It. Is. Time. We’ve officially made it to the start of the postseason, and the festivities get underway on Saturday with a four-game slate starting at 2 p.m. ET.
Luka Doncic has been a bit of a disappointment recently, posting an average Plus/Minus of -3.17 over his past 10 games on FanDuel. That’s caused his salary to decrease by -$1,500 over the past month, and his current $10,000 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 80%. That makes him an interesting buy-low option. He’s historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +2.91 with a comparable salary (per the Trends tool), and he increased his production to 31.0 points, 9.8 rebounds and 8.7 assists per game during the postseason last year.
The Nuggets enter the postseason pretty shorthanded. Jamal Murray has been shut down for the rest of the season, and P.J. Dozier is not expected to suit up during the first round. Will Barton is also out of the lineup on Saturday, and even Austin Rivers is questionable. That doesn’t leave them with a ton of depth in the backcourt.
That means Facundo Campazzo should handle most of the point guard minutes. He’s currently projected for 36.5 minutes in our NBA Models, and he’s increased his production to 0.92 FanDuel points per minute over the past month.
Kemba Walker should continue to carry an expanded workload with Jaylen Brown out of the lineup. He’s increased his usage rate by a team-high +4.5% with Brown off the court this season, and he’s increased his production to 1.31 DraftKings points per minute over the past month.
Reggie Jackson stands out as one of the best pure values at the position on DraftKings given his Bargain Rating of 92%. He’s expected to split the point guard minutes with Patrick Beverley and Rajon Rondo, but Jackson is still projected for 25.4 minutes in our NBA Models. That should be more than enough for him to pay off his current salary given his average of 0.90 DraftKings points per minute.
Paul George has something to prove during the postseason. He was not his usual self during the playoffs last year, shooting just 39.8% from the field and 33.3% from 3-point range, and his disappointing play was a big reason why the Clippers got bounced early. George bounced back nicely during the 2020-21 regular season, but he definitely still has his doubters entering the playoffs.
He stands out as one of the strongest plays of the day at just $7,800 on DraftKings. His price tag comes with a Bargain Rating of 92%, and George has historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +2.99 with a comparable salary.
Marcus Smart is one of the better options at the position on FanDuel. He owns a Bargain Rating of 78%, and his eight Pro Trends are tied with George’s for the most among today’s shooting guards. He’s also been asked to pick up the slack with Brown out of the lineup, and he’s increased his usage rate by +2.0% with Brown off the court this season.
The playoffs were Tyler Herro’s breakout party last season, and he enters the postseason in good recent form. He’s averaged 1.01 FanDuel points per minute over the past month, which represents a solid increase from his average of 0.89 FanDuel points per minute over the course of the full season. His 82% Bargain Rating is the top mark at the position on FanDuel, as is his Opponent Plus/Minus of +1.45.
Jalen Brunson isn’t expected to see a ton of playing time for the Mavericks on Saturday, but that isn’t necessarily a problem. He’s averaged 0.99 DraftKings points per minute over the past month, so he doesn’t need a ton of playing time to pay off his current salary. Brunson has scored at least 26.75 DraftKings points in three of his past four games, and he’s played 24.9 minutes or less in each of those contests.
Jimmy Butler has dealt with plenty of injuries this season, and he missed the Heat’s final two games of the regular season. That’s part of the reason why they dropped to the No. 6 seed in the East, setting up a difficult matchup vs. the Bucks.
That said, Butler is clearly not scared of anyone. The Heat knocked off the Bucks in just five games last year, and Butler was phenomenal for the Heat over the course of the postseason. There’s a chance he’s not at full strength heading into Game 1 – it seems likely that he’s still banged up – but I’m not willing to be the guy who bets against Butler. He’s very reasonably priced across the industry.
