The NBA season is long, spanning from late October to mid-April. There are players sitting out constantly due to injuries or maintenance days which changes the outlook of the league on a nightly basis. Since you have to many variables and they are constantly changing it rarely makes sense to quote a players season averages in daily fantasy sports. I like to break the season down into ten day stretches. In that time, most teams play 4-5 games which is a great snapshot of what’s going on right now.
For the purpose of this article we are going to look at the five hottest players in the league and WHY they are so “hot”. I am determining heat by taking every player in the league and determining their average DraftKings game in the last ten days. Then, I’ll compare that to their season average to see if they are playing above or below that number. I also eliminated anyone who hasn’t averaged 20 DraftKings points per game this season, since they are usually irrelevant. I am using the Player Scoring Calendar for this, which is a visualization (sample info) of the NBA Game Logs. Let’s do it!
Number 5 – Nikola Jokic
There’s a few caveats with Jokic being on this list. Most notably, he’s only played two games in the last ten days while many of his counterparts have played upwards of five. With that being said, Jokic is averaging 34.88 DraftKings points over those two games, which is 39% more than his season average (25.03). Jokic is playing over 26 MPG in the L10 which is about three minutes higher than his season average. He’s a capable scorer who can snag double-digit rebounds on a nightly basis. His fine shooting is allowing him to carve out a nice role in the Denver offense.
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Number 4 – Lou Williams
The beneficiary of Lakers injuries, Williams has been scorching in the last ten days. With teammates D’Angelo Russell and Nick Young sitting out a few games, Williams took control of the LA offense and has averaged 32.2 real points in his last five games. That has turned into 40+ DraftKings points in four of his last five games. There was certainly some concern that Williams would slow down when Russell and Young got back in the lineup, but that didn’t happen. In their first game back, Williams dropped another 24-6-5 line for 41.5 DraftKings points. That’s probably Fools Gold considering he only played 25 minutes which is 6-10 less than any other game during this hot stretch. It’s likely that Williams returns to Earth here shortly.
Number 3 – JaMychal Green
Oh man, I really like this guy. Green is playing 35 minutes a night over his last five while averaging a double-double (10.8-13.6). Two of his career high rebounding games (17 and 18) have come in the last four games. Green’s emergence is likely thanks to the injury to Mike Conley. Despite the two not playing the same position, the amount of opportunity that Conley left behind benefits all of his teammates. Green is averaging 11.1 PPG and 11.4 RPG in the seven contents since Conley last played. Before the injury, Green was only averaging 8.9 PPG and 6.5 RPG. It’s also worth noting that Zach Randolph missed some extended time, so Green had no one pushing him. Randolph is solidly a back-up at this point in his career so Green has a firm grasp on the workload. In terms of fantasy numbers, Green is averaging 33.8 DK PPG in his the last ten days compared to his 23.89 season average.
Number 2 – Tony Allen
Now this name surprised me. Another Grizzlies player trying to find a role on a team that has been banged up with injuries all year long. Memphis is very thin on the wings with Chandler Parsons, James Ennis and Vince Carter all missing time recently. That has thrust Tony Allen into 33.8 MPG in his last four contests. We know he’s going to be active on defense (multiple steals in five of last six) but this new found scoring touch is giving him a big boost. He’s averaging 15.5 PPG in his last four which is 30.85 DK PPG in the L10 days. That’s a 42% increase over his season average. His value might take a small hit when Vince Carter returns, but VC’s timetable has been pushed back day after day. Keep a close eye on this situation.
Number 1 – Jahlil Okafor
Jahlil Okafor has a few things going for him to rank number one on this list. Remember he started the season on a minutes restriction so that has driven his season average to a mere 21.05 DK PPG. He’s now off that restriction and is showing the scoring touch we knew Okafor always had. He’s scoring 15 PPG while adding nearly nine RPG in the process. His 31.33 DK PPG in the L10 days is 48% higher than his season average and is the biggest increase in the league at the moment. Unfortunately for Okafor, I can’t imagine he’s going to be in this spot much longer. The Sixers only play three games this week (with no B2Bs) which means we could see a full dosage of Joel Embiid. Additionally, Nerlens Noel made his season debut on Sunday. Noel only played ten minutes, but expect that to tick upwards making it a very crowded front-court in Philadelphia.
That’s all folks! Be sure to follow me on Twitter for more player analysis as news and injuries break closer to tip-off! Commentary based on DraftKings strategy and scoring.