1) IMPORTANT: For DraftKings, May 20th's NBA slate is COMBINED with May 21st, meaning that both of the final play-in games will be included in today's Optimizer, Datasheet, and Newsletter! However, this is not the case for FanDuel. We will update the datasheet links in this newsletter tomorrow to account for the new FanDuel projections. You will also notice there is no optimizer for FanDuel tonight, that's because we believe optimizers for Showdowns are significantly less valuable than for typical NBA contests. We encourage you to focus primarily on ownership projections and our writeups if you plan to play in Showdown contests tonight or tomorrow!
2) We are hosting the Official Standings for the Clockwork Sports NBA Playoff Challenge on our website! Compete for a chance to win $25 cash, Clockwork sports VIP access for the NBA finals, or an NBA TopShot moment! Learn more here.
3) Our AC+ MLB Newsletter/Membership is OUT NOW! Our tools have been tried and tested over the first month of the MLB season, and we truly can't wait for you guys to use them. Read more about the membership here!
Today's Optimizers and Datasheets
(Note: Needs Excel Version 2010 or later)
QUICK HITTERS (5/20-5/21)
- Today's main slate features 2 games. Nobody is on a back to back.
- As of this writing, the game with the highest over/under is IND v WAS at 237 points. The game with the lowest over/under is GSW vs. MEM at 222 points.
Welcome to our brand new section for the NBA Playoffs! This section will provide you with a full breakdown (or 'blueprint') of both players and strategies we like for tonight's games. Our goal is for this section to replace our usual 'Need to Know' and 'Core Plays' sections, as there is typically much less injury news in the playoffs and we want to focus in more on matchups and lineup construction!
Tonight's Lineup Construction:
This sub-section will briefly breakdown lineup construction strategies to consider for tonight's slate. Are there high tier must plays? Is there a ton of cheap value? Should you go Stars and Scrubs? Etc.
I love the top-tier guys tonight. I think there’s a larger-than-normal gap between the top tier and the mid-tier guys tonight, which is a good enough reason to go for a stars and scrubs strategy tonight. I also wouldn’t hate stacking players from the IND v WAS game exclusively. I expect MEM to slow the pace down in an attempt to limit Steph from getting going, and I expect the WAS v IND game to be the COMPLETE opposite. Both teams (WAS and IND) want to play at a fast pace, so this game will be FILLED with large stat lines and will probably be won by the team who gets up more shots.
Tier 1 ($8,000+)
Each of the following tiers will provide our top 2-3 value plays of the night from within the specified price range.
Note: We will be using DraftKings prices for the price-range classifications.
1. Domantas Sabonis ($10,100)
Sabonis put up ridiculous numbers in his first three games against the Wizards this season, and I don’t expect tonight to be any different. These teams play at the 2 fastest paces in the NBA, and that fact alone means a guy who fills up the stat sheet will be successful. I’m staying away from Westbrook because I don’t think he’s worth 2.1k more than Sabonis, especially with the increased playoff intensity that Russ seems to struggle with. Sabonis is just as good a play in my eyes; he’ll be able to dominate the Wizards down low due to the fact that none of Gafford, Len, or Lopez can match up with him effectively. Also, Sabonis will have to pick up the scoring load a bit without Levert playing and with Brogdon still noticeably battling that hamstring injury. All of these factors lead me to believe that Sabonis will have a ridiculous triple double tonight.
2. Jonas Valanciunas ($8,000)
I already made a mistake not picking JoVal during the last matchup with the Warriors, and there’s no way I’m doing that again. JoVal is an absolute beast in the post, and there’s no one that can stop him on the Warriors. Draymond is too small, and Looney just doesn’t have the strength to keep JoVal off the block. Although Morant is widely believed to be the best player on this team, it’s actually JoVal who has been far more consistent this season. He’s a lock for a double-double, and I think you’re getting great value for him at only 8k against a Warriors team that we literally just saw him dominate less than 5 days ago.
Tier 2 ($5,000-$7,900)
1. Tj McConnell ($6,400 DK)
I’m going right back to McConnell tonight in what is probably the best matchup for him in the entire NBA. McConnell excels in transition, and this game will feature the 2 fastest paced teams in the NBA; both teams want to play at a fast pace, so it’ll be an absolute track meet with the winner probably being the team that has more offensive possessions and plays at the faster pace. Furthermore, the Wizards are awful at guarding players like Tj. They have almost no decent perimeter defenders that can keep quick guards out of the paint, and it’s for that reason that I think Tj lives in the paint tonight. The Pacers will be missing Levert again, and I could see Brogdon being less effective than he was last game as he’ll have to rely more heavily on that hamstring in a fast paced game. I can see Tj being on the court for important moments tonight.
