Happy Easter Sunday to all those that celebrate! As a present, you’re going to get to witness some of the most competitive, hard-nosed basketball matchups of the entire year. The rotations get shorter. The stars get brighter. Now that the play-in games have been settled, let’s tap into what the 2nd playoff slate of the year will look like.
Playing NBA DFS can be incredibly rewarding, but it can also make your head spin. It’s our job to make sure you’re winning as much as possible! There are countless variables that can lead to a player’s individual performance, but I’ve found it’s best to focus on just a few that can lead to better predictability.
My favorite factors to track for NBA DFS targets: Matchups (Offensive/Defensive Ratings), Opportunity (expected player minutes, game pace), and Recent Form.
This is the AM VERSION of a living article that will be updated throughout the day, as news comes through the wire.
LET’S GET INTO THE SLATE!!!!
NBA DFS Targets and Preview for April 17
Hawks (43-39) vs. Heat (53-29)
Offensive Rating: 2nd vs. 12th in the league
Defensive Rating: 26th vs. 4th in the league
Net Rating: 14th vs. 6th in the league
Pace: 17th vs. 28th in the league
Predicted Outcome: The Hawks have had a cute little run, but they’re playing a real playoff team now. A team that will have Victor Oladipo (who just dropped 40 in a regular season game with the starters sitting), only giving them about 15 minutes per game during the playoffs. That’s how good this team is. The Hawks can’t stop anybody, and the Heat are 4th in defense. I think this will be an easy one for the Heat at home.
DFS Targets: The only players I trust on the Heat are their high usage players (Trae Young and Bogdan) I’d add John Collins to this list with Capela out, but I’m not sure how many minutes he will get. Sub 25 minutes, and he’s not worth the salary. As for the Heat, I like Tyler Herro’s value most, Butler has been unpredictable, but he has a second gear for the playoffs. Bam has been dependable all year. I’ll sneak Lowry into some lineups as well, considering how horrible the Hawks defense is.
Nets (44-38) vs. Celtics (51-31)
Offensive Rating: 9th vs. 10th in the league
Defensive Rating: 20th vs. 1st in the league
Net Rating: 15th vs. 1st in the league
Pace: 12th vs. 24th in the league
Predicted Outcome: I’m most excited for this matchup out of them all. The Celtics are a completely different team than they were when they started the season. Ime Udoka has turned them into a defensive powerhouse, as they are now the best rated team, and best defense in the league. Going by the numbers, and their home court advantage, the Celtics should win this one. But at the end of the day, the Nets have the best two players on the court. It’s hard for me to look past that. I’m going to take the Nets to steal one at home from the Celtics.
DFS Targets: On the Nets, I love KD and Kyrie, obviously. Bruce Brown has been incredible and should be inserted in your lineups as much as you can. Drummond should fare well in a slow-paced affair. On the Celtics, Tatum, Brown, and Smart are all solid values. Patty Mills sub $3500 is too much for me to pass up, but in fairness, I don’t know how much he will play. Same goes for a $3900 Goran Dragic.
Bulls (46-36) vs. Bucks (51-31)
Offensive Rating: 13th vs. 4th in the league
Defensive Rating: 24th vs. 14th in the league
Net Rating: 21st vs. 8th in the league
Pace: 13th vs. 4th in the league
Predicted Outcome: Bucks. This one likely won’t be that close. The Bulls have fared horribly against good teams. They are the worse offense, the worse defense, and the slower-paced team. The Bucks are better all-around. Tough draw for a Bulls team that had a great season.
DFS Targets: On the Bulls, I like DeRozan and LaVine, but that’s about it. I think Vuc is too expensive for the potential foul trouble that a bulldozing Giannis might give him. On the Bucks, Giannis, Holiday, Middleton, and Portis are all money in the bank. If you’re looking for value plays here, Brook Lopez is too cheap at $4300. So is Grayson Allen at $4100, considering he’ll play somewhere between 20-25 minutes. Ibaka is near free at $3800, but he won’t crack 20 minutes. He’s a point-per-minute play, and if you use him, you’re betting that his minutes have been monitored for the playoffs. I’m not sure that’s the case.
Pelicans (36-46) vs. Suns (64-18)
Offensive Rating: 19th vs. 5th in the league
Defensive Rating: 19th vs. 3rd in the league
Net Rating: 20th vs. 2nd in the league
Pace: 21st vs. 8th in the league
Predicted Outcome: Let’s be serious. The Pelicans have been a fun team. The Suns have been dominant all year. There’s a difference. There’s a reason they have won almost 30 more games than the Pels. They are much better in all facets of the game. Suns win.
DFS Targets: I’ll be fading everyone on the Pelicans. If you disagree, you should look at Brandon Ingram or CJ. Other than that, you’re taking a risk I can’t see paying off. On the Suns, Ayton, CP3, and Booker are as good as gold against this defense. Of Bridges, Payne, McGee, Johnson, and Crowder, I favor McGee and Johnson at $5000. They are good pivots off of higher salary options if you wanted to go with a more balanced lineup, as opposed to stars and scrubs.