The days of two-game daily fantasy basketball slates are slowly dying. The Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers clash tonight in what could be the final game of the second round of the 2018 NBA playoffs. Starting here, you’re looking at a litany of one-game “showdown” NBA DFS contests at worst and random two-game slates at the very best.
Knowing the NBA, it’ll make much more sense to stagger the Eastern Conference Finals and Western Conference Finals, so getting accustomed to these one-game contests at FanDuel might be in your best interest.
I haven’t approached them yet for The Sports Geek readers, but I did put together a fun lineup in basically the same contest for Super Bowl 52.
My team didn’t win all of the money, but I did nail an amazing sleeper in Corey Clement. Had Nick Foles and Alshon Jeffery also not had insane games, I could have won big there.
The logic is fairly similar for the one-game NBA contests at FanDuel. You want to do three things; pick the best overall player as your MVP (1.5x points), stack as many high level options as you can and find a way to be super contrarian.
Clement got the contrarian side down for me in the Super Bowl 52 contest and Tom Brady was my MVP. That was two of three, but I didn’t see Foles or Jeffery coming and that’s where I went wrong.
Basically, you need a perfect five-man squad.
That’s daunting, but if you don’t love your team, you can always enter your lineup for free at FanDuel in their NBA Fantasy Playoffs contest. That’s what I’ll be doing, but if you love the team I piece together here, feel free to toss it in some cash entries as well. Either way, let’s see what my favorite team looks like for tonight:
MVP: Joel Embiid – Philadelphia 76ers ($17k)
I like Boston to win this game, but that doesn’t mean the Sixers can’t show up and keep it interesting. If they’re going to, Embiid should be a big part of what they do right. He’s had some strong outings throughout the playoffs and has been the best Philadelphia player to use in NBA DFS in this series.
Boston has some big bodies to throw at him, but Embiid can still be a monster as a scorer, rebounder and shot-blocker. I can see the argument for Ben Simmons and maybe even Terry Rozier in this spot, but I want Embiid as my top option. I think he can chase down a 50-burger tonight and in this 1.5x slot he’ll obviously get even more than that.
G: T.J. McConnell – Philadelphia 76ers ($7.5k)
Philly slid McConnell into the starting five last game and he logged 38 minutes in a win. I don’t know if he goes nuts again, but they’d be really stupid to go away from what just got them their first win of this series.
McConnell soaks up a lot of the playmaking duties but he also helps open this offense up. He’s way too cheap to not use in this one-game contest and while he’ll surely be popular, I can’t fade him.
F/C: Ben Simmons – Philadelphia 76ers ($16k)
I still want to pay up for Simmons, but I do think McConnell’s presence curbs his upside enough to keep him out of my MVP slot. That doesn’t mean he can’t wreck still and it also probably won’t keep him from being the second best DFS option in this game.
Simmons still has triple-double upside and while his assists are way down in this series, he feels like a lock for 40-45 fantasy points.
UTIL: Marco Belinelli – Philadelphia 76ers ($7k)
You’re going to need to take a dive or two in this contest and to me, Belinelli is one of the best options. You could also provide an argument for Ersan Ilyasova at the same price, but Belinelli is the mor explosive shooter and seems like a lock for more run.
Belinelli really hasn’t popped off yet in this series, but he’s been fairly reliable as a scorer. If he’s going to go off, now is the time to do it and I don’t mind taking a shot at him at this price.
UTIL: Jayson Tatum – Boston Celtics ($12k)
Tatum is my last guy in, as he has loads of upside due to his improved scoring and overall versatility. He’s been really disappointing when it comes to his peripherals, but he absolutely has upside in that part of his game, whether it be with rebounds, assists, steals or blocks.
In a massive home game that could vault the Celtics to the ECF, I see Tatum coming up pretty big tonight. You can also argue for Al Horford, Dario Saric or Marcus Smart here, but Tatum is a blossoming star and this is a huge moment. I think he responds with one of his best games of this series and I don’t want to leave him off of this team.
Ultimately, this contest type really forces you to pick your spots. Leaving viable options like Horfy, Saric and Rozier off of my roster isn’t easy, but they simply aren’t better plays than Embiid or Simmons. Those two should be high-owned, but I’m fine eating the chalk there if guys like McConnell, Tatum and Belinelly can help make this team a little contrarian.
You really just need to find a way to end on the overall team you feel most confident in. I don’t like fading some of the other options, but you can’t roster everyone. Hopefully this team helps you win tonight, but be sure to consider alternative combinations or mixing some of my favorite picks with your own.
Whatever you decide to do tonight, I wish you luck at FanDuel tonight!