• For this week’s breakdown, I’ll be grabbing the top-5 games by overall points (DraftKings) and then diving a bit deeper into some potential value plays along the week. We all know the big names are going to get their bread, so you don’t need to me break it down for you.

    TOP DFS Performers by points

    Rank Date Price Ratio Value Name Opp
    1 8/12 $11,100 69.091 87.75 James Harden IND
    2 8/11 $9,800 81.304 84.25 Damian Lillard @ DAL
    3 8/13 $7,700 110.746 73.75 Jonas Valanciunas MIL
    4 8/13 $11,200 76.458 72.75 Damian Lillard @ BKN
    5 8/13 $ 76.875 61.5 Caris LeVert POR
    1. James Harden went to work against the Pacers as the Rockets played without Danuel House Jr. and Russell Westbrook. The Rockets were down double digits with a few minutes left in the fourth when the Beard went on one of his patented offensive runs, creating for himself and others, but the Rockets fell short. He dropped 45 points with seven triples, 17 boards, nine dimes and three steals on .619 shooting. The Rockets will be without Russell Westbrook for at least another two games, so Harden will be the highest priced DFS player until then.
    2. Damian Lillard pops up twice here and for good reason. He’s the bubble MVP and brought the Blazers back from the dead, straight into the playoffs where they face off against one of the favorites for the NBA title in the Lakers. Portland will need Dame to average, at a minimum, 30 points for them to even have a chance against the Lakers. The thing about Dame and “needing to play well” is that he almost always delivers. Dame Time is here to stay and even if the series is short, you can bet that Lillard will give some monster performances during it.
    3. Jonas Valanciunas has had a huge year for the Grizzlies and delivered a gem of a line against the Bucks. He had a 26-19-12 line with a block and two triples and there wasn’t nearly enough coverage on the monster performance he gave. He also showed up big time in the play-in tournament game against the Blazers as the Grizzlies needed him to, seeing as they were without Jaren Jackson Jr.
    4. Caris LeVert is going to make some noise. He was huge in the final game of the bubble, almost knocking the Blazers out of playoff contention. The Nets had nothing to play for but pride and LeVert did everything in his power to steal this one from a heavily favored Blazers squad, dropping 37 points with six boards, nine dimes, two steals, a block and a triple. He missed his last floater attempt which would have won the game, but LeVert is a guy I’m very excited about coming into these bubble playofs.

    5 Points of Interest

    As we head into the NBA playoffs, I’d like to give some insight on what I’m looking forward to the most this year.

    1. Luka Doncic’s playoff debut. Doncic has been an absolute monster this season. propelling the Mavs to the No. 1 rated offense in NBA history, but the playoffs are where legends are made. He gets the not-so-fun task of going up against the reigning Finals MVP and multi-time Defensive Player of the Year in Kawhi Leonard and the powerhouse Clippers squad. The Mavs’ bread and butter is their pick-and-roll with Doncic handling the playmaking duties, but the Clippers have Paul George on the wings, one of the best screen defenders in the league. The Clippers should prevail, but seeing how Doncic maneuvers against the best wing defenders in the game is going to be the most exciting things to watch in round 1.
    2. Caris LeVert statement games. The Nets have Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant waiting to join the fray next season and the Nets are searching for another complementary piece to the squad, but they might have it in LeVert. He’s not the most efficient scorer, but LeVert boasts a large frame with a solid handle and passing ability which should be on full display against a stifling Raptors defense. I’m a huge believer in his abilities and I’m beyond excited to see what he can do against the Raptors. There’ll be bumps in the road, but with how the Nets have played in the bubble and LeVert finally being 100-percent, I can’t help but bank on some huge performances by him.
    3. OKC-HOU. You know all of the storylines here. It’s a shame Russell Westbrook will be sitting for the first part of the series, but the microball Rockets in their first playoff series against a team that can leverage their size will be fascinating. Although many pundits have the Rockets within 6-7 games, the data is out there that suggests the Thunder, an elite defensive team with length and size to bother Harden, should actually win this series. Their three-guard lineup has the best net rating of any trio in the league, their clutch performance is immaculate with Chris Paul at the helm and the Rockets are deploying a unique center-less strategy that should run into problems when a playoff whistle is involved. My bet is that OKC makes this series a slugfest as they’re the No. 1 defense in the bubble and a top-10 defense prior to it, but James Harden can throw a wrench into any team’s plans.
    4. Matisse Thybulle. The Sixers are without Ben Simmons which means they’re surely out of contention, but what this means is that we get a lot more Thybulle action. He’s one of the best defenders in the league and the Sixers are going to play a lot around Joel Embiid on offense, so what’s going to get my attention is the defensive side of the ball. Jayson Tatum is an emerging superstar on both ends of the floor, but Thybulle gets a chance to make a name for himself here. Pay close attention to Thybulle and the damage he causes on defense because once it’s all said and done, I’d bank on him being DPOY before he retires.
    5. The Heat. They’re built for this. Pat Riley teams always scrap and when you combine that with Jimmy Butler’s edge, you’re going to get a tough out in the playoffs. Bam Adebayo is the gel that holds all of the non-shooting parts of the Heat roster intact and Duncan Robinson is the elite shooter that helps balance out the fact that Butler is allergic to 3-pointers. Robinson is one of the best catch-and-shoot players from deep in the history of the game. He’s hitting .462 on catch-and-shoot 3s, he’s No. 5 in 3PTM per game (3.7), he’s shooting .446 from deep overall and isn’t a liability on defense. They’re not talked about as highly as the Bucks and Celtics, but they have all the tools necessary to make the NBA finals.
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