Friday features Game 2 of the Western Conference finals between the Golden State Warriors and Dallas Mavericks. The Warriors jumped out to a 1-0 series lead with a decisive win on Wednesday, and they’re currently listed as six-point home favorites in Game 2.
Let’s dive into some of the top plays on the slate using the FantasyLabs Tools and metrics.
Also, don’t forget that for large-field tournaments, you can utilize our Lineup Optimizer to effortlessly create up to 150 lineups, or use our Lineup Builder if you like to hand-build your lineups. Also, make sure to check out my article if you’re looking for a refresher on the single-game format.
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 Stud Picks
Luka Doncic did not look like a stud in Game 1 of this series. He finished with just 20 points, seven rebounds, and four assists to go along with seven turnovers. He ultimately racked up just 34.75 DraftKings points, which was his lowest fantasy output of the postseason by a sizable margin.
He’ll look to bounce back in Game 2, and Doncic is certainly capable of doing that. He’s scored at least 51.25 DraftKings points in every other postseason contest this season, and he has five outings of at least 59.25 DraftKings points.
However, the Warriors will represent a tough test. They possessed the best defense in basketball over the first half of the season with a healthy roster. They slipped a bit over the second half, but Draymond Green missed 29 consecutive games. Now that Green is back, the Warriors are back to being a top defensive unit.
Still, Doncic is the clear top fantasy producer on this slate. He leads all players in median and ceiling projections, and he also owns the top projected Plus/Minus on DraftKings. That makes him an incredibly tough fade.
Steph Curry was the highest-scoring player in Game 1 of this series, finishing with 47.5 DraftKings points in just 30.7 minutes. The scary thing is that he still has yet to find his jumper. He was just 7-16 from the field and 3-9 from 3-point range, which are pedestrian marks for Curry. His shooting numbers have been way down for most of the playoffs, but he’s still capable of heating up.
Unfortunately, Dallas doesn’t seem like a particularly good matchup for Curry to find his 3-point shooting form. They’ve been excellent at defending behind the arc during the playoffs, allowing the sixth-lowest frequency of opponent 3-pointers and the fourth-lowest accuracy. That’s a tough combination.
If Curry is going to continue to provide big games, he’ll likely need to lean on his production in the peripheral categories. He was able to do that in Game 1 – he finished with 12 boards and four assists – but that’s definitely a bit of an outlier. Curry has averaged just 4.8 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game during the postseason.
Despite outscoring Doncic in Game 1, Curry remains the clear No. 2 stud in our NBA Models. His median projection is roughly 15 points lower than Luka’s, while his ceiling projection is nearly 20 points lower. He is more than -$2,000 cheaper on DraftKings, but that’s not nearly enough to overcome such a wide gap in projections.
Like Curry, Klay Thompson figures to struggle a bit from behind the arc in this matchup. He had just four 3-point attempts in Game 1 of this series, which was easily his lowest mark of the postseason. Part of that is due to the lower than usual minute count – he played 34.6 minutes in the blowout victory – but part of that is due to the Mavericks’ ability to protect the 3-point line.
Unlike Curry, Thompson is not nearly as well-rounded from a fantasy perspective. He’s not a complete non-factor in the peripheral categories, but the vast majority of his fantasy value comes from his scoring ability. Thompson has finished with 30.25 DraftKings points or fewer in five of his past seven games, so he seems a bit overpriced. Finding the extra salary to get to Curry or Doncic seems like the preferred strategy.
If you are going to play Thompson, you’re best off doing it on FanDuel at $12,500.
NBA DFS Midrange Picks
Jalen Brunson continues to serve as the Mavericks’ No. 2 scoring threat during the playoffs. He posted a usage rate of 26.2% in Game 1 vs. the Warriors, and his usage rate sits at 29.6% for the postseason. That represents a sizable increase from his average of 21.9% during the regular season, giving him more upside than usual.
The big concern with Brunson is that his salary continues to rise. Despite a subpar 26.5 DraftKings points in his last outing, his price actually increased to $8,600 on DraftKings. He simply hasn’t been good enough recently to justify that price tag. He stands out as the weakest option in this price range in terms of projected Plus/Minus.
Has Draymond Green found his mojo? It’s possible. Green has always been an elite producer in terms of rebounds and assists, but his scoring production has fallen off a cliff in recent years. He averaged as many as 14.0 points per game in his prime, but he was down to just 7.5 points per game this season. That makes it significantly tougher for him to get the double-double and triple-double bonuses, which is something he used to thrive at.
However, Green has cracked double-digits as a scorer in back-to-back games, and he’s unsurprisingly posted a positive Plus/Minus in both contests. In fact, Green has now scored at least 10 points in five postseason contests, and he’s posted a positive Plus/Minus in all five. In the eight playoff contests where he’s failed to crack double-digits, he’s posted a negative Plus/Minus in six.
