• Slate Strategy

    As we’re getting later into these two series with two potential elimination games, we can be relatively confident that both teams are going to overextend their regulars and keep tight rotations. The Celtics and Raptors core guys are likely extremely tired coming off 50+ minute performances, but they don’t have much of a choice to keep playing as much as possible in this game. 

    My initial lean is to build around the 7.5-8.6k plays in the Toronto-Celtics game and just trust in the absolutely insane minutes floor these guys have if the game is close as it’s been the last few. I don’t think you’re sacrificing much safety or upside off of Kawhi or Jokic with the amount of minutes the studs in Boston-Toronto are playing. 


    Denver – Los Angeles Clippers

    Michael Porter Jr. ($5,200) I wanted to start with MPJ not as a recommendation, but as a potential cautionary tale to curb the upside people might think he has for tournaments. At $5,200 and 34 minutes in the last game, he’s still firmly in play for cash games and can get to a reasonable floor for that tag. But Harrison Wind (@HarrisonWind on twitter) had a great tweet about how MPJ had 3 offensive touches in the 3rd quarter and ZERO in the 4th quarter, despite playing the last 17:28 of the game: 


    There’s another risk here as MPJ’s minutes are going to remain volatile while his defense is so poor, but it seems like Malone knows he needs his offensive output in order to compete. The hope here is the team makes the necessary adjustments in order to get him involved. He’ll be firmly in play in cash for me, but I’d be a bit weary in tournaments as he makes for a potentially great fade if the Nuggets don’t make that adjustment at extremely high ownership. 

    Gary Harris ($4,600) Harris fouled out of the last game and he’s reliant on defensive stats in order to hit an upside, but I don’t think we’ll find a better minutes floor on this slate for this cheap. He got up to 35 minutes in the previous competitive game and somewhere in that range is a good minutes expectation for him. We do want to build around guards in the next game, but I’m finding it difficult to find other avenues of value that can even be somewhat reliable at this tag. 

    Pat Beverly ($3,800) Once again, we don’t want to lock up all our guard positions and Beverly is still on his minutes limit. You know what you’re getting with this play: 22-23 minutes, potential defensive stats and somewhere around 15-18 DKP. The floor is scarily low here for him and I think I like other roster builds better that don’t include him. If you want to play Kawhi or Jokic though, he makes a ton of sense in those builds where we aren’t using guard slots on the more expensive plays. 


    Boston – Toronto

    One strategy I’ve been working to employ throughout this playoffs on the 2-game slates in tournaments is game stacking and differentiating in that format. It doesn’t always work, (like the last slate for me where I stacked DEN-Clippers over the BOS-TOR game) but it’s been by far the best way I’ve found to make differentiating lineups while still accessing tremendous upside. On this slate for game 7, I want to be heavy on this game and really prioritize these plays the best I can. 

    Kyle Lowry ($8,600) Lowry is the first spend I want on every team I make today. He’s very likely in line for 43+ minutes again and he’s taking more of a command of the offense and playmaking responsibilities. His price is more expensive than we’d like for Lowry, but it’s still probably not enough for the minutes role he’s going to be in for this game. Play him in cash games, but the fade is certainly viable as the likely highest owned player on the slate.

    Fred VanVleet ($7,900) FVV is going to be the second piece in every lineup. Boston’s defense is making it tough on him offensively, but if he can ever figure out his shot, he’s going to absolutely smash this tag as he’s still been the most aggressive offensive scorer on the Raptors. He hasn’t gotten the big price bump and in similar fashion to Lowry, it’d be difficult to see him play less than 43 minutes in a competitive game. He’s a cash game staple and I think it’d be viable to use him as a building block in tournaments over Lowry for potential differentiation. 

    Norman Powell ($4,400) Powell has reemerged in the past two games as a constant presence in the Toronto lineup, playing 38 minutes in the last 2OT game. Gasol was in foul trouble and Powell was playing well which contributed to that minutes limit, but I think Toronto is realizing they just can’t have Gasol on the floor in this series. Powell gives them another defensive wing to match up with Boston while Siakam is perfectly capable of handling Theis on defense. I wouldn’t depend on the 38 minutes again, but 28-30 is fairly likely, which makes him one of the top value plays on the slate. Also, SG/SF eligibility makes him desirable to fit in with the guards in this game we want to play. 

    Jaylen Brown ($8,000) Brown got a price hike , but it likely wasn’t enough coming off 51 minutes played in the past game. His USG rate was massive in the past game (32.5%) and only shot 11-30 from the field, leaving a lot of potential fantasy points on the table. The most important part of Brown though is his SG/SF eligibility, letting us play him with FVV and Lowry rather easily and keeping a guard slot open if we need it for value.

    Jayson Tatum ($9,500) Tatum just isn’t garnering ownership in any format and brings some of the best upside on the slate. If spending up, I prefer Tatum over Kawhi and Jokic. Like the rest of the core in the game, he’s just not going to leave the floor and is going to command incredibly high usage. It’s perfectly viable in cash to build around Tatum or Brown along with FVV and Lowry as your building block pieces. I’m currently leading Tatum over Brown, but it’s extremely close. 


    That’s it! These slates get real tricky as we head into the later portion of the series and people are on to the correct plays. My best advice for trying to get different in tournaments (and even cash games) is to really prioritize the BOS-TOR game and fade ownership from DEN-LAC. Best of luck and please reach out to me on twitter @AsmusSports if you have any questions. 


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