The second round of the NBA Playoffs rolls on with an exciting two-game Sunday slate that will see the Bucks fighting to even their series with the Nets at two games each, and the Nuggets kicking their legs hard to keep their head above water for at least one last gasp before they succumb to the Suns. This article will dig into both games looking at why projections may or may not like certain players and finding the best options on the slate. Hopefully, after reading this article, you’ll have a better feel for the slate as a whole. Combining the context from this article with the raw data that is available in our Boom/Bust tool, Projections and Ownership Projections should allow you to build strong lineups and make optimal DFS NBA picks today for any type of contest on DraftKings and FanDuel.
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Kyrie Irving ($9,300 DraftKings/$9,200 FanDuel) is the highest-projected point guard on the board on both sites in both minutes and fantasy points. The Nets’ point guard was unspectacular in the team’s Game 3 loss, but so was everyone in the surprising 86-83 contest. The Nets will be without James Harden once again, leaving all the work on the shoulders of Irving and fellow star Kevin Durant. So far in the postseason, Irving has averaged 1.04 fantasy points per minute, 1.09 in 169 minutes without Harden on the floor. Irving is second to Durant on the team with a 24.4% usage rate and 20.2% assist rate in the situation. The Nets will need a strong game from Irving if they are going to avoid heading back to Brooklyn in a tied series.
Jrue Holiday ($7,200 DraftKings/$7,400 FanDuel) will be on the other side for the still desperate Bucks. Milwaukee needs to win Game 4 to hold serve at home and tie the series, otherwise it will be facing a nearly insurmountable series deficit and face elimination next time out. Holiday made the game-winner late in the low-scoring Game 3 but has averaged just 0.94 fantasy points per minute through the playoffs, down from his 1.14 mark through the regular season. The point guard is discounted compared to the other stars at his position and carries a similar minutes projection with positional flexibility to shooting guard on the DraftKings slate. Holiday is operating on just 19.4% usage and pulls down just a 15.7% rebounding share but a robust 46.2% assist share. He adds 1.4 steals per game so far in the playoffs, padding his fantasy scoring slightly. Holiday is firmly in play, given the salary discount and somewhat similar projections to higher-priced options at the position. He’s currently No. 2 value play in the Awesemo daily fantasy basketball projections.
Chris Paul ($7,400 DraftKings/$8,500 FanDuel) sees his price take a bit of a jump on both sites. The veteran point guard is a different play across sites, with FanDuel pricing him up significantly by comparison. Paul is projected for slightly fewer minutes than the two starters in the Eastern Conference game, though he projects similarly given his 1.13 fantasy point per minute rate through these playoffs. Paul’s Suns are on cruise control in Game 4, with a commanding 3-0 series lead. The team will look to put Denver away today, but they may not push their leader to his absolute maximum where not necessary, which counts for a minor negative when making such close comparisons. Between that potential and the higher price, Paul slips slightly in potential value. The point god is averaging 8.9 assists per game and shooting 44.4% from three for the playoffs, consuming just 19.6% usage and racking up a 50.4% assist percentage. There are plenty of reasons to include Paul in most lineups, watching ownership and leverage marks as we head into lock is the easiest way to make this decision.
Facundo Campazzo ($4,300 DraftKings/$4,700 FanDuel) is the leading point guard option for the struggling Nuggets as they try to survive to see game five. The point guard is projected for 31.7 minutes and carries the team’s highest fantasy-point projection but there are other options on his squad at the position as well, namely Austin Rivers and Monte Morris, meaning we have several ways to mix and match combinations of Denver guards. Campazzo has averaged 0.86 fantasy points per minute through the playoffs so far and he is inexpensive on both sites, making him an interesting value play. Campazzo takes just 15.3% usage and has a 34.6% assist percentage in the playoffs, providing steady quality for the low cost.
Top DraftKings Picks: Kyrie Irving, Jrue Holiday, Chris Paul
Top FanDuel Picks: Kyrie Irving, Jrue Holiday
Additional Values: Mike James, Austin Rivers, Monte Morris, Cameron Payne
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Joe Harris ($5,500 DraftKings/$4,500 FanDuel) has just a 0.59 fantasy-point-per-minute rate through these playoffs as a whole. Without Harden on the floor, Harris has been at 0.53. The sharpshooter is shooting 46.4% from 3-point range in the playoffs but sees just 14.8% usage and does not tend to contribute in other ways. Harris has just a 9.1% rebounding share and a 10.8% assist rate for the playoffs, this is a player who desperately needs his shot to fall to make value on his salary. Harris is not a high-priced play, which is helping keep him on the board considering his full minutes projection, but he could have severely capped upside.
