• The NBA playoffs are an incredibly fun time of the DFS season.  Season-long fantasy leagues are over but it isn’t all rainbows and roses just because we don’t have to worry about players resting after the main slate lock time.  With the NBA postseason come different issues for Daily Fantasy Sports players.  There are strategies for these small two and four-game slates that are completely different than tactics you might use in the regular season.  There are enormous advantages to be had if you can pinpoint them.  Luckily, I am going to lay out the strategies that will provide you with the edge necessary to compete against the sharp players that remain in NBA DFS.

    Find Your Top Scorers

    The very first thing to do when looking at the main slate is to identify who you believe will score the most overall points for the night.  No matter the cost, the opponent, defense versus position, usage, or any other regular season criteria, it is imperative that you have that player locked into your lineup and go from there.  This does not mean you need to pay for the most expensive player for every slate.

    If you think the most expensive player, Russell Westbrook, is going to score the most points, then you do need to lock him in.  If Westbrook is the highest priced player on the slate and you believe LeBron James is going to score more points in Game 3 on the road in Indiana, then you can absolutely lock in King James and not worry about ownership or salary.  Ownership percentages and salaries do not matter for whoever you believe will score the most points.  It only matters that you have that player.

    In the playoffs, having those highest scoring players is more important than having a well-rounded lineup.  With a limited player pool to choose from, it would be a mistake if you were to go with a fair and balanced approach to building your lineup.  In the regular season, when we have an enormous player pool for a large slate, it is easier to find mid-priced players who can have the upside necessary to score in the 40’s and 50’s. In the playoffs there are only a handful of players who have that type of upside on any given night.

    Most teams’ stars will play close to and sometimes more than 40 minutes.  When you have these types of players locked into heavy minutes who also have heavy usage there really isn’t an opportunity for mid-priced players to score in the 40’s.  Those types of players simply lack the minutes, the usage or both.  This is why it is imperative to grab as many of the stars (and their enormous ceilings) as you can.

    Stars and Scrubs

    Once you have lined up a few of your favorite plays that you think will score a lot of points it’s time to add in a few scrubs. Many players call this a “Stars and Scrubs” build. The “scrub” players are going to be your sub-$4,000 priced players who will play a lot of minutes and usually have a specialty.  A perfect example is J.R. Smith of the Cleveland Cavaliers.  Every game he will play over 30 minutes and shoot a handful of three-pointers. If he catches fire he can throw up a solid high 20’s fantasy point night for a really cheap price and a low ownership percentage.

    If you have a couple guys like J.R. in your lineup who go off for high 20’s and you have a couple stars who can both score 50-60 points then you’re really setting yourself up for success.  It is an all or nothing approach to the slate, but when you are playing small two and four-game slates you really want to find a way to separate yourself from the other lineup builds.

    Against the Grain

    For these short slates in the playoffs, there are usually duplicate lineups because there aren’t many different players to choose from. You don’t need to go incredibly contrarian and just slap together a random assortment of players across six teams, but it would be a wise decision to try to grab a guy who hasn’t provided much reason to select him and use game theory to find a reason to play him.

    For instance, you can choose someone like Nene Hilario from the Rockets, theorizing that Houston will work inside-out against the Thunder because the Rockets’ outside shooters are ice cold coming into the game.  You’re building your own theories off of logic and trends – use this strategy and hope you’ve theorized the outcome correctly.

    In the playoffs, you will sometimes see a lineup and think, “Why in the world would anybody have played that guy?”  It might have been a dart throw, it might have been a nugget of research that you missed, or someone might have game theorized some sort of outcome that allowed a player to get more playing time and exploit an advantage he had over his defender.  Use the strategies in this article to create and exploit your own mismatches against other DFS players.

    Our goal for the playoffs is to not pick and choose the right players to use, but rather to pick and choose the right players that our opponents do not.  Find that edge, attack it with every tool available, and sit back and watch the game.  DFS or not, the NBA playoffs are one of the best watches in sports television.  The atmosphere and environment are like none other from beginning to end.

    Good luck to you throughout the NBA playoffs and I hope you find success in the execution of the strategies I have provided.  You can find me on Twitter @DFSnDONUTS.  I would love to hear from you or see any positive results you experience from this article.

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