Scotty C guides you through today’s top plays in the wonderful world of NBA DFS!
Tonight’s two game slate has the Raptors taking on the Celtics and the Clippers battling the Nuggets. Quite honestly, it’s a very tough slate. Many players from the Raptors/Celtics project well here while the Clippers/Nuggets would likely be a game we’d just avoid on most slates outside of some of the value plays.
But, as we all know, unexpected things happen in sports and I don’t think this is a bad spot to play small and get a little bit different in tournaments (or as different as you can on a two game slate without being ridiculous).
The optimal approach here, and the one I expect the vast majority of DFS players to use, is to take advantage of the pricing, close spread and huge concentration of minutes among the backcourt and wing players of the Raptors and Celtics while using guys like Ivica Zubac, Jerami Grant, Paul Millsap, Patrick Beverley, and Montrezl Harrell for salary relief from the Clippers/Nuggets game. That will be the best bet for cashing today but a lineup like that will also be competing against many other lineups with a similar approach.
The top priced guys from the Clippers/Nuggets game – Kawhi Leonard, Jamal Murray, and Nik Jokic – feel overpriced, especially in a game that is not expected to be all that close. Taking a shot on one or even two of those guys on your tournament teams makes roster construction a bit awkward, which is often a good sign in tournaments. The most likely outcome when you “get different” with your teams is that your lineups will crash and burn but it’s more than made up for when the unexpected happens.
It wouldn’t be surprising in the least if four starters for the Raptors – Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam, and OG Anunoby – all log 40+ minutes tonight. Lowry is a bit priced up on FD at 9000 and Siakam is 8200, but all of these guys are below 8k on DK and it’s not difficult to fit two of these guys in our lineups without sacrificing elsewhere. Lowry is the top play here on DK followed by VanVleet and Siakam. Anunoby’s price is creeping up here but the projected minutes are so huge he’s still a decent option.
Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka will likely split the center minutes fairly evenly. Both players are viable, especially Gasol as a value play if we do take the approach of spending up on the LAC/DEN game. Norm Powell has only played 13 and 15 minutes the past two games, which makes him a very risky proposition, but if there’s foul trouble among the starters or something wacky happens and he gets additional run, he’s a guy who can really fill it up in a hurry.
Brad Stevens hasn’t been running his main guys out there quite as much as Nick Nurse has his studs the first three games of the series, but Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, Kemba Walker, and Jayson Tatum are all going to see 35+ minutes in a close game with upside into the low 40s. Like the Raptors, they are all strong plays and it’s difficult to choose between them. Walker and Brown are the preferred plays here while Tatum and Smart will likely be less owned, especially Smart on DK where he’s priced up a bit.
Daniel Theis is a safe, solid play. He doesn’t have a ton of upside but he’s a nice lineup filler in the mid 5ks. Last game, Enes Kanter picked up a few minutes off the bench which wasn’t great for Robert Williams, but Kanter is a liability defensively and the Raptors guards immediately picked on him when he came in the game. I don’t see him getting run again today, but it’s still of course possible. Williams can rack up fantasy points in a hurry and is worth a shot in tournaments despite limited playing time.
Ivica Zubac is the obvious value play today at just under 5k on both sites. He lost some minutes to Montrezl Harrell last game in the blowout but should see additional run today if this game stays closer. Zubac is the guy today if you’re putting together a cash type lineup while Harrell is a decent tournament pivot.
Patrick Beverley played just 12 minutes last game but likely would’ve seen closer to 20 if the game had been close. He’s just 3600 on DK and the preferred play over Landry Shamet and Reggie Jackson in a similar price range. If you’re looking to get up to a Kawhi Leonard or a Jayson Tatum, especially on DK, Beverley helps make it possible.
Speaking of Leonard, he’s the only player priced over 10k on the slate and he’s a tough player to get to with so many good plays in that 7k-8k range. He’ll of course garner some ownership but it shouldn’t be a significant amount and he’s certainly worth a shot in tournaments.
Paul George is one of those players whose price makes him so tempting but he hasn’t shown any upside so far in these playoffs. However, despite that, I still think he’s going to take on some ownership today. He’ll be a fade for me but I can certainly understand anyone who wanted to go here. He’s more than capable of getting hot and has immense talent, it’s just not translating right now in this situation.
Few in the league can cook like Lou Williams when his griddle gets hot, but the lack of minutes are a concern with several other small guards on the team vying for playing time and he’s still almost always sharing the court with one of either Leonard or George. Still, it’s Lou-Will so you can always use him in tournaments.
Anyone who tells you they’re comfortable rostering Jamal Murray on this slate is lying. The Clippers have elite defenders on the perimeter and shutting down Murray is priority number one. He shot 5-15 in the opening game and struggled to just 12 points. That said, everyone is aware of how difficult this matchup is and I have a hard time envisioning Murray being much more than 10% owned, even on a two game slate. If you want to take a shot and get different, this is the way to go, but just know that relative to his price, he’s failing pretty often in this situation.
Nik Jokic will take on some ownership tonight, of course, but there are also several viable spend downs at the center position, including Zubac, who should be very popular, so he should still be one of the lowest owned of the spend ups. Pairing Jokic with Murray and hoping the Nuggets show up tonight is another way of getting different in tournaments. It’s tough (but still possible) to run it back with Kawhi, but you could also use PG-13 or LouWill in that scenario as well and still get some exposure to the Celtics/Raptors game.
For value, there are several decent options from the Nuggets including Jerami Grant, Paul Millsap and Gary Harris as well as some deep MME type plays in Monte Morris and (gulp) Torrey Craig. Grant, Millsap, and Harris are the main values here to focus on.
From a real world basketball perspective, Millsap isn’t passing the eye test right now. He’s looked old and somewhat out of place in these playoffs. From a fantasy perspective, in eight playoff games so far, he’s destroyed lineups in six of them and been an 8x type of guy in two others (including last game). I’m much more inclined to use Grant here because boxscore hunters are going to be all over Millsap and he’ll likely take on too much ownership in this one.
Harris is working his way back into shape. He’s starting and just 4k. He’s not a particularly exciting play and there’s certainly bust potential there, but he’s still a viable option on a slate without much value.