2. Draymond Green ($7,300 DK)
Steph scored 46 last time out against the Grizzlies, and I therefore think MEM will be even more aggressive in terms of double teaming him in this next matchup. If that’s the case, which I expect it to be, Draymond will have a field day. He’s made a career off of playing 4 v 3 as a result of Steph being doubled on ball screens, and I think he’ll get to do so tomorrow night as well. If you watched the LAL vs GSW game last night, you saw the intensity and energy that Draymond brought on both ends. Perhaps it resulted in fewer offensive opportunities against LAL because he was tasked with guarding both AD and Lebron at different points, but I think he’ll have more offensive opportunities against MEM, where he’ll be matched up with a far weaker offensive player and will thus be able to save some energy for the offensive end.
Tier 3 ($3,000-$4,900)
1. Robin Lopez ($3,000)
Lopez could legitimately be the most preferable defensive option for Domantas tonight, simply because of his size and strength, and I could therefore see a world where he gets more minutes than both Len and Gafford tonight. Also, I expect the Wizards to go at Sabonis defensively. One of the best ways to get a guy out of his offensive game is to go at him on the defensive end and make him have to defend you. If Sabonis is able to guard Len and Gafford all game, two guys who have absolutely no offensive skills besides dunking, he’ll be fresh and ready to go on the offensive end. On the contrary, if he has to battle with Lopez in the post and attempt to stop Lopez’s patented hook shot (which is absolutely lethal), I could see him having a less effective offensive performance. I think Scott Brooks (a very smart coach) knows this and will go to Lopez a little extra tonight.
2. Ish Smith ($4,400)
If last game is any indication, it appears Ish Smith has overtaken Neto for those backcourt minutes. Even though Neto started, he only played 17 minutes and put up 0-1-1 in those minutes. Ish Smith, on the other hand, put up 17-3-8 in 26 minutes and was more effective in essentially every way, including defensively. I think the Wizards will stick with Ish Smith tonight if they have even half a brain; he’s more of a threat both offensively and defensively, and he excels in transition, which is perfect for tonight’s game against IND. As I’ve said multiple times, this game features the 2 fastest-paced teams in the NBA, so you really want to focus on players who are good in transition (McConnell, Ish, etc).
NBA PLAYOFF MKF PLAYS OF THE DAY
NBA Playoff are upon us, so it's a great time to get involved with MKF! I'll be walking you through a few of my favorite NBA Prop plays across some of the many daily MKF contests. If you haven’t seen the types of contests MKF offers, you should really check it out - super fun and easy contests that don’t require much time or research!
Disclaimer: The lines that we are using are the lines at the time of this writing, so those are subject to change (the lines are updated in real time on the MKF website); this is one of the many differences between DK/FD and MKF.
Domantas Sabonis MORE than 56.5 Fantasy Points
These are the numbers that Sabonis put up in his three games against the Wizards this season… Game 1: 35-6-11. Game 2: 32-9-19. Game 3: 30-13-13. Need I say more? Given the pace that BOTH of these teams want to play at, as well as the lack of front court firepower that the Wizards have to slow down Sabonis, it’s not surprising that Sabonis absolutely dominated his first three matchups against the Wizards this season. I don’t expect tonight to be any different, especially with a playoff berth on the line. Sabonis will be the focal point of the offense with a banged up Brogdon and an absent Levert, and he should put up similar numbers to his first three performances.
Dillon Brooks (+0.5 Fantasy Points) MORE Fantasy Points than Kent Bazemore
I have to be honest here, I’m quite baffled by this line. Of course I can see a world where Bazemore gets some open three point looks and racks up 3+ steals/blocks against the Warriors, but it’s very unlikely; Kent plays more of a defensive/hustle role, which, even though it’s needed, is not meaningful in Fantasy. I’m FAR more confident in Dillon Brooks, who is at times a focal point of the Grizzlies offense and can really light it up. Perhaps Brooks isn’t projected to do well because of the defensive assignment he’ll be tasked with, but he guarded Curry last game and put up 18-6-2, so I expect him to have enough energy to excel offensively again. With the +0.5 boost that Brooks gets, I just can’t go away from him.
Thanks for reading our MKF Plays of the day! And remember, if you sign-up here and use the promo code AC, your first deposit will be 100% matched (up to $50). That means if you deposited an initial $25 and used our link/code, you'd be credited with an additional FREE $25 to use on the site!
Each days newsletter will be posted no later than 2 hours before the main slate of games tips-off, see you tomorrow!