We’ve got two games on tonight’s playoff slate, featuring 76ers-Heat and Mavericks-Suns. A significant injury to Joel Embiid and some lingering issues for Miami will drastically affect how we build lineups tonight.
Let’s dive into some of the top plays on the slate 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.
NBA DFS Point Guard Picks
Can the Mavs take down the NBA’s best team? Having Luka Doncic back will certainly help. After missing Games 1-3, Luka went for 29.0 points, 10.7 boards and 5.7 dimes in Games 4-6 of the first round against Utah and helped the Mavs close out the series.
Luka’s triple-double ability and voluminous scoring give him the highest ceiling of any player on the slate, making his exorbitant price tag worth every penny.
The Heat are dealing with a mile-long injury list, and while Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro are expected to take the court tonight, Kyle Lowry has already been ruled out. Gabe Vincent should draw the start again, and he’s an excellent value.
Vincent started Games 4-5 against Atlanta and averaged 10.0 points, 4.0 assists, 3.5 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 2.0 triples across 28.5 minutes. In 27 regular-season starts, GV averaged better than 23 fantasy points and put up at least 30 in six contests.
The Point God Chris Paul had a tremendous first-round series, capped off by a record-setting Game 6. CP3 scored 33 points in the series-clinching victory on a perfect 14-of-14 shooting. His efficiency set a new playoff record for most made shots and most points scored without a miss. He averaged over 53 fantasy points at home in the first round, making him an option well worth his five-figure salary tonight.
NBA DFS Shooting Guard Picks
Tyrese Maxey has been one of the most electric players in the playoffs thus far, and he kicked things off with 38 points in Game 1 of his first-round series with Toronto. He finished the series with averages of 21.3 points, 4.8 assists and 4.7 rebounds across six contests.
Maxey averaged 16.0 points with Joel Embiid in the regular season and a whopping 23.7 without him. His rebounds, assists and stocks also increased when he played without Embiid. Maxey averaged over 33 fantasy points in four regular-season matchups with Miami, and he’ll be asked to take on a Maxey-mum workload tonight against the Heat.
Victor Oladipo went for 23/1/3/3 in Game 5 to lead Miami to victory while several key players were out of commission. After more than one extended injury-related absence, Dipo has come on full force when needed this season. In three games with at least 27 minutes (all in April), he averaged 28.0 points, 4.7 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 4.7 triples and 2.3 triples.
His ceiling is 50+ fantasy points, and he can fit into lineups comfortably on both sites. Make sure to keep him in mind, especially if Miami is again without multiple starters.
James Harden will be needed to shoulder a massive load and pick up a lot of the slack left behind by Embiid in Game 1. After averaging 19.0 points, 10.2 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 2.2 stocks in the first round, Harden will need to be even better if the Sixers hope to steal a win in South Beach before returning home.
The Harden of yesteryear had the upside to hit 70 or 80 fantasy points, but the Harden that’s been on the court recently has a lower ceiling of 50-60 fantasy points. He’s a worthwhile play, but Maxey gives you more bang for your buck.
NBA DFS Small Forward Picks
Jimmy Butler was sensational in the first round, averaging 30.5 points, 7.8 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 2.3 triples across four contests. He was a late scratch in Game 5 due to a knee issue, but he’s expected to play tonight despite a questionable designation. Jimmy Buckets averaged over 40 fantasy points per game in his last two meetings with Philly, and if he gets the green light to play, he should have plenty of juice against his former team.
I’m going in for a double dose of value at small forward with two Philadelphia wings who could be of service tonight. In 13 games without Embiid this season, Georges Niang averaged 11.8 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.1 stocks and 1.9 triples across 28.3 minutes. Furkan Korkmaz averaged 9.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.0 stocks and 1.8 triples across 28.7 minutes. Both are among the lowest-priced viable options on both sites.
Dorian Finney-Smith put up over 30 fantasy points in three of the first six games in the first round against Utah, and DFS continues to fly under the radar in contests with his initials. He gets a favorable Opponent Plus/Minus and an excellent Pace Differential for a heavyweight clash with the Suns. Make sure you give him a look as a mid-tier option with reasonably low ownership.
NBA DFS Power Forward Picks
Tobias Harris was downright studly in Round 1, averaging 17.8 points, 9.5 boards, 2.8 assists, 2.2 triples and 1.9 stocks, good for nearly 40 fantasy points per contest. Tobi played well against Miami in the regular season, posting over 30 fantasy points in all four meetings. With Embiid out of action, Harris should get a bump in scoring and rebounds, and he’ll likely be a very chalky option with limited options at SF and PF.
P.J. Tucker is one of our model’s favorite plays on both sites, coming in at a very affordable $4,000 on DraftKings and $4,500 on FanDuel. Tucker is questionable tonight, but he’s expected to play after carrying a questionable tag into most of his first-round contests. Tucker averaged just a hair over 21 fantasy points per game in the first round, but he went over 25 in two of them. Tucker’s ability to stuff the stat sheet will serve him well against a Philly defense missing Embiid. Tucker has one of the best Opponent Plus/Minus of any PF on the slate.
Bam Adebayo will match up with Harris and Paul Reed in the frontcourt tonight, which is a much less daunting task than facing Embiid. Bam is just $7,300 on DraftKings and $7,400 on FanDuel and coming off his best game of the playoffs, posting 20 points, 11 boards, four assists, a block and a steal in Game 5 against the Hawks. He’s the cheaper of the top-tier centers and makes plenty of sense as a pivot away from Deandre Ayton or Reed.
Note: Adebayo is eligible at C on DraftKings and PF/C on FanDuel
NBA DFS Center Picks
Deandre Ayton averaged 38 fantasy points against Dallas this season. In the first round against New Orleans, Ayton posted just over 40 fantasy points per contest and went for over 60 in Game 3 with a dominant 28-point, 17-rebound effort. He’s got some momentum behind him heading into Round 2 after averaging 20.5 points and 9.8 boards in the Suns’ opening-round series.
Paul Reed, aka “Bball Paul,” is set to start for Embiid tonight, and you can get him into your DFS lineups for just $4,200 on DraftKings and $4,100 on FanDuel. Reed has some mighty large shoes to fill, but he’s flashed his tremendous upside in limited minutes this season.
The second-year man out of DePaul is projected for 23 minutes tonight. In three games with at least 20 minutes this season, Reed averaged 13.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.0 stocks, good for 32.5 fantasy points. On a slate with some pricey guards, Reed should be a chalky option at center due to his discounted price. Eat that chalk, and get him into your lineups!
With Joel Embiid out, Ayton and Adebayo are the most expensive centers on the slate with a clear drop-off to Reed and then guys who probably won’t return any value. With so few options on the slate, Ayton is the recommended option at center. Adebayo and Reed are both eligible at PF on FanDuel, and Reed is eligible at PF on DraftKings as well.
If you’re playing on FanDuel, you can build your lineup by playing Ayton at center and Adebayo and/or Reed at PF, or you can simply ignore Ayton altogether and pivot to the much-cheaper Reed. You’ve got options, and your strategy at center will likely dictate the rest of your roster construction.