Welcome to your daily NBA DFS digest at FakeTeams, 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: Nikola Vucevic (C). Can’t blame Vooch that much for having a below-average (given what he can do, I mean) debut as a Bull. I mean, this guy played 32 minutes to kick his Chicago tenure off, and even being a newcomer he was this close to dub-dubbing with a 21-9-3 line shooting 56% on an already healthy 16 FGA. The usage was rather low, which was bad because Zachary bested him at that but he sucked. Vooch was the man already for the Bulls in his first game there, which bodes well for him going forward and even more facing a big-less Warriors squad today. This Nikola is no Jokic, but Vucevic closed his Magic career with a 57 FP game against the Suns, no less. Walking dub-dub-averager, 23-12 baseline poster, and a biggie with upside on the dimes/treys departments that you can’t just pass with a “low” salary like the one he’s got for this slate.
- Hate: Khris Middleton (SG/SF). Every walking Buck missed the game against New York two days ago, so Milwaukee obviously dropped it. The honchos are back tonight, led by Middleton and Giannis. Am I hating hard on Khris? Nah. Am I passing on him for today’s affair with the Clips? You bet. K-Midd is medically cleared and in. K-Midd, also, played against LAC in late February and all he did was finish with 36 FP in 33 minutes. Not great. Not only that, but in fact Midd has been more in the mid-30s than in the 40s, which for his price you won’t be very please with. The efficiency and per-minute FPs are sublime, sure, but the raw fantasy tallies are way short of what they should be. Only twice has Middleton broke for more than 40 FP since coming back from the AS weekend. His last game against Boston saw him fall to 35 FP, and against another contender in Philly on Mar. 17 he put up a 23-FP dud. Ugh.
- Love: Malcolm Brogdon (PG). The Wiz host the Pacers tonight in what could be a booming game for Indiana’s guards. I’m leaning Brogdon over LeVert here, but feel free to put the latter in your lineups if you feel like brazy. Malcolm is right in the Middle of Indy’s game, manning the rock, leading the offense, and handing goodies and taking them with gusto. This guy is hitting 2.6 treys on the season... and a monster 3.8 (!!!) of them per game since coming back from the break! That’s insane in the brain. Brogdon is making it mostly on points, as he’s not your dime-first PG, but he’s got bulky enough numbers in all cats as to be a very reasonable fantasy play nightly, even more against the putrid Washington D. The CyBrog is putting up a sound 22-5-4 line in the past couple of weeks, staying on the court 35 MPG, and has hit 3+ treys in six of his last eight games.
- Hate: Zach LaVine (SG). LaVine carries a “probable” tag with him for today’s game against the Warriors. Even if he ends getting fully cleared and plays this one, everything points to either 1) extended rest or 2) a low outing given the opposition. And it is not that Zacharias has been great for the past week of games. In his past four matches, ZLV has topped 33 FP just once against Utah in a 38-minute night in which he also logged a 37% usage rate (a personal top-5 mark this season), shot the rock the second-most times this year (25), and grabbed the third-most rebounds this season (7). Other than that, LaVine has returned average-at-best value to his truthers and comes off the worst game of the season to this date: sharing the floor with recently acquired Vooch in the latter’s debut, Zach could only finish with a stupid 18-3-1 line and 23 FP on the night against San Antonio. The minutes were low at just 28, sure, but the per-minute efficiency was horrid at just 0.78 FP/min. Not liking his chances against GSW in which could pass as a resting night before Chicago takes on a much-tougher Suns squad next Thursday.
- Love: Rudy Gobert (C). You won’t believe this but Gobert has just the ninth-highest salary among C-eligible players in today’s slate. Say what!? That’s correct, folks. Gob is putting up 40 FP a day, projects to exactly reaching that mark by my calculations, and is averaging 1.30 FP/min so it’s not that even falling short of minutes against Cleveland (2nd-worst D in the league...) won’t impact him that much. Gobert pretty much counts his games by dub-dubs, with 31 in 45 games and 12 in the last 14, all after the break (and I mean, he fell just two points and one board short in those two misses...) You know what you’re getting here: a 40-FP bounty, massive ROI, and a 15-13 baseline on top of which Rudy can build all he wants—just in case you missed it, a week ago he cooked himself 9 blocks (!) against the Bulls, for example.
