Kawhi Leonard ($10500)
It’s been basically rinse and repeat with Kawhi this series and the only reason he didn’t hit the 55+ plateau last game was because Toronto blew them out. Facing elimination at home I expect the Sixers to keep this game close thus meaning we get Kawhi at his full minutes. $10500 seems like a lot but it really isn’t when you compare it to how FD has been pricing everyone else. He’s an elite target.
Damian Lillard ($9500) or CJ McCollum ($7500)
It is a tall order to play Dame, Kawhi, and Jokic but I think it’s imperative we have one of the Blazers primary scorers tonight. McCollum’s home/away splits this series have shown elite production at home with subpar production on the road. Back at home, I expect him to step up. Dame is a bit of a risk as we’re committing a ton of salary to someone who has been fairly limited from a production standpoint this series. HOWEVER, if there was ever a spot to for a monster Dame game it’s tonight, down 3-2 at home. We’ve seen it over and over, when the Blazers have their back to the wall Dame steps up. I really like him tonight and I don’t think he will be TOO owned. Going up to Dame means we will have to sacrifice another stud, but he’s the stud I want tonight. Not going Dame? Make sure to go CJ unless you think Denver blows them out.
Nikola Jokic ($11200) or Joel Embiid ($10200)
My approach on FD is stars and scrubs tonight and with that I’m paying up for one of the big centers. Jokic is the cash core and someone I’m locking in, I mention Embiid because he’s an elite GPP pivot. Going Embiid is a huge risk at his price but if you believe in Embiid as a player (which I do) than expect him to come out strong tonight facing elimination. If only playing one lineup, play Jokic; if playing multiple lineups, have a few with Embiid.
Will Barton ($4600)
If you start with Kawhi, Dame, and Jokic it means you just spent 51.6% of your salary cap which means we need to find approximately another 150 FD points with the remaining $28,800. Although Barton flopped last game he still played 25 minutes and with his price still under $5k I’m all for going back with him. Unfortunately Rodney Hood, who provides similar value, is also listed as a SF so we can only pick one if playing Kawhi. Give me Barton, I trust his minutes more and he’s proven to have the highest ceiling of all the sub $5k values.
Seth Curry ($3900)
I view Curry as more than a “free punt” as he’s played 26 minutes in back to back games and shooters always shoot better at home. He’s a solid value.
Danny Green ($4900)
I wish he was $500 cheap but Green is the safest sub $5k SG on the slate because of his minutes.
Torrey Craig ($3800)
Torrey Craig remains a solid “free punt” where if he has a few steals he can exceed value.
Will Barton ($4600)
Rodney Hood ($4400)
If not going Barton, Hood is the next best value at SF. Hood’s minutes remain consistent and he has a decent enough floor because of his scoring ability. Hood should also benefit playing at home.
James Ennis vs JJ Redick (both $4300)
Redick has been so unproductive this postseason that he’s priced the same as James Ennis, something I find quite remarkable. I think we have to go Redick here because of the minutes floor but I view this as a 50/50 toss-up.
Serge Ibaka ($4600)
Serge Ibaka flopped last game but at least he still played 22 minutes.
Zach Collins ($4400)
It’s either Ibaka, Collins, or Plumlee if you’re looking for cheap PF’s and I lean saving the $200 and going Collins or Plumlee. Collins’ role is at least defined as he will play 17-20 minutes. He’s over priced, but so is Ibaka, and I believe the path to 20 FD points is surprisingly safer with Collins than Ibaka.
Mason Plumlee ($4400)
I prefer Plumlee over Ibaka but Collins over Plumlee because of Mason’s inconsistent minutes.
Jimmy Butler ($8000)
This is too good of a price for me to pass up on Jimmy at home facing elimination. He’s been over 40+ DK points in four straight games and over 50+ DK points in three of those four games. He’s the primary ball-handler for the Sixers current offense, target him with confidence at this price.
Paul Millsap ($6200)
Um…will DK every raise Paul Millsap’s price? He hasn’t been under 32 DK points this series and has three straight games of over 41+ DK points. The Nuggets continue to pound Millsap in the post vs Portland’s undersized 4’s. Millsap will likely be one of the highest owned players on the slate but this price is just too cheap.
Nikola Jokic ($10300)
I don’t think a ton needs to be said about Jokic here. Take the 50 burger and move on.
Zach Collins ($3100)
Here’s where I differentiate a bit. Instead of listing Collins as a great cheap punt I’m listing Collins in my core as he’s proven $3100 is just too cheap for him. Even if he finishes with 15 DK points his cap relief allows you to fit guys who have 40-50+ DK point upside. Collins has been an auto 6x+ value producer this series, similar to what Ersan Ilyasova has done for the Bucks on other slates. Starting with this core leaves us with an average of $5600 for the remaining four spots giving us a tremendous amount of flexibility.
No Kawhi? Don’t worry, Kawhi is an elite target but with DK’s positional flexibility and pricing he’s not an absolute must in my eyes. We can still fit Kawhi fairly easily with this core. If you feel your line is a bit thin with this core and Kawhi, I would replace Butler with him.
Seth Curry ($3000)
Curry is a really solid value on DK at $3k with the 3PT bonus. Him and Zach Collins are my favorite super cheap punts.
Gary Harris ($4900)
This continues to be a really good price for Harris who is only SG eligible. He offers safe cap relief with a touch of upside.
Will Barton ($4300)
Barton has seen big minutes in three straight games, there is some risk but elite upside at his price.
Rodney Hood ($3700)
Hood’s priced well on DK with 20+ DK points in three of his last four games. I’d expect him to carry some ownership.
Al-Farouq Aminu ($4700)
Aminu almost made my core as he’s proven to be a much better producer at home than on the road during the playoffs. This is a good price for Aminu who has 30+ DK point upside.
James Ennis ($3500)
Don’t love him don’t hate him, he’s usable. Being back at home should help. Ultimately I prefer to go with Hood at SF or Collins at PF in his price range.
Serge Ibaka ($4100)
The 22 minutes last game were encouraging, the production was not. I don’t trust Ibaka at all but there is upside. I prefer to go cheaper with Collins.
Zach Collins ($3100)
What do we make of them tonight? We can count on Jimmy Butler, that I know; but what about Embiid, Harris, and Simmons? Anyone who has consistently read my articles throughout the year knows I’m an Embiid fan in DFS. When he’s right and being aggressive his ceiling rivals anyone’s. This is the time for Embiid to be aggressive and in my eyes he’s an elite GPP target. I say that while also knowing he’s a major major risk. Whether it’s an illness, his leg, or Marc Gasol’s defense, Embiid has not shown up this series and performances like last game will kill your lineup. I’m fully on-board the Embiid GPP risk but just be aware it’s a massive risk.
The guy who intrigues me quite a bit tonight is Tobias Harris, particularly at $6400 on DK. Harris has not been great this series but $6400 minimizes a lot of risk while playing at home should increase his ceiling.
I’m over Ben Simmons, I don’t care if he goes for 50+ tonight (he probably will now), I’m over him. He has not been a part of the offense AT ALL this series, if he goes off and you played him all I can say is you simply got lucky. But congrats!
I touched on this briefly earlier but if there was ever a game for Dame to go crazy in, it’s tonight. The Blazers will need everything they can get out of Logo Lillard to force a Game 7.
Stefano Vaccarino is the NBA Product Manager for The Quant Edge. Formerly known as Rotodamus NBA on Twitter, Stefano provides consistently accurate NBA insights and predictions. His perception of the game and understanding of analytics allows him to identify profitable NBA situations.