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Today's Optimizers and Datasheets
(Note: Needs Excel Version 2010 or later)
QUICK HITTERS (5/22)
- Today's main slate features 4 games. Nobody is on a back to back.
- As of this writing, the game with the highest over/under is BKN vs BOS at 229.5 points. The game with the lowest over/under is DAL vs LAC at 218 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.
Looking at tonight's slate, I definitely found the mid-tier to be exceptionally weak. I actually was able to find significant value in the low-tier; There are a ton of cheap guys to be found, and I really think you should construct your lineup with that in mind. A lot of these playoff teams are built with 1-2 stars and then 4-6 role players who all have a similar chance at scoring in double figures as opposed to a hierarchy of 3-5 guys, meaning those low-tier guys have a similar chance at scoring close to some of the mid-tier options. With this in mind, I think a stars and scrubs strategy is fairly obvious tonight, and I’m even fine going with Doncic or Jokic who I didn’t write about.
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. Kawhi Leonard ($8,000)
I wrote about this last night in the first edition of my AC playoff takeaways, but I really think people have forgotten about Kawhi’s playoff emergence. He has been saving up his energy and his body all year for this moment, and I don’t think he’s going to come out reluctant. He had a very disappointing end to his playoffs last season, and I think he’ll come out aggressive and intense from the start in an attempt to assert his dominance and return to what we know he can do come playoff time. At only 8k, he’s by far the cheapest primary option, and he’s right at the center of that high powered offense in LA, so I think you’re getting great value with Kawhi at the low end of this top tier.
2. Jayson Tatum ($10,100)
Tatum and the Celtics have nothing to lose. Nobody expects them to win (including me), and they are essentially already looking to the future. But, in a DFS sense, BKN poses a formidable matchup as they aren’t an elite defensive team, and I could really see them pushing the pace on the Celtics with their juggernaut of an offense. If the Celtics are going to have any sort of chance in this game, Tatum will have to do some ridiculous things. But, he’s scored 60 and 50 in the past few weeks, and he’s definitely peaking at the right time individually. His shot is falling, and he has the green light like never before without the added offense of Jaylen. Look for Jayson to take 20-25+ shots tonight.
3. Damian Lillard ($9,400)
After the season that Lillard had in 2020, I think he realized he had to take a step back from his scoring role and begin to facilitate for his teammates more. He did a lot of that this season and it definitely paid off well for POR, who’s looking really good going into these playoffs and have multiple high level scorers. But, I think much like Kawhi, people forget about the things that Lillard can do in the playoffs. He’s one of the clutchest players in the NBA, and I think he’ll really come out aggressive with some of his deep threes to open up the paint for himself and his teammates. I am slightly worried about Campazzo - who is an excellent on-ball defender and will be an absolute pest on Lillard - but I think Lillard will probably be able to overpower him with his strength and explosiveness.
Tier 2 ($5,000-$7,900)
1. Tyler Herro ($6,000)
As we saw in the bubble, Herro is an ABSOLUTE GAMER. Even as a rookie, he turned up his play exponentially in the playoffs, something you rarely see even 2nd or 3rd year players do. This year, I expect him to do the same. Whether he comes off the bench or is in the starting lineup, he could at multiple points throughout the game be the primary ball handler due to Jrue’s likely matchup on Jimmy. Either way, the Heat trust Herro as much as almost anyone on their team with the ball in his hands, in the playoffs, in big moments, so I wouldn’t be remotely shocked if Herro finds himself in the game during the 4th quarter and big moments.
2. Jusuf Nurkic ($7,200)
Nurkic is FINALLY healthy for a playoff series, and I think it’s going to pay dividends for the Blazers. I like Nurkic for a multitude of reasons tonight. First of all, I think he’s the better matchup for Jokic (as opposed to Kanter) from a defensive standpoint, which means he’ll likely get the bulk of the minutes. Additionally, as I wrote about in my article, I think the Blazers will put the Nuggets in an obscene number of pick and rolls in an attempt to get Jokic away from the rim and make him have to defend on the perimeter. As a result, Nurkic should get a ton of opportunities for finishes at and around the rim. Finally, I think Nurkic is hyped to play in this game. He was injured for the Blazers Western Conference Finals run a couple years ago, and he probably views this as his next best opportunity at a deep playoff run!
3. Norman Powell ($5,700)
It’s easy to forget about Norm as the third option on a really stacked POR team with probably the best backcourt in basketball. But, I think he’s in a decent position to quietly perform well in this series. The Nuggets don’t have a wealth of perimeter defenders, and the top end of those guys will be shuffled between Dame and Cj. Powell will almost never have the best defender on the court guarding him, and I think he’ll definitely look to take advantage of that. I could also see the Blazers looking to Norm early; they’ll want to get his confidence up, as he’ll have to be an impactful addition to this team if they want to make it far.
Tier 3 ($3,000-$4,900)
1. Rajon Rondo ($4,000)
This entire write up can be summed up in 2 words: playoff Rondo. When the playoffs come around, Rondo becomes a new player. He’s one of the smartest players to ever pick up a basketball, and when he combines that with the solid athleticism he has when he’s fully rested and playing with motivation, he’s an all-star caliber player. Yes, I said it. Rondo is an all-star caliber player in the playoffs. I expect him to bring it again this year, and you’ll see a completely new player than you saw throughout the regular season.
2. Monte Morris ($3,300)
Although I bet the Nuggets really like the Campazzo on Lillard matchup, I think they also have to be cognizant of the lack of playoff experience with Facu, and conversely the extensive playoff experience that Monte Morris has. Morris is recovering from a hamstring injury, but he’s gotten a good amount of rest from these play-in games, and he should be fully ready to go without a minutes restriction for the playoffs. I think Malone will go to Morris in big minutes, so I could see him easily smashing his price tag tomorrow. I think you’re getting awesome value with Morries at only 3.3k tonight.
3. Rob WIlliams ($4,900) *assuming he plays
If you’re the Celtics, I think you have to view the front court as your main advantage. The Nets are small and weak in the front court, and I think the Celtics will look to exploit that early and often, with both Rob Williams and Tristan Thompson. BKN doesn’t have many people to compete on the boards with Rob, and I also don’t think they’ll be able to handle him as a lob threat. If Rob is close to 100%, which I hope he will be by tonight (he’s had a few days of rest), I think he’ll get a lot of minutes and will be around the rim A LOT.
NBA PLAYOFF MKF PLAYS OF THE DAY
Hey Everyone! No MKF today, but if you haven't already, be sure to get set up with an account for the playoffs. MKF is one way to make these playoff games even more entertaining and it's super simple to play!
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!