NBA DFS Picks: Building Blocks for Tuesday, May 18th | Russell Westbrook

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·6 min read
NBA DFS Picks: Building Blocks for Tuesday, May 18th | Russell Westbrook
EMac gives his favorite NBA DFS picks for Yahoo, DraftKings + FanDuel daily fantasy basketball lineups, including Russell Westbrook | 5/18/21
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Tuesday marks the beginning of the NBA postseason with the first round of the play-in tournament. Let’s look at the two-game main slate and discuss the top NBA DFS picks for DraftKings, FanDuel and Yahoo lineups. Don’t forget to head over to the Awesemo NBA DFS home page for more great written daily fantasy basketball content, including the FREE NBA Deep Dive — the most in-depth article in the industry.

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NBA DFS Picks: Building Blocks, Tuesday, May 18th

Yahoo Play of the Day — Evan Fournier: Boston Celtics at Washington Wizards

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 33.54 | DraftKings: 34.59

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 48.8% | FanDuel 42.4% | DraftKings 53.6%

  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $21 | FanDuel $7,100 | DraftKings $6,000

One key thing a lot of gamers forget after the chaotic madness of the last few weeks of regular season NBA DFS is that rotations will be dramatically shortened going forward. This means that teams who were playing 10 to 11 players will likely cut the minutes for players coming off the bench and boosting the run for the starters and a couple of key reserves.

This situation bodes well for the Celtics, who are going to be without Jaylen Brown. That means his minutes will be distributed among Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker, Marcus Smart and Evan Fournier. Fournier is an excellent play on Yahoo where he comes in at nearly a 20% discount to teammate Marcus Smart with a similar fantasy projection. Playing against Washington creates extra possessions as well, which will benefit the Celtics, who are likely only going to see their reserves picking up 60-ish of the 240 total minutes of playing time tonight.

Domantas Sabonis: Indiana Pacers at Charlotte Hornets

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 51.72 | DraftKings: 54.93

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 35.2% | FanDuel 46.6% | DraftKings 42.6%

  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $50 | FanDuel $10,300 | DraftKings $10,000

It has been announced that Caris LeVert is now in the health and safety protocol, which will have him sidelined at least for the next several days. Malcolm Brogdon is a game-time decision with a hamstring injury. Even if he gives it a go tonight, he has missed 10 games since he last took the court on April 29, and who knows where his conditioning stands. Aaron Holiday has missed the last four games with a toe issue, and he is questionable at best tonight.

This means Pacer hopes and dreams will likely be pinned to Domantas Sabonis. This has been Sabonis’ best season yet, and he posted a career-high 36.0 minutes, 20.3 points, 12.0 rebounds, 6.7 assists and 1.7 combined blocks/steals. Keep in mind that Myles Turner and Jeremy Lamb have each been out for a month and will not be playing tonight either. Edmund Sumner is questionable as well, having missed six of the last eight games with a knee issue.

Oshae Brissett and T.J. McConnell are going to play key roles tonight even if Brogdon is able to return. If Brogdon is out, this solidifies the minutes and opportunities for Doug McDermott and Justin Holiday, who are neutral options at best if Brogdon takes the court.

Good Value

In this bucket gamers can look to a variety of players depending on roster construction and the DFS site of choice. Cody Zeller becomes quite appealing, particularly on FanDuel where there is less position flexibility and the only other intriguing center option is Tristan Thompson. Robert Williams has been dealing with a toe injury, and it is hard to see him with more than 18 to 20 minutes tonight, which should leave the balance for Thompson. The salary relief and the ability to play more than one center on Yahoo and DraftKings make this duo a viable pairing on the same roster for added differentiation.

Raul Neto has missed the last two games for Washington while dealing with a hamstring injury, though he is expected to play tonight. Depending on risk tolerance, gamers can roll with Neto if he is starting. Ish Smith is still a viable differentiation play who should see heavy minutes for Washington even if Neto starts. It is tough to trust the three-headed monster of Alex Len, Robin Lopez and Daniel Gafford, though the latter two are the better defensive options, and Len has started multiple games and then played just 10 to 15 minutes.

Risky Value

Russell Westbrook: Washington Wizards at Boston Celtics

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 55.72 | DraftKings: 60.03

  • Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 27.8% | FanDuel 22.2% | DraftKings 27.8%

  • DFS Salary: Yahoo $60 | FanDuel $13,000 | DraftKings $12,400

The Celtics know they have to stop Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal, so all of their defensive focus will be on this duo. There is also a reasonable chance that coach Brad Stevens will look to slow the game down in an effort to neutralize the offensive efficiency the Wizards. Westbrook is much less effective in halfcourt sets, and while he can still drive and dish, he may also be tempted to take more field-goal, attempts which is not a promising situation. It will be interesting to see where things shake out with Westbrook’s popularity. It looks appropriate right now, but the one thing to remember is that lineups with both Westbrook and Sabonis are going to