Thursday features Game 6 of the NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Boston Celtics at 9 p.m. ET.
The Warriors are just one win away from securing their fourth title in eight years, but the Celtics will have homecourt advantage in Game 6. They’re currently listed as four-point favorites, and if they win, they’ll force a decisive Game 7 back in San Francisco on Sunday.
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
Steph Curry and Jayson Tatum have oscillated between the top two spots in the pricing spectrum all series, but Curry owns the top spot on Thursday. He’s coming off his worst game of the series in Game 5, finishing with just 33.25 DraftKings points in 37.1 minutes. The Celtics made it their mission not to let Curry beat them, and they were successful in that regard. Curry was just 7-22 from the field and 0-9 from 3-point range, snapping a streak of 223 consecutive games with at least one 3-pointer.
Curry will likely get a similar treatment on Thursday, but history suggests he’ll bounce back with a better shooting performance. He’s a career 42.8% shooter from 3-point range, and he’s averaged 4.4 made 3-pointers in nine career games after getting shutout from behind the arc.
Curry leads the slate in per-minute production over the past month by a comfortable margin. He’s also projected for 39 minutes in our NBA Models, making him a fine selection for the top spot on DraftKings.
Still, it’s hard not to prefer Tatum at a slightly cheaper price tag. Tatum has yet to have a true breakout performance in the Finals, but he’s been extremely consistent. He’s posted a positive Plus/Minus on DraftKings in 14 of his past 15 games, and he’s scored at least 47.5 DraftKings points in three straight. He continues to provide strong production in the peripheral categories, but his offensive game has betrayed him. He’s knocked down just 37.3% of his shots in this series, despite making 47.5% of his 3-pointers.
With better shooting numbers, Tatum easily possesses the top ceiling on this slate. He’s coming off nearly 44.5 minutes in Game 5 and played the entire second half. That might have been a mistake – Tatum looked gassed down the stretch – but he should see another massive workload in an elimination game. He leads our NBA Models in median and ceiling projections and ranks first in projected Plus/Minus on DraftKings.
Jaylen Brown is the other potential stud target, and he offers significant savings compared to Curry and Tatum at Captain. However, his results have been lacking recently, scoring 34.75 DraftKings points or fewer in three of his past four games. That includes a dreadful performance in Game 5, finishing with five turnovers while shooting just 5-18 from the field.
Brown’s price tag has come down slightly for Game 6, and like Tatum, he played the entire second half in Game 5. He’s currently projected for just 40 minutes in our NBA Models, but it would not be surprising if he plays closer to 44 on Thursday. With that much playing time, he’s definitely a bounce-back candidate.
NBA DFS Midrange Picks
Andrew Wiggins was selected No. 1 overall in the 2014 NBA Draft, and he has reached his full potential with the Warriors. He hasn’t been as much of a scoring threat as he was with the Timberwolves, but he can still score the ball when needed. He was undoubtedly needed in Game 5, and he responded with 26 points on 12-23 shooting.
More importantly, Wiggins has been providing elite production on the glass and on defense. He’s grabbed at least 13 boards in back-to-back games, and his on-ball defense is partly responsible for Tatum’s struggles.
Wiggins has gotten a bit more expensive for Game 6, but he should continue to be a consistent source of production. I wouldn’t expect a repeat from Game 5, but another double-double is within his range of outcomes.
Marcus Smart scored 20 points in his last game, but his production in the peripheral categories was lacking. He finished with just three rebounds and two assists, both of which were well below his postseason averages. He’s averaged more than 10 combined rebounds + assists during the playoffs, so he’s a strong progression candidate on Thursday.
Smart has also played his best following a Celtics’ loss during the playoffs. He’s scored at least 18 points in each game following a defeat, so there are plenty of reasons to believe in a bounce-back.
Klay Thompson stands out as one of the strongest options on the slate. He trails only Tatum in projected Plus/Minus on DraftKings, and he continues to get up plenty of shots in this series. He’s shot at least 10 3-pointers in three straight games, and Thompson is a career 41.7% 3-point shooter. That gives him an expectation of around 13 DraftKings points before factoring in any additional stats. Thompson doesn’t provide a ton in the other categories, but his shooting prowess gives him a safe floor and a solid ceiling.
Draymond Green has spent more time on the bench than usual during this series, and give Steve Kerr credit for that decision. Their offense has been notably better with Green off the floor, particularly in their comeback victory in Game 4.
