The NBA Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each day’s slate using the FantasyLabs Tools and metrics to highlight notable players.
Thursday features a two-game slate starting at 6:30 p.m. ET.
Jamal Murray was on absolute fire for the Nuggets in their first round series vs. the Jazz. He scored at least 60.0 FanDuel points in three straight games before ultimately coming back to reality in Game 7.
That said, he should face a much tougher test vs. the Clippers. They are one of the best defensive teams in the league, and they will likely have the added benefit of getting Patrick Beverley back in the lineup. Murray has been priced up across the industry, so he is a definite fade candidate on today’s slate.
Speaking of Beverley, he’s an interesting value option at just $3,500 on DraftKings given his Bargain Rating of 93%. He will likely be limited if he is able to return to the lineup – he’s currently listed as probable – but Beverley has averaged 0.94 DraftKings points per minute over the past month. He wouldn’t need a ton of playing time to pay off his current salary if he can continue to produce at that level.
Make sure to monitor Beverley’s status using the new Labs Insiders tool.
The Raptors have been dreadful offensively through their first two games vs. the Celtics, but the numbers suggest they’re due for some progression. That includes Kyle Lowry, who shot just 5-16 in his last contest. He was still able to score 41.75 DraftKings points over 40 minutes of playing time, so he has a nice ceiling at $7,500 if his jumper starts falling.
Kemba Walker is another player who couldn’t buy a basket in his last game, but he remains an elite target at just $7,600 on FanDuel. He’s leads the position with an average of 1.12 FanDuel points per minute this season, and he’s averaged a Plus/Minus of +2.57 with a comparable salary this season (per the Trends tool).
Fred VanVleet is one of the most obvious bounce-back candidates for the Raptors on today’s slate. He’s commanded a massive workload through the first two games, leading the team with an average of 40.6 minutes and 19 shot attempts, but he’s shot just 11-38 from the field and 5-23 from 3-point range. The Celtics are a good defensive team, but VanVleet is a much better shooter than those numbers indicate. He’s increased his scoring average to 1.14 DraftKings points per minute over the past month, so I’m all-in on him at his current price tag across the industry.
Gary Harris eased his way back into the Nuggets rotation over the past two games after missing their first 13 games in Orlando with an injury. He should continue to earn more minutes moving forward given his defensive ability, which is something the Nuggets sorely lacked in their first round series vs. the Jazz. He’s currently projected for 28.5 minutes in our NBA Models at $3,900 on FanDuel, and players with comparable minute projections and salaries have historically averaged a Plus/Minus of +3.61. Harris has personally fit this trend 21 previous times, and he’s averaged a Plus/Minus of +3.86 in those situations.
Marcus Smart is the anti-VanVleet today. He’s been red-hot as a scorer in this series, particularly from behind the arc. He’s made 11 of 20 3-point attempts during this series, including five in a three-minute stretch in Game 2. He is not a particularly good shooter from behind the arc, so he is almost certainly due for some regression in that category moving forward.
Still, he can survive some regression and still be a nice fantasy value on FanDuel at just $5,700. His salary comes with a Bargain Rating of 94%, and he’s coming off 38.6 minutes in his last contest.
Paul George has struggled during the playoffs, shooting just 35.8% from the field and 27.5% from 3-point range. That said, he still managed to post a positive Plus/Minus in three of six games vs. the Mavericks. He has huge upside if he finds his shot before today’s contest.
Kawhi Leonard was more than willing to pick up George’s slack during the first round. He posted a positive Plus/Minus in all six contests and continues to assert his claim as the best playoff performer in the league. His salary has come up a bit since the beginning of the playoffs, but he still feels too cheap across the industry.
The Clippers should have no problems scoring points vs. the Nuggets, who were absolutely eviscerated by the Jazz during their first round series. The Clippers are currently implied for 116.0 points, which is the top mark on the slate by a significant margin.
