Armando Marsal breaks down tonight’s two-game NBA DFS playoff slate!
Welcome to post season basketball. Just like I did during the regular season, I’ll be using FanDuel positions as they are less flexible than they are on DraftKings, but you should have plenty of options at each position to build on DK as well given the roster flexibility and multi-position eligibility of many players on their site.
Miami Heat at Milwaukee Bucks
The Heat are looking tie up series tonight, after losing a close one in overtime on Saturday. Tonight’s contest between the Heat and the Bucks has a 222.5-point over/under, with Milwaukee favored by 4.5 points. There are no noteworthy injuries that will impact this contest.
Miami ran a nine-man rotation in the first game, with only five players seeing 30 or more minutes in regulation (see image below). This is not surprising being that in the post season, rotations tighten up, so we can expect a similar rotation tonight from the Heat this evening.
Jimmy Butler shot terribly in game one, making just 4-of-22 buckets (18%). However, he did dish out eight dimes and grabbed 10 rebounds. Butler has a 47.8 career shooting percentage, so we can expect a much better effort this evening. Butler is not only an elite shooter, but he is also a stat sheet stuffing machine. He offers triple-double upside any time he is on the court and this is a great game environment against a Bucks team that played at the second fastest pace in basketball during the regular season. This is a matchup that Butler has fared in recent years, averaging 41.2 DK points per game, and sporting a consistency rating of 57.1 percent (seven-game sample size). His price is very appealing on both sites and he can be considered a strong option in any format this evening.
Like Butler, Bam Adebayo had a poor shooting effort in the first game of the series, making in just 27 percent of his shots. We can expect a much better outing tonight, being that Adebayo has a career shooting percentage of 56 percent. The Bucks are a good defensive team, and they were tough against opposing centers this season, ranking seventh in efficiency against the position. Therefore, this is far from an elite matchup for him, but he did have one of his better performances of the season against this Milwaukee team back in December. Adebayo is a well-rounded player that contributes to just about every category, which provides him a stable floor to go along with immense upside. Despite the subpar matchup here, he can be considered a viable option in all formats. We know the minutes will be there and even on a poor shooting night in the last game, Adebayo was almost able to return value.
Unlike some of the other Heat players, Duncan Robinson did not struggle with his shot, as he drained in 54 percent of his shots in the first game of the series. He made seven three-pointers and scored 24 points, to go along with two rebounds and two assists. Robinson was red hot from beyond the arc on Saturday and will be in a position to have another solid performance this evening. The Bucks surrendered the most three-pointers per game to opposing teams, to go along with the second highest three-point field goal percentage. In his last two games against this Bucks team, Robinson has made 13 of his 28 shots from beyond the arc. The Bucks play fast, which should create additional touch opportunities for the three-point specialist. He is not a peripherals player, so he relies primarily on his scoring, which causes a volatile floor. That said, his price remains incredibly affordable on both sites, he should play big minutes, and this is favorable game environment.
Goran Dragic led Miami in scoring in the first game of the series, with 25 points. He is not in the starting lineup for the Heat but does play solidified minutes off the bench and will likely be on the court with the closing unit. Despite the solid outing, his price did not increase a ton and he remains affordable on both sites. The Bucks are a good defensive unit, but they did allow the fourth most real points per game to opposing point guards during the regular season. Dragic’s role with the second unit is significant, as he is one of the primary ball handlers and scorers in that role. He averages roughly a fantasy point per minutes and will be in a great position to return value this evening. Dragic provides us with nice upside at an affordable price this evening.
Trevor Ariza played 33 minutes in regulation in the first game of the series and should once again play big minutes for Miami. He is not someone that will score a ton of points but is active on the boards and will rack up defensive stats. This is the type of game environment where he can flourish in and at his price tag, he makes for a viable option.
