The playoffs are in full swing! Benny guides us through today’s top plays for this two game NBA DFS slate!
Boston Celtics vs. Toronto Raptors
- Series: 2-2
- Vegas: Celtics -1, 211.5
The total of this game is 211.5, which seems optimistic. The first four games ended at 206, 201, 207, and 193. Maybe this is the offensive explosion we have all waited for but more than likely it won’t be. For fantasy purposes we have settled into what we are likely to see in terms of minutes here for the next few games of this series.
Tatum, Kemba, Brown, and Smart are all likely to see 37-40 minutes a night as they have been for the last couple games. Daniel Theis is playing around 30 minutes a night with Robert Williams picking up the rest of the center minutes. Even at near min price, no one else is seeing enough minutes to even matter in these games unless we get an injury for the Celtics.
Jayson Tatum is the most expensive, but also has the highest ceiling. He’s taking just shy of 20 shots a game and has also upped his rebounding in this series. He’s had a series high 10 last game for his first double-double, but has had no fewer than eight in any game this series. He’s also averaged over four assists to go with over 23 points per game. His numbers have been very good, but not $9400 good on FanDuel and $9300 on DK . He has only really hit value once so far and has missed badly in every other game of this lower scoring series.
Jaylen Brown is slightly cheaper than Kemba Walker and both have had some good and bad games for fantasy in this series. I prefer Kemba to Brown. Brown is an amazing defensive player, but defensive stats are very volatile from game to game. He needed four blocks in game 3 and three steals and two blocks in game 2 in order to get his upside.
Brown’s strength is his ability to contribute across the board, but he’s also a guy who has seen quite a price bump in recent games. You had been getting him at $6500 on FanDuel earlier in this series and now he’s closer to $7500. Even on DraftKings where he was a $7K player, he’s now closer to being an $8K guy. Sure the minutes are up, but his upside game relies on some big defensive stats and that’s not the best thing to be banking on.
Kemba is more likely to explode for big points if he gets the shots like he did in games 2 and 3. He’s shot a better percentage than Brown throughout the series and outscored him despite taking fewer shots. Assists are also worth more than rebounds and while Brown has outrebounded Kemba, Kemba has crushed Brown in the assist department. Brown averages just two a game, while Kemba is averaging a little over six.
Kemba plays more minutes, averages more fantasy points per minute and has a higher ceiling. Kemba could see an increase in his shot attempts, while Brown is probably near his ceiling in that department. Kemba’s price is also steady compared to Brown’s, which is at the higher end of his range. No knock on either guy, but Kemba is the better option for me.
As for the value plays, both Marcus Smart and Daniel Theis are interesting. Smart lacks a ceiling. Even when he has a monster scoring in the fourth quarter. He shot the lights out in games 1 and 2, but went ice cold and shot under 30% in games 3 and 4. He took just eight shots in game 4, a series low. He’s cheap enough to give you a good game on his best day and they are giving him every chance to with 35-40 minutes a night. The FD price under $6K is more inviting than paying up on DK, which I probably would not do today.
As for Theis, he had a monster game 1 and has played solid throughout the series. In terms of fantasy though, I’m less likely to play him vs. Smart as a cheap option. Unlike the other four starters, he only sees about 30 minutes. It’s less court time to reach upside and he does have a limited skill set for fantasy production.
The only cheap punt option on the Celtics I would consider is Robert Williams. Game 1 was probably his apex, but in terms of minutes and productivity he is the best of the second unit guys for the Celtics.
Top Plays: Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker
GPP: Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart (FanDuel)
Value: Robert Williams
Much like the Celtics, you have a trio of high priced options leading the Raptors. If you have to choose between them, I much prefer the Raptors guys. The Celtics main pieces are playing 37-40 minutes, which is a ton of court time. The Raptors main trio is seeing more though. Lowry played 40, 46, and 43 minutes in the last three games. Fred Van Vleet played 43, 40, and 44. Siakam saw 43, 38, and 45. That means with the exception of a quick two minute breather here and there, the Raptors starts are basically playing the entire game.
Lowry has been the best in terms of upside and that matters since the three are separated by just a couple hundred bucks on DK. On FanDuel, Lowry is about $1000 more expensive, but coming off back to back 50+ fantasy point efforts he is not expensive. Lowry does a little bit of everything and now he’s playing massive minutes to be able to hit near his season highs in all categories. He averaged under 19 in the regular season and is over 21 per game in this series.
He averaged under 5 rebounds and 6 and a half assists during the regular season and has bumped those up to 7 and 7.5 during this series. The minutes are a major factor, but it’s not likely that should change with the season on the line the next couple games. Even with the price jump on FanDuel he’s my top option, but obviously I like the discount on DK more.
