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Today's Optimizers and Datasheets
(Note: Needs Excel Version 2010 or later)
QUICK HITTERS (5/25)
- Today's main slate features 3 games. Nobody is on a back to back.
- As of this writing, the game with the highest over/under is WAS v PHI at 230.5 points. The game with the lowest over/under is ATL v NYK at 212.5 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 liking the mid-tier tonight more than any night of the NBA playoffs so far. Simmons, Rose, and Brooks are some of my favorite plays of the night, and I think there’s even a lot of deeper value in that 2nd tier. Guys like Gobert, Conley, Barrett, etc are great options, but I obviously couldn’t include them in my top 3 mid-tier plays. I also think that the low-tier is especially weak tonight, meaning it makes EVEN MORE sense to target that mid-tier. Maybe lock in some lower priced guys from that top tier (Young and Beal) and then fill out your lineup with some of those mid-tier guys. That’s probably the strategy I’ll go with, and I expect it to be pretty successful tonight. Tonight’s slate SCREAMS balanced strategy.
Tier 1 ($8,000+)
Each of the following tiers will provide our top 2-3 value plays (depending on how many games there are) of the night from within the specified price range.
Note: We will be using DraftKings prices for the price-range classifications.
1. Trae Young ($8,500)
I think you’ve got to lock Trae into your lineup at this 8.5k price tag. He put up 32-10-7 last time out, and the Hawks only scored 107 points, meaning his numbers could be even better tonight if they score more. Trae was getting basically whatever he wanted against this team, and he was really using his foul-drawing ability to his advantage. The Knicks are an extremely physical team, and with so many young players playing in their first playoff series, they probably got a bit too excited about the physicality that was allowed on the defensive end, leading to 9 free throws for Young. I expect the same to happen tonight, and I see another big game coming from Trae; he loves playing in the Garden, and it’s definitely fun to watch him do so.
2. Julius Randle ($9,400)
Even though Randle played TERRIBLY in game 1, he still managed to put up 15-4-12, making it a semi-decent fantasy night. It would be tough for him to shoot worse, so I'm definitely going to target Randle in my lineups tonight, who should have a bounce back game. He clearly had some nerves due to the fact that he was playing in his first ever playoff game, but those should have subsided a bit, and he should be more mentally ready to play tonight, resulting in a better shooting performance. Randle should stuff the stat sheet tonight and is a walking triple-double threat.
3. Bradley Beal ($8,800)
It makes no sense that Beal is 2.6k less than Westbrook, especially considering he had a better fantasy performance in game 1. Westbrook’s stat padding definitely takes a hit during the playoffs (because of the decrease in pace and the increase in defensive effort), and I think it’s Bradley Beal who will continue to be relied upon in late game situations as opposed to Westbrook. I really like Beal at 8.8k, even though he’ll have a tough matchup with whoever is guarding him tonight; Beal seems to really get up for these matchups where he gets to go against an elite defender (Simmons or Thybulle), so I expect another big game tonight from him.
Tier 2 ($5,000-$7,900)
1. Ben Simmons ($7,300)
I really liked what I saw from Ben Simmons in game 1. He made a clear emphasis to get defensive rebounds and run, all by himself. He put up 6-15-15 and was absolutely lethal in transition. He should have the same amount of success rebounding and passing the ball tonight, and I think he could even see a bump in his scoring, not to mention the defensive stats he always has a chance to accumulate. Simmons seems to have a really high floor tonight with a chance to smash his price tag out of the park, depending on the defensive adjustments that WAS makes.
2. Derrick Rose ($5,900)
Derrick Rose, at only 5.9k, has to be strongly considered in both Cash and Gpp lineups tonight. Even with the 27 point outburst by Rose’s benchmate Alec Burks, Rose was still able to rack up 17-5-5 in 38 minutes (the most on the team). It’s clear that Thibideau trusts Rose more than any other ball handler on this team, so I expect to continue to see him in late game situations and logging heavy minutes. I see myself continuing to go to Rose if he’s going to be at the bottom end of this mid-tier, because I just think you’re getting more value (in terms of both a floor and a ceiling) than the other players around this price range.
3. Dillon Brooks ($6,300)
I’m not chasing his big game 1 performance, but it’s definitely impacting my feelings about Brooks tonight. Brooks was able to get whatever he wanted offensively, and he played with an incredible amount of energy and intensity; to put it plainly, he was made for playoff basketball. I think with the reintegration of Mitchell tonight, Brooks will be tasked with guarding him, which bodes well for his fantasy output. As I discussed in a recent article I wrote, I’ve noticed that when Brooks locks down a star player on the defensive end, he almost always follows it up with a good performance on the offensive end - it’s like he gains energy from shutting a player down. So, I expect him to get up for the matchup against Donovan, and I expect another big performance in game 2.
Tier 3 ($3,000-$4,900)
1. Alec Burks ($4,600)
When Alec Burks enters the game, he has the green light to attack offensively on almost every possession, and we saw him take advantage of that in game 1; he put up 27-4-3 in only 26 minutes. I expect the Knicks to look heavily towards their bench again in game 2, with Burks being one of the main beneficiaries. I’m not sure what Burks’ floor is, but it’s clear that his ceiling makes him attractive enough at that 4.6k price tag, at least in my opinion. He should see a slight increase in his minutes after his game 1 performance, and he should be excited to play tonight again in front of that raucous MSG crowd.
2. Rui Hachimura ($4,700)
Unlike most players in this bottom tier, Rui is a player that is locked in for his starters minutes (35+); he’s very much needed on the defensive end, and he gives them the versatility to be able to excel in transition. Rui has a very solid floor (he put up 12 and 5 last game), but what really excites me is his ceiling. PHI will do everything they can do to limit the two stars in WAS, which I think could definitely open up some more three pointers and driving opportunities for Hachimura.
3. Taj Gibson ($3,300)
With Nerlens Noel’s ankle injury, I could definitely see Taj Gibson getting a slight increase in his minutes. I expect Noel to play, but there’s no telling how that sprained ankle will impact his defensive presence tonight, which could in turn mean more minutes for Taj. Even if Noel is completely fine, Taj is still trusted by Thibideau, so I could see him somehow getting the majority of the big-man minutes if he plays well. Keep an eye on this injury situation, but I definitely like Taj Gibson as a low-tier guy tonight.
NBA PLAYOFF MKF PLAYS OF THE DAY
Donovan Mitchell LESS than 25.5 Points
I just think it’s flat out unrealistic to think that Mitchell will be completely himself in his first game back from injury in a couple months. To make matters worse, he’ll be thrown right into the thick of a must-win playoff game, and he’ll likely be guarded by Dillon Brooks, one of the NBA’s elite two way wings. I expect Brooks to put the clamps on Mitchell (at least if he starts to get it going), and I expect Mitchell to take a game to get his feet wet and remember what it’s like to play playoff basketball again. I don’t like a particularly high scoring or efficient game from Mitchell tonight.
Russell Westbrook MORE than 11.5 Rebounds
I know Russell Westbrook had only 5 rebounds last game, but I think MKF is overreacting a little bit to that. I expect Westbrook to follow up his poor game 1 performance by absolutely attacking the glass with authority and getting out in transition once he gets rebounds. He should come out angry tonight after the game 1 loss in which he struggled late-game, so he’ll have a chance to flex his muscle tonight on the boards.
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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!