Tyler Herro shot poorly in game one and played just 19 minutes off the bench. The fact that he played just 19 minutes in a competitive game is concerning, especially since he did not play in the final six minutes of regulation and did not see the court during overtime. Aside from the minutes concern, his price on DK is nearly $6K, which is a tad expensive given the circumstances. On FD however, he is much more affordable and can be considered a high-risk, high-reward GPP option. There is no denying that Herro offers nice upside, but the floor is incredibly low for him given the volatile minutes, which is something you have to be aware of if you decide to roster him. I am not prioritizing him tonight, but I would not be surprised if he erupts for a huge night at some point in the series.
The Bucks ran a nine-man rotation in game one, with only their starters exceeded 30 minutes in regulation. Milwaukee will likely run a similar rotation to the one they did on Saturday.
When it comes to Milwaukee, it begins with Giannis Antetokounmpo who is arguably the best player on the slate. The trend with him all season has been that whenever he will be in a competitive game, he has to be considered an incredibly strong play. That is the case tonight, as this game should be competitive. Antetokounmpo posted a solid stat line against the Heat in the first game, scoring 26 points with 18 rebounds, five assists, and three steals. In the two games against Miami this season that were competitive and that he played 35+ minutes, Antetokounmpo topped 60 DK points each time. The Heat are a good defensive unit, but that has not stopped him from being productive against them.
Khris Middleton scored a team-high 27 points to go along with six assists, six rebounds, and two steals, putting his talents in full display in that first game. This is a Miami team that Middleton has had success against in recent history. In his last 14 games against the Heat, Middleton has averaged 41.3 DK points per game and sports a 64.3 percent consistency rating. His FD price is tough to pass up on at under $8K and even on DK where he is $8200, he is a strong option.
Jrue Holiday turned in a solid performance on Saturday, scoring 20 points with 11 boards, three steals, and three assists. He has played well against the Heat this season, averaging 34 minutes, 19.3 points, 6.3 assists, 5.8 rebounds, 2.3 steals, and 0.5 blocks against them. Holiday topped 40 DK points in three of their four meetings. Miami has not had an answer for Holiday all season and I don’t expect that to change in the post season. He is priced below $8K on both sites, making him an incredibly appealing option this evening.
Brook Lopez and Donte DiVincenzo are the other two players we can consider from the Bucks side. They both played big minutes in the first game of the series and should play heavy minutes tonight. On DK both players remain under $5K, which is incredibly affordable. On FD, Lopez is closer to $6K, making him much less appealing on there. Not to mention, the other center options we like ahead of him. DiVincenzo is viable on both sites and has played well against Miami this season, averaging a fantasy point per minute against them. Outside of the Bucks starting five, no other player exceeded 17.9 minutes. P.J. Tucker was that player who played 17.9 minutes and that resulted in 2.5 DK points. No thanks!
Portland Trail Blazers at Denver Nuggets
Portland won the first game of the series, beating the Nuggets 123-109. We should be in for another good game here, as Denver looks to tie the series. This contest has an implied total of 227 points and the Nuggets are favored by 1.5 points. On the injury front, Will Barton and PJ Dozier remain out for the Nuggets, while the Trail Blazers are healthy.
By now you should be aware that in the post season, NBA teams run incredibly tight rotations. Portland did just that as they ran an eight-man rotation in game one. To no surprise all five starters played over 30 minutes. The same can be expected this evening.
Damian Lillard led the team in both minutes (39.9) and scoring (34) in the first game of the series. He also dished out 13 dimes. Lillard has played well against Denver this season, averaging 25.8 points, 10.3 assists, four rebounds, and 0.5 steals per game against them (four-game sample). This is a Nuggets team that ranked 17th in defense efficiency against the point guard position and yields close to a fantasy point per minute to the position, so it is not at all surprising to see him have success against them. There is no reason to think that Lillard cools down tonight against this Denver defense.
C.J. McCollum attempted 20 shots in game one, which accounted for 22 percent of Portland’s shot attempts in that contest. We can expect him to be busy once again tonight, as he is the second option on this Portland offense. He has played well against the Nuggets this season, averaging 22 points with 4.1 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 0.9 steals, and 0.3 blocks per game. In each of the three meetings, McCollum topped 35 DK points. He remains affordable on both sites tonight and offers a decent floor to go with immense upside.
