Tuesday brings us a nice, four-game NBA playoff slate, setting up one of the busiest weeknights of fantasy basketball since the regular season ended. The Raptors and Sixers are both at home trying to finish off their respective first-round Eastern Conference playoff series and join the Celtics and Bucks in the second round. Out in the West, the Trail Blazers are at home trying to eliminate the Thunder in the late game after the Nuggets and Spurs meet in a pivotal Game 5 in their series, which is knotted at two wins for each team.
With four games already in the books in each of these series, there’s a solid track record to examine as you assemble your roster for the four Game 5s. Here are the studs and values I think are set up for success and should be the building blocks you consider for your squad this Tuesday.
StudDamian Lillard, POR vs. OKC, $8,800 — Even though they looked strong throughout the regular season, the Blazers’ domination of the Thunder on their way to a 3-1 series lead has surprised many people. Lillard has been the focus of the offense all season and has shown he can shine in the postseason while also slowing down Russell Westbrook ($10,200). Lillard had at least 45 DKFP in five straight games dating back to the regular season before finishing with 41.75 DKFP in Game 4. The Blazers were comfortably ahead, so he took fewer shots and let CJ McCollum ($7,300) continue his monster series. With a chance to close out the series at home, Lillard will look to re-assert himself and makes a relatively low-risk play if you decide to pay up at PG. Other Options — Russell Westbrook ($10,200), Jamal Murray ($6,300)
ValueSpencer Dinwiddie, BKN at PHI, $5,000 — Dinwiddie has scored at least 15 points in each of the first four games of the series and has been a solid contributor off the bench. He hasn’t been doing much creating for others, as evidenced by just four assists in four games, but still offers enough upside to be worth a look at $5K. He has more than 25 DKFP in two of his past three contests.
Other Options — Dennis Schroder ($5,300), Bryn Forbes ($3,900)
StudCJ McCollum, POR vs. OKC, $7,300 — While Lillard has been consistently excellent in his head-to-head battle with Westbrook, the difference in the series has been McCollum’s big return from a knee injury that sidelined him for almost a month from mid-March to mid-April. He played just two games in the regular season after his return but turned things on in the postseason. In the four games against the Thunder, he is averaging 26.3 points, 4.5 assists, 6.25 rebounds and 43.9 DKFP per game. He has played at least 36 minutes and produced at least 36 DKFP in each contest and has continued to look healthier as the series has progressed. The Thunder don’t have anyone who can slow him down, and he’s a great option at either guard spot, especially since he’s more affordable than the elite tier of options. Other Options — DeMar DeRozan ($7,900), Jimmy Butler ($7,100)
ValueMalik Beasley, DEN vs. SA, $3,700 — If you’re stocking your lineup with stars, you’ll need to grab some bargains, too. Beasley is a solid play under $4K who has been getting pretty good run so far in the series against the Spurs. He has played more than 22 minutes in each of the past three games with more than 15 DKFP in each contest. He went off in Game 3 for 20 points and 36.25 DKFP, so there’s upside if he gets things rolling but also relatively low-risk since he does contribute enough assists and boards to keep from being a total bust.
Other Options — Derrick White ($5,700), Norman Powell ($3,400)
StudKawhi Leonard, TOR vs. ORL, $8,300 — Leonard bounced back from a down Game 3 with 34 points, six boards and 53 DKFP against the Magic in Game 4. He had 53.5 DKFP in Game 2 as well before struggling to just 35 DKFP in Game 3. Kawhi has taken at least 18 shots in each of the four games and continues to be a key part of the offense, giving him great upside if he turns in non-scoring stats as he typically does. Other Options — Ben Simmons ($8,600), Aaron Gordon ($6,600)
ValueCaris LeVert, BKN at MEM, $5,900 — After injury limited him to just 44 games this season, LeVert has had his breakout in the playoffs, averaging 35.8 DKFP on 21.8 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.0 steals per game. He has more than 35 DKFP in three of the four games in the series and played a massive 42 minutes in his first start of the playoffs in Game 4. He finished with 25 points, six assists and five rebounds for 42.25 DKFP. If he’s in the lineup again for Game 5, he has an extremely high ceiling for a player under $6K.
Other Options — Evan Fournier ($5,100), Moe Harkless ($4,600)
StudPascal Siakam, TOR vs. ORL, $7,500 — Siakam’s breakout season has continued in the playoffs, and he especially stepped up when Kawhi was struggling in Game 3. In that contest, Siakam finished with 52.75 DKFP on 30 points, 11 rebounds and four assists. He cooled off a bit in Game 4 with just 16 points, six boards and 28.5 DKFP but should be set up to bounce back at home as the Raptors look to close out the series. Siakam isn’t as safe a play as Leonard, but he has huge upside at a nice upper-midrange price. Other Options — Paul George ($9,000), LaMarcus Aldridge ($7,800)
ValueAl-Farouq Aminu, POR vs. OKC, $4,700 — Aminu has been a consistent source of complimentary scoring this series and has been able to continue to find ways to contribute non-scoring numbers as well. When at his best, he can stuff the whole stat sheet and has at least 22 DKFP in each of the first four games of the set. He had a series-high 19 points and added nine rebounds to produce 36.25 DKFP against the Thunder on Sunday and will hope to carry over his hot hand to Tuesday’s contest in Portland.
Other Options — Paul Millsap ($5,200), Mike Scott ($3,400)
StudJoel Embiid, PHI vs. BKN, $10,000 — Embiid continues to struggle with knee soreness but is listed as probable for Game 5. He appeared hobbled in Game 4 but still put up a crazy 77 DKFP on 31 points, 16 rebounds, seven assists, six blocks and a pair of steals. The Nets don’t have an answer for him down low, and he has lit them up for 173.25 DKFP in just 77 minutes so far this series. If he plays even just 30 minutes at that rate, he’ll stay a great play at this salary. Nikola Jokic, DEN vs. SA, $9,300 — While his numbers haven’t been as insane as Embiid’s, Jokic also has been productive with more than 54 DKFP in three of the four games in the series and more than 20 points in each of the three most recent contests. He had his best game of the series in Game 4 with 58 DKFP on 29 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists. If you can’t afford, or don’t, trust The Process, Joker is a solid alternative — or you could build a jumbo-sized lineup around the two marquee big men if you save salary at other spots.
ValueJakob Poeltl, SA at DEN, $4,100 — Poeltl has played an averaged of 26.1 minutes per game over the first four games of the Spurs’ series against the Nuggets and produced an average of 21.8 DKFP per game. He has at least 20 DKFP in three straight games and should continue to see plenty of time on the floor as the Spurs try to slow down Jokic. Poeltl had eight points and nine rebounds for 25.25 DKFP in Game 4, so a low-grade double-double is not out of the question, and his reliable minutes make him a nice budget option in the middle.
Other Options — Jarrett Allen ($5,400), Rondae Hollis-Jefferson ($3,700)
Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Z.Thompson) 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.