Ricky Sanders breaks down tonight’s Showdown NBA DFS playoff slate between the Indiana Pacers and Washington Wizards!!
Players are based on FanDuel (FD) pricing/positions. Plays noted with (al DK) are notably good plays on DraftKings. Please read the entire article, as the rankings are explained in the bottom half (along with what news can radically shift these rankings).
Indiana Pacers @ Washington Wizards
- WAS -3.5, O/U 237.0
IND – Caris LeVert (O), Jeremy Lamb (O), Myles Turner (O), T.J. Warren (O), Malcolm Brogdon (Q), Edmond Sumner (Q)
WAS – Deni Avdija (O), Thomas Bryant (O)
Already this season, these teams have squared off on three separate occasions and the Wizards won every single one of those contests. Two of them eclipsed 255 total points in regulation while the latest meeting went to overtime and finished with 265 total points. In other words, the pace in every single meeting was lightning fast, which is not surprising given the Wizards lead the league in pace and the Pacers rank fifth.
All analysis surrounding this game must begin with the health of Bradley Beal. Since returning from a hamstring issue, Beal has shot 18-52 from the field (34.6-percent) including 4-17 (23.5-percent) from behind the arc. Even beyond the box score, he has looked noticeably hobbled, constantly holding the hamstring after he leaps for a dunk or a jump shot. The Wizards cannot have him shoot so poorly, given the massive usage rate he garners, and expect to win, so improvement will be needed if they are going to win tonight.
One positive with Beal is he was still able to play 36-minutes versus the Celtics and 35-minutes the game before so he is at least capable of toughing the hamstring issue out. In his last meeting versus the Pacers (May 8), Beal played 39 total minutes (including overtime) and finished 19-31 from the field (61.3-percent) en route to a whopping 50-points. All season long, the Pacers struggled to defend shooting guards (17th in defensive efficiency) and backcourts overall (also 17th in defensive efficiency), so the matchup on paper is still incredibly favorable. If playing multiple lineups, Beal is an obvious player to hedge, as there are a wide range of potential outcomes based on how he is feeling.
Russell Westbrook produced the most disappointing 20-14-5 and five stock stat line ever in the Celtics game because DFSers have come to expect more. This season, Westbrook averaged 22.2 points per game (PPG), 11.5 rebounds per game (RPG), 11.7 assists per game (APG) and 59.1 DK fantasy points per game (FPPG) in 36.4 minutes per game (MPG).
Essentially, if rostering Westbrook, a triple-double is what is expected, and anything less is a travesty. Luckily for him and those looking to roster him, the game environment could not get much better, as Westbrook topped 81 DK fantasy points in all three meetings against the Pacers this season. Spending on multiple superstars is a difficult proposition in this game and it is extremely difficult to look at this sample size and not simply decide that Westbrook is the one to play.
Rui Hachimura battled through foul trouble against the Celtics which led to only 17-minutes of court time and likely enhanced the minutes for the likes of David Bertans, Daniel Gafford, Robin Lopez and Chandler Hutchison. Bertans was the biggest beneficiary as he finished 33 minutes but only shot 1-8 from the field and 0-7 from beyond the arc.
After the game, Bertans was quoted as saying “with every shooter, there are some cold nights. This was one of them,” and it is difficult to overreact to one bad shooting performance (especially given the expected pace of this game versus the Pacers). If Hachimura can stay out of foul trouble, he is likely destined for a 32-plus minute role, or about double the minutes he played last game.
Those who are just box score watching this frontcourt will be in for a rude awakening when Hachimura bounces back versus a Pacers squad that ranks 23rd in defensive efficiency. Bradley Beal only played in two of the three games against the Pacers this year and Hachimura averaged 20.0 PPG, 6.5 RPG and 31.9 DK FPPG in those two contests. Expect a similar performance on Thursday.
Bertans is a volatile option who I am projecting close to 28-30-minutes versus a Pacers team that allowed the lowest frequency of three-point shot attempts of any team this year. The setup is far from perfect and this could be a night to sit out the Bertans experience (especially in cash games).
The three centers (Gafford/Lopez/Alex Len) combined for 49-minutes against the Celtics and that is about what they averaged combined against the Pacers in three meetings (48.3 total). In those games, Len played the most MPG (19.7) including 20 in the most recent meeting. Strangely, he finished that contest with eight points, 10 rebounds and 27 fantasy points even though the Pacers continued to hold their own defensively against centers after Myles Turner went down. Gafford passed the eye test last game but this situation is so difficult to handicap at this point. Lopez is the high usage man of the three but his usage is unlikely to be relied upon too heavily given the massive usage rates of the guards (and Hachimura if he stays out of foul trouble). Therefore, I would prioritize them (in order): Len, Gafford, Lopez.
