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: Kawhi Leonard (SF). I’m assuming Kawhi is playing. He is not on the injury report, and although he played yesterday there are no alarms attached to his name for today’s affair. That being said, though, Kawhi is our Load-Management Lord and the Magic are at the other end, so we’ll see. If he plays, though, make sure you get some shares of the Klaw. From Mar. 22 on, in the past four games, Lenny Buckets has dropped 23+ points in each of those, is pairing that scoring with some nasty 7-5-3 rest-of-line, he’s shooting 58% from the floor on a more than healthy 16 FGA-dose, and he doesn’t know how to stop beating fools. It’s been six wins in a row for the Clips, which clearly smelled Lake Blood and are going in for the kill. Highest projection of the slate only behind Russ yet Kawhi has just the fifth-highest salary. Must-play.
- Hate: Ben Simmons (PG/SF). Benny is steadily playing worse, and it’s starting to get a little bit concerning. Simmons has committed 29 turnovers combined in the past five games, and 6+ in four of those. He’s fouling fools all around the court and getting in trouble nightly with almost 5 PF a night. The minutes have stayed high, but the efficiency is getting closer to league-average levels (1.01 FP/min), and although the long runs are affording him some padding and allowing him to reach his 35+ FP a night, that is nothing when put next to his salaries. The ROI just isn’t there, but the algorithm will keep being stubborn and tagging Benny with sky-high prices. Yes, he will give you his 15-7-7 baseline more often than not, but that’s short of valuable and you’d be better off looking the other way when it comes to scoring yourself some winning plays.
- Love: Terry Rozier (PG). Rozier is this bouncy, random guy we all love to watch in real life but that surely drives us nuts when it comes to the fantasy realm. Good for us truthers, though, he’s doing it both on efficiency and brute force these days, which is great. In the past four games he’s played going back a week, Roz has put up at least 34 FP. He was über-efficient in the first three, averaging an impressive 1.27 FP/min in those with a 25-4-7 line in 35 MPG a day. That’s cool. What is not was his last game efficiency, which dropped all the way down to a putrid 0.76 mark that is way below average. Why? Because he played a stupid 44 (!!!) minutes on the night, which made it absolutely impossible to get anything even remotely close to an efficient performance. Even then, though, and thanks to that hyper-extended run on the court, Scary Terry was able to close the night with a neat 22-10-1-1 line. That’s the thing about Rozier. He might bounce, but he always finds a way.
- Hate: Gordon Hayward (SF/PF). Gordo, on the other hand... Hayward has plain sucked in the last couple of games even though he’s been on the court for 39 and 41 minutes respectively, falling short of 30 FP twice. The shooting slump isn’t long, spanning just two games and three days, but hitting only 8-fo-27 FGA in those two combined yielded a shameful 30% FG% which I’m inclined to let marinate at least for a day or two. Hayward has strung three games below 30 FP, and he has topped 33 FP only twice since the AS break (that is more worrying of a span, as the break finished all the way back on Mar. 11 and it’s been 10 games played since then already...) Gordo must raise his floor before I aim for his ceiling by rostering him. Sorry, G.
- Love: Deandre Ayton (C). It’s all jokes about Marvin Bagley until you realize Deandre Ayton is averaging very similar numbers to the former on a per-minute basis... But nah, don’t fall for that. Ayton destroys Bagley in every advanced metric and underlying number, let’s be honest for a minute. While Deandre hasn’t been otherworldly, he’s part of a great squad that makes it easier for him to rack up numbers, and that shows. Gotta love his minutes going up to 33 MPG in the past five games, in which he’s put up an average 19-11-1 line with 1+ BPG to spare. That’s a considerable improvement on his scoring (14 PPG prior to this late span) while he’s also cut down his turnovers in half and is not fouling that much these days either. Pretty perfect play when it comes to filling your last lineup spot with upside to entering the 40-FP realm.
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!