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NBA DFS: Khris Middleton and best/worst DraftKings daily fantasy basketball plays for Thursday, July 1st

Duds and studs. Good and bad plays. We take a look at the past and upcoming NBA games to let you know what’s going on and how to tackle your DraftKings plays.

2021 NBA Playoffs - Milwaukee Bucks v Atlanta Hawks Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images

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). Middleton stepped up of late for the Bucks, showed his serial-killer ways, and still had a dud of a game last Tuesday when he could only reach 35 DKFP in a loss to the Trae-less Hawks. That needs to change, and if there is a game for Midd to get things right, that’s G5 tonight. Giannis is expected to remain out at least for a game—it worked for the Hawks and Trae, so Milly won’t be stubborn about playing Anteto and risking aggravating his injury—so the Big 3 will be a Big 2 tonight with Khris and Jrue taking on a heavier load. Even on a “bad” night the other day, the truth is that Khris is averaging nearly a 20-8-6-1 line and should bump up those points a bit if his shooting (reasonably) bounces back to a more normal average (he’s just at 41% and should be attempting more shots; not a problem today). Unique night tonight in which you can punt on both Giannis and Trae and field a lot of second-tier great players.
  • Hate: Giannis Antetokounmpo (PF/C). We don’t know if Giannis will be out there at the time of this writing. Even then, though, you know that I have not picked Giannis for any slate as a Love in my column, basically because the price is absolutely bonkers. The return is almost always great, that’s for sure, but you’re always paying for Giannis’ ceiling and risking a dud, such as that coming on G4—yes, because of injury, but still. If you feel dangerous, go ahead and put Giannis in your lineup for G6, but not for today even if you want to go absolutely nuts with your picks. It wouldn’t make much sense to risk a thing with this pick, and it is not that the Bucks won’t play it safe out of precaution with the series still having two games (at least) to be played.
  • Love: Jrue Holiday (PG/SG). Similar reasoning as that laid out above for Khris. With Giannis out, both Middleton and Jrue look like potential ROI Kings tonight having to carry the squad to the W whether they like it or not. And it is not that Jrue actually needs Giannis to stay out to put on nightly shows. Holiday is averaging almost 44 DKFP per game this series, and that is way above his average level in the prior series against Brooklyn (32 FPPG). Even on his worst game in the past week, G3, he was still able to hit 36 DKFP while having a horrid performance only saved by his 12 dimes and peripheral 4 stocks (with 6 points and 4 boards). The shooting was stupid at 18% and that bounced back in G4 but only just a bit to 35%. Expect another bump up in FG%, a much healthier dose of FGA from 17 on average to 20+ easily, and a drop in TOs after putting his postseason high in the past two rounds last time out with 4 on Tuesday. Stack that Khris-Jrue pair and reap the rewards.
  • Hate: Clint Capela (C). An absolute afterthought of a man these days, our Cap. Clint Capela went on a serious rampage in G1 hitting 44 DKFP in just 37 minutes of playing time for a neat 1.16 FP/min, but he just disappeared after that. The last three games have seen Cap put up 11, 28, and 27 DKFP in 24, 27, and 28 minutes on the court. Not only has Capela been middling against the Bucks, but he’s also questionable after getting his eye put off its socket (okay... maybe not so much). Anyway, Cap was a lock to dub-dub not long ago but is now down to not doing it in three straight and missing on it in seven of the last 10 matches going back to the second game of the Sixers series. The problem is even deeper than that: John Collins has been worse than Cap, with 63 DKFP in the past three games combined. Just for context, Trae hit 76 DKFP all by himself in G1 alone. LOL

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!