AC+ NBA 5/23


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Today's Optimizers and Datasheets

 5/23 Excel Optimizer/Datasheet

(Note: Needs Excel Version 2010 or later)


- 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 WAS v PHI at 229 points. The game with the lowest over/under is LAL v PHO at 213 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’m most excited about the mid-tier plays tonight. D'Rose and CP3 might be my 2 favorite value plays of the night, and Curry isn’t far behind. There is tons of depth in this mid-tier, and I think you have to construct your lineup with that in mind tonight. I would lock in a couple or a few of those mid-tier options and then use our optimizer to find some good value at the top and bottom tiers. These teams are seemingly a lot more well-rounded than the team’s yesterday, so that should result in some better production from the low and mid tier guys.

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. Joel Embiid ($9,800)

Embiid is below 10k, and I’m not really sure why. Everything is shaping up for Embiid to have a massive game today; he’s playing against a fast-paced, poor defense in WAS, and none of the big men should be able to give him too much trouble. Maybe his price is a little bit lower because DK anticipates WAS bringing a double, which would result in other guys having to step up. Either way, though, I think Embiid comes out angry tonight in a game where he can once again prove why he’s the most dominant big in the league (in his mind); he’ll probably shoot more than 10 free throws and will try to bully Len/Gafford/Lopez early and often. I’m definitely liking Embiid more than the 3 guys ahead of him (Russ, Lebron, AD), and I think he’s a super solid top-tier option to build your lineup around.

2. Julius Randle ($9,200)

I’m actually somewhat surprised I'm doing this, because I think Randle will probably have a tough shooting night tonight; it’s his first playoff game ever, and he’ll definitely have some nerves. However, even if he shoots a poor percentage, I think he’ll get up TONS of shots and will fill out the stat sheet in other ways as well. He’s going to be extremely fired up to play this game, and I could see a 10 for 30 type of performance where he’s got too much energy for his own good. The other thing is that Randle gets A LOT of value from his player profile, suggesting that the Hawks are really bad at guarding tough players like Julius, something that should bode well for his success this series. 

3. Anthony Davis ($10,000)

I’ve talked a lot about how banged up AD is and why that might impact his effectiveness in this series, but I think he still puts up good numbers regardless of if he actually plays well. Everybody knows that Lebron takes the first game of the series to figure out the other team, and this fact should especially be the case as James is battling an ankle injury. So, I expect the Lakers to rely far more heavily on AD tonight, who will probably see more shots and usage than normal. I also don’t envision Ayton being able to slow AD down; perhaps he has the size and strength, but he definitely doesn't have the agility or versatility that’s needed to guard him.

Tier 2 ($5,000-$7,900)

1. Derrick Rose ($5,500)

Here’s another price that I’m a little confused by. Rose is looking like the 2nd most important player on the Knicks right now, and I think that bodes really well for his dfs productivity in this series, especially if this continues to be his price point. He has the most playoff experience on this young team, and I think he will be heavily relied upon in big moments; they might go a little more than normal to Rose late in the game, as Randle could be in the process of getting his playoff feet wet. I also really like the matchup for Rose. The Hawks don’t have a lot of good perimeter defenders, and if Trae is guarding Rose at any point (or Huerter, Bogdan, etc), he’ll definitely look to expose him/them. 

2. Chris Paul ($7,500)

Even though Paul’s teams have struggled in the playoffs, he performs well again and again every season, and I don’t expect this year to be any different. He’s the heart and soul of this team, and I expect his usage and time of possession to increase a little bit during these playoffs. He’s going against his old teammate Schroder (who he knows well), so I think he’ll know how to effectively attack and exploit him. You can bet your money’s worth that the Suns will be relying on CP3 as opposed to Booker in important moments (especially early in these playoffs), as Chris will be trying to make Dbook’s adjustment as seamless as possible.

3. Seth Curry ($5,000)

At only 5k, I think you would be getting excellent value for Seth Curry tonight. As I talked about earlier, the Wizards will most certainly show double teams to Embiid throughout the game, which are bound to create open threes for Curry. Curry has been known to be effective in the playoffs (he was great last season for the Mavericks), and I would feel super comfortable with him at 5k given what his minutes and shot attempts should look like, as well as the quality of those shot attempts as a result of the attention that Joel required in the post. I think Embiid looks to open up shots early for his teammates, and that will almost certainly help out Curry’s ability to return value tonight.

Tier 3 ($3,000-$4,900)

1. Matisse Thybulle ($3,300)

I’m going to Thybulle tonight for one reason: minutes. I think he potentially gets the start tonight and sees tons of minutes. His perimeter defense (which is ELITE), will be needed against arguably the best backcourt in basketball (Russ and Beal). I could see Thybulle matching Beal’s minutes and face guarding him the whole game; Doc definitely knows that if they shut down 1 of either Beal or Westbrook, and DEFINITELY if they shut down both, they’re bound to win the series. Thybulle isn’t much of a threat offensively, but he should be able to get enough periphery stats to return value tonight at his price tag. 

2. Jae Crowder ($4,100)

Jae Crowder will, in my opinion, be an X factor in this series. Not only will he spend a decent amount of time defensively on Lebron, but he’ll be tasked with hitting open threes throughout the series (something he’s been really good at this season). It’s easy to forget about the shooters surrounding Paul and Booker, and I think the Lakers will definitely get caught sleeping a few times today. At this price tag, I think there’s a really good chance that he returns value, and I could even see him smashing his price tag if he gets hot from three.

3. Daniel Gafford ($4,100)

I’ve thought a lot about this series and how the Wizards will have any chance of winning it, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s going to have to be by making it as fast-paced as possible. They need to make Embiid get up and down the court as many times as possible, and they need to make this a track meet. Gafford is most certainly the best big for that strategy, as he runs the floor well and can catch lobs at the rim in a number of athletic ways. Gafford has been by far the best big on this WAS team, and even though he won’t get the start today, I think he’ll be able to return value on his small price tag.


Anthony Davis MORE than 25.5 Points

As I talked about earlier, Lebron takes game ones of playoff series’ to get to know the other team. He feels out his opponent, and he is often less aggressive going to the hoop than normal; I think this is only compounded by the ankle injury and the fact that he’s not 100%. Therefore, I expect AD to step up for the Lakers tonight, whether it be in a win or a loss. Ayton definitely doesn’t have the foot speed to stay with Davis, so I would look for Davis to exploit that early and often.

Ja Morant (+5.5 Points) MORE points than Donovan Mitchell

Although I think Donovan Mitchell will come back a lot better than we think he will (given his long injury rehab), I still don’t think he’s at his best game 1. Conversely, Ja is coming off a great game in probably the most important game of his career, and he should look to keep it rolling tonight. With the +5.5 point boost that Morant gets tonight, I just have a VERY HARD time looking away from this line.


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Each days newsletter will be posted no later than 2 hours before the main slate of games tips-off, see you tomorrow!