Friday features a two-game slate starting at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Chris Paul was hampered by a shoulder injury for most of the Suns’ first-round series against the Lakers, but he seems to be operating at full strength now. He’s put together back-to-back big games against the Nuggets, finishing with at least 49.0 DraftKings points in each contest. He also played just 30.5 minutes in his last game, so he was extremely efficient when on the court.
Paul remains priced at a discount for Game 3 at just $7,100 on DraftKings. It results in a Bargain Rating of 99%, and Paul has historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +3.80 with a comparable price tag (per the Trends tool).
Facundo Campazzo is coming off a poor performance in his last outing, but so is basically everyone on the Nuggets. They ultimately managed 98 points in a blowout loss, and most of their regulars saw reduced playing time.
Campazzo is an interesting bounce-back target on FanDuel. He’s currently projected for 33.0 minutes in our NBA Models, and he’s averaged 0.89 FanDuel points per minute over the past month. Campazzo is also one of the better pure values at the position on FanDuel given his Bargain Rating of 72%.
Ben Simmons is an interesting buy-low target on DraftKings. He was dreadful in Game 2 vs. the Hawks, finishing with just 23.25 DraftKings points over 34.5 minutes, but his 7.9% usage rate in that contest was a major outlier. He posted a usage rate of 19.2% over his first six playoff games, so expect him to be more aggressive on Friday.
Simmons owns the best individual matchup at the position, resulting in an Opponent Plus/Minus of +1.42, and his $7,700 salary on DraftKings comes with a Bargain Rating of 98%.
The 76ers found a way to contain Trae Young in Game 2, limiting him to just 21 points on 16 shots. Still, he possesses arguably the highest ceiling at the position. He scored 58.0 DraftKings points in his previous two contests.
Devin Booker hasn’t been asked to do much to start this series against the Nuggets. He’s attempted just 26 shots in two games after logging at least 22 shots in three separate games against the Lakers. That has obviously had a negative impact on his fantasy value.
Still, Booker is clearly capable of filling the role of a volume scorer if needed. Tonight’s game figures to be the closest of the series — the Suns are 1.5-point underdogs — so Booker might be asked to do a bit more scoring. He leads all shooting guards on FanDuel in terms of projected median, ceiling, and floor outcomes, and his 72% Bargain Rating makes him one of the better values at the position as well.
De’Andre Hunter will miss the remainder of the season for the Hawks, which is a massive blow for their upset chances vs. the 76ers. He was fantastic on the defensive end in Atlanta’s first-round series against the Knicks, particularly against Julius Randle.
That said, his absence does create some fantasy value. Kevin Huerter has scored at least 29.0 DraftKings points in back-to-back games without Hunter, and he’s coming off 35.6 minutes in Game 2. He’s also increased his production to 0.89 DraftKings points per minute over the past month, so he’s underpriced at just $4,700.
Bogdan Bogdanovic is another potential beneficiary of the Hunter injury. He was already carrying a large workload for the Hawks, but he logged a whopping 41.2 minutes in his last contest. Bogdanovic has averaged 0.99 DraftKings points per minute this season, so he’s capable of doing some damage with that much playing time.
Seth Curry has given the 76ers some much-needed perimeter shooting this season, and he’s been red-hot from behind the arc recently. He’s shot 13-of-21 from 3-point range over his past three contests, and he’s unsurprisingly returned value in all three games. He needs to make his jumper to return value, but Curry has drilled 45.0% of his 3-point attempts this season. That makes him easier to trust than most perimeter shooters.
Small forward is the weakest position on today’s slate. Only two players are priced above $5,400 on FanDuel, and no one is priced above $7,200. Michael Porter Jr. is the most expensive option, but he has struggled in this series vs. the Suns.
That said, he does have some buy-low appeal on Friday. He’s been priced down to $7,200, which is a reasonable price tag for Porter. He’s averaged a Plus/Minus of +1.25 with a comparable salary this season, and he averaged just under 35 FanDuel points in 23 regular-season games without Jamal Murray. If the Nuggets are going to salvage this series, they need a big performance from MPJ.
