Wednesday features Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics starting 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.
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Game 3 was an interesting one for the Celtics. They got a much-needed win, but the return of Gordon Hayward had an impact on the rest of the team from a fantasy perspective. Most of their players still returned value, but they posted lower usage rates and shot very efficiently from the field.
Jayson Tatum still led the Celtics’ regulars with a usage rate of 25.3% in that contest, and he’s been able to supplement his scoring numbers by increasing his contributions in the peripheral categories. He finished with 14 rebounds and eight assists in Game 3, which propelled him to 56.0 DraftKings points.
Overall, Tatum has averaged 10.3 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game after averaging just 7.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists during the regular season. Part of the increase is due to a boost in playing time – he’s averaged 40.6 minutes per game during the postseason – but he’s seen nice spikes in his assist and rebound rates as well.
His increases in those areas mean he should continue to be a fantasy stud even if Hayward cuts into his usage. He’s logged at least 56.0 DraftKings points in four of his past five games, and I’m expecting another solid performance today.
Adebayo is coming off 58.5 DraftKings points in Game 3 and has scored at least 43.5 DraftKings points in all three games in this series. He’s similar to Tatum in that he has the ability to fill up the box score in every category across the board: He’s averaging 22.0 points, 10.7 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 2.0 steals, and 1.7 blocks per game vs. the Celtics.
Boston also chose to close both halves in Game 3 with a lineup that featured no true center. They dominated in those minutes – they were +12 in just six minutes together – but Adeabyo should have a significant advantage in that matchup from a fantasy perspective.
Jimmy Butler rounds out the stud group, and I have no problem continuing to fade him. He has been a low-efficiency scorer all season with the brief exception of Miami’s second round series vs. the Bucks. He’s posted an effective FG% of just 47.4 vs. the Celtics, which ranks merely sixth on the Heat in this series. Butler simply doesn’t do enough in the other categories to overcome such poor shooting numbers, and his track record suggests we shouldn’t expect a huge increase in efficiency moving forward.
This is where things get interesting. Unlike in the series between the Lakers and Nuggets – which is absolutely loaded with star power – you’re going to need to target a couple of options in this salary range.
In fact, given the slim gap between the studs and midrange plays plus a lack of quality value options, this might be one of the rare nights where a balanced approach is the optimal strategy in the single-game format.
Jaylen Brown is the fourth-most expensive player on both DraftKings and FanDuel, and he’s coming off 49.75 DraftKings points in Game 3. That said, he shot 11-17 from the field, which means he’s due for a bit of shooting regression in today’s contest. He doesn’t really have the same ability to rack up peripherals as guys like Tatum and Adebayo, so any decrease in scoring will have a big effect on his fantasy production.
Kemba Walker has struggled from some dreadful 3-point shooting during the playoffs, but he’s started to turn things around. He shot just 26.5% from behind the arc in his first 12 playoff games, but he’s shot 8-21 from downtown over his past two games. His fantasy production has decreased to just 0.85 DraftKings points per minute over the past month, but he averaged 1.09 DraftKings points per minute during the season. He looks like a nice buy-low option if his jumper has actually returned.
Goran Dragic is another solid buy-low target. He struggled in his last game, scoring just 17.75 DraftKings points, but he’s been the driving force for the Heat offense during the playoffs. He leads the team in scoring and usage during the postseason, but he shot just 20% from the field in Game 3.
Sticking with the Heat, Tyler Herro and Jae Crowder stand out as solid values. Both players have been excellent from a fantasy perspective recently: Herro has scored at least 30.75 DraftKings points in four straight games and Crowder has scored at least 27.0 DraftKings points in seven straight. Both should continue to see a healthy amount of playing time, and both players have averaged around 1.00 DraftKings points per minute this season.
Values & Punts
These are the players who typically decide these showdown contests. It may not feel comfortable to roster someone who isn’t projected for a ton of minutes, but history suggests 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:
- Duncan Robinson: $4,600 on DraftKings, $8,500 on FanDuel – Robinson is basically priced between the midrange and value tiers, which should make him a pretty popular option. He’s projected for almost 30 minutes in our NBA Models, which makes him a little more reliable than some of the other players in this price range.
- Derrick Jones Jr.: $3,000 on DraftKings, $6,000 on FanDuel – The Heat dusted off Jones in Game 3, and he finished with 9.25 DraftKings points over 16.2 minutes. That much playing time is pretty encouraging at his current salary. You’d obviously like to see a bit more fantasy production in Game 4, but he makes some sense in a stars-and-scrubs approach.
- Enes Kanter: $1,800 on DraftKings, $6,000 on FanDuel – As long as Kanter is in the rotation, he’s going to be an interesting option in DFS. He played just 5.8 minutes in Game 3 but was still able to provide 9.0 DraftKings points. He scored 16.0 DraftKings points over 12.6 minutes in Game 2, so he definitely has appeal at his current price tag.