Jusuf Nurkic played 33 minutes in the first game of the series and whenever we are getting 30+ minutes from him, we have to be interested. He averages a healthy 1.33 fantasy points per minute and at his price tag on DK, it’s tough not to consider him this evening. This is not a great matchup, but like we saw last game, Nurkic can handle his own against Jokic. In both of his last two meetings against the Nuggets, Nurkic has finished with a double-double and has exceeded 40 DK points. Nurkic can be considered one of the stronger point per dollar plays on DK this evening.
Norman Powell and Robert Covington both will play big minutes this evening. I don’t have a ton of interest in Powell, but Covington’s price is very appealing on both sites. He is $4600 on FD and $4400 on DK and will play huge minutes. The Nuggets ranked dead last in defense efficiency against the power forward position, so this is a favorable matchup. Covington is not a huge scorer, but he can rack up the defensive stats and Denver surrendered the sixth most blocks, as well as the fourth most steals per game to the position. There is a path to success here for him and at his price, he does not need to do much to reach value. Carmelo Anthony played just 21 minutes off the bench, but he attempted 12 shots, which was the third most of any Portland player. He has one job and one job only off the bench, and that is to score points. Anthony is not going to play huge minutes, but when he is on the court, he will get his share of shot attempts. So long as he is draining them in, he will exceed expectations at his price point.
The Nuggets ran a nine-man rotation in game one of this series, with only four of their players playing more than 30 minutes. A similar rotation should be expected this evening.
Nikola Jokic scored a team-high 34 points in the first game of the series, while playing 35 minutes. He added 16 rebounds and one assist. This is a Portland team that he has had success against this season, but not one that he has turned in a ceiling game against. Despite that, Jokic is arguably the top play on the slate given his incredibly high floor, to go along with the massive ceiling. You know what to expect when you roster Jokic and there is not much I can say about him that you don’t already know.
Michael Porter Jr. turned in a strong performance in game one, scoring 25 points with nine rebounds and two blocks. He attempted 21 shots, which accounted for 23 percent of Denver’s shots in that contest. Porter struggled from beyond the arc, making just one three-pointer, which is not like him given that he shot 44.5 percent from three-point land this season. The Trail Blazers yield the fifth highest three-point field goal percentage to the position, so a better shooting night from beyond the arc is likely. In addition, Portland ranked 25th in defense efficiency against the position. Porter’s price is appealing tonight, making him a viable option in all formats.
Austin Rivers continues to start for Denver, as he has started each of their last six games. He was one of four players for the Nuggets to exceed 30 minutes in the first game of the series and he has topped 30 minutes in four of his last six contests. Rivers averages an underwhelming 0.7 fantasy points per minute and the chances of him breaking a slate are slim to none. That being said, he is incredibly cheap on both sites and provides you with much needed salary relief.
Facundo Campazzo is the only other player outside of the three listed above that played 30+ minutes in game one. We can expect him to play 30+ minutes again tonight. His DK price is a tad much for my likings, especially when comparing him to some of the players in that price range. On FD however, his price is much more palatable, and he can be considered a solid option.
Aaron Gordon has tournament appeal at his price tag. He played 28 minutes and scored 16 points with eight rebounds, a block, and one assist in the first game of the series. Gordon attempted 16 shots in that contest, which was the third most of any Denver player. His role in this offense is solidified and he should play close to 30 minutes again. There is no denying that the floor is incredibly low here, which is why I wouldn’t recommend him in cash games, but in tournaments he is certainly someone you can consider.
Monte Morris played 22 minutes off the bench on Saturday and turned that into 19.6 DK points. He should play 20-23 minutes again this evening and should see his fare share of scoring opportunities with the second unit. His price tag is cheap on both sites and is someone you can consider for some salary relief. Markus Howard played 20 minutes off the bench in the first game, which is worth noting. However, he offers little appeal this evening.
DK: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jusuf Nurkic, Michael Porter Jr., Goran Dragic
FD: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Michael Porter Jr., C.J. McCollum, Goran Dragic