Fred VanVleet is a better option than Pascal Siakam for me in this series as well. No knock on Siakam, but FVV has shown a more consistent floor, being at or near value every game of the series. Neither draws an easy defender here, but FVV has taken more shots, has a higher usage, and gets more points for his higher assists totals than Siakam does for his rebounding advantage. Both guys have explosive upside on their best day, so you can not dismiss either. I trust FVV more though.
The other two starters are Marc Gasol and OG Anunoby. Let me start with Gasol. He’s a shell of his best self and not seeing big minutes. Even at a discounted price he has little appeal for me. Anunoby had the huge shot in game 3 to change the momentum of the series and has played a ton of minutes so far here.
In the last three close games here he’s averaged just shy of 40 minutes a night. It was a heroic shot, an effort, but he’s honestly only reached value once and it was on the back of that late three giving him a double-double to go along with some defensive stats. The rest of the games he has underperformed for fantasy, despite the big minutes.
Serge Ibaka is a very interesting player in this series. He’s not going to get the minutes and normally that’s a turn off for me. I’m not saying it’s a good thing, but Ibaka has that ability to rack up a ton of fantasy production fast. He had two games just shy of 40 and one with 50+ fantasy points in the last series despite playing 25 minutes or less per game.
He’s been up and down this series in about the same 25 minutes a night, but remove game 3 and you have 15/9, 17/9, and 18/7 in the other three games of this series. He’s not cheap, and the floor is low with the minutes so low, but he’s produced at an astronomical rate already this playoffs and could be a sneaky difference maker in GPPs.
No one else really registers here with the massive minutes the top guys are playing. Norman Powell is the other guy to watch, but he’s at best a third or fourth option on the floor and is barely even seeing 20 minutes a night with so little court time not being chewed up by the main pieces here.
Top Plays: Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet
GPP Plays: Pascal Siakam, Serge Ibaka
Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Clippers
- Series: 1-1
- Vegas: Clippers -9, 219
After a grueling 7 game series, they got waxed by the Clips in game 1. They threw an early haymaker and connected in game 2, riding that lead to a victory. They went back to the formula that worked for them against the Utah Jazz with Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray carrying the offensive load. I expect more of the same here.
Jamal Murray remains one of my favorite overall plays on the board right now. He’s the cheapest of the superstars playing right now and has been outproducing the more heralded Nikola Jokic so far in the playoffs. No knock on Jokic, but when you have a “secondary” star capable of putting up 50 real life points on more than one occasion, you have to like his ceiling for a slightly cheaper price on both sites.
No knock on Jokic and the center position is a bit barren with him as the clear likeliest highest scoring option. He has a wrist injury coming into this game and does tend to play less minutes than Murray, although he still saw 37 last game. Again, no knock on him, but for $1000 cheaper I have more faith in Murray for both value and upside potential.
Unlike some of the other teams mentioned, the Nuggets have a slew of guys priced in a friendly range that should be interesting glue pieces to your lineups. Jerami Grant is the one I trust the most. His last game was aided by a ton of defensive stats and I know that is variable, but Grant is seeing the most minutes of the secondary pieces on a consistent basis right now.
He starts alongside Millsap at the SF spot and slides over to the 4 when Porter Jr., Monte Morris, or Torrey Craig sub into the game. His ability to defend and play both forward positions has him seeing 10+ minutes more than his teammates we will discuss next per night. He is not the best per minute producer of the secondary options, but he’s seeing the most minutes which gives him a better chance to make value and to reach upside.
Paul Millsap can’t play the heavy minutes load he did in his younger days, but he can still be productive. He had two good games during the Utah series and two solid ones to start this series. The key to that production is his minutes. In the four games he saw at least 23 minutes, he’s had 23-35 fantasy points. In the five games in the playoffs he saw under 20 minutes, he had under 20 fantasy points. In both games this series he played over twenty minutes, including 31 last game. If they are going to give him that longer leash, he’s too cheap at under $5K on both sites. He has upside and a safe floor at 20+ minutes, so let’s hope that trend continues.
Michael Porter Jr. is a wildcard here. His minutes are down this series, but the guy has shown he can produce. MPJ is an excellent rebounder and has been consistent in that aspect. His inconsistency comes with the scoring. He’s scored double digits in five of nine postseason games and the return would be 5X or better on each of those performances. The 4 games he fell short, he badly missed value in each. That volatility with his scoring makes him a GPP only option, but he can make or break the slate if his jumper is falling.
The last guy I want to mention is Gary Harris. Harris missed much of the last series, but came in to make an impact on defense that has carried over here. In terms of fantasy production, Harris is not a high producer in his role with this team, but he’s also pretty cheap. His minutes have increased every game and he’s knocking on the door of 30+ now. Those minutes have come at the expense of Monte Morris, Torrey Craig, and even MPJ. At the very least he ticks down the outlook for those three guys.
