• The NBA playoffs are in full effect and the superstars are playing massive minutes. Daily Fantasy Sports continues and only the strong will survive the small slates that are available throughout the postseason.  Next level thinking and strategies need to be applied and coasting through NBA DFS as if it were the regular season is a surefire way to watch your money burn.

    We have a three-game slate on tap with the Thunder at the Rockets boasting a Vegas implied total of 223, which is a full 27 points ahead of the other two games.  This is where we will target a few core players and build around them with others who are playing high minutes.  It is imperative that we apply game theory to our lineups because the need to differentiate our rosters from the chalk will be a sharp way to distance ourselves from the crowd.   I am also going to leave specific pricing out of this article because as we discussed in the strategy article, we care more about locking in certain players and types of players.

    Thunder @ Rockets

    Russell Westbrook will be a lock and load as the Thunder are facing elimination in game five.  Westbrook will play virtually every minute of this game and will most likely only take small two or three minute breaks each half, and that might be an aggressive estimate.  On the other side of the ball fading Harden and buying in on the role players for the Rockets could pay big dividends.  Harden will carry heavy ownership, as will Westbrook, but Houston’s role players offer significant upside compared to the Thunder role players.

    Using Westbrook and stacking the Rockets secondary scorers who play heavy minutes provides us a different type of roster build than we’ll see from a majority of DFS owners.  Trevor Ariza, Eric Gordon, and Lou Williams all play 30+ minutes and take about a dozen shots each game.  If any of them were to get hot and score 20 real life points while throwing in a few peripheral statistics, they would greatly exceed expectations and give you a huge jump on the field if they happen to be low-owned.  The real game theory we are hoping plays out during game five will be Westbrook goes nuts, Harden struggles with his shot and becomes more of a pass-first guy while Houston’s wings bury a bunch of threes.

    I know this might seem outlandish, but these are the type of risks you have to take if you are hoping to make a bunch of money in a GPP rather than just doubling your investment.  You would have said I was crazy after the last article when I discussed using Nene, game theorizing that the Rockets were struggling from the outside and decided to work from the inside out.  Nene went on to go 12-12 from the field and was in the winning lineup of basically every single tournament on both Fanduel and Draftkings.  These are the types of risks, as outlandish as they might seem, that we must take to get to the top of the leaderboards.

    Jazz @ Clippers

    The Jazz will be battling it out on the road against the Clippers and Rudy Gobert will be available to play.  Gobert played 24 minutes in Game 4 and looked dominant, amassing 15 points, 13 rebounds, one assist and two blocks.  There is a good chance that Gobert will play his normal minutes and possibly be under-owned as people might be nervous about him working his way back from the injury.  He is a tremendous play at center with massive upside.

    On the other side of the ball, the Clippers will be without Blake Griffin. This could also cause people to flock to DeAndre Jordan with Griffin out, but our money will be invested into Gobert with a lower ownership.  Chris Paul is a usage monster without Griffin on the court and if you decide to fade Westbrook then CP3 is a must play at point guard.  He is averaging 51 Fanduel points per game for the series and will continue to be the focal point of the offense.  I would not advise playing CP3 and Westbrook together, but one of them needs to be locked in our lineups from the start.

    Westbrook might have lower ownership just because of his incredibly high salary, but that is all the more reason why I still prefer him over anybody else.  No matter who you lock in from the start of your build, the Clippers have some really cheap guys who allow you to pay up for a couple of studs.  J.J. Redick and Jamal Crawford will both will 35-40 minutes and a positive correlation game theory for fading CP3 would be playing them and hoping they’ll go big while Paul falls flat on his face.

    Grizzlies @ Spurs

    Trying to focus on the best plays from each game is a beginner move. For this reason, fading the Spurs and Grizzlies game entirely is an aggressive strategy, but we are going for broke and trying to take first in these tournaments.  We don’t want to be tied with hundreds of other users – we want to sit alone at the top of the tournament and watch our bankroll increase exponentially.

    Focusing your lineup on only several of the teams rather than all six gives us a strong core to lock in and give us a great strategy for multiple entries into a tournament.  Put the core in and build around them with high-upside, low ownership type plays.  Locking in Westbrook, using the role players of the Rockets, using Gobert, and grabbing the guards for the Clippers gives us a small core of players to build around.

    If you feel uncomfortable when you submit your lineup you are likely doing something right.  I know that sounds backward, but it’s the Nene type plays that will bring the house down.  You can find me on Twitter @DFSnDONUTS.  You’re welcome to drop me a line and ask any questions you’d like about NBA DFS for the remainder of the playoffs.

Fantasy News

  • Caris LeVert
    PG-SG, Brooklyn Nets

    Caris LeVert embraces challenge of being a leader.

    LeVert has been an active participant in the racial inequality protests and admitted that basketball is very minor right now compared to everything else going on in the world but is ready for the NBA restart saying, "For me, it’s just taking on that challenge of being a leader, being the leader of that group, going down there with some of the most experience on the team, playoff experience." In the 16 games since rejoining the starting lineup, LeVert has put up All-Star numbers with 24.1 points, 4.8 rebounds and 5.3 assists, while shooting 41.7 percent from three-point range and leading the Nets to a 9-7 record over that span. The upward trajectory continues for the Nets' 20th overall pick in the 2016 draft.

    Source: Newsday

  • Jordan Crawford
    SG, Free Agent

    Jordan Crawford has agreed to a deal with Russia's Lokomotiv Kuban.

