Friday’s fantasy basketball playoff slate has three games. The Magic host the Raptors in a series tied 1-1, while the Pacers play the Celtics at home down 2-0 and the Thunder host the Trail Blazers down 2-0.
In the playoffs, the pace of the game can slow down, and all six of the teams on Friday’s slate are playing a slower brand of basketball than they did in the regular season. The Celtics and Pacers have played the slowest pace among all playoff teams so far, averaging just 95 possessions per game — five less than the regular season league average of about 100 possessions per game.
Boston is playing about six less possessions per game through this series than it did in the regular season as the Pacers look to slow things down. The Raptors and Magic also have played a slow pace at 96 possessions per game for each team — five less than Toronto’s regular season average. Less possessions generally means less opportunities at fantasy scoring.
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Let’s take a look at some plays fantasy owners can consider using on DraftKings.
Kyrie Irving, BOS at IND ($8,900): The Pacers’ strong defense and slow pace tend to make them a tough fantasy opponent, but Irving’s ability to hit tough shots and take over in a playoff setting give him upside even against the best defensive teams. This was on display in Game 2, when Irving went off for 63 DKFP after shooting an outstanding 15-26 (58%) from the field and 6-10 from 3-point range (60%). Irving is a stone-cold killer in high-leverage moments and can play both on and off the ball, making him an explosive player in a playoff setting. Irving’s 32% usage rate through the first two games is tied for the highest among players on this slate.
Russell Westbrook, OKC vs. POR ($10,200): Westbrook is averaging 10.5 assists through the first two games, which is in line with his regular-season average. However, Westbrook’s facilitating has been boosted, creating a heavy 25 potential assists per game through two playoff games — a boost from 21 potential assists created during the regular season, which could indicate some more assist potential going forward if more shots off his passes start falling.
Other Options — Damian Lillard ($9,100)
Kyle Lowry, TOR at ORL ($6,800): Of the cheaper options at PG on this slate, Lowry’s minutes and role are the most appealing. Lowry has struggled at times in the playoffs in his career but had a strong bounce-back performance in Game 2, scoring 43.5 DKFP in 38 minutes on 8-13 (62%) shooting.
Other Options — Darren Collison ($4,600)
CJ McCollum, POR at OKC ($6,900): McCollum is the highest priced and most accomplished option at SG on this slate, and he has featured strong volume through the first two games, taking at least 22 shots in each game while posting a 31% usage rate, which is behind only Irving and Kawhi Leonard among starters on this slate. McCollum has cashed in strong fantasy performances with the increased volume, scoring 52.5 DKFP in Game 2 and averaging 44 DKFP through the first two games. Oklahoma City’s fast pace has the Blazers playing about 102 possessions per game in this series — a boost from their regular season average of 100 per game and tied with the Thunder for the highest among teams on this slate.
Bojan Bogdanovic, IND vs. BOS ($6,000): Bogdanovic led the Pacers in both usage rate (32%) and shots (21) in Game 2, posting a strong 46.5-DKFP outing. If that type of volume continues in Game 3, Bogdanovic is an appealing lower-cost option.
Other Options — Evan Fournier ($5,400)
Kahwi Leonard, TOR at ORL ($8,200): Leonard’s 32% usage rate through the first two games is tied with Irving for the highest among starters on this slate. That number was boosted to 34% in Toronto’s most recent game, where Leonard went off for 53.5 DKFP after shooting 15-22 (68%) from the field. Like Irving, Leonard is playoff-tested and has the ability to hit tough shots, making him a high -pside play even against a strong Magic defense, which ranked as the second best possession-adjusted team defense after the trade deadline.
Tyreke Evans, IND vs. BOS ($4,000): Evans isn’t playing big minutes, playing just 17 and 19 minutes in each of the first two games, but he is getting usage during the limited minutes he is on the court. Evans’ 32% usage rate is excellent, and a boost in minutes would help that number play up in terms of fantasy scoring.
Other Options — Aaron Gordon ($6,200)
Paul George, OKC vs. POR ($8,700): George’s price is down $500 from Game 1. His shooting efficiency hasn’t been the same since suffering a shoulder injury late in the regular season, but he still continues to post strong volume in the Thunder offense. His 28% usage rate through two games is tied for fifth highest among all starters on Friday’s slate. His 22 shots per game is second highest among all players on Friday’s slate, and his 11 3s taken per game is highest. The Thunder’s fast pace has them also has this series playing the most possessions per game by a comfortable six possessions per game margin.
Other Options — Pascal Siakam ($7,300)
Jayson Tatum, BOS at IND ($6,100): Tatum has been excellent through two games in this series and is coming off a 36.5-DKFP performance on 11-20 (55%) shooting. Tatum has been aggressive in attacking Pacer closeouts on his outside shots, taking nine drives per game in this series — a boost from five per game in the regular season, with him taking 11 drives to the basket in the Celtics’ most recent game. Tatum has been the Celtics’ second option behind Irving, and his 27% usage rate in Game 2 was better than his regular-season rate of 22%.
Other Options — Al Horford ($6,400)
Nikola Vucevic, ORL vs. TOR ($7,800): The Raptors and Marc Gasol have done an excellent job stopping Vucevic to this point, which has resulted in Vucevic’s price falling to $7,800 after a bad start to the series — the lowest his price has been since November and down $700 from Game 1. However, Vucevic has had success against Gasol before, scoring 53 DKFP in a Feb. 22 matchup vs. the Raptors in a game Gasol started. The Magic play their first home game of the series Friday, and teams generally tend to perform better at home in the playoffs.
Enes Kanter, POR at OKC ($6,500): Kanter is coming off a poor 11-DKFP outing in a Game 2 blowout, which limited him to 20 minutes, but his ability to score and rebound gives him upside. Kanter scored 52 DKFP in Game 1 on 20 points and 18 rebounds, and his 22.3 player efficiency rating in the regular season was strong. The matchup also takes place in Oklahoma City, where Kanter played from 2015-17.
Other Options — Steven Adams ($5,900), Marc Gasol ($5,500)
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is timfinn521) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.
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