After a heartbreaking loss in Game 3, Boston will be back home to try and even the series with Miami at two games apiece. Jimmy Butler is expected to play, as are the numerous other Heat players who have been fixtures on the injury report for most of the postseason. After missing extensive time throughout the playoffs, keep an eye on Kyle Lowry’s status, as there’s still a chance he’s held out. Boston is expected to have Jayson Tatum (shoulder), but the C’s tremendous defender Robert Williams is a GTD.
There are many excellent options at the top of the player pool, some good plays in the midrange and almost no worthy plays in the bottom tier. It’s recommended to load up with three high-priced options and fill out the remaining two spots with midrange guys on FanDuel. On DraftKings, slotting Bam Adebayo or Al Horford in at Captain could be a promising strategy that saves nearly $5,000 over Tatum and Butler while allowing you to jam in more quality options.
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 Stud Picks
The Western Conference Finals matchup between the Warriors and Mavericks has two clear Captain/MVP picks in Stephen Curry and Luka Doncic who stand head-and-shoulders above the other players in the series from a ceiling standpoint. That’s not the case in the East.
There are at least six guys I would consider for the Captain/MVP spot. On FanDuel, you don’t pay up for players in the MVP, All-Star and PRO spots, but DraftKings charges a 1.5x salary premium for those points boosters. Some additional strategy goes into those Captain selections on DraftKings, and Matt LaMarca did an excellent job of breaking them down here.
Jimmy Butler didn’t finish the second half of Saturday’s victory due to right knee inflammation, but he’s expected to play tonight. He’s the most expensive player on the slate for good reason, after rolling through the playoffs averaging 53.5 fantasy points overall and 57.8 on the road. Butler has scored at least 60 fantasy points in four of 12 contests, including a nearly 80-point eruption in Game 1 against Boston. In Games 1 and 2, Jimmy Buckets posted 70 points, 15 boards, eight dimes, five steals and three blocks.
It was a game to forget for Jayson Tatum in Saturday’s loss, as the superstar finished with 10 points on 3-of-14 shooting, six rebounds, four assists and six turnovers. Most discouragingly, Tatum went 0-of-4 from the field in the second half and finished with more turnovers (3) than points (2), failing to capitalize on Butler’s absence in the narrow loss. Tatum has had some miscues this postseason, but he’s still one of the best players on the planet with a massive DFS ceiling. Don’t fade him after Saturday’s stinker.
Jaylen Brown helped pick up the slack for Tatum on Saturday, erupting for a playoff career-high 40 points to go with nine boards, an assist, a steal and a block. The Celtics’ loss wasn’t for lack of trying on Brown’s part, as he dropped 25 points in the second half and made some big shots down the stretch. Brown has scored at least 45 fantasy points five times this postseason and averaged 40.1 fantasy points per game. He’s got the firepower to pay off as a Captain or MVP.
Fresh off arguably the best playoff game of his career, Bam Adebayo is in consideration as a featured stud on FanDuel and DraftKings. The Heat big man had his way with the Robert Williams-less Celtics, posting 31 points, 10 boards, six dimes, four steals and a block and going over 60 fantasy points. It’s been an underwhelming postseason for Adebayo overall, but he’s thrived when opponents are without their starting centers, averaging 45.3 points in Games 1-2 against the Sixers without Joel Embiid.
Al Horford has turned back the clock in this year’s playoffs, playing a pivotal role in Boston’s success through efficient scoring, rebounding and defense. The big man has averaged 13.3 points, 9.2 boards, 3.3 assists, 2.5 combined blocks/steals and 2.2 triples, including five double-doubles and a career-high 30 points in Game 4 against Milwaukee. If Williams is sidelined for a second-straight game, count on Horford to post another big stat line.
Marcus Smart is the last of the best, deserving some consideration but in a lower tier than the names mentioned above. Smart hadn’t scored over 40 fantasy points since the first-round series with Brooklyn until he went for over 60 in Game 2 against Miami. In that contest, Smart teased a triple-double with 24 points, 12 dimes, nine boards, three steals and a block. Smart has some upside thanks to his assists and defensive stats, but he’s not typically a high-volume scorer, which caps his ceiling.
