It has not been easy to place in daily fantasy basketball playoff contests thus far. I’ve hit some bad luck a few times with untimely injuries, but some guys just come up small in the clutch, it seems.
You’re running out of time to take advantage of these playoff situations, though, as the playoffs are down to two series in either conference. Before you know it the NBA Finals will be here and all we’ll have are those one-game “showdown” GPPs that FanDuel and DraftKings have been promoting.
I’ll probably still offer a lineup for those when we get to that point, but for now let’s keep aiming high with these NBA DFS two-game slates.
Tonight could be a fun one, as the Philadelphia 76ers have explosive upside and badly need to get a win in game two in Boston. That game is projected to be quite tight and sports a weird 207 Total. I expect this game to smash that out of the park.
The top NBA betting sites are figuring the other game (Cavs vs. Raptors) to be more explosive, as that game has a 213 Total and is also supposed to be relatively close (+6.5 spread). It’s tough to know how these games will go, but the Vegas lines are solid starting points.
For me, I see Philly and Toronto winning to even these series up, so I’m going to let those narratives dictate how I piece together tonight’s NBA DFS squad. If you disagree with either pick, consider switching things up as you see fit. With that, it’s on to tonight’s daily fantasy basketball picks at FanDuel:
PG: Terry Rozier – Boston Celtics ($8.4k)
Tonight’s slate is starving for quality point guards. Philly doesn’t have a regular point guard, so George Hill ($3.8k) is really you only other option here and you’re otherwise dealing with volatile backups. Hill is pretty shaky as well, so I’ll start things off with Rozier and pair him with Kyle Lowry.
Rozier is at home and went nuts (50 fantasy points) in this up tempo matchup in game one. Vegas doesn’t love this game for whatever reason, but it has explosive potential. His price is inflated, but you have to be aware of the market. Point guard is very thin on this slate and he’s probably a must.
It should be known that I’m fading King James tonight. Yeah, he might get 70 fantasy points, but at what cost? I feel I can get a couple more studs without him and I have to take on fewer risks like Hill or other spare point guards.
PG: Kyle Lowry – Toronto Raptors ($8.2k)
I’ll also snatch up Lowry, who put up a solid 34 fantasy points in a game one loss. The Cavs still offer a favorable defensive matchup in theory and he’s at home in a must-win game for Toronto.
If nothing has changed with these Raptors, Lowry will bust and they’ll drop into a 2-0 hole. I doubt that happens, though, so I want some Toronto exposure in a game that could actually end up being a bit of a defensive battle if it goes Toronto’s way.
SG: Marco Belinelli – Philadelphia 76ers ($4.2k)
I have interest in DeMar DeRozan tonight, as he could be low-owned with a lot of people flocking to King James and some other studs. That being said, I don’t think he’s a must for two reasons; he needs to score a ton of points to really blow up and shooting guard is actually a solid spot to pay down.
DMR can be fun, but he probably needs 35-40 real life points to really pay off. He can get that, but with the way Toronto plays now, it’s no given. I’d rather bank on a Sixers shooter going nuts in a game Philly needs to steal.
J.J. Redick is in play here as well, but I love Belinelli, who can get hot in a hurry and has never been shy about hoisting from long range.
SG: Kyle Korver – Cleveland Cavaliers ($4.2k)
The story is similar with Korver. He’s one of the few role players actually giving the Cavs strong minutes in the playoffs, so another game around 30 minutes makes a lot of sense. It’s possible Toronto shuts him and the rest of the Cavs down in a must-win situation, but he’s too cheap to worry about stuff like that.
It was J.R. Smith who popped off in game one, so Korver also makes for an elite pivot off of his own teammate.
SF: Jayson Tatum – Boston Celtics ($6.8k)
Fading LeBron James is not for the faint of heart, but he costs over $13k and there is a chance he ends up being a little more human in a game the Raptors can’t afford to lose.
I suspect he won’t be quite as dominant this time, and if Cleveland is going to pull out another upset win, his role players may have to come up pretty big.
It’s also just a great GPP move, as James is sure to be over 50% owned, if not much more. I know you should usually just eat the chalk in these settings, but I’m thinking a little outside the box.
The fact that Tatum is growing up before our very eyes is reason enough to give the James fade a go here. He’s been great as a scorer (20+ points in four of his last five playoff games) and he has the versatility to rack up the peripherals.
I’m more on the Sixers than the Celtics tonight, but if Jaylen Brown is out again, there’s a ton of upside to be had here. If Tatum can show up big and deliver a 40-point fantasy gem, this could be a brilliant pivot.
SF: C.J. Miles – Toronto Raptors ($3.5k)
Whether I use James or not, this second SF slot was always going to be reserved for Miles. Toronto deployed OG Anunoby for 30 minutes in game one and that makes him every bit the value play Miles is, but Miles can blow up as a shooter. He didn’t do that in game one, so I’m banking on him doing so tonight.
PF: Ben Simmons – Philadelphia 76ers ($9.9k)
I could spend up on King James, but my plan is to land both Sixers studs in a game they have to get. Simmons was not great in game one and really heard it from the TD Garden crowd, so I fully expect him to answer back with a huge outing tonight.
Even if he doesn’t score the ball well or if his team loses, Simmons is just as versatile and as explosive as anyone else on this slate. He’s a discount on this slate based on his upside and I don’t plan on fading him.
PF: Ersan Ilyasova – Philadelphia 76ers ($5k)
The other PF slot is pretty wide open to me, as I can hear arguments for Serge Ibaka, Jeff Green and even Kevin Love. I want Joel Embiid, though, so really only the first two are in play for me on this slate.
I’ll hop on Ersan, as he’s another Philly guy that can get hot in a hurry and he also has the ability to pile on the peripherals. His run could be shaky in this series, but he may be needed if the Sixers want to steal this second game.
C: Joel Embiid – Philadelphia 76ers ($9.4k)
I talked about Embiid already and he’s my center of choice tonight. Tristan Thompson again offers elite value, but due to a weak offensive game, he’s always a risk. Al Horford was huge in game one, but the Sixers need this game more and it’s always possible Embiid eats his lunch.
There is also Jonas Valanciuns, but after wrecking in game one, I wonder if his volatile nature has him sacking people at a steep $7k tonight.
I won’t be getting cute here, as every center is a bit inflated, save for Embiid. You know he can be a flat out monster and in such a big game, I expect that version of him to show up tonight.
For me, this slate starts and ends with your take on LeBron James. If you think he’s a must, then you’re going to see this slate differently than I do. If you’re with me, fading him could open you up to a very potent team. I just need Tatum to come through and James to not be out of this world amazing.
Obviously everything else also needs to fall into place the way we want it to, but I think for a two-game slate, this is an interesting GPP lineup.
Whether you’re with me or not here, hopefully my analysis points you in the right direction and you can find a way to win at FanDuel tonight. Good luck!