It’s win or go home for the Denver Nuggets on Sunday, while it is win or climb out of a hole for the Milwaukee Bucks. The NBA playoff slate features two games, starting with a 3 p.m. ET tip.
Chris Paul has been one of if not the best player this postseason. Not only has he been playing through a shoulder contusion that has been hampering him, but he’s playing well. His DFS value has been valuable as well, and his $7,400 salary on DraftKings makes him the top rated point guard using the FantasyLabs NBA Model.
His price is $8,500 on FanDuel, the highest of this series and nearly a $2,000 increase from his lowest cost during the Suns-Lakers series. He is two assists shy of three-straight double-doubles this round, plus he’s the only starting point guard on the slate that has met or exceeded projections in more than one game this round.
Monte Morris played more minutes than Facundo Campazzo and Austin Rivers Game 3 with the return of Will Barton. Morris will see majority of his minutes at point guard and can steal minutes from Campazzo again. Morris is priced ahead of him on both sites and despite the NBA Model’s preference of Campazzo, I recommend Morris.
Kyrie Irving and Jrue Holiday have capped each other’s ceilings. It has been great basketball, but difficult to pin down for roster construction. Irving is the top option on FanDuel and must get going with Milwaukee showing signs of life. He is not a dominant driver to the basket, but with only two free-throw attempts in the series, Irving must command defensive attention closer to the basket. Nets-Bucks has the highest projected game total and the Nets have the highest projected team total.
Khris Middleton is the top-rated shooting guard on DraftKings, and tied with Irving and Devin Booker for the most Pro Trends. He leads all small forwards in Pro Trends on FanDuel, but has also seen his price rise $500. Middleton has a similar projection as Irving and Booker, but can save you as much as $1,700. The guard/forward combo showed why he has been Milwaukee’s number two and made double-digit shots for the first time in the series despite shooting the ball 20-plus times in each game. Middleton must show out again for Milwaukee to not go down 3-1 to Brooklyn.
Will Barton as a top Leverage score play on FanDuel and DraftKings. He increased his shot total from eight to 14 thanks in part to Denver not getting their doors blown off as soon as they had been in Game 2. The 3-point shot is still settling in, but with its season on the line, Barton is going to be integral in the Nuggets’ offense if they want to survive.
James Harden is out again. The Nets have played well without him, but his presence would lock this series up.
Devin Booker has played a more complete game each night of this series and has thrived because of it. Denver’s tumultuous guard situation helps, but Booker had to be more than a volume shooter for the Suns to be good. He has done that and Phoenix is one game away from the Western Conference Finals.
If Joe Harris doesn’t shoot 1 for 11 in Game 3, I strongly believe the Nets are up 3-0 in this series. Harris has been just a guy in the playoffs too often, and a rebound performance sans James Harden could be the difference in Game 4.
Kevin Durant continues to be the foundation of Brooklyn’s offense, and is the top small forward on both platforms and the top overall player on DraftKings. He has also been the foundation of DFS rosters and that does not change.
Bruce Brown is a small forward on DraftKings and shooting guard on FanDuel, but he is locked into DFS lineups as long as James Harden is out. Brown has scored in double digits in both games started since replacing Harden and is one of the few players priced below $6,000 that has double-double potential.
Michael Porter Jr. and Aaron Gordon have combined to top their projections six times in 10 games. A lot of praise needs to be shown to Mikael Bridges and Jae Crowder, who have played well despite being asked to shut down some of the best forwards in the playoffs this postseason. Crowder being $5,000 or less on both sites remains to be a steal and makes him a top five play at small and power forward.
Giannis Antetokounmpo came out hot Game 3 and still failed to meet his projection. Of course his projections and expected production are on a different level, but Giannis has had difficulty playing arguably the best team in the NBA without a consistent number two scoring threat next to him. Giannis will compete with Durant for the highest owned player title, and the two lead the position in Projected Plus/Minus on DraftKings. No one comes close to Giannis’ 11.05 Projected Plus/Minus on FanDuel, where he’s the top overall rated player.
Can Mike Malone please try Aaron Gordon at point forward please? Denver has to try something new (or old for Gordon) in their fight to stick around. Nikola Jokić has increased his assist total in each game of the series with much else to show for it, so let Gordon rack up assists and aim to get him closer to his 37-point projected ceiling. Gordon costs less than $5,000 on both sites.
Michael Porter Jr. is shooting 14 for 39 this series and has been abysmal from beyond the arc. He needs to use his size and push back against Bridges and Crowder and not settle for threes.
Jeff Green is questionable to play for the Nets. It would be his first action since Game 2 against Boston. His strained left plantar fascia is an injury that could flair up at any moment. Expect limited minutes if he does suit up.
Jokić will have to drag the lifeless Nuggets offense at least one more time. He had his best game of the series Game 3 and Denver had no chance. He is the top-rated center on FanDuel despite costing $11,500.
Brook Lopez made up for poor shooting with six blocks Game 3. Like Joe Harris for Brooklyn, if Lopez makes a few more shots Milwaukee probably wins more comfortably. Lopez needs to be a focal point on offense with Brooklyn not playing a traditional center for majority of games.
Deandre Ayton will not rival Jokić’s fantasy production but saving $4,000 in salary by rostering him offers lineup uniqueness.
Nicolas Claxton has not been fantasy-relevant and the potential return of Jeff Green hurts him the most.