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: Khris Middleton (SG/SF). Nothing surprising about finding Khris putting on the superhero clothes to thrust Milly to a G3 win last Sunday. That being said, we’d definitely not watched the best Midd throughout this postseason. He’s had good games and was fundamental in closing out the Nets, sure, but he’s played as many 40-or-fewer-DKFP games as he’s gone for 40+ explosions, which makes him a kinda-risky play considering his bouncy ways and high salaries. Against Atlanta, though, Khris has been growing on a game-by-game basis: 31 FP in G1, 38 in G2, and finally a monster 65-DKFP in G3 with a 38-11-7 shooting 57% from the floor while hitting 6 treys. Middleton will regress because he played at his ceiling with postseason-high marks in points, triples, FGA, and was close to those heights on the boards and dimes departments too. The Bucks are going to need Giannis to make it to the Finals and get that chip eventually, but without Midd around they’ll fall way short. Bank on the man.
- Hate: Trae Young (PG). Can’t hate on Young for what he is, but can definitely hate on his situation and status entering G4. Trae finished G3 banged up and with an ankle injury after stepping on the foot of a ref. That sucked, but it is what it is, even if it was weird as hell. Young had a terrible G2, but other than that he’s been great in the other two games of the series going for a silly 78 DKFP to kick the series off and was still able to put up 44 FP last Sunday. He plain sucked in G2 playing just 28 minutes for a score of 22 putrid FP, but that’s not his average performing level. But with Young not at his 100%, I’m not entirely sure we can fully trust him, even less having seen him already playing limited minutes in G2 (the usage was bonkers at 41%, though) and putting up a dud. Give him a day, let him marinate, go find your winners anywhere else.
- Love: Kevin Huerter (SG/SF). While Huerter was fantastic in Atlanta’s upset of Philly—mostly in the last two games of the series—the truth is that he started the ECF on an absolutely slow pace. Back-to-back games starting, playing 30+ minutes, but topping at 17 DKFP were nothing to call home about. Then, in G3 and without changing his minutes nor usage (14%), he finally hit 34 FP and came close to his 43 and 42 couple of performances in G6-7 against Philly. Huerter scored, rebounded, dished out dimes, and even blocked (3!) shots. Nice all-around game from Kev on quite a discount, hitting 3 treys on the day even though the shooting wasn’t good hitting attempts at a low 36% clip from the floor. Huerter keeps TOs mostly at bay, will keep starting games, and will share the court with a limited Trae today and the Hawks down 1-2, which means Huerter will need to level up his game. Not the worst flier to take.
- Hate: Jrue Holiday (PG). I have put Jrue in my postseason lineups more often than not, but the series against Atlanta has been rather bad for those of us on Holiday. Quite the joke, ain’t it? Jrue has gone from a massive 61-DKFP in G1 to a rather low 39 and lastly 36 fantasy points in the last couple of days. All of the signs point downward: from 25 to 11 shots, from a 28% usage rate to a 14% mark, from a 60% shooting to just 18% (!) in G3, etc, etc... The truth is, other than in the Miami series in which he averaged 43 FPPG in four games, Jrue has had his lapses throughout the playoffs. He only played to 35+ fantasy points once against Brooklyn (an outlier-ish 49 DKFP game in G6), but other than that he averaged some low 30 FPPG against the Nets. Facing Atlanta, his G1 33-4-10-2-1 line had us drooling, but the last couple of games have seen Jrue getting more expensive than ever while dropping his fantasy tallies. Giannis is the man, and Khris proved capable of stepping up. Jrue is back to that third-best option for the Bucks, and I’m not liking that.
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!