The NBA Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each day’s slate using the FantasyLabs Tools and metrics to highlight notable players.
Tuesday features a two-game slate starting at 6:30 p.m. ET.
Kemba Walker has been priced down to just $7,400 on FanDuel, which makes him an excellent buy-low option in Game 1 vs. the Heat. The Raptors made shutting down Kemba their sole focus vs. the Celtics – they even employed the rarely-seen box-and-one defense – so Kemba struggled to get anything going in that series. It remains to be seen if the Heat will take a similar approach or if they even have the defensive capability to consider it.
I never expected the Clippers to be fighting for their playoff lives vs. the Nuggets, but here we are. They’ve dropped each of the past two games in embarrassing fashion, including blowing a 63-47 halftime lead in Game 6.
Patrick Beverley stands out as someone who could see a few additional minutes in this contest. His defensive presence makes a lot of sense next to guys like Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, and the Clippers have been at their best this season with Beverley on the court. That should translate well to fantasy as well: Beverley has averaged 0.87 DraftKings points per minute this season. He’s simply too cheap at $4,000 on DraftKings, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 93%.
Goran Dragic continues to provide excellent fantasy value during the playoffs. He moved in the starting lineup for Game 1 vs. the Pacers, and he’s averaged a Plus/Minus of +7.21 on FanDuel over his past 10 games. He did struggle in his last outing, scoring just 21.8 FanDuel points, but there’s no reason he can’t right the ship today vs. the Celtics.
Jamal Murray is an interesting option today. On one hand, he should see a ton of minutes in an elimination game, and Murray has averaged 1.13 FanDuel points per minute over the past month. On the other hand, the Clippers represent a tough matchup, and Game 7’s have historically gone under the game total. He obviously has upside in guaranteed prize pools (GPPs), but I’m fine with fading him on today’s slate.
Paul George continues to stand out as one of the best pure values on FanDuel. He’s priced at just $7,900 for today’s matchup vs. the Nuggets, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 95%, and he’s exploded for at least 45.8 FanDuel points in three of his past four games. He did have a dud in the lone exception, but he was limited to just 26.9 minutes in a game where Leonard went absolutely bonkers. No one at the SG position is projected for more minutes in our NBA Models, which makes George one of the easiest FanDuel plays on the slate.
Gary Harris is coming off an excellent performance in Game 6 and should be looking at another large workload in Game 7. He’s currently projected for 33.5 minutes in our NBA Models, which feels conservative given that he played 42.2 in Game 6. That said, players with comparable salaries and minute projections have still been excellent values on DraftKings, posting an average Plus/Minus of +3.04. In other words, he’s a great play even if he doesn’t see as many minutes as he did in his last contest.
The Celtics have a pair of players who deserve some attention in Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart. Both players were excellent in their series vs. the Raptors, but both players have become a bit pricy across the industry. Smart in particular is someone who seems overpriced, especially since he’s due for some shooting regression. He shot 39.3% from 3-point range vs. the Raptors, which is a bit of an outlier. With that in mind, Brown seems like the superior option out of this duo.
Jimmy Butler is a great basketball player, and if you don’t believe me, just ask Jimmy Butler. He leads the position with 10 Pro Trends on FanDuel, where his $8,000 salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 92%. He scored well in two games vs. the Celtics during the regular season, averaging 28.5 points while shooting 53.1% from the field and 42.9% from 3-point range.
Kawhi Leonard hasn’t been able to drag the Clippers across the finish line in the past two games, but he still stands out as an elite DFS option on today’s slate. He’s projected for 42.2 minutes in our NBA Models – which trails only George’s projection of 42.4 – and no one on the slate has been better on a per-minute basis over the past month. Kawhi also has a history of performing well in Game 7’s, so he shouldn’t be fazed by the moment. He leads the position in Pro Trends on DraftKings and is a very tough fade anywhere.
Jae Crowder stands out as the best pure value at the position on FanDuel given his Bargain Rating of 95%. He was asked to take on a bigger role vs. the Bucks and came through in a big way, scoring at least 29.3 FanDuel points in each of the past four games. The Celtics are another team where they can play him as a small-ball PF, so expect another healthy workload for Crowder in this series.
Michael Porter Jr. isn’t playing a ton of minutes in this series, but he’s someone who can pile up fantasy points quickly. He’s averaged 1.17 DraftKings points per minute this season, and he’s coming off 24.25 DraftKings points in just 27 minutes in his last game. He can definitely provide the Nuggets with some scoring punch off the bench if they are struggling offensively in Game 7.
Jayson Tatum put his entire skill set on display during the final two games of the Raptors’ series. He didn’t dominate as a scorer – he shot just 18-44 from the field in those two games combined – but he made up for it by averaging 13 rebounds and eight assists. The increased upside as a distributor is something that could have a major impact on his fantasy value if he can sustain it moving forward. He’s far from a must-play at his current salary across the industry, but he stands out as the clear top option at a pretty weak position.
Daniel Theis owns a Bargain Rating of 79% on FanDuel, which is tied for the top mark at the position. A lot of the stuff that he does well for the Celtics doesn’t appear in the box score – setting screens, challenging shots, etc – but he’s still averaged a very respectable 1.02 FanDuel points per minute this season. He started playing more down the stretch vs. the Raptors, which gives him an increased floor at his current salary.
Marcus Morris is a complete wild card. He could play well and be an excellent value on today’s slate, or he could get ejected after 15 minutes. Literally every possible outcome is in play.
The one thing that Morris has working in his favor is that the Clippers have been awesome with him on the court this season, which should lead to a bunch of minutes in an elimination game. Whether or not he’ll take advantage of those minutes is anyone’s guess.
Bam Adebayo has PF eligibility on FanDuel and center eligibility on DraftKings, and he’s definitely more appealing at the PF spot. He leads all PFs with 12 Pro Trends on FanDuel, which makes him an excellent target at $8,500.
Nikola Jokic is the reason why the Nuggets are still alive vs. the Clippers. He has been on absolute fire recently, shooting a ridiculous 54.4% from the field and 46.9% from 3-point range. These aren’t your typical wide-open 3’s either: he’s made some absolute beauties.
He has taken full advantage of the fact that the Clippers’ big men aren’t nearly as good defensively as the Clippers’ wing players. LA has tried playing Ivica Zubac more minutes to try and slow him down, but Jokic has still shot 47.5% from the field and 40.0% from 3-point range with Zubac as his primary defender.
He’s probably due for some shooting regression, but there’s no guarantee that happens in this contest. Even if it does, Jokic has shown that he’s capable of scoring fantasy points in a variety of ways.
Speaking of Zubac, he is definitely in play today. He’s a strong option in particular on FanDuel, where he leads all centers with a Bargain Rating of 79%. The Nuggets have also been an excellent matchup for big men all season, giving Zubac an Opponent Plus/Minus of +2.06.
After Jokic and Zubac, the pickings are slim at the center position. I would highly recommend locking one of those two players in at the position, but if you insist on playing someone else, Montrezl Harrell does have a Bargain Rating of 93%. His playing time has unsurprisingly dwindled with Zubac playing more minute, but Harrell has averaged 1.18 DraftKings points per minute this season. He theoretically doesn’t need a ton of playing time to pay off his $4,200 salary.