Mikal Bridges is simply too cheap at $4,900 on DraftKings.
It results in a Bargain Rating of 99%, and Bridges scored 44.25 DraftKings points in Game 1 of this series. He wasn’t nearly as effective in Game 2, but he still would’ve had a chance to return value if he saw his usual complement of minutes. He’s a safe bet at this price tag.
Matisse Thybulle is interesting if you’re looking for a pure punt play.
He’s priced at just $3,600 on FanDuel, but he’s currently projected for 19 minutes in our NBA Models. That’s not a ton of playing time, but it’s about as good as you’re going to get for a near min-priced player during the postseason. Thybulle is also capable of racking up defensive stats, which are super valuable on FanDuel.
Aaron Gordon is coming off a putrid performance in Game 2, but he did score at least 31.5 DraftKings points in each of his previous three contests. That makes him an interesting buy-low target on Friday. He could lose some playing time with Will Barton back in the rotation, but Barton was limited to just 15.8 minutes in his last game. That should still leave plenty of playing time for Gordon.
Tobias Harris has been fantastic for the 76ers during the postseason. He posted a positive Plus/Minus in each of his first six games on FanDuel, and he just barely missed that mark in his most recent contest. He still finished with 39.2 FanDuel points in that game, which was still passable given his $8,800 salary.
His upside is definitely diminished with Joel Embiid back in the lineup and looking as good as ever, but Harris still owns the top projections in our Models at a weak power forward position. He also leads the position with nine Pro Trends, so paying up for his safety is a viable strategy.
John Collins has seen his price tag absolutely plummet during the postseason. He’s down to just $5,800 on DraftKings, which represents a decrease of -$1,100 over his past 10 games.
His current salary also comes with a Bargain Rating of 95%, which makes him a strong buy-low target. His per-minute production is down to just 0.88 DraftKings points per minute over the past month, but he should still be able to pay off his reduced price tag.
JaMychal Green has some appeal as a punt play on DraftKings, where his $3,500 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 95%. He’s played at least 23.1 minutes in each of his past three games, and he’s averaged 0.88 DraftKings points per minute this season.
Jae Crowder wasn’t really needed in the Suns’ last game, and he finished with just 25.4 minutes. He’s currently projected for 33.0 minutes in our NBA Models, so he should return to his usual workload in Game 3. He’s averaged 0.82 DraftKings points per minute this season, so he’s capable of returning value with that much playing time.
Apparently, a small tear in your meniscus is just not a big deal when you’re as good as Joel Embiid. He’s played wonderfully despite the injury, scoring at least 62.75 DraftKings points in each of his past two games. He’s still technically listed as questionable for this contest, so he’ll need to avoid a setback during pregame warmups before officially being ruled in. As long as that happens, I have no qualms about putting Embiid into my lineups.
Center is not a position to pay down at on Friday. Each of these four teams features a stud-type option at the position, which means there isn’t a true value option to consider.
Deandre Ayton is the cheapest of the four starting centers on DraftKings, and he can be considered a value given his Bargain Rating of 92%. That said, he provides more real-life value than fantasy value. He’s a good bet for a double-double — he’s done that in 6-of-8 playoff games this season — but his ceiling is capped at around 45 DraftKings points.
Ayton’s biggest impact comes on the defensive end, which limits the appeal of Nikola Jokic.
Jokic has been unstoppable for most of the season, but Ayton has done a fantastic job on him to start the series. He’s limited Jokic to just 11-of-26 shooting from the field and 2-of-6 shooting from 3-point range, and Ayton figures to draw the bulk of that assignment again on Friday.
I prefer Embiid if I’m paying up for a stud at the position, but Jokic is obviously capable of a huge performance against anyone. He leads the position with 12 Pro Trends on FanDuel and 10 Pro Trends on DraftKings.
Photo Credit: Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images.
Pictured: Michael Porter Jr (1), Autin Rivers (25), and Monte Morris (11).