Khris Middleton ($7,600 DraftKings/$8,200 FanDuel) answered some internet critics with his performance in Game 3, putting up a strong 35-point effort in his 43:59. Middleton pulled down 15 rebounds in that low-scoring contest that saw both teams shoot miserably from the field, bolstering the rebounding totals of all involved. The Bucks second banana has more work to do and must remain a consistent option if his team is going to stand any chance of advancing. For the playoffs as a whole, Middleton is averaging just 0.96 fantasy points per minute, down from his 1.10 for the regular season. He has a 21.8% assist rate and an 18.1% rebounding share in the postseason, soaking up 25.4% usage, second on the team. Middleton simply has to do more on a more regular basis for both the Bucks and NBA daily fantasy owners.
Devin Booker ($8,100 DraftKings/$7,900 FanDuel) has been rolling along, averaging 23.6 real points per game through the first three contests against the Nuggets. As the focal point of Phoenix’ scoring attack, Booker will have plenty to do as the Suns look to put away the series and begin to rest up for the Conference Finals. Booker is one of the more expensive guards on either site, but he is well worth the investment. The shooting guard leads his team with a 29.6% usage rate and he kicks in a 17.1% rebounding share and a 26.4% assist rate, giving a few additional lanes to minor fantasy point additions. The scoring is the focus for Booker, however, he has a 27.2 points per game average through the playoffs so far, shooting 39.6% from three and he has a 62.2% true shooting percentage in the postseason. There are plenty of reasons to get a lot of Booker into lineups for today’s slate, including his 43.90 projection in the Awesemo daily fantasy basketball projections.
Top DraftKings Picks: Devin Booker, Khris Middleton
Top FanDuel Picks: Devin Booker, Khris Middleton
Additional Values: Austin Rivers, Monte Morris, Bryn Forbes
Kevin Durant ($10,300 DraftKings/$10,800 FanDuel) is the Nets’ clear usage leader in their current configuration. The superstar has a 31.4% usage rate for the playoffs as a whole and is at 34.1% in games without Harden. Durant is averaging 1.50 fantasy points per minute without his fellow star on the floor during the playoffs, making him an excellent option despite the hefty price tag. In what should be a highly competitive game, there will be plenty of need for Durant to have a huge game, he adds a 22.4% rebounding percentage and a 17.8% assist share to his 31.8 real points per game scoring average in the postseason. Durant, who is only eighth Awesemo daily fantasy basketball ownership projections at 37.4%, is a major upside play as his Nets look to put a stranglehold on the series.
Michael Porter Jr. ($6,300 DraftKings/$6,600 FanDuel) slots in with the second-highest fantasy-point projection among eligible small forwards on the DraftKings slate. Porter had a strong season for the Nuggets, putting up a 1.05 fantasy point per minute rate across all situations. In the postseason so far, he has slipped to a mere 0.87. Porter is shooting 40.0% from 3-point range in the postseason and he has a 60.9% true shooting percentage but he contributes just an 8.3% assist share and a 23.2% rebounding rate. The forward has the upside to contribute more for his team and they will need him if there is any chance to stay alive in the series. Porter is projected for 35.3 minutes, among the slate leaders, and he is not overly expensive for the potential upside, though he fits into a somewhat odd mid-range, which could lower his overall public exposure and increase his GPP value for daily fantasy basketball tournaments.
Mikal Bridges ($5,200 DraftKings/$5,500 FanDuel) slots in as just a small forward on the DraftKings slate, one of the few relevant players without multi-position eligibility. Bridges is in play from the mid-range of salary on this slate, he averaged 0.78 fantasy points per minute and is projected for 32.2 minutes for a reasonable price. The forward is a very low usage player at just 13.8%, finding ways to contribute to his team’s success and NBA fantasy scoring through other means. He has a 14.7% rebounding rate and an 11.4% assist percentage for the postseason so far, adding 2.4 stocks per game to pad his stats with defense. Bridges is not an extreme upside play, but he is a steady value who can reliably produce his median projection.
Bruce Brown ($4,700 DraftKings/$5,600 FanDuel) sees a cross-site price discrepancy as another small forward only play on both sites. Brown is a value play on the slate but does not stand out in extreme ways. He is projected for a reasonable 27.1 minutes and he has averaged 0.95 fantasy points per minute through the playoffs. Without Harden on the floor, Brown remains around the same rate at 0.96 fantasy points per minute, suggesting we can expect him to be right around what his rates tell us today. The question of fantasy production will likely come down to minutes.
Top DraftKings Picks: Kevin Durant, Michael Porter Jr.
Top FanDuel Picks: Kevin Durant, Michael Porter Jr.
