DraftKings DFS NBA Strategy Advice: Sunday (9/6)
Welcome to another NBA Playoff Sunday, where the Number One overall seed Milwaukee Bucks find themselves on the brink of elimination against the Miami Heat. Can we trust Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks to get in the win column, or will Jimmy Butler and the Heat sweep the series? It should be a close game, but I’ll tell you why I’m fading both teams’ superstars in Game 4.
Then we have the Lakers and Rockets in the nightcap for Game 2. The Rockets surprised a lot of people by cruising past LeBron James and Anthony Davis in Game 1, but will the outcome be the same in Game 2? I’ll tell you why I think you should pay up for LeBron and AD coming off the loss and also why the Lakers’ backcourt offers a whole lot of value against the Rockets.
|Rajon Rondo (LAL)||vs. HOU||$3,300||⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐||MEDIUM|
|Goran Dragic (MIA)||vs. MIL||$7,200||⭐⭐⭐||LOW|
Frank Vogel surprisingly played Rondo 24 minutes off the bench in his first game action since early March. He took nine shots and filled the stat sheet with a few rebounds, assists, and steals on his way to 22.8 fantasy points. Interestingly, his price only went up by $100 after his Game 1 performance. If he puts up similar numbers in Game 2, it’ll be suitable for almost 7x value. Simply put, he’s way too cheap for the stats he’s capable of producing.
Dragic has been incredible in the playoffs for the Heat, averaging 22.3 points per game in seven straight wins, four against the Pacers, and three against the Bucks. He is now priced up above $7,000 for the first time since play resumed, but it’s deserving based on his stellar performances. Since his teammate Jimmy Butler hasn’t put together back-to-back dominant performances (and Butler scored 49.8 fantasy points in Game 3), somebody else is going to have to shoulder more of the scoring load in Game 4. I’d fully expect that to be Dragic.
|Alex Caruso (LAL)||vs. HOU||$3,800||⭐⭐⭐⭐||MEDIUM|
|Eric Gordon (HOU)||@ LAL||$5,900||⭐⭐⭐||LOW|
Caruso, like Rondo, is too cheap for a guy who should play more in this series to match up with the smaller Rockets’ lineups. Caruso and Rondo totaled 40 minutes off the bench in Game 1 compared with just 23 total minutes from big men JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard. With his ability to produce in a variety of ways, Caruso presents excellent value at only $3,800.
Gordon, aka “Mr. Consistent,” has produced over 30 fantasy points in seven of the Rockets’ eight playoff games. That continued in Game 1, as he went for 23 points on 7-of-14 shooting with three triples on his way to 31.8 fantasy points. He may not get you 40 fantasy points, but he is a good bet to hit between 5x – 6x value in Game 2.
|Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (LAL)||vs. LAL||$3,600||⭐⭐⭐⭐||MEDIUM|
|Robert Covington (HOU)||@ LAL||$6,400||⭐⭐⭐||MEDIUM|
KCP isn’t the flashiest play on the slate, but he can provide some salary relief at just $3,600. He played 28 minutes in Game 1 but shot 1-of-5 from deep on his way to scoring only five points. In his previous four playoff games, Caldwell-Pope averaged 13.8 points per game while knocking down 3.3 triples per contest. If he can find his stroke from long-distance in Game 2, he should exceed value at his low cost. And again, the Lakers will continue to roll out their small-ball lineups to best match up with the Rockets, so KCP’s minutes should be relatively safe.
Covington has come on of late in the playoffs. He took just three shots in Friday’s Game 1 win over the Lakers, but played a team-high 39 minutes and still managed to produce almost 30 fantasy points. After a relatively quiet start to the first-round series against the Thunder, Covington went on a tear in Games 5 through 7, averaging 45.7 fantasy points per contest, while taking an average of 9.3 3-pointers in those games. His ceiling is sky-high with his ability to rack up steals and blocks in a hurry. If he can get up a few more shots in Game 2, Covington could be in for another one of his sneaky 40+ point fantasy performances.
|Kyle Kuzma (LAL)||vs. HOU||$4,800||⭐⭐⭐⭐||HIGH|
|Kelly Olynyk (MIA)||vs. MIL||$3,400||⭐⭐⭐||MEDIUM|
Kuzma didn’t exactly light it up in Game 1 against the Rockets, scoring just eight points on 3-of-9 shooting, to go along with only two rebounds and one assist. Even still, he played 28 minutes and was in the game down the stretch in the fourth quarter. He can catch fire quickly and drop 20 points on you like it’s nothing. Now priced 35 percent lower than he was to begin the playoffs, Kuzma, all of a sudden, presents outstanding value at his suppressed price-tag of $4,800. He’s strictly a tournament play though, as we’ve seen a few games lately where Kuzma hasn’t even hit 20 fantasy points.