Green was a bit more productive in Game 5, finishing with eight points, eight rebounds, and six assists. That type of stat line has become typical for Green in 2022. He no longer possesses triple-double upside but can contribute a bit in every category across the board. His ceiling isn’t quite as high as some of the other players in this price range, but he’s posted a positive Plus/Minus in seven of his past eight games.
Al Horford has been vital to the Celtics’ success during the postseason, but his impact against the Warriors has been minimal. He exploded for 42 DraftKings points in Game 1, but the Warriors essentially ignored him from 3-point range in that contest. They’ve made a much more concerted effort to close out on Horford since then, and he’s finished with 24.0 DraftKings points or fewer in three of his past four games.
Horford’s playing time has also dwindled. He was routinely approaching 40 minutes in the earlier rounds of the playoffs, but he’s been at 32.9 minutes or less in each game of this series. Horford’s price tag has decreased a bit, but he’s still not a particularly appealing option.
I’d much rather go with Robert Williams, who is only $200 more expensive than Horford on DraftKings. He’s technically questionable – just like he has been all playoffs – but there’s no reason to worry about his status heading into Game 6.
Williams’ playing time has increased as the series has progressed, and he’s played at least 30.3 minutes in the past two games. He’s been arguably their best player in those contests, with the Celtics outscoring the Warriors by +17 points when he’s been on the floor. Overall, he’s led the team in Net Rating in each of the past two games.
With that in mind, expect Williams to play as much as his knee will allow him to in Game 6. He’s one of the best per-minute producers in this contest, so that’s a highly appealing proposition for fantasy.
Like Horford, Kevon Looney has also seen his role dwindle in this series. He was limited to just 16.8 minutes in Game 5, but he did struggle with foul trouble in that outing. He’ll likely play a bit more on Thursday, but he’s still tough to get excited about.
Derrick White turned in his worst game of the series in Game 5, finishing with just 8.75 DraftKings points over 21.4 minutes. The additional minutes for Williams have come at his expense, so I wouldn’t expect a massive bounce-back in that department on Thursday. He should shoot the ball a bit better – he was 0-4 from the field on Monday – but I don’t think he’ll see enough minutes to return value.
Jordan Poole is a slightly more interesting target. His playing time is also down, but he is highly involved when he’s on the floor. He posted a 34.5% usage rate in Game 5, and he scored 14 points in his 14.3 minutes. If he can add a few rebounds or assists to his scoring total in Game 6, he could have some relevance.
NBA DFS Values & Punts
- Otto Porter ($4,600 on DraftKings, $7,500 on FanDuel): Porter has drawn a start in each of the Warriors’ past two games, but it hasn’t been enough to make him fantasy-viable. He’s attempted more than three shots just once in this series, and he’s not doing enough in the peripheral categories to make up for it.
- Gary Payton II ($4,200 on DraftKings, $7,500 on FanDuel): Payton remains the best option in this price range. His defense has been vital for the Warriors, and he finished with 27.75 DraftKings points over 26.2 minutes in Game 5. He might not see as much playing time in Game 6, but his spot in the rotation is secure.
- Grant Williams ($3,800 on DraftKings, $8,000 on FanDuel): Expect the Celtics to keep their rotation pretty tight in an elimination game. Williams should see a few minutes, but he’s played 16.1 minutes or less in the past two games. I wouldn’t expect much more than that on Thursday, and Williams is one of the worst per-minute producers in this matchup. He’s a pass.
- Payton Pritchard ($2,400 on DraftKings, $7,000 on FanDuel): Pritchard’s spot in the rotation is precarious, but he at least has some upside if he sees the floor. The Celtics could turn to him if they need additional shooting, and he should garner virtually no ownership.
- Nemanja Bjelica ($1,600 on DraftKings, $7,000 on FanDuel): Bjelica carved out a few minutes for himself recently, and while he hasn’t done anything with them, he remains intriguing at a near-minimum salary. He was roughly a point-per-minute producer during the regular season, so he has the potential to rack up fantasy points quickly.
- Andre Iguodala ($1,200 on DraftKings, $6,500 on FanDuel): Iggy got off the bench in Game 5, but that was mainly due to Looney’s foul trouble. I expect him to be a DNP-CD on Thursday.
- Daniel Theis ($1,000 on DraftKings, $6,500 on FanDuel): Theis would only be viable if Williams is ruled out. That’s an unlikely scenario, but it’s worth mentioning.