Carmelo Anthony has been priced down to just $3,800 on FanDuel, which is very cheap for a player of his caliber. He’s obviously not the same player that he was in his prime, but he’s still averaged a very respectable 0.91 FanDuel points per minute this season. He’s projected for 24.5 minutes in our NBA Models, which makes him one of the safest investments in this price range.
Michael Porter Jr. is going to be asked to be the Nuggets’ No. 2 option offensively during the playoffs, and he thrived in that role to finish the regular season. He’s increased his production to 1.13 FanDuel points per minute over the past month, and his 38 projected minutes rank second at the position. His matchup vs. the Blazers is also elite, with Portland ranking 29th in defensive efficiency this season.
Kawhi Leonard is priced down to just $8,000 on DraftKings, which feels almost criminal. This is someone who was in the conversation for the best player in the league just two years ago, and now he’s just the 14th-most expensive player on today’s slate. His current salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 97%, which makes him close to a must-play vs. the Mavericks.
If the Celtics have any chance against the Nets in this series, they’re going to need some huge performances from Jayson Tatum. He dropped 50 points in the play-in game vs. the Wizards, resulting in a whopping 72.6 FanDuel points, so that’s something he’s clearly capable of doing. He leads the position with 12 Pro Trends on FanDuel, and he’s increased his production to 1.37 FanDuel points per minute over the past month.
Trevor Ariza has started to play more minutes for the Heat as the games have become more important. He’s currently projected for nearly 34 minutes in our NBA Models, which is a ton considering his price tag across the industry. He’s also increased his production to 0.89 FanDuel points per minute over the past month, so he’s capable of taking advantage of his additional playing time.
I haven’t talked about the Nets yet, who own the top implied team total on the slate at 119.25 points. However, it’s hard to get too excited about any of their superstars. We haven’t seen a ton of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden on the court together this year, but they haven’t exactly thrived in that situation from a fantasy perspective:
- Harden: 1.27 DraftKings points per minute
- Durant: 1.18 DraftKings points per minute
- Irving: 1.11 DraftKings points per minute
Their offense has dominated in that situation, averaging 120.8 points per 100 possessions, but the fantasy production is too spread out to make any of those players stand out on Saturday. I’m fine with fading all three of them at their current price tags.
Kristaps Porzingis is an interesting buy-low candidate on FanDuel. He’s seen a price decrease of -$1,300 over the past month, and his current $6,900 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 87%. Porzingis averaged 1.22 FanDuel points per minute this season, so he has the potential to smash this price tag.
Nikola Jokic will almost certainly take home the MVP award this season, and he’s been arguably the fantasy MVP as well. He’s averaged 1.59 FanDuel points per minute, and he’s been even better in games without Murray. His 11 Pro Trends are tied for the most at the position on FanDuel, so expect him to stuff the stat sheet in a cupcake matchup vs. the Blazers.
Brook Lopez isn’t always asked to play a ton of minutes during the regular season, but his role should be safe during the playoffs. The Bucks are going to need his size against Bam Adebayo, and he’s currently projected for 29.8 minutes in our NBA Models. If he sees that much playing time, it’s going to be tough for him not to return value at just $4,500. He’s averaged 0.96 DraftKings points per minute over the past month, and his current price tag comes with a Bargain Rating of 92%.
Speaking of Adebayo, he stands out as one of the best pure values at the position on FanDuel given his Bargain Rating of 78%. He’s been a nice source of value over his past 10 games, posting an average Plus/Minus of +2.99, yet his salary has actually decreased by -$400 over that time frame. He’s a nice pivot if you’re looking to avoid Jokic in guaranteed prize pools (GPPs).
It’s hard to fully trust Robert Williams, but he has nice upside vs. the Nets. He’s currently dealing with turf toe, which limited him to just 14.2 minutes vs. the Wizards in the play-in game. That caused his salary to drop by -$700 on FanDuel for tonight’s matchup vs. the Nets. Williams has averaged 1.35 FanDuel points per minute this season, so he can destroy this price tag if he manages to stay on the court.