    Crawford last played in the NBA for the Pelicans in 2018 with career averages of 12.2 points, 2.5 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 24.4 minutes. The career journeyman has played for five NBA teams since 2010 with a few stints with China in between. Since the beginning of 2019, he has played in Israel, China, Germany and now we can add Russia to that list.

    Source: Sportando

  • Lance Stephenson
    SG, Free Agent

    Lance Stephenson is ineligible to sign with the Pacers according to Scott Agness.

    Stephenson to the Pacers was being discussed in early March and made sense now with Victor Oladipo choosing to sit out the remainder of the season but this move apparently will not happen. The 29-year old Stephenson spent this past season in China where he averaged 26.7 points, 7.4 rebounds and 3.8 assists for the CBA's Flying Leopards.

    Source: Scott Agness on Twitter

  • Anthony Davis
    PF-C, Los Angeles Lakers

    Anthony Davis has high expectations for the Lakers when they resume play later in July in Orlando, citing the long layoff as a favorable development for his squad.

    As if the Lakers weren't already squarely in the hunt for an NBA championship. When speaking to ESPN's Dave McMenamin, Davis said that he believes their "chances are higher just because we’re all rested and we’re all ready to go.” Depth seems to be the most glaring issue potentially facing the Lakers as they prepare to make the trip to Disney World, as defensive stalwart Avery Bradley recently opted out of the remainder of the season. Bradley was subsequently replaced by well-traveled veteran guard J.R. Smith (who has a long history of playoff runs alongside LeBron James with the Cavs), but the team is still unsure of veteran center Dwight Howard's status the rest of the way. Other than Howard, the Lakers' roster is seemingly set for Orlando. Davis sounds like he's ready to rock, however.

    Source: ESPN

  • Deng Adel
    PF, Brooklyn Nets

    Deng Adel, who played 19 games for the Cavs last season as a two-way player, is being pursued by the Illawara Hawks of Australia's NBL, which, notably was the team 18-year-old LaMelo Ball played for last season (and has attempted to purchase).

    Adel had two short stints before last season with the Rockets and Nets in the Summer League and the preseason, respectively. He was originally a standout at Louisville but went undrafted in 2018 before hitching on with the Cavs on a two-way pact. This season he had been playing for the Long Island Nets, the Nets' G League affiliate, prior to the pause and ultimately the end of the G League season. Adel had registered averages of 11.1 points, 4.2 boards and 2.6 assists to that point. Also of note, Adel spent the lion's share of his childhood in Australia after his family moved from South Sudan around the time he was eight.

    Source: Sportando

  • Darius Miller
    SF, New Orleans Pelicans

    Darius Miller is unsure if he will be able to play in Orlando, as he continues to recover from a torn a ruptured right Achillies.

    Due to the lockdown, Miller has been unable to participate in any live-action, or else he would have played in 3-on-3 or 5-on-5 by now. At this point, it would be surprising for the Pelicans to risk his health by pushing for him to participate in the eight-game regular season.

    Source: Will Guillory on Twitter

  • JJ Redick
    SG, New Orleans Pelicans

    J.J. Redick has intentionally lost 10 pounds since the quarantine began.

    Redick's goal was to get back to his playing weight during his college days at Duke, and it's not a surprise that one of the most dedicated workers in the league was able to drop weight during the coronavirus pandemic. Redick's shooting will be sorely needed when the Pelicans try to chase down the Grizzlies for a playoff spot, but if he does not come out of the gates making an impact the Pelicans are likely to shift to another hot hand on their deep roster. Redick has only seen 26.4 minutes per game this season, and that is going to limit his impact to strictly 3-pointers (2.9 per game).

    Source: Daniel Sallerson on Twitter

  • Tyler Herro
    PG, Miami Heat

    Tyler Herro said the time off allowed his right ankle to fully recover.

    Herro returned to action just before the shutdown due to COVID-19. With the ankle back to 100 percent, he will face no restrictions when play picks back up in Orlando. While Herro's scoring prowess caused some increased expectations for his rookie season, he's largely been an afterthought for the Heat. He can clearly shoot the rock (2.1 treys on .391 shooting), but the rest of his game is lacking, and the Heat do not have time to devote to rookie development when the season resumes.

    Source: Ira Winderman on Twitter

  • Kent Bazemore
    SG, Sacramento Kings

    Kent Bazemore, who has been a welcomed presence since joining the Kings in January, reiterated that he'd like to stay with the team.

    Bazemore had a lot of opportunity before him when the Blazers were faltering due to injuries at the start of the season and he failed to take advantage. However, a change of scenery made a significant difference, as his field goal percentage leaped from .347 with the Blazers, to .426 with the Kings, and his scoring also increased from 7.9 points to 10.3 points per contest. He sounds locked in as the Kings prepare for the Orlando bubble, but a healthy Kings' roster could handicap his opportunity for playing time when things start back up.

    Source: James Ham on Twitter

  • Victor Oladipo
    SG, Indiana Pacers

    Shams Charania is reporting that Victor Oladipo will sit out the remainder of the Pacers' season.

    Oladipo decided to exercise caution as his quad tendon is still susceptible to a relapse, and the circumstances of the Orlando bubble are anything but predictable. It's a big hit to the Pacers chances when play resumes, but Oladipo should be close to 100 percent next year as he continues his rehab and seeks to further strengthen his quad tendon. This season was a flop as he only appeared in 13 games, but Oladipo should be looking to return fully recovered and seeking early-round value next year. The Pacers will continue leaning on their depth to fill the void, and Malcolm Brogdon will continue to be the lead guard running the show in Indiana.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter