Tonight’s daily fantasy basketball slate is interesting for a few reasons. The first is that it potentially opens up as a fine slate to target all four teams involved, as both of tonight’s Eastern Conference playoff series have relatively tight spreads.
It also could give way to disastrous game four situations, with both the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers in position to pull off 4-0 sweeps in their respective round two series.
The other thing to consider is the pricing tonight at FanDuel.
LeBron James is an astronomical $14.5k. The next legit “stud” is Joel Embiid and he’s an obvious bargain at $10.3k by comparison. Other guys who are capable of putting up big games are all below $10k.
I know I said I wouldn’t fade King James again, but if you think his ownership will be high, tonight is actually the best night yet to do it. There is solid logic behind it, too. The pricing aspect is obvious, but if the Raptors smoke the Cavs or Cleveland wins easily, it’s possible you don’t get a full game out of LeBron James tonight.
For this staggering price, you’re going to need a full game of vintage James just flat out wrecking.
At that price, you absolutely need James to get 70+ fantasy points just to reach value. There is risk there, but 9 times out of 10, you’re going to want him. Since you’re almost certainly forcing him in your lineup, I’ll show you my favorite team around King James at FanDuel tonight:
PG: Fred VanVleet – Toronto Raptors ($3.8k)
You can pay up for Kyle Lowry and/or Terry Rozier tonight, but I don’t really want to. Lowry has had a pretty low ceiling throughout the playoffs, while Rozier dropped off a bit last game. Either one of these guys can go off, but they can also sack you pretty easily.
I value other positions a bit more on this small two-game slate, so I’ll dive at point guard tonight. VanVleet starting and logging 33 minutes in game three makes that a viable move. I probably need him to start again to feel confident in this dive, but at $3.8k a guy with around 30 minutes feels like an elite value play.
PG: George Hill – Cleveland Cavaliers ($4.3k)
I’m diving at both PG spots and that includes Hill, who also sees over 30 minutes per game. He doesn’t have a great matchup and he’s failed to really blow up in this series, but he does have upside built into this cheap price. I don’t think he’s a threat for 40+ fantasy points, but if he can get hot from outside and set up his teammates, 30-35 fantasy points would be a fine landing spot.
SG: Kyle Korver – Cleveland Cavaliers ($4.6k)
DeMar DeRozan feels really overpriced based on how he’s performed throughout this series. I’m sure he has a big game in him yet, but he simply is not worth forcing him in at $8.7k right now. There is also some solid value across the board at SG, so I’ll hear pretty much any other argument for shooting guard options.
One of my favorites continues to be Korver, who the Cavs love to hand minutes to. Not only does he space the floor as well as anyone in the league, but he’s an underrated role player that will fight on every possession. He still needs to catch fire from deep to pay off, but he’s safely topped 22+ fantasy points twice in this series. I think chasing 30 fantasy points in this spot isn’t that unrealistic.
SG: Marco Belinelli – Philadelphia 76ers ($4k)
I could pay up a little more at SG, but I don’t see the need with Belinelli coming in at such a bargain. Belinelli has yet to truly pop off in this series, yet he’s still shown up as a scorer with 10+ points scored in every single playoff game this year.
That big game is just around the corner and it could come tonight. After logging 36 minutes in game three, Belinelli is a fantastic value on this small slate.
SF: LeBron James – Cleveland Cavaliers ($14.5k)
I think it could be a bold, contrarian move to fade James on this slate. Even at this price, I still expect him to be 50% owned or higher. If he is and he falters (less than 50 fantasy points), fading him could give you a huge edge over the field.
The only issue with that is there aren’t any other small forwards who can realistically come close to matching him. Robert Covington also feels like a waste of $6.7k given how he’s played for most of the playoffs, too, so you’re taking a big chance by using two SF slots and not having James in one of them.
On top of that, the next best stud on this slate is likely to still finish about 20 fantasy points below James. Again, it’s a big risk and I think since you can build a very good team around him, fading him isn’t my first call.
James is a flat out lock for 40+ fantasy points, and a pretty good be for 50+. The way he’s been playing, he has a great shot at 70+ as well. He’s a must in 99% of the games you’re playing tonight, but I do see the upside in building one or two lineups without him. I just won’t be doing it in tonight’s TSG lineup.
SF: Jayson Tatum – Boston Celtics ($7k)
There is value to be had with C.J. Miles or another deep dive, but I’m looking for a little stability out of this lineup. I’m double punting at PG and SG, but everywhere else I’d rather get some safety if I can.
Tatum is the second best SF on the board and he’s been really safe, topping 30+ fantasy points in each of his last five playoff games. He doesn’t have the upside James does, but he has a better floor and ceiling than any other option at his position. You’re only saving $300 to take on more risk with Covey, so I’ll just pay for the reliable Tatum here.
PF: Kevin Love – Cleveland Cavaliers ($7.8k)
I could pay up for Ben Simmons, but he really hasn’t been his elite self in this series with the Celtics. He had his best game of the series in game three and he still only had 42 fantasy points.
That won’t cut it at almost $10k, so why not just drop down by $2k and roll with Love? Love has really shown up over his last two starts, topping 48+ fantasy points in two big Cavs wins. I don’t expect 50 fantasy points again tonight, but I think he’s back in a groove and at this price he feels like an elite bargain buy.
PF: Dario Saric – Philadelphia 76ers ($6.5k)
I do still want a little stability at power forward, so I’ll snatch up Saric instead of playing with fire via guys like Jeff Green, Marcus Morris and the like. Saric is locked into around 33 minutes per game and he can always get hot from outside or rack up rebounds.
Joel Embiid being healthy lowers Saric’s upside, but he’s been quite safe throughout postseason play, registering 27 + fantasy points in six of his eight contests. I think he can close in on 30+ fantasy points in a big game four and that’ll probably beat out the majority of the other PF value picks you’ll be considering.
C: Al Horford – Boston Celtics ($7.2k)
There isn’t an elite value play at center tonight, so you’re almost certainly down to Joel Embiid, Jonas Valanciunas or Al Horford. Embiid has more upside than any of them and is the safest play, but Horfy has been quite steady (36+ fantasy points in four straight games) and is an elite pivot based on his price.
I would have previously thought Embiid would shut Horford down, but that hasn’t been the case. Hordy lacks upside, but if he can hover around that 36-40 fantays point range, he’s the play here with over $3k in savings.
Overall, I’m just rolling King James out there and then trying to get as balanced as possible. No matter what you do, you’re going to be forced to take a few dives. I think those dives are best utilized at PG and SG tonight. If you disagree with using James or diving at those spots, adjust accordingly.
Regardless of what you decide, I hope my NBA DFS picks help you in some manner and you find yourself in the green tonight. Good luck!