Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mom’s out there but apologies in advanced as we have two Game 7’s today to distract us from you. Game 7’s are awesome as we will see the best of the best give it their all in order to stay alive. Because of the “win or go home” nature of them teams will play with a slightly different rotation and style. Here are some things to keep in mind:
It’s pretty simple, the best players on each team are going to play 40+ minutes. Minutes limits, rests, and slight injuries are all thrown out the door; rotations are shrunk and the best rotations will play the most. That doesn’t ALWAYS mean every starter on every team is going to play the most but we can expect guys like Lillard, McCollum, Jokic, Murray, Kawhi, Siakam, Simmons, and Jimmy Butler to be over 40 minutes. Embiid will be over the 36+ minute range. Note-able role players who will approach 40 minutes are guys like Gary Harris, Tobias Harris, Paul Millsap, and Danny Green.
Stars are going to the see the majority of the ball as every possession is crucial in a Game 7. While the minutes will be elite for someone like Danny Green he will see very little usage. Kawhi dominating usage for Toronto will also effect guys like Marc Gasol and Kyle Lowry. Dame and CJ will dominate the ball throughout the game for Portland and expect to see Jokic and Murray running the show for Denver. The Sixers are the biggest mystery team as it’s been the Jimmy Butler show in Round 2, however, their best chance of winning on the road is if they feed Embiid over and over. Embiid has struggled this series but I expect him to be more aggressive and show a sense of urgency on offense. Embiid’s efficiency is key to his fantasy output today.
I’ve slightly touched on this but it’s important to note that while Role Players will likely see decreased usage they’re still very DFS relevant. The minutes are there and Game 7 typically brings out the most effort in players. Effort translates into added rebounds and steals. In order to fit multiple studs we’re going to have to take a chance on some role players and there will be two or three that will win people GPPs. Coaches aren’t afraid to stick with what’s working in Game 7 and we’ve seen it before where a minimal bench player gets hot in Game 7 and sees extended run (Mike Miller is an example).
Home and away splits tend to have the biggest effect in the most important games. Role players on the road tend to shoot worse while role players at home shoot better. This also leads to stars on the road seeing increased usage. The Raptors role players are the ones that I think benefit the most from being at home. The Nuggets offensive philosophy is catered around ball movement and while I expect Jokic and Murray to dominate the ball their scheme lends to shared production.
The Sixers and Blazers offensive philosophies are very different however both revolve around two players. For Philly, expect to see a ton of Jimmy Butler and Joel Embiid. I get Ben Simmons played well in Game 6 but I don’t expect to see Simmons do much on the road with Jimmy Butler as the primary ball-handler. Tobias Harris has been active on the glass but I worry on offense he will do a lot of standing in the corner. That is ok for Tobias though, as his price is cheap and he can shoot! I much rather target 40 minutes of what Tobias Harris will do than 40 minutes of Ben Simmons’ game.
The Blazers offense will be Dame and CJ like it has been all series long. Guys like Mo Harkless and Al-Farouq Aminu have seen decreased roles as guys like Zach Collins and Rodney Hood have flourished. The majority of people will target guys like Collins and Hood, and for really good reasons, but the Blazers pose the threat of breaking that chalk if someone like Harkless or Aminu make significant plays or if the Blazers bench struggles. Stotts won’t hesitate to pull Hood or Collins quick if something is not working. The margin for error is at its slimmest in Game 7’s. I would not play guys like Hood and Harkless or Collins and Aminu in the same line. While they’re less mutually exclusive I don’t like playing Aminu and Hood in the same line either. Overall, I’m off on Harkless. The Portland SF-PF stack should be Hood and Collins. If not stacking you can play any of Hood, Collins, and Aminu individually.
Kawhi Leonard ($10400)
At home, in a Game 7 where he should eclipse the 40 minute mark, it’s hard for me to not start my lines with Kawhi Leonard. He seems like a safe 50 burger with 65+ FD point upside. The argument for a Kawhi fade is that some of the best value on FD comes at SF.
Damian Lillard ($9400)
For how the majority of people are priced on FD Dame is priced well at $9400 considering this is a Game 7 on the road. Expect Dame to see increased minutes and usage and the ONLY way Portland is able to win this game, on the road, is if Dame goes crazy. These are the sort of spots where we covet Dame and his massive chip on his shoulder. If you’re not going Dame, make sure to get CJ McCollum in your line.
Gary Harris ($6000) or CJ McCollum ($7600)
SG on FD is frustrating because it seems we’re either spending up on Jimmy Butler and/or CJ McCollum or going down to Danny Green or Torrey Craig. But then we see Gary Harris right smack in the middle at $6k and for building purposes it’s hard to get away from him. I do like Craig and Green as values to pair with Harris. If you’re fading Damian Lillard I would make sure this spot goes to CJ McCollum. I do like stacking Dame and CJ in GPPs but if only playing one lineup I prefer to target Dame. Gary Harris is just a safe middle priced SG with a good floor and some upside because of his minutes floor.
