Saturday features Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals between the Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks starting at 8:30 p.m. ET.
This series has been an absolute roller coaster. Every time you think one team has grabbed the advantage, the other team storms back to take control.
The Bucks played without Giannis Antetokounmpo in Game 5, but they managed to put together a decisive win at home.
Giannis will also miss Game 6, but there is optimism that he could return to the lineup if this series does go seven games. The Bucks are hoping that’s not necessary — they can close out the series with a win in Atlanta in Game 6 — but it is an encouraging sign for their prospects moving forward.
The Hawks need a win on their home court to avoid elimination, and the status of their best player is also up in the air. Trae Young has missed the past two games due to an injury, and he’s currently questionable for Game 6.
He was a game-time decision in each of the past two contests, and interim head coach Nate McMillan believes Young will get that designation again on Saturday. It remains to be seen whether or not the medical staff will clear him to play, but Young will likely do his best to get on the court in a win-or-go-home contest.
Young’s status will obviously be important from a DFS perspective, so make sure to utilize the Labs Insiders tool for any updates.
As things stand currently, the Hawks are listed as two-point favorites in Game 6, while the total sits at 217.0 points.
With Giannis out of the lineup, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday will be asked to carry most of the offensive responsibilities.
Neither player saw a huge spike in usage in Game 6, but both players were hyper-efficient. Middleton finished with 62.25 DraftKings points thanks to 26 points, 13 rebounds, and eight assists, while Holiday racked up 56.0 DraftKings points with a double-double of his own.
Both players should provide excellent production again on Saturday, but Holiday is my preferred target of the two. He’s slightly cheaper across the industry, and his added upside as a distributor is appealing. He’s averaged 16.4 assists per 100 possessions with Giannis off the court during the postseason, and his usage rate is only slightly lower than Middleton’s in that situation.
Young is the bigger question mark.
There’s obviously a chance he doesn’t play in this contest, and there’s no guarantee that he’s effective if he does. He struggled mightily while playing through his injury in the fourth quarter of Game 3, finishing with just two points, zero assists, zero rebounds, and one turnover. If he doesn’t have his trademark explosiveness, it’s going to be tough for him to score given his diminutive stature.
Still, I think he’s worth a gamble if he’s active. Only Giannis has been more productive on a per-minute basis in this series, and Young is priced at a discount at the moment. He’s down to just $10,200 on DraftKings after peaking at $11,800 in Game 2. The injury concerns could also keep his ownership in check, which is always appealing in the single-game format.
If Young is out, then Bogdan Bogdanovic can be considered the Hawks’ stud target. He’s taken over as one of the primary playmakers in his absence, and he’s racked up at least 41.25 DraftKings points in back-to-back games.
He’s launched 41 total shots in those contests — including 30 from 3-point range — and he played 38.8 minutes in his last game. That’s the most he’s played since suffering an injury against the 76ers in Round 2. However, he has been priced up pretty aggressively, so he would be a clear fade if Young is active.
John Collins is coming off a nice bounce-back performance in his last game. He finished with 35 DraftKings points after struggling to 24 or fewer in each of his previous three games. That’s not exactly surprising — his playing time was down due to a combination of blowouts and foul trouble — so he managed to right the ship when his playing time returned to normal. He’s a bit overpriced on this slate, but he has the potential to return value.
Kevin Huerter has been a fade for me all series, and that holds true again in Game 6. He hasn’t seen any real benefit with Young out of the lineup from a usage perspective, and he doesn’t provide nearly enough ceiling to justify this price tag.
He did score at least 42.75 DraftKings points in back-to-back games against the 76ers, but that was a direct result of his matchup vs. Seth Curry. The Bucks don’t have anyone for Huerter to pick on defensively, so it’s not surprising that his production has been down in this series.
Brook Lopez was the big winner from the Giannis injury in Game 5. He posted a usage rate of just 13.8% during the first four games, but that mark increased to 25.8% on Thursday. He took full advantage of that increased volume, finishing with 52.75 DraftKings points while shooting 14-18 from the field.
We can clearly expect some shooting regression in this contest, but he still has the ability to return on this slate. He’s one of the better pure values in this price range on FanDuel given his Bargain Rating of 75%.
Clint Capela’s price tag continues to drop like a rock. He’s down to just $6,600 on DraftKings after being priced at $9,600 in the first round of the playoffs. Unfortunately, his minutes are down as well. He played just 21.1 minutes in his last game, and he finished with just 23.0 DraftKings points. It’s hard to make a case for him as a buy-low target.
The Bucks dusted off Bobby Portis for this series after he rode the pine against the Nets, and he stepped into a massive workload with Giannis out of the lineup in Game 5. He finished with 35.7 minutes and 43.0 DraftKings points, and Portis has been a strong per-minute producer all season. He’s currently projected for 35 minutes in our NBA Models, and he should be able to pay off his current salary with that much playing time.
Lou Williams’ viability on this slate is directly correlated with Young’s. If Young is active, Williams is clearly overpriced at $5,200. He played 18 minutes or less in all three games with Young active in this series, so he can’t pay off his current salary in that role.
If Young is out, Williams should draw another start at point guard, and he’s a strong option in that situation. He’s played at least 35 minutes in each of his past two games, and he’s responded with 41.75 and 26.5 DraftKings points. That kind of production would make him very appealing.
Values & Punts
- P.J. Tucker ($4,400 on DraftKings, $8,000 on FanDuel): Tucker is about as sure of a thing as there is in this contest. He’s going to play a ton of minutes, and he’s not going to be all that productive with them. He’s scored between 15.75 and 21.75 DraftKings points in 4-of-5 games in this series, and I would expect him to finish in that range again on Saturday.
- Danilo Gallinari ($3,800 on DraftKings, $8,500 on FanDuel): Gallinari doesn’t see nearly the same volume of minutes as Tucker, but he’s way more productive on a per-minute basis. He owns the superior ceiling projection in our NBA Models, which makes him a better target given his cheaper price tag.
- Cam Reddish ($3,400 on DraftKings, $10,000 on FanDuel): Reddish was a big part of the Hawks’ rotation early in the year, but he’s missed most of the playoffs with an injury. The Hawks have unleashed him a bit following the injury to Young, and he has responded with at least 20.0 DraftKings points in back-to-back games. It’s a bit of a question mark on how much he’ll play with Young in the lineup, but I think he’s officially played himself back into the rotation.
- Pat Connaughton ($2,600 on DraftKings, $7,500 on FanDuel): Connaughton actually saw fewer minutes in Game 5 despite Giannis being out of the lineup, but he did see a slight spike in usage. He’s posted a negative Plus/Minus in back-to-back games, but he posted a positive Plus/Minus in each of his previous four. He’s reasonable at his price tag.
- Onyeka Okongwu ($2,000 on DraftKings, $7,500 on FanDuel): Okongwu has seen more playing time recently at the expense of Capela, and he’s scored at least 10.5 DraftKings points in three straight games. That’s obviously not a lot, but it’s enough to return value at his current price tag.
- Bryn Forbes ($1,600 on DraftKings, $7,000 on FanDuel): Forbes has a really low floor, but he does have some upside on nights where his jumper is falling. There haven’t been many of those recently, but he did shoot over 45% from 3-point range during the regular season.
Photo Credit: Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images.
Pictured (left to right): Pat Connaughton, Khris Middleton, Brook Lopez, PJ Tucker, and Jrue Holiday.