NBA DFS Midrange Picks
Kyle Lowry returned from a four-game absence and finished Saturday’s win with 11 points, six dimes, four steals and a rebound. It wasn’t a monumental performance, but Lowry’s return and relatively low price point on both sites make him a viable option. He’s averaged 24 fantasy points through seven playoff appearances.
Tyler Herro hasn’t had the best postseason thus far, averaging just under 24 fantasy points across 14 games. A big concern is shot volume, as the reigning Sixth Man of the Year is attempting just 12.8 shots in the playoffs compared to 17.0 in the regular season. Herro has four games with more than 30 fantasy points but six with fewer than 20. He’s a risk/reward option, but there aren’t any other players in this range with his ceiling if he gets cooking on offense.
Max Strus finished off Philly averaging 19.5 points, 10.5 boards, 4.0 triples and 3.0 dimes in Games 5 and 6 of the Eastern Conference semis, but he’s mainly been MIA for the Heat in this series. There’s inherent risk in adding Strus to your lineup, but he’s started every playoff game and averaged 29.9 minutes per contest. Any player who gets 30 minutes and a night with the ability to get hot from beyond the arc is someone you want to consider.
Grant Williams has been huge for Boston off the bench, averaging 20.6 fantasy points across 14 games with three games of at least 30. Like Herro, Williams has six games with fewer than 20, but he did go off for 27 points and seven triples in Boston’s Game 7 win over Milwaukee in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Victor Oladipo has been an excellent addition to Miami’s rotation, giving the Heat some great minutes off the bench and filling in for Butler when he’s missed time this postseason. He’s averaged 20.7 fantasy points in the playoffs, which is in line with Lowry, Herro and G-Will. However, Dipo is a little cheaper since he hasn’t had a big performance since Game 4 against Philly.
P.J. Tucker is another guy thwarting the advances of Father Time and making an impact on both ends of the court. Over his last five, Tucker has averaged 9.8 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.6 dimes, 1.8 combined blocks/steals and 1.4 triples while going over 30 fantasy points three times. Tucker’s DFS value isn’t reliant on scoring.
NBA DFS Values & Punts
- Daniel Theis ($1,200 on DraftKings, $6,500 on FanDuel): Theis started for Williams in Game 3 but turned in just one point, three boards and two turnovers across 11 minutes. Even if he’s in the starting lineup, he’s little more than a hail mary.
- Payton Pritchard ($5,000 on DraftKings, $7,500 on FanDuel): Pritchard averaged 14.0 points, 3.5 boards, 3.0 dimes, 1.0 steals and 3.0 triples across 26.5 minutes in Games 1 and 2 but saw his playing time cut in half in Game 3, going for three points and four assists in only 13 minutes. Pritchard is one of the best plays in this range thanks to his ability to get hot on offense.
- Derrick White ($5,400 on DraftKings, $7,000 on FanDuel): He had a great stretch of play in the middle of the Milwaukee series but hasn’t been heard from over the last four games. White has played in three contests and averaged just 10 fantasy points in that span.
- Gabe Vincent ($4,600 on DraftKings, $7,000 on FanDuel): Vincent’s usefulness depends on Lowry’s status. If Lowry plays, GV won’t be worth his salary. If Lowry is out, Vincent’s value shoots up. As a starter in this postseason, Vincent averaged 22.1 fantasy points across 28.4 minutes per game. Off the bench, he’s averaged just 12.3 fantasy points across 18.8 minutes per game.
- Caleb Martin ($1,400 on DraftKings, $6,500 on FanDuel): His playing time is up to 13.7 minutes per game in this series, but he’s posted just 9.7 fantasy points through three games.
- Dewayne Dedmon ($1,800 on DraftKings, $6,500 on FanDuel): He hasn’t played 15 minutes since Game 1 against Atlanta in the first round, and his highest-scoring playoff game is 15 fantasy points.