Nikola Jokic ($11100) or if you’re feeling froggy, Joel Embiid ($10500)
I’ve spent up at center this entire series on FD and I’m going to continue to spend up today. Jokic is the guy I want, he’s an auto 50 burger with 70+ FD point upside. At only $600 more than Embiid the only reason to go Embiid over Jokic is to differentiate. I mention Embiid because FD only allows us to play one center and I do like the idea of Joel Embiid in GPPs. If playing multiple lineups I’d want 90/10 Jokic/Embiid. As far as the other centers, Marc Gasol has yet to eclipse 30 FD points and Enes Kanter’s role has diminished the last two games. 5x value for Jokic on a two game slate is better than 6x value of Gasol in my eyes.
Note: Kawhi, Dame, Jokic, Harris is an EXPENSIVE CORE! I’m well aware of that, but for Game 7 I want the stars. This leaves us with an average of $4620 for the remaining 5 spots but if you use FD’s drop score to your advantage and go with a minimum price punt you can get some pretty creative builds.
Seth Curry ($3900)
Curry is sort of the only realistic sub $5k option at PG on FD as he’s played 20+ minutes each of the last three games. Curry was abysmal from a production standpoint in Game 6 which could potentially lower his minutes in Game 7. Still, I expect him to be back in the 13-18 FD point range.
Fred VanVleet ($3500)
I’m a fan of using VanVleet as our “free punt” priced at the minimum. It’s tough to pay up for another PG with my core and FVV saw his minutes back in the mid-high teens the last two games. His production has been terrible but he has sleeper potential to be a Game 7 unknown breakout star. If not, we simply drop him.
Danny Green ($4900)
He’s going to play a ton with little usage. If he hits his 3’s and picks up a few steals Green can hit 6-7x upside like he did in Game 5.
Torrey Craig ($4000)
We’ve seen Monte Morris’ and Malik Beasley’s minutes drop with Will Barton and Torrey Craig’s slightly going up. Craig is pretty good value at $4k on FD.
Rodney Hood ($4800)
Hood has been exceptional this series and his price is starting to creep up. Hood is still one of the top values on the slate but there is some added risk at close to $5k.
Will Barton ($4500)
Barton has struggled his last two games but continues to play around 25 minutes night. I expect most to go with Rodney Hood which makes Barton an intriguing GPP pivot as I still believe he has a higher ceiling than Hood. Barton is clearly the riskier target of the two.
Mike Scott ($3700)
With Collins and Aminu pricing themselves in the $5k range we don’t have a ton of value at PF. Instead of going Ibaka or Plumlee I’d prefer to save and go cheaper with Mike Scott. Scott will likely be in the 17-20 minute range which offers some upside. Scott is another sneaky Game 7 surprise performer.
Boban and Monroe aren’t getting minutes.
Nikola Jokic ($10200)
Jokic has been a plug and play for me all series long on DK. Start with the 50+ DK points and move on, especially in Game 7.
Paul Millsap ($6000)
While Jamal Murray’s price has slightly increased Paul Millsap’s has stayed cheap. Millsap is averaging 38.92 DK points this series and while $6k isn’t nothing, I consider him a “safe” value.
Jimmy Butler ($7900) and/or Kawhi Leonard ($9500)
Both are elite targets and both are worth considering even with Jokic and Millsap leaving you with an average of $4100 for the remaining four spots. That is a bit thin so there’s a good chance you will likely need to pick one of them, I would lean Jimmy Butler. Kawhi has the safest path to 50 but for building purposes Butler allows us to maybe fit another stud in while maintaining similar upside at $1600 cheaper. Because of DK’s pricing and positional flexibility Kawhi is less of a must than on FD, however he should still be viewed as an elite target.
Torrey Craig ($3300)
This is a bit of a risk but with Zach Collins price slightly up I’m viewing Craig as my super cheap value that I want. Craig will likely play 25ish minutes with the chance of increased minutes if Will Barton struggles, forcing Mike Malone to pull him. Craig is the cheapest value with a decent path to 20 DK points, that provides elite cap relief with some upside. Going Jokic, Millsap, Butler, Craig leaves us with an average of $5650 for the remaining four spots which gives us a ton of flexibility. Going Jokic, Millsap, Kawhi, Craig leaves us with an average of $5250 for the remaining four spots.
Seth Curry ($3000)
Curry is always more appealing on DK, he’s cheap and will play around 20 minutes.
Rodney Hood ($4800)
Hood is a strong value tonight even with his price slightly up. The price hike took him out of my core but Hood is still someone who should be strongly considered.
Danny Green ($4500)
Green is worth considering because of his minutes floor and playoff experience.
Will Barton ($4200)
I view Barton has the high risk high reward SG/SF value on the slate. Can’t trust him but the upside is certainly there.
Torrey Craig ($3300)
Al-Farouq Aminu ($4300)
This is a solid price for Aminu even though we’ve seen minimal production from him. Aminu is one of those veterans we could see Stotts lean on.
Mike Scott ($3100)
At $3100 Mike Scott is very usable tonight. He will be in the 17-20 minute range and as mentioned previously is a sneaky surprise breakout Game 7 candidate.
Zach Collins ($4100)
The price is up but Collins should still be viewed as one of the top values on the slate. The increased price adds a bit more risk.
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.