Thursday’s NBA slate features Game 6 of the NBA Finals between the Toronto Raptors and Golden State Warriors at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.
If you’re new to single-game formats, be sure to check out my previous work on the subject:
- 5 Tips to Dominate the DraftKings NBA Showdown Format
- How Does the Single-Game NBA Format on FanDuel Differ From DraftKings?
Toronto Raptors @ Golden State Warriors (-2.5) – 212 total
The Warriors pulled out Game 5 by the skin of their teeth, setting up a Game 6 back in Oakland. That said, that win came at a cost. Kevin Durant tore his Achilles — putting his future in jeopardy — while Kevon Looney is questionable with a chest injury.
That’s going to put a lot of pressure on Steph Curry to deliver a big performance. He’s posted a usage rate of 33.3% in games without Durant during the postseason, resulting in an average of 1.35 DraftKings points per minute. The result is an average of 54.46 DraftKings points over 12 games.
He’s struggled at times vs. the Raptors — particularly when matched up with Fred VanVleet — but he is coming off one of his best games of the series. He exceeded his per-100 scoring average vs. VanVleet and Danny Green in that contest, and those players have spent the majority of the series matched up with him.
If he can continue to win in those matchups, he has massive upside on today’s slate.
Kawhi Leonard has emerged as possibly the best player in the NBA during the postseason. He’s been awesome in the Finals from a fantasy perspective, scoring at least 54.75 DraftKings points in four straight games.
That includes 58.0 DraftKings points in his last game despite the fact that he shot just 37.5% from the field. He’s shot 49.2% during the playoffs, so he’s a solid regression candidate on today’s slate. He may not provide the same scoring upside as Curry, but he makes up for it with his peripheral statistics. He’s averaged 10.6 rebounds, 4.4 assists, and 3.2 blocks + steals during the Finals, giving him arguably the safest floor and highest ceiling on the slate.
Draymond Green has been wonderful during the postseason, but he’s been slightly less aggressive offensively over his past two games. He’s posted an average usage rate of just 13.4% after averaging a usage rate of 21.0% over his previous seven games.
Green is never going to be a scoring dynamo, but the Warriors are going to need him to knock down open shots in this contest. If he does that, he’ll offer immense fantasy value. No one in this series can pile up peripheral statistics like Draymond: He has averaged 17.2 potential assists and 16.0 rebound opportunities per game during the Finals (per NBA.com). It’s easy to envision a scenario where he records a triple-double in Game 6.
Klay Thompson is another member of the Warriors who will be asked to pick up the scoring burden tonight. He’s posted a usage rate of 25.9% in games without Durant during the postseason, which represents an increase of +3.1% when compared to his regular season average. That’s tied with Curry for the top mark on the team.
He’s averaged 35.61 DraftKings points in those contests, and he’s currently projected for 42.3 minutes in our NBA Models. Klay has shown the ability to play well when the Warriors need him most, and he’s also historically averaged slightly more fantasy points when playing at Oracle (per the Trends tool). He has a lot of factors working in his favor.
On the Raptors side, Pascal Siakam and Kyle Lowry are the top options in this category. Siakam has struggled in this series outside of a monster performance in Game 1, averaging just 29.0 DraftKings points per game. That said, he’s still getting up plenty of shots, attempting at least 14 field goals in every game this series. He shot 54.9% from the field during the regular season, so he could definitely see some positive regression moving on today’s slate.
Lowry continues to make big plays for the Raptors — outside of that disaster of a buzzer-beater in Game 5 — but his workload remains limited. He’s posted an average usage rate of just 19.4% during the Finals, and he’s also averaged just 6.6 assists per game. It’s simply tough to trust someone who’s that uninvolved at his current salary.
Marc Gasol had a huge first quarter in Game 5, but the Raptors went away from him as the game progressed. That said, he still finished with over 30 DraftKings points for the third time this series. He has one of the best individual matchups in the series given his Opponent Plus/Minus of +3.08, and he should be able to take advantage of the Warriors’ depleted frontcourt.
Serge Ibaka hasn’t seen as many minutes as Gasol in this series, but he’s made the most of them. He’s scored at least 24.0 DraftKings points in each of his past four games, and he’s done it in a variety of ways. He’s scored the ball well in his past two contests, and he’s also shown the ability to dominate on the boards or blocking shots. Ibaka has been priced up a bit to $5,400, but no very few players in that price range can match his upside.
DeMarcus Cousins is the ultimate X-Factor on today’s slate. He was well on his way towards picking up a DNP-CD in Game 5 before the injuries to Durant and Looney but found himself playing crucial minutes down the stretch. He’s clearly not playing at 100% right now, but he was still able to score 26.5 DraftKings points in just 19.5 minutes.
Ultimately, he’s going to score fantasy points when he’s on the court, but the amount that he plays is still a question mark. We currently have him projected for 21.4 minutes in our NBA Models, but that mark could increase if Looney is unable to suit up. He’s a boom-or-bust option.
Last but not least in this price range is Andre Iguodala. He played just under 38 minutes in Game 4 of this series, and he could be looking at a similar workload tonight. He has struggled offensively recently, shooting just 3-of-13 over his past two games, but he’s capable of contributing in every category across the board. He’s one of my favorite values on the slate at his current price tag.
This is where the slate gets interesting. There are undoubtedly minutes available for some of the Warriors’ role players, but its unclear where exactly those minutes will land.
Quinn Cook is the most logical option. He played down the stretch in Game 5 but ultimately scored just 7.75 DraftKings points in 11.6 minutes. Still, he’s shown the ability to knock down shots in the past, and the Warriors don’t have many guys who fit that description on their current roster. He’s their best option if guys like Green and Iguodala continue to struggle from the perimeter.
Jordan Bell made a cameo in Game 5, although it last just 4 minutes. He lost Ibaka for a slam-dunk and was immediately banished back to the bench, but it’s possible the Warriors will need him in tonight’s contest. Steve Kerr has clearly lost confidence in Cousins, so Bell could potentially fill his role if he’s ineffective again today.
Shaun Livingston’s role seems pretty solidified regardless of the Warriors’ injury situation. He’s going to play around 15 minutes, which gives him an opportunity to be relevant. He scored 16.5 DraftKings points in Game 1, which was enough to find himself in the winning Showdown lineup.
The Raptors don’t offer nearly the same upside in this price range. The only guy worth considering is Danny Green, and he’s an expensive punt at $4,400. He needs to make 3-pointers to be an asset, but his defensive ability means he’ll see plenty of court time. He exploded for 32.25 DraftKings points in Game 3 and has shown the ability to make big shots in the past.
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Pictured above: Golden State Warriors F Andre Iguodala (9)
Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports