April 25, 2017, 9:34 am
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.