Ish Smith continues to impress and looks like a staple of the rotation as long as the Wizards remain in the playoffs. Raul Neto was absolutely useless during his minutes against the Celtics (-14 and 0-2 from the field) and Smith came off the bench provided a much-needed spark plug. Despite having Turner in rotation, the Pacers allowed the highest frequency of shot attempts at the rim, and Smith is basically a homing missile to the basket. It only took eight shots for Smith to accumulate 17-points against the Celtics and, if Beal is still hurting, his offense will be every bit as necessary to the team tonight. Do not fear the rising price tag as $4,400 on DK is still too cheap.
On the Pacers side, Domantas Sabonis simply must be the first man discussed given his near triple-double and absolute domination of the Hornets: 14 points, 21 rebounds, nine assists and 56.75 DK fantasy points. His performance marked the eighth time in his last 10 games that he managed at least 55 fantasy points and was his fourth 19-plus rebound game during that span. Although the Wizards were seemed to get dominated on the boards down the stretch versus the Celtics, they finished with exactly the same number of rebounds (49) as their opponent. For the season, the Wizards ranked 16th in rebound rate while the Pacers ranked 30th, but Tristan Thompson showed a physical force could dominate the offensive glass against the Wizards lumbering centers and their smaller units. I expect Sabonis to show that same sort of prowess on the boards even if the team overall is not particularly active on the glass.
Oshae Brissett tied Sabonis for the most minutes played and it was because he once again shot the lights out: 10-14 from the field, 3-6 from behind the arc en route to 23-points. Although he was waived earlier this year by the Raptors, he was a player who was breaking out in the G-League all season, and has now translated those skills to the NBA level. When Sabonis missed time in late April, Brissett’s numbers were not overly shocking given the lack of overall depth in the frontcourt and the insane minutes he was forced to play. However, now that Sabonis is back in rotation, many seem surprised that the excellent production has continued, and Brissett is proving to be a gamer. It appears Brissett was not just some flash in the pan and the team is willing to play him into the mid-to-high 30s of minutes even when everyone is healthy. Amongst all the DK showdown prices, Brissett’s ($7,400) is one of the most glaring values in the mid-tier.
The rest of the Pacers are a bit more difficult to handicap because Doug McDermott, Justin Holiday, Goga Bitazde and T.J. McConnell all shot the lights out last game to the point of unsustainable levels. McDermott and Holiday saw their minutes cut because the game was out of hand by halftime and there was no reason to run them into the ground with another play-in game right around the corner. In the first half, Holiday was only on pace for 28.5-minutes and that would not be enough to warrant targeting him in tournaments. Holiday is someone to use when he is playing 36-plus minutes because he can fall into production by accident with that much court time. No Caris LeVert has not exactly boosted Holiday’s production a whole lot given his usage rate was only 1.0-percentage point higher in the final two months (15.1-percent versus 14.1-percnet) playing without him.
McConnell is an interesting proposition as he seemed like the Pacers equivalent of Smith minus the rim running. “Spark plug” still accurately describes McConnell but he is more of a do-it-all, pass-first point guard than Smith and his role is a bit more volatile. Over the course of the past three games, McConnell has played 31, 39.5 and 25 minutes, although the 25-minutes was clearly an outlier due to the blowout. It remains to be seen whether (Justin) Holiday would close or McConnell would be left in during the stretch of a playoff game. If believe the latter, he is a strong DFS play in all formats.
Malcolm Brogdon, like Beal, is clearly not 100-percent healthy but now could be a great buy-low opportunity. Down the stretch, Brogdon produced at least 45 fantasy points in four of his final seven games and the team limited him to 21-minutes in a blowout versus the Hornets. Since this game should both be more competitive and faster-paced, Brogdon is a prime bounceback candidate against a defense that allowed more points per-48 minutes to opposing point guards than any team. Kemba Walker nearly dropped 30 real points on this team in a game where Jayson Tatum went crazy and Brogdon certainly possesses the ability to inflict similar damage.
McDermott could not miss against the Hornets and the Wizards allowed a three-point percentage literally 0.1-percentage points lower than the Hornets this season. To put that differently, they were almost an identical three-point defense, so McDermott could obviously shoot well again tonight. Nevertheless, he should get some inflated ownership because of the way he shot against the Hornets, and that alone is a strong case to fade him in tournaments given his scoring-reliant skill set.
If looking deeper towards the bench, Edmond Sumner and Kelan Martin were next up in first half minutes, but they should be expected to see significantly less than their 20.5 and 16.5-minute allotments last game respectively. If this game remains close, their roles should be sporadic at best, and it would take an injury or foul trouble to propel either into significant minutes.
DK Showdown Core 4: Oshae Brissett, Russell Westbrook, Domantas Sabonis, Ish Smith
FD Showdown Core 4: Russell Westbrook, Domantas Sabonis, Ish Smith, Oshae Brissett/Rui Hachimura
Favorite GPP Play: Malcolm Brogdon
- Bradley Beal un 31.5 pts (-113)
- Bradley Beal assists ov 4.5 +116
- Domantas Sabonis ov 14.5 reb (-115 on FD)
- Russell Westbrook to triple double (-420)
- Russell Westbrook ov 53.5 PRA (-113)