Jerami Grant moved into the starting lineup for the Nuggets after Game 3 vs. the Jazz and has started each of the past four games. He’s logged at least 35.3 minutes in each of those contests, and he’s averaged a solid 0.83 FanDuel points per minute over the course of the season. That makes him an excellent value at just $4,800 on FanDuel.
Jaylen Brown is coming off 39.6 FanDuel points in his last contest, and he didn’t even play particularly well from an offensive perspective. He was able to stuff the stat sheet, but ultimately shot just 5-13 from the field and recorded four turnovers. He’s an elite target at $6,800 on FanDuel given his Bargain Rating of 94%.
OG Anunoby is playing a ton of minutes for the Raptors at the moment. He’s currently projected for 37.2 minutes at just $5,100 on DraftKings, and it’s hard to find someone with such a massive workload at such a cheap price tag. Historically, players with comparable marks in both categories have averaged a Plus/Minus of +3.58.
Pascal Siakam is yet another member of the Raptors who has gotten off to a slow start vs. the Celtics. That’s caused his salary to drop to just $7,900, which makes him an excellent buy-low target. He’s still playing a ton of minutes – he leads all PFs with a minute projection of 40.0 on today’s slate – and he’s averaged 1.18 DraftKings points per minute during the season. Siakam averaged a Plus/Minus of +4.11 with a comparable price tag prior to the restart, so he clearly has the ability to return value in Game 3.
Marcus Morris has been a crucial member of the Clippers’ rotation since being acquired from the Knicks. He posted a positive Plus/Minus in four of six games vs. the Mavericks in the first round, and one of the exceptions was when he got tossed after just 10.9 minutes. Overall, he’s averaged 0.85 FanDuel points per minute over the past month and should continue to see a healthy amount of playing time moving forward.
Jayson Tatum is the most expensive option at the PF position, and he’s the clear top choice on FanDuel since Siakam is listed as a SF. He wasn’t really needed in Game 1 vs. the Raptors, but he was vital to the Celtics’ success in Game 2. He finished with 51.6 FanDuel points, which marked the third time during the playoffs that he eclipsed the 50-point threshold.
Michael Porter Jr. is a bit of an X-factor today. He’s an elite producer on the offensive end of the court, but his inability on defense makes his playing time a bit of a question mark. That said, he was still able to score 26.8 FanDuel points over just 17.1 minutes in Game 7 vs. the Jazz, so a low minute count doesn’t automatically kill his value. He averaged 1.14 FanDuel points per minute this season, so he has excellent upside if he plays a few more minutes on today’s slate.
Murray was the offensive hero for the Nuggets in the first round, but Nikola Jokic might have to carry the offense in this series. He has a much better individual matchup, evidenced by an Opponent Plus/Minus of +1.73 on FanDuel. Jokic is far from the safest DFS option, but he obviously possesses massive upside. He leads the position with 10 Pro Trends and could be a bit underowned given the solid value options available at the position.
Brad Stevens has dusted off Robert Williams for this matchup vs. the Raptors, and his results have been impressive so far. He’s shot a perfect 10-10 from the field and kept the Celtics afloat during the first quarter of their last game. He currently projected for 19.2 minutes in our NBA Models and has averaged a stout 1.32 FanDuel points per minute this season. That trails only Jokic at the position, who has averaged 1.40 FanDuel points per minute this season.
Serge Ibaka is trapped in a timeshare with Marc Gasol, but that could change if Gasol continues to struggle in this series. Ibaka has averaged a whopping 1.35 DraftKings points per minute over the past month, and he scored 35.75 DraftKings points in just 26.6 minutes in his last contest.
Ivica Zubac could see a few extra minutes per game in this series vs. the Nuggets. He’s their best option to try to slow down Jokic, and that extra playing time could make him an excellent DFS option. Zubac has averaged 1.18 FanDuel points per minute this season, and the Nuggets have been dreadful vs. the center position. He owns an Opponent Plus/Minus of +2.27 on FanDuel, where he’s very reasonably priced at just $4,900.