NBA DFS Playoffs (April 20, 2022)

Happy Hump Day! I hope all of you had a nice Easter weekend are enjoying the return of baseball and the NBA Playoffs. NFL Draft is right around the corner followed by the Kentucky Derby, grand slam tennis and golf, and a plethora of other awesome sporting events. This time of year is one of my favorites after the long slumber we get post Super Bowl.

Of course the focus for this article is NBA DFS. My apologies for no deep analysis the last few days. Yours truly was busy with family on Easter and then getting back into the swing of things with my real job. But sometimes we need to take a break from our normal routines and daily fantasy offers such a diversion. The model has worked well since the start of the play-in games last week but hit a snag the past couple of days. I think we right the ship this evening.

So who does the model like? Check out the link below. You will also find the top 10 optimal lineups for both DraftKings and FanDuel.

NBA DFS Google Spreadsheet

Also, here are two sample lineups using my model.

PG: Marcus Smart
SG: Fred VanVleet
SF: Seth Curry
PF: Jayson Tatum
C: Brook Lopez
G: Alex Caruso
F: Kevin Durant
UTIL: Danny Green

PG: Seth Curry, Alex Caruso
SG: Danny Green, Khris Middleton
SF: Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown
PF: Joel Embiid, OG Anunoby
C: Brook Lopez

As for narratives, check out the bullet points below.

  • Danny Green will be highly owned but it's chalk we have to eat. Why you might ask? Whenever Green plays north of 34 minutes, he does well. In fact, there have been 33 instances since the 2017-2018 season when Green played 34 or more minutes. He averaged 30.13 FanDuel fantasy points per game with a median of 29.9. The max was 56 points while the min was 9.8 points but given that the mean and median differ by just 0.23 points, there is not much skew with the fantasy point distribution. At a salary of just $3600 on DraftKings and $4100 on FanDuel, a 30 fantasy point night is amazing value. Usually 6x value makes us happy which is about 26 fantasy points on FanDuel. Green surpassed that number 26 out of the 33 analyzed games. That means he has nearly an 80% chance of getting 6x value tonight as long as he plays at least 34 minutes. That should not be a problem since Matisse Thybulle won't be making the trip to Toronto thanks to his anti-COVID vaccine stance. Plus, it's 4-20! Gotta go with someone with the last name of GREEN!

  • Joel Embiid is too good to have a 3rd mediocre game in a row. After two first round exits in 2020 and 2021 and a heartbreaking loss to Toronto in 2019 when Kawhi Leonard drained a buzzer beater in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, you can bet that Embiid is plenty motivated to reach the NBA Finals this year. He is priced down on both DraftKings and FanDuel so getting to 6x value is a reasonable expectation. Also, Scottie Barnes is out who is a terrific defender. I am not sure if Toronto has any answers to Embiid and I am guessing they will place more emphasis on Tyrese Maxey who played great in Games 1 and 2 but is now priced up. You won't want to be the one fading Embiid when he pops off for 70 - 80 fantasy points tonight.

  • Pairing Tatum and Brown is not something I recommend given their negative correlation but against an average defense like Brooklyn and a pace up spot, I think we can get good value from both of Boston's top scorers. Paying up for Irving, Durant, or Giannis could be really tough for our roster construction if we also want to play Embiid. There is simply not enough cheap plays with a 3 game slate and there is a good chance that both Brown and Tatum each crack 50 fantasy points. That is the most likey fantasy scores for the other high priced options so you might as well take the savings with the tandem of Tatum and Brown.

  • Middleton is way too cheap and I don't care if he is highly owned. He is due to break out and it's conceivable that he reaches 9x or 10x value tonight. If he is highly owned and goes nuclear, a fade will kill your night. If his ownership% is low and still erupts, your bankroll will be fat once the games are over. Plus the Bucks game is the last game of the evening so Middleton represents the late night hammer to put us over the top.

  • Let's take advantage of Embiid's PF eligibility by rostering a reliable center. Lopez probably won't light the world on fire but he is good for 25-30 fantasy points each night. Even though Lopez never earned a double-double during the Bucks NBA playoff run last year, he was awfully close on most nights. A stat line of 15-16 points, 7-8 boards, and 2 combined blocks/steals with 1 assist and 1 turnover sounds about right. Do the math and you are at 30 fantasy points which is close to 6x value. He is a nice building block for our DFS construction.

  • Finally, we are taking a chance with Curry, Caruso, and Anunoby. All three could fall flat and kill our night. However, all three are expected to start and play at least 30 minutes. The combined FanDuel salaries for those three players is $15,200 so if we can get a total of 90 fantasy points, we are in good shape. Perhaps one of those three has a great shooting night and earns 45-50 fantasy points meaning that we just need 4-5x value from the other 2 players. Remember, this is DFS where we will need some luck on our side.

There you have it! The DraftKings lineup is similar to the FanDuel one with exception to Marcus Smart and Kevin Durant. It never hurts to mix things up! Good luck and we will check in again tomorrow.