As for his production, the upside is limited. With that said, he does have some due to the dirt cheap price. He’s only $4100 on DK and with the minutes rising he could make or exceed value on a good game. He is really more of a bystander on offense though, so do not expect upside. I’m just hoping he gets me 25 for that DK price though and I’ll take it.
Top Plays: Jamal Murray, Nikola Jokic
GPP: Jerami Grant, Paul Millsap, Michael Porter Jr.
Value: Gary Harris
Los Angeles Clippers
Kawhi Leonard was an absolute stud in the first round going for 50+ routinely and throwing in an upside game of 70+ fantasy points. He was unstoppable scoring in game 1 although lacked some of the other stats we normally see from him. In game two, the Nuggets made an effort to get the ball out of his hands and were somewhat successful in slowing down his scoring.
Kawhi being the gamer that he is, adjusted and ended up with 8 assists to go along with 10 rebounds and another solid fantasy game. His price is jacked up, but we have yet to see him put together a big game this series. It’s coming though. His minutes dipped in game 1 due to the blowout, but were right back up to 39 in game 2. I expect more of that going forward.
He and Paul George are both going to see about 40 minutes of run per night in close games here and are easily the #1 and #2 options for fantasy and real life. Kawhi does a little more across the board and has been more consistent, although you have to pay up a few thousand more for that production.
PG13 has a high ceiling, but also has been more volatile in his production. His numbers are not bad most of the time. He rebounds well, averaging seven a game throughout the playoffs and has added in just shy of four assists. His scoring has been what has determined his fate though. He’s taking about 15-20 shots a night, but when he’s scoring he hits or exceeds value and when the shots are not dropping he’s missed badly. Still, he’s the only other guy constantly playing a massive minutes load on the team and is the most likely to go off if Kawhi has a pedestrian game.
I’m not a big fan of playing them both unless you are full on game stacking it here and hoping for OT or a blowout or something in the other game. They can go off together, but if one is hot offensively I think it saps upside from the other. Kawhi has a higher ceiling, but PG13 is cheaper and without a ton of value you may need the savings.
After those two, the minutes drop off for everyone else as the Clippers spread it around. Lou Williams has the most upside after those two when the series is all said and done. He and Marcus Morris are my next tier of plays from this game. Williams can carry an offense and does that with the second unit when Kawhi and/or George are off the floor.
We have seen him score and set up teammates with assists, but his ceiling is capped as those minutes with the first unit he is no longer the #1 option like he was last year. The $5100 FD price is very low for a guy with his upside though, even if he does only see 30 minutes.
Morris doesn’t have the ceiling of Williams or the two main studs, but he’s been playing 30+ minutes routinely here. Again, you won’t get the 40+ fantasy point games we saw with him in NY earlier this year. He was ejected in one of his 8 playoff games this year, but in 5 of those other 7 he had around 30 fantasy points in 30 or more minutes of action.
He is priced at $5100 on both sites and being around 30 fantasy points at that price means 6X consistently. I wouldn’t expect more than 7X or 35 even on his good days with this role, but he’s a legit veteran former all-star who will continue to play a big role.
Now we get into the low minute guys that cover the rest of the time those four main pieces are not on the floor. Ivica Zubac is at the top of that list for me. Zubac also lacks upside, but it’s more due to minutes than production. He tends to play half the game, but in all but two of the eight playoff games this year he has between 21 and 29 fantasy points. That doesn’t sound impressive, but for $5K it’s not bad. Zubac is unlikely to break the slate in raw points or on a point per dollar basis, but his floor is pretty high and the price is friendly enough to be usable.
You have Landry Shamet, Patrick Beverley, Reggie Jackson, and JaMychal Green also seeing 12-20 minutes a night here for the Clippers. All of them are cheap, but none are safe or even offer much upside for the price. People may flock to Green and that would be the one guy I have some interest in for the cheap price too. He’s by no means a lock though and iis likely to be over owned coming off a good game for himself.
Looking back though, the minutes are just not consistent enough for me to back him heavily, although he will be a cheap option on a GPP team or two I throw together. I’d shy away from the cheaper guards though as PG13 playing more SG kills any chance they have for bigger minutes.
Last guy I want to mention is Montrezl Harrell. I know he’s better than he has shown here, but he’s also not seeing minutes yet. He’s nowhere near back to his best form and until I see at least one big game from him, I’m watching on the sidelines and not using him in any lineups.
Top Plays: Kawhi Leonard, Marcus Morris, Lou Williams
GPP: Paul George, Ivica Zubac
Value: JaMychal Green