What’s cooking? Statistical trends from Week 13 (Mar. 22 to Mar. 28)
- Joel Embiid is out. LeBron James is out. Nobody is believing—for some reason—in James Harden’s chances. All of that, combined with Nikola Jokic's seemingly ever-improving numbers, is making the Joker the clear-cut and leading MVP candidate of the 2021 season. Another week of games, another lead for Jokic at the top of last week’s fantasy leaderboard thanks to his 57 FP per game. Jokic was the only player to break the 55-fantasy point barrier on the deadline week.
- It was a rather weird week when it comes to those making it to the top of the board, as the names behind Jokic are not your usual ones. Zion finished second, followed by De’Aaron Fox, Karl-Anthony Towns, Russ, Donovan Mitchell, Kawhi, Siakam, Tatum, Young, Wall, and Sabonis. Again, not your usual suspects.
- Although Jokic was the best player on a per-game basis, Donovan Mitchell edged him with a 1.68 FP/min compared to Jokic’s 1.64. Makes sense, considering Mitchell played just 31 MPG to Jokic’s 34 in the same span and number of games (four each).
- Of the top-10 players in this past week’s leaderboard, only two finished with an FP-deviation below 3 FP (min. 3 GP). Kawhi (1.9) and Mitchell (2.2) were the best two, with Mitchell’s effort being notable given he played one more game than Kawhi, logged more FP/G, and all of his matches ended in between 49-and-54 FP. Solid as a rock.
- Surprise, surprise. Russ was the lone player putting up a trip-dub through the week with a 15-14-10 line in three games played averaging 35 MPG. The FP/G mark was high at 53, but not enough to top the leaderboard. Only Jokic (25-10-8) finished close enough to the trip-dub line this past week.
- Silly cheap values: Mann, Ariza, Thanasis, Kira Lewis, Juan Hernangomez, Aminu, Bitadze, Luwawu-Cabarrot, Nico Mannion, McLemore.
- A little more expensive but still with massive ROI: Moses Brown, Jalen Brunson, NAW, Monk, Burks, Barrett, Covington, Anunoby, Kanter, Nunn, Hardaway Jr., Millsap.
- Some very expensive players not doing enough: Beal, Simmons, LaVine, DeRozan, Wood, Booker, Lowry, Ingram, Hayward, Chris Paul, Jerami Grant, PJ Washington, Aaron Gordon
- Cheap points (min. 3 games played): Monk, Brunson, Mann, Grayson Allen, McLemore, Ellington, Okeke, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Juan Hernangomez, McDermott, Kira, Mills
- Cheap threes: McLemore, Ellington, Grayson, Anfernee, Okeke, Mills, Monk, Mannion, Sumner, Forbes, Melton, Niang, Bogdan Bogdanovic, McDermott, Garrison Matthews
- Cheap boards: Aminu, Mann, Favors, Ariza, Claxton, Birch, Juan Hernangomez, Brunson, Batum, Gay, Bitadze, Iggy, Millsap
- Cheap dimes: Gabe Vincent, Kira, Mannion, D.J. Augustin, Bledsoe, Saben Lee, Brunson, Lamb, Batum, Millsap, Campazzo, Cory Joseph
- Cheap steals: Caruso, Winslow, Mykhailiuk, Thybulle, Millsap, Dean Wade, Birch, Grant Williams
- Cheap blocks: Favors, Alex Len, Bitadze, Robin Lopez, Derrick Jones, Jaden McDaniels, Thybulle, Brodric Thomas, Ariza, Gay, Gafford, D.J. Wilson, Metu, Diakite, Toupane, Jeff Green
- Cheap FG% (min. 8 FGA): Monk, McDermott, Brunson, Mann, Okeke, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Millsap, Derrick Jones, Neto, Jeff Green
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!