Olynyk didn’t play in Game 3 due to a knee injury and is listed as questionable to play in Game 4. If he goes, he’s an incredible value at just $3,400. In Games 1 and 2, Olynyk averaged 1.35 fantasy points per minute, playing only eight minutes in Game 1 and 16 minutes in Game 2. If he can play even 15 minutes in Game 4, he should exceed value based on his production per minute against the Bucks.
|Brook Lopez (MIL)||@ MIA||$5,800||⭐⭐⭐||LOW|
|P.J. Tucker (HOU)||@ LAL||$4,700||⭐⭐⭐||MEDIUM|
On paper, centers don’t match up very well against the Heat, but Lopez isn’t a typical center. He can step out and make Miami’s big’s guard him around the perimeter. He’s been consistent in the series even as Milwaukee struggles to find their groove. He’s averaging 32.7 fantasy points per game in the first three games of the series. I see no reason to believe he won’t come close to that level of production in an elimination Game 4 Sunday. And we all know the Lopez twins are huge fans of Disney, so you’d have to think there’s a little extra motivation to stay in the Bubble for just a bit longer.
Tucker, like teammate Robert Covington, plays a ton of minutes and has the ability to rack up peripheral stats outside of scoring. He played 36 minutes in Game 1 against the Lakers as the primary defender on Anthony Davis, and he played him exceptionally well. In fact, AD didn’t score a single point in 26 possessions when Tucker was the primary defender. Now that we know he’s going to see a ton of minutes, we just need Tucker to score a bit more. Since play resumed, when he knocks down three or more 3-pointers, Tucker is averaging 26.7 fantasy points per game. Chances are he won’t explode in Game 2, but he also won’t tank your lineup. He’s got an excellent chance of hitting at least 5x value, especially if he’s hitting the corner three.
4 Studs Worth Their Salary
- James Harden, HOU ($11,200): Harden scored 36 points as the Rockets surprisingly cruised past the Lakers in Game 1. He only had five assists, compared to his playoff average of 7.6 assists per game, and still managed to put up 51 fantasy points. Nobody on the Lakers can guard him, and he’s likely a lock for another 50 fantasy point performance in Game 2.
- LeBron James, LAL ($10,800): James played 37 minutes in Game 1, putting up a modest 20/8/7 line. I’d expect the King to come out and dominate after losing to a Rockets team that was coming off a seven-game series with the Thunder. Don’t overthink this one; lock LeBron into your lineup.
- Anthony Davis, LAL ($10,600): I fully expect the Lakers to take Game 2 after dropping Game 1 to the Rockets. James and Davis continue to be the focal points of the offense and should dominate in Game 2. AD has gone for over 52 fantasy points in five of six playoff games. It might not be a bad idea to build your lineups around both LeBron and AD on Sunday.
- Russell Westbrook, HOU ($8,500): Westbrook at $8,500 is way too cheap. At one point during the playoffs, his price-tag was up near $10,000. He dominated Game 1 and ended the contest with a +/- of +15. The Lakers don’t have a great on-ball defender to stay with Russ, and he should continue to get to the basket with relative ease.
4 Notable Players to Fade
- Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL ($11,500): After leaving the arena Friday night with a severe limp, Antetokounmpo is being listed as questionable to play in Game 4 with an ankle injury. The Heat have done a fantastic job defending Giannis and getting into his head throughout the first three games. Down 3-0, the Bucks look completely deflated, and they may come out flat in Game 4. I’d rather spend up for the Lakers superstars than risk $11,500 on Giannis.
- Jimmy Butler, MIA ($8,600): Butler has been fantastic in the against the Bucks, leading his team to a 3-0 series lead over the Number One overall seed. That being said, his salary has now peaked at $8,600, which means he needs at least 43 fantasy points to hit 5x value. Butler put up 49.8 fantasy points in Game 3, but during the playoffs, when he goes for over 48 fantasy points, he has followed that up by scoring an average of just 28.4 fantasy points the next game (in three opportunities). Love the player, but don’t love the price-tag or the history of performances following a big game.
- Jae Crowder, MIA ($5,600): Crowder’s salary has gone up by over $1,000 since the beginning of the series with the Bucks. After two games where he’s hit four or more threes, he’s now priced at $5,600. That’s too high for my liking, especially for a guy that relies on knocking down the three-ball to reach value.
- Eric Bledsoe, MIL ($5,600): Plain and simple, Bledsoe has not played well against Miami this series. He’s averaging just 23.9 fantasy points but would need 28+ to hit 5x value at his current price-tag. He’s only gone for over 30 fantasy points in three of 12 games since play resumed, so there’s not a whole lot to be excited about with Bledsoe.
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