I don’t think I’m being hyperbolic when I say this is the most entertaining NBA Playoffs that I’ve watched in recent memory. Buzzer-beaters, lead changes, blown leads, upsets…you name it, these playoffs have it. With all that excitement, players aren’t playing that much above/below what they’ve shown us in the regular season (generally speaking), so we can continue to lean on that for DFS purposes.
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 22
Heat (53-29) vs. Hawks (43-39)
Offensive Rating: 12th vs. 2nd in the league
Defensive Rating: 4th vs. 26th in the league
Net Rating: 6th vs. 14th in the league
Pace: 28th vs. 17th in the league
Predicted Outcome: Do we really need to finish out this series? The better team is clear. I don’t think it matters where they play. We’ll get the next two games as a formality, but the Heat don’t do too much overlooking of teams in the playoffs. They’ll focus on the Hawks, and finish out this sweep. They are the better team on offense, defense, e-fense, f-fense, g-fense, all the way through z-fense.
DFS Targets: I don’t trust anyone on the Hawks against this defense. Trae is getting swarmed and forcing shots. Trae’s inability to cause havoc gives poorer looks to all the Hawks role players (relative to the regular season looks they were getting). If you disagree, Trae, Bogdanovic, and Gallo would be the likely players to look at in DFS. On the Heat, Jimmy Butler is too cheap at $8800. Especially if he’s going to put up 25 shots again. I’ll fade Bam in this series. He’s on lockdown duty and isn’t looking to get buckets. Herro is too expensive. Lowry is low usage. Gabe Vincent in dirt cheap at $3600. Same goes for PJ Tucker at $4000.
Bucks (51-31) vs. Bulls (46-36)
Offensive Rating: 4th vs. 13th in the league
Defensive Rating: 14th vs. 24th in the league
Net Rating: 8th vs. 21st in the league
Pace: 4th vs. 13th in the league
Predicted Outcome: Bucks. The Bulls stole a game, and I respect that. They earned that win. But the Bucks are the better team, and have been all season. No Khris Middleton is rough, but that just means we’ll see more usage from Giannis, and I’m not sure that’s what the Bulls want. The deer should take back home court advantage with a win tonight.
DFS Targets: On the Bulls, I like DeRozan and Vuc are the only plays worth their salt. Caruso’s price has jumped $800 to $5100. His minutes make that look like a value, but taking only 8 shots isn’t going to cut it for the risk. On the Bucks, Giannis is a must-start with no Middleton. Don’t worry about his price tag. He’ll hit value. I don’t know what to expect from Jrue Holiday. He’s an elite on-ball defender, and is needed against LaVine and DeRozan. He can also run up the points. I don’t know what the Bucks will want his role to be, so it’s smart to have some exposure to him in some of your lineups. Brooke Lopez is too cheap at $5300, especially after playing 35 minutes (15 shots).
Suns (64-18) vs. Pelicans (36-46)
Offensive Rating: 5th vs. 19th in the league
Defensive Rating: 3rd vs. 19th in the league
Net Rating: 2nd vs. 20th in the league
Pace: 8th vs. 21st in the league
Predicted Outcome: This is going to be the most competitive game on the slate, in my opinion. Booker will be out for at least a couple of weeks with a hamstring injury. He matters more to this team than Khris Middleton’s role on the Bucks, for reference. Booker’s usage is higher, and the Suns don’t really have a player that can replace his scoring on the team. The Suns were able to withstand CP3’s injuries because Cam Payne could come in and give you 80% of what CP3 provides. Now they have to depend on CP3 to put up more points, which takes away from his distributing talent, or CP3 is going to have to depend on Ayton more, which slows their pace. Bridges and Cam Johnson will have to make up Booker’s scoring in the aggregate. They’ll have to do this all on the fly, and on the road. I think they’ll manage, but it won’t be pretty. Suns win.
DFS Targets: Basically everyone mentioned above. CP3, Ayton, Bridges, Payne, and Johnson. On the Pelicans, stick with thier Big 3, as their usage is very concentrated among Ingram, CJ, and Jonas.