We’ve got three games on tonight’s slate, including two potential elimination games. Let’s dive into some of the top plays using the FantasyLabs Tools and metrics.
Note: Projections and Leverages Scores/Ratings may change throughout the day after this article is posted. The NBA DFS landscape changes quickly. Consult the Player Models directly for any updates as we get closer to lock.
Luka Doncic made his playoff debut Saturday and wasted no time getting involved, finishing the contest with 30 points, 10 boards, four dimes, and two steals.
He averaged 30.0 points, 10.8 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 1.5 steals in four meetings with the Jazz this season, and the Mavs went 2-2. After a heartbreaking loss on a Rudy Gobert alley-oop, expect Luka to come out firing in a critical Game 5 back in Dallas in front of his home crowd.
The Nets are on the brink of elimination, and Brooklyn will need considerable efforts across the board to keep their season alive. Seth Curry hasn’t been great in this series, averaging just 11.7 points, 3.3 assists, 2.0 rebounds and 2.3 triples, but he’s played almost 32 minutes a night. Pair that solid playing time with his low price point and ability to get hot on any given night, and you’ve got a perfect tournament target.
Marcus Smart has averaged 15.3 points, 5.7 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 1.7 steals, good for just over 30 fantasy points per contest against the Nets through three games. His salary is just $6,300 on DraftKings and $6,000 on FanDuel, making him a tremendous value in tonight’s potential closeout game. This season’s DPOY has 45 fantasy point potential, meaning a return of 7x value is absolutely in the cards.
Donovan Mitchell has scored no fewer than 44 fantasy points in any of the four matchups with Dallas, averaging 46.1 in that span. Mitchell scored at least 32 points in Games 1-3, and he’s averaged a healthy 30.3 points, 6.0 dimes, 4.0 boards, 2.0 triples and 1.3 stocks for the series.
With the series tied up 2-2, the Jazz still have a shot to take it, and winning Monday’s Game 5 would be a good start. Mitchell was critical down the stretch in Saturday’s victory, scoring five points in the final 90 seconds and delivering the go-ahead lob to Gobert. You can be sure Spida will be at his best in Game 5.
Tyrese Maxey is just $6,600 on DraftKings and $6,400 on FanDuel. He averaged 48.3 fantasy points in Games 1-2 at home and just 26.3 in Games 3-4 on the road. It’s not surprising, considering Maxey’s stats were better at home than on the road this season.
He posted 38 points in Game 1 and teased a triple-double in Game 2, showcasing just how high his ceiling is. For less than $7K on both sites, you can roster a guy with 50+ fantasy point upside, which should make him very chalky. If Joel Embiid‘s ligament tear in his thumb limits him, Maxey will get an additional bump in usage to compensate. Make sure you eat the chalk and get Maxey into your lineups.
With Kevin Durant looking passive and uninterested and Kyrie Irving struggling with his shot over the last two games, Bruce Brown has stepped up and made a significant impact for the reeling Nets. In Games 2-3, he averaged 24.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 3.0 stocks and 2.5 triples. His price has understandably climbed, but we should expect similar numbers in tonight’s elimination game.
Jayson Tatum has dominated Brooklyn in this series, averaging 29.7 points, 8.0 assists, 5.0 rebounds, 3.3 stocks and 3.0 triples. Over his last six playoffs games dating to last season, he’s averaged 35.2 points, all against the Nets.
His 39 points in Game 3 were the third-most of his playoff career, and the six steals set a new career-high. Brooklyn knocked Boston out of last year’s playoffs in five games, and Tatum will surely carry some extra motivation into tonight’s contest when his Celtics look to complete the series sweep.
Scottie Barnes played only 26 minutes in Saturday’s return, but he should be in line for more playing time on Monday. Barnes averaged 14 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in the last two meetings with Philly before Saturday, including a near triple-double in Game 1 before his injury.
Fred VanVleet has also been ruled out due to a hip injury, and Barnes averaged 15.4 points, 7.5 rebounds and 4.6 assists in 14 games without FVV this season. That means “Point Scottie” could return for Game 5, making him an excellent value option.
Gary Trent Jr. and OG Anunoby also stand to benefit from the absence of VanVleet. Trent Jr. averaged 21.3 points, 3.2 triples, 3.1 assists and 2.0 boards without FVV this season, and Anunoby averaged 15.8 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.0 assists. Trent Jr. has been the biggest benefactor in games with FVV on the sidelines, so he’ll likely be the chalkier option. That offers an excellent opportunity to pivot to Anunoby, who may go overlooked and under-rostered on the slate.
Pascal Siakam went off for a massive 34/8/5/1/2 stat line in Game 4, staving off elimination to fight another day. Spicy P had some huge games against the 76ers, and he’s averaged 48.3 fantasy points against them in the regular season and postseason. In those meetings, Siakam had two 30-point games and a triple-double.
Siakam is another player who should benefit from the absence of VanVleet. He’s increased his usage rate by +1.7% in games without VanVleet this season, and he has the potential to play massive minutes in a win-or-go-home spot.
Robert Williams returned after a nine-game absence and played 16 minutes in Saturday’s win over the Nets. According to head coach Ime Udoka, Time Lord had no issues with his knee following the contest.
He’ll likely take on a more prominent role in Game 4, and he had success against the Nets earlier in the season. Williams averaged 11.3 points, 10.0 rebounds, 1.7 dimes, 2.7 blocks, and 1.0 steals in three prior matchups, good for 36.8 fantasy points per game.
Tobias Harris has been one of the most consistent options for Philly in this series, and his price is still affordable in the middle range of salaries. He’s double-doubled in three straight and recorded multiple stocks in all four contests. In those games, Tobi has averaged a healthy 18.0 points, 9.8 boards, 2.8 assists, 2.6 stocks and 2.0 triples.
Center is a pretty shallow position tonight, and there’s a significant dropoff in price from Joel Embiid down to Rudy Gobert. The real decision tonight is rostering Embiid or fading him, and I’m recommending the latter.
Embiid has eclipsed 50 fantasy points just once in DK scoring and not at all in FD scoring. That’s a pretty low ceiling for a guy consistently priced over $10,000. He scored fewer than 40 fantasy points in Game 4, and there’s a possibility his thumb injury is impacting his game.
On the other hand, Gobert is $3,000 cheaper and is coming off his best game of his series with 17 points, 15 rebounds and a go-ahead bucket with 11 seconds remaining. We’ll hope Gobert can carry momentum into Game 5 and return 35-40 fantasy points or more while using the salary we saved to invest in pricier guards and forwards like Tatum and Doncic.
Is it Thaddeus Young time? It certainly could be after Saturday’s strong showing. After VanVleet’s early exit in Game 4, Thad logged 29 minutes, which he turned into a healthy 13 points, five dimes, five boards and four stocks. He could produce 35+ fantasy points for a second straight game if VanVleet is out, and his salary is just $3,700 on DraftKings and $4,700 on FanDuel.
Blake Griffin is just $3,200 on DraftKings and $3,600 on FanDuel. Prior to Saturday’s loss, he had logged just six total minutes in the last 11 games. He played just eight minutes in Game 3 but put up eight points, a rebound and a block. He was playing as if it was the last time he’d ever be out there, and he nailed back-to-back triples while hustling on both ends of the court. He’s worth getting some exposure in tournaments, but he’s a risky play with the realistic outcome of receiving a DNP-CD.