Friday features Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals between the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics at 8:30 p.m. ET. The Celtics have a chance to close out this series on their home court, and they’re currently listed as 8.5-point favorites.
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
Jayson Tatum showed his maturity as a player in Game 5. His shot wasn’t falling, and he finished with just 22 points on 7-20 shooting. That would’ve been a massive blow to his fantasy value in the past, but he was able to contribute in other ways. He racked up a series-high 12 rebounds and nine assists, bringing his fantasy total to 50.5 DraftKings points for the evening.
Overall, Tatum has now posted a positive Plus/Minus on DraftKings in eight of his past nine games, and he’s scored at least 50.5 DraftKings points in six of those contests. He is now correctly priced as the most expensive player across the industry, but he remains the clear top stud. Tatum leads our NBA Models in median and ceiling projection, and he also ranks first in projected Plus/Minus on DraftKings. He also leads the slate with 42 projected minutes, so he’s very tough to avoid.
Jimmy Butler has seen a precipitous price drop of late, but it has been warranted. He’s now scored 33.0 DraftKings points or fewer in back-to-back games, and he’s shot just 7-32 from the field in those contests.
Butler also exited Game 3 early due to a knee injury. He claims that his knee hasn’t had an impact on his poor recent performances, but it’s definitely fair to wonder if he’s being honest. His usage rate has been way down in both contests, so something appears to be off with him.
Still, I’m going to take Butler at his word and trust him in Game 6. No one on this slate has been better on a per-minute basis over the past month, and Butler should see massive minutes in an elimination contest. The fact that Kyle Lowry and Tyler Herro are currently banged up should also put an even larger onus than usual on Butler.
Jaylen Brown has had an excellent series for the Celtics, posting a positive Plus/Minus in four of five games. He was quiet in the first half of Game 5, but he was sensational after halftime. He shot 8-12 from the field and 3-5 from 3-point range over the final two frames, and 19 of his 25 points came in the second half.
Brown’s late scoring barrage was enough to offset a disappointing performance in the peripheral categories. He finished with just four rebounds and one assist, both of which are well below his averages. Brown is likely due for some shooting regression in Game 6, but he should be able to make up for it with more production on the glass and as a distributor. He trails only Tatum and Butler in projected Plus/Minus.
NBA DFS Midrange Picks
Al Horford continues to get the job done for the Celtics at an advanced age. He’s far from a usage monster, but he’s capable of impacting the game in multiple areas. He turned in another balanced effort in Game 5, finishing with 38.25 DraftKings points thanks to 16 points, seven boards, five assists, one steal, and two blocks. One way or another, expect Horford to continue to return value in DFS.
Bam Adebayo is one of my favorite options on the slate. The Heat made a small tweak to their rotation in their last outing, choosing to remove backup center Dewayne Dedmon from the rotation. That means Adebayo should handle most of the center minutes, with P.J. Tucker giving him brief spells. Adebayo finished with 38.3 minutes in Game 5, and he should handle a similar workload on Friday.
Adebayo’s per-minute production has been down recently, but he was fantastic in that department during the regular season. Only Tatum and Butler have averaged more fantasy points per minute this season, and Adebayo is significantly cheaper than both players. With the rest of the team banged up, the Heat have no choice but to lean on Adebayo on Friday.
Marcus Smart missed Game 4 of this series, but he was able to return to the lineup in Game 5. However, his minutes were monitored, and he finished with just 17.25 DraftKings points in limited playing time.
It remains to be seen what Smart’s minutes will look like on Friday. He’s currently projected for 34 minutes in our NBA Models, but that number could be significantly too high or too low. That gives him a wide range of outcomes, and most DFS players will likely avoid him at his current price tag. He definitely carries more risk than usual, but he’s an intriguing contrarian option.
Robert Williams has also had his minutes monitored of late, but he’s finished with a positive Plus/Minus in back-to-back games. Williams is one of the better per-minute producers in this matchup, so he’s capable of returning value with around 26 minutes. He finished with 26.5 DraftKings points in his last outing despite attempting just two shots from the field. Williams isn’t an elite scoring threat, but he definitely has more upside than that. If his usage rate returns to normal on Friday’s slate, he has the potential to provide excellent value.