Additional Values: Mikal Bridges, Bruce Brown, Aaron Gordon, PJ Tucker, Cam Johnson
Giannis Antetokounmpo ($10,800 DraftKings/$10,700 FanDuel) is an obvious name on this slate and a true superstar in every right. He is averaging 1.46 fantasy points per minute through the playoffs, down from his 1.63 mark across all situations through the regular season. The forward is projected for 38 minutes but will likely have to play more than 40 if the Bucks are going to win this one. Antetokounmpo leads the team with a 30.3% usage rate for the playoffs, kicking in a 32.7% rebounding percentage and a 36.8% assist share, he is one of the true box score stuffers on the slate, scoring fantasy points in every conceivable way. Antetokounmpo is both pricey and popular on both sites, he is also well worth it with the highest projected point total in the Awesemo daily fantasy basketball projections 61.29 points, and in a must-win situation.
Blake Griffin ($5,100 DraftKings/$5,200 FanDuel) is projected for 31.8 minutes of slate-relevant basketball on Sunday. At his cost, the veteran forward is in play on both sites. Griffin has averaged 0.85 fantasy points per minute through the playoffs so far, spiking to 1.01 in games without Harden. Given that upside, there is plenty to like about the player if he sees his projected time on the floor. Griffin consumes minimal usage, just 11.4% even without Harden so far this postseason. He has a solid 26.0% rebounding percentage and a 14.6% assist rate in the playoffs, helping him keep pace without having to score the ball with much frequency. Griffin is not a go-to option, but he is a solid mix-in play from the midrange at a power forward spot that is shorter on good options than most positions on this slate.
Jae Crowder ($4,600 DraftKings/$5,000 FanDuel) is a strong value play on this slate after seeing his price dip on both sites since last game. The forward is another low usage option who gets his DraftKings and FanDuel points without having to score the ball often. Crowder is projected for 32 minutes which should be enough for his 0.80 fantasy point per minute rate to pay off. That mark puts Crowder right at his season-long average, the player is very much who we expect him to be in most situations. Crowder has a 17.2% rebounding rate and a 12.2% assist share but consumes just 14.6% of the team’s usage, adding fantasy quality through his 1.7 stocks per game. Crowder is unlikely to deliver a ceiling performance, but he can certainly provide low cost value to a lineup, allowing access to higher-end stars.
Top DraftKings Picks: Giannis Antetokounmpo
Top FanDuel Picks: Giannis Antetokounmpo
Additional Values: Aaron Gordon, JaMychal Green, PJ Tucker
Nikola Jokic ($10,600 DraftKings/$11,500 FanDuel) is on the verge of getting swept out of the playoffs as the season’s recently minted MVP, which is likely not the choice he would have made. Jokic has been spectacular in the playoffs, putting together a 1.54 fantasy point per minute average across all situations and carrying the Nuggets on his back in the absence of point guard Jamal Murray. Jokic’s task of getting his team back into this series may prove too much, but he is in play for at least this slate, despite the hefty price on both sites. The big man is averaging 30.7 real points per game with 11.7 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 1.6 stocks through the playoffs to this point. When the Nuggets fail to advance, it will not be any fault of Jokic’s.
Deandre Ayton ($6,500 DraftKings/$7,000 FanDuel) comes in at a far lower cost than Jokic, making the decision to pivot to Ayton on one-center sites is a significant inflection point for overall lineup constructions — one that could be slate-deciding. As of 10:35 a.m. ET, he’s only garnering 22% ownership in the Awesemo daily fantasy basketball ownership projections. Ayton has averaged 0.89 fantasy points per minute through the playoffs, down from the 1.08 that he put up across all situations through the season. There is upside in his 34 minute projection for the price though, the low usage big man has a strong 32.7% rebounding rate for the playoffs so far, there is upside despite the difficult individual matchup he faces.
Brook Lopez ($4,400 DraftKings/$6,100 FanDuel) is at very different pricing from site to site. Lopez has seen an uptick from 0.90 to 0.95 fantasy points per minute so far in the playoffs as a whole. The Bucks center will have plenty to do in his projected 28 minutes, which is right around his playoff average. If he cracks the 30-minute mark, Lopez could be a very important value play given his low price on DraftKings combined with the ability to roster him alongside another center – including teammate Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is eligible at the position on the site. There are interesting ways to build lineups with Lopez’ value baked in. He requires just 19.4% usage and pulls in a 19.0% rebounding share, providing a steady 13.6 real points per game with seven rebounds and 2.0 stocks to pad things out. Lopez is on the board on the DraftKings slate, less so where he is priced up and we only get one crack at center.
Top FanDuel Picks: Nikola Jokic, Deandre Ayton
Top DraftKings Picks: Nikola Jokic, Deandre Ayton
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