).
- Hate: Ivica Zubac (C). This might be controversial to some extent. Zubac has been great, and devoid of context I’d have actually written about him on the Love side of things. That’s because Zubac, again, has dominated in the past few games putting up three straight 30+ DKFP games against Phoenix. The problem, as you know, is that the Clips have fallen down 1-3 with Zubac logging his most minutes in the series in G4 last Saturday. It wasn’t Zubac’s fault that the Clips lost that one, but it looks like Ty Lue might go small once more in a similar way to what he did to defeat Dallas and Utah in the prior two rounds. Sucks, but the possibility is there and that makes this a very risky play to go with tonight as who knows how Lue will deploy his squad. If there is any sort of information from his point to tipoff that talks about Zubac playing long stretches and makes you feel comfortable playing him, then go ahead and roster him. If not, I’d advise caution.
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!