While I’m willing to give Butler the benefit of the doubt on Friday, I’m not extending the same courtesy to Kyle Lowry. He’s made just one shot over his past two games, and he’s played 24.7 minutes or less in both outings. Overall, he’s scored just 15.5 DraftKings points in both contests.
Lowry will undoubtedly carry minimal ownership on Friday’s slate, but I have zero interest in targeting him against the Celtics’ elite defense. He’s simply too banged up at the moment, and it wouldn’t shock me if he plays even less in an elimination contest.
Tyler Herro missed the Heat’s last game, and he’s currently considered a game-time decision for Game 6. While I’m sure he’ll do everything in his power to try to suit up, I’m not sure if that’s very realistic. Even if he is active, I doubt he will be very effective. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski previously reported that injuries like Herro’s typically take 2-4 weeks to recover, and he’s attempting to do it in less than one. I commend his toughness – and the Heat could certainly use his scoring prowess – but there’s too much risk here for DFS.
Max Strus will retain his spot in the starting lineup on Friday, but his spot in the rotation is perilous. He’s out there to provide perimeter shooting, and he’s drilled the same number of 3-pointers as me over the past two games. If he gets off to another cold start, he could find himself riding the pine quickly.
Still, there is a scenario where Strus gets off to a hot start, and his salary has decreased significantly over the past few games. He should also garner minimal ownership, so I like the idea of having him in at least a few lineups in this spot.
Derrick White has been the primary beneficiary when Smart has been out of the lineup. He came off the bench in Game 5, but Smart’s reduced minute count still resulted in 29.2 minutes for White. He made the most of them, finishing with 27.25 DraftKings points.
However, White was 6-8 from the field, so I wouldn’t expect similar production in Game 6. I also think Smart plays a bit more in this contest, making White a prime regression candidate. His ownership could also be a bit inflated after two-straight quality performances, so I’ll be underweight on him.
The Heat would love to get something from Victor Oladipo in Game 6. He’s had some moments in this series, but he was limited to just 15.3 minutes in their last contest. Oladipo was largely ineffective – he finished with just three points on 1-7 shooting – so his playing time ultimately suffered. His 33.3% usage rate in that contest gives him a bit of upside, but his minutes are extremely volatile. I’d only be interested in him if Herro is sidelined.
NBA DFS Values & Punts
- Grant Williams ($5,000 on DraftKings, $7,000 on FanDuel): Williams has been an important part of the Celtics’ rotation this postseason, but his minutes were down a bit in Game 5. Williams is a dreadful per-minute producer, so he needs as many minutes as possible to return value. He’s overpriced on DraftKings, but his $7,000 price tag on FanDuel is appealing.
- P.J. Tucker ($4,400 on DraftKings, $8,500 on FanDuel): Tucker is an excellent value across the industry. If he’s going to continue to get reps as the Heat’s backup center, he carries far more value than usual. He’s a better per-minute producer than Williams, so he’s the clear choice on DraftKings between the two.
- Gabe Vincent ($4,000 on DraftKings, $8,000 on FanDuel): If you’re fading Lowry, Vincent is the obvious pivot. He’s been the better player over the past two games, so he could see more playing time if that trend continues. He should be more popular than usual given Lowry’s recent struggles, but he’s definitely worth rostering.
- Payton Pritchard ($3,600 on DraftKings, $7,500 on FanDuel): Pritchard has essentially been a non-factor with the team at full strength, so there’s no reason to consider him on Friday.
- Duncan Robinson ($3,000 on DraftKings, $7,500 on FanDuel): Robinson has started to cut into Strus’ playing time, and he finished with 21.0 DraftKings points over nearly 28 minutes in Game 5. He was 3-10 from 3-point range, and the Heat are desperate for scoring at the moment. I think he’ll be involved again in Game 6.
- Dewayne Dedmon ($2,400 on DraftKings, $6,500 on FanDuel): Dedmon could potentially rejoin the rotation on Friday, but that seems doubtful.
- Caleb Martin ($1,200 on DraftKings, $7,000 on FanDuel): Martin was a significant part of the Heat’s rotation during the regular season, and he’s been a major factor of late. He’s scored double-digit fantasy points in four straight games, so he’s way too cheap at $1,200.