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: Jrue Holiday (PG/SG). Giannis is out for Game 1. Coach Mike is not confirming it—not at least at the time of this writing, but he’s just playing the fool. In Giannis’ absence, it will all come down to Jrue and Khris, which have had massive contributions for the Bucks of late. Both men have had three games each of reaching 50+ DKFP in the series against the Hawks, and also both reached that mark in the last two games after a little bit of a “slump” mid-series and before Giannis got injured. Khris is widely pegged as Milly’s no. 2, but the truth is that Jrue is getting similar—if not higher—usage rates, attempting as many shots as Middleton, and he’s been getting better at hitting them of late going from a 35% from the floor to 45% and finally 48% in G6. For a point guard, Jrue is dishing out dimes in bunches but also pulling down boards, stays on the court for 40+ minutes as he’s crucial in defense, and he only lacked the TO department in the last three games. Cheapest of the top-four players in G1, and therefore our play of the day.
- Hate: Deandre Ayton (C). It’d be foolish to doubt Ayton at this point. Debut postseason for Ayton, sure, but quite a nice one. The problem I have with Ayton entering this series has more to do with the doubts about both teams’ game plans than anything else. With Giannis playing, it’s widely assumed that Ayton will be covering him on D. Without him, he should face Brook Lopez mostly. But will Milwaukee really go big? Will they still try to downsize somehow and feature, I don’t know, PJ Tucker as the tallest man on the court? Until we see how Milly adapts to Phoenix and how Phoenix tries to beat the Bucks I won’t feel very comfortable throwing money Ayton’s way. Obviously, if Ayton hits he’d be most probably the most valuable player of the slate. But his salary has been on the rise for a while and he’s more of a gamble these days.
- Love: Devin Booker (SG). I am of the opinion that Milwaukee will try to put the clamps on Chris Paul above everything else. That means Devin Booker—at least until Giannis comes back and the rotation and assignments change—will have a little bit more freedom, or face Khris Middleton which I consider worse at stopping folks than Jrue. Book exploded in G1 against the Clips putting up a ridiculous 78 DKFP to the tune of a 40-13-11 trip-dub before entering a three-game slump in which he fell below 30 FP. He was good enough to make up for that skid with back-to-back 40 and 45 DKFP to close the WCF, but his underlying numbers have not changed that much. He just sucked at shooting in those three mid-series games and that’s more of an outlier thing than anything else. Book should be good for a 25-5-5-1 baseline, shoots the rock 20+ times a game, and has limited his negative plays with only 3 TO per game in his last two and just 4 combined PF in those matches. Can’t look more promising for Dev.
- Hate: Chris Paul (PG). CP3 comes off a freakish 41-point performance in the last game of the WCF series. That’s absolutely insane, and that helped Paul reach 67 DKFP on the day as he also put up 4 boards, 8 dimes, 3 steals, and hit 7 treys through his 35 minutes of playing time. That game marked Paul’s best game of the whole postseason, with the second-best coming against Denver and already 13 FP down to just 54 fantasy points that day. I know that even if Paul goes down to that mark he’d still be a nice play, but Jrue will be very impactful on D and I’m betting on him trying to shut down CP3 more than Book on this one. We’ll see how the Finals develop, but for a start, I’d rather go with Book for now than with a tightly-covered Paul.
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!