Our Blog

NBA DFS Breakdown (Saturday, Sep. 19): Can Boston Make This a Series?

Saturday features Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics at 8:30 p.m. ET. If you’re unfamiliar with the single-game format, check out my primers on DraftKings or FanDuel before building your lineups.

New NFL DFS Trial Offer: Try our new football subscription for $4.95 and get access to our industry-leading tools and projections.


The Celtics are actually favored by three points in this contest despite being in an 0-2 hole. That gives them a slight edge in implied team total (104.5 vs. 101.5).

That said, the Celtics have the potential to get Gordon Hayward back in their lineup tonight. That’s going to be a key injury to monitor, so make sure to utilize the Labs Insiders tool for updates.

While that is undoubtedly a good thing for their real-life prospects, it could hurt the rest of the roster from a fantasy perspective. Most of their key contributors unsurprisingly saw a decrease in usage with Hayward on the court during the regular season:

  • Jayson Tatum: -3.3%
  • Brad Wanamaker: -2.6%
  • Kemba Walker: -0.7%
  • Marcus Smart: 0%
  • Jaylen Brown: +0.2%

It looks like the Tatum could see the biggest decrease in usage if Hayward is back in the lineup, yet he’s the most expensive player on the slate. He’s also coming off a game where he scored just 34.75 DraftKings points over 41.8 minutes, so he’s a risky option at his current price tag.

If you are paying up for someone on the Celtics today, Kemba Walker stands out as underpriced across the industry. He had been ice cold from the field during the playoffs, but he finally put together a good game in his last outing. He scored 41.75 DKFP while shooting 9-19 from the field and 4-11 from 3-point range. He’s going to return value once again if he shoots the ball that well in Game 3.

On the Heat side, it starts with Bam Adebayo, who has scored at least 43.5 DraftKings points in each of the first two games of this series. He’s stuffed the stat sheet, averaging 19.5 points, eight rebounds, 6.5 assists, 1.5 steals, and 1.5 blocks, which is something that he’s done for the majority of the season. Overall, he’s averaged 1.26 DraftKings points per minute this season, which is the top mark among today’s players. He leads all players in our NBA Models in terms of projected Plus/Minus, which makes him a logical choice for one of the premium spots on today’s slate.

I’m much less bullish on the prospects of Jimmy Butler. He posted a positive Plus/Minus in Game 1 of this series, but he needed to play 43 minutes in an overtime contest to get there. He has shot the ball uncharacteristically well during the playoffs – he shot just 24.4% from 3-point range during the regular season – and the Celtics are a tough team to rack up fantasy points against if you aren’t scoring. They allowed the second-fewest assists per game during the regular season and finished 11th in team rebound rate. I’m fine with fading Butler in this spot.

Goran Dragic is just the third-priciest option for the Heat, but he’s been an offensive force during the playoffs. He moved into the starting lineup in their first playoff game vs. the Pacers, and he leads the team in both points per game and usage rate over their 11 postseason contests. He’s also found plenty of success in his first two games vs. the Celtics, averaging 41.75 DKFP in those contests. He might be due for a touch of shooting regression – he’s shot 55.26% from the field and 46.2% from 3-point range – but he should continue to score the ball at a high level for the Heat.

He’s a particularly strong target today on FanDuel given his Bargain Rating of 92%.

Mid Range

There aren’t a ton of true “studs” to choose from today, so the midrange is actually pretty robust.

On the Miami side, Tyler Herro, Jae Crowder, and Duncan Robinson are all in play. Herro and Crowder have both been excellent fantasy producers during the playoffs – Herro has scored at least 27.5 DraftKings points in five of his past six games, Crowder has scored at least 27.0 in six straight – so both players should be pretty popular.

Robinson is coming off a big performance in Game 2 after shooting 6-12 from 3-point range. He’s capable of filling it up from deep, and he should be a slightly more contrarian target.

For the Celtics, this price range features guys like Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart. I’m still pretty bearish on Smart at this price tag since I think he’s due for some shooting regression. He’s definitely made some improvements in that department, but he’s had some fluky performances from behind the arc during the playoffs. Hayward rejoining the rotation also figures to impact his minutes more than some of the other studs.

If you are going to play Smart, FanDuel looks like the place to do it. His $9,500 price tag comes with a Bargain Rating of 96%.

Brown is the preferred target and could very easily be considered a stud option. He’s a steady producer and is currently projected for the second-most minutes in our NBA Models.

Values & Punts

These are the players who typically decide these contests. It may not feel comfortable to roster someone who isn’t projected for a ton of minutes, but history suggests that it’s the easiest way to find yourself at the top of the leaderboard. These plays typically command lower ownership than the mid-tier guys, so they allow you to differentiate your lineup without sacrificing the high-end stud production.

Let’s break down some of the top options in this range rapid-fire style:

  • Gordon Hayward: $7,600 on DraftKings, $7,000 on FanDuel – Hayward is a FanDuel only option for me today, but he does make some sense at just $7,000 if he’s active. His price tag results in a Bargain Rating of 99%, and the Celtics may not have the luxury of easing him into the lineup in what is essentially a must-win contest.
  • Bradley Wanamaker: $4,800 on DraftKings, $8,500 on FanDuel – Wanamaker has posted a positive Plus/Minus in each of his past two games, and he’s displayed a ceiling of 33.75 DraftKings points in this series. That said, Hayward being back might hurt Wanamaker more than anyone. He’s played around 24 minutes off the bench recently, and that number could potentially be cut in half if Hayward is active.
  • Kelly Olynyk: $4,200 on DraftKings, $6,500 on FanDuel – Olynyk is not playing very much at the moment, but he has been active when he’s on the court. He’s posted a usage rate of at least 20.2% in four of his past five games, so he has the potential to rack up fantasy points quickly if his shot is falling.
  • Enes Kanter: $1,600 on DraftKings, $6,000 on FanDuel – Expect Kanter to be very chalky today. The Celtics dusted him off in Game 2, and he finished with 16.0 DraftKings points over 10.8 minutes. Kanter is an elite producer on a per-minute basis, so he will likely smash his salary if he sees a comparable workload today. That said, the Celtics do have a lot of options at center, so there’s no guarantee he finds himself on the court again in Game 3.