If Green can continue to score the ball just a little bit more than usual, he has excellent upside for his price tag.
Jordan Poole continues to provide the Warriors with elite minutes off the bench. He racked up 19 points on 8-12 shooting on Wednesday, resulting in 28.0 DraftKings points in just 26.3 minutes.
The lack of playing time is the only real concern with Poole. He’s now played 26.3 minutes or fewer in three straight games, but all three of those games have been blowouts. As a bench player, his minutes are a bit more game script dependent than some of the starters. If the game turns into a blowout, he’s not going to get the fourth quarter minutes he needs to crack 30 for the evening.
As long as Friday’s game is more competitive, Poole should return to around 32 minutes. His price tag has decreased of late, so he has some buy-low appeal.
Andrew Wiggins is often the forgotten man for the Warriors, but he’s been fantastic for them recently. He racked up 34.25 DraftKings points in Game 1 – which trailed only Curry and Doncic – and he’s posted a positive Plus/Minus in six of his past seven games. The only exception was the Warriors’ ugly defeat in Game 5 vs. the Grizzlies, and he played just 19.4 minutes in that contest.
Overall, Wiggins may not have the same upside as guys like Poole and Green, but he does provide a bit more safety.
Spencer Dinwiddie’s price has jumped up again on DraftKings. He’s up to $6,800, which represents an increase of $1,600 over his past two games. Dinwiddie delivered massive value in Game 7 vs. the Suns, but he thrived thanks to some elite shooting numbers. He came back to reality in Game 1 vs. the Warriors, and it resulted in a negative Plus/Minus. He’s simply too expensive given his modest minute count.
Dorian Finney-Smith is an interesting buy-low option. His playing time has been down recently, but the Mavericks have played in three consecutive blowouts. DFS is someone who has played closer to 40 minutes in competitive contests during the playoffs, so he has plenty of room for growth in Game 2. Overall, Finney-Smith has played at least 38.4 minutes in nine games so far this postseason, and he’s posted a positive Plus/Minus in seven. He should also carry modest ownership on this slate, making him a viable target.
Reggie Bullock is similar to Finney-Smith. He also typically plays around 40 minutes for the Mavericks, but he’s not quite as effective on a per-minute basis. He’s strictly out there to shoot 3-pointers, which gives him a wide range of outcomes on most slates. He can return value if his shot is falling, but his floor is low if his shot isn’t going down.
NBA DFS Values & Punts
- Kevon Looney ($4,800 on DraftKings, $9,500 on FanDuel): This is probably the last slate where Looney will be featured in this section. Looney moved into the starting lineup at the behest of Steph and Draymond in Game 6 vs. the Grizzlies, and he remained a big part of their rotation vs. the Mavs. He racked up nearly 28.4 minutes, and he’s too cheap if he’s going to continue to see that much playing time. He stands out as one of the best options on the slate.
- Maxi Kleber ($4,600 on DraftKings, $8,000 on FanDuel): Kleber’s playing time is trending in the wrong direction. The Mavs playing in a bunch of blowouts hasn’t helped, but he’s not expected to see a ton of progression in Game 2. He’s not a particularly appealing option in this price range, but he should carry minimal ownership.
- Otto Porter ($4,200 on DraftKings, $8,500 on FanDuel): Porter has been a huge addition for the Warriors this season, and he’s averaged 0.93 DraftKings points per minute. He should continue to see around 24 minutes per game, making him a viable option at his current price tag.
- Dwight Powell ($3,200 on DraftKings, $7,000 on FanDuel): Powell has provided some value recently, but he’s seen a large price increase. He was priced at just $1,600 in Game 6 vs. the Suns, so his salary has doubled since that point. He’s displayed a ceiling of around 15 fantasy points during the postseason, so he’s a bit too expensive at the moment.
- Davis Bertans ($2,400 on DraftKings, $6,500 on FanDuel): The Mavs have dusted off Bertans recently, and he’s exclusively used as a 3-point shooter. Every single one of his shots this postseason has come from 3-point range, which does give him a bit of upside if his shot is falling.
- Damion Lee ($1,600 on DraftKings, $6,500 on FanDuel): Lee has seen a bit more run for the Warriors of late thanks to the injury to Gary Payton Jr. He’s posted a positive Plus/Minus in four of his past five games. He doesn’t have much upside in terms of raw scoring, but he has the potential to find himself in the winning lineup if all the studs go off.
- Frank Ntilikina ($1,000 on DraftKings, $7,000 on FanDuel): Ntilikina is similar to Lee, and he might be the preferred option on this slate since he’s priced at the flat minimum. He’s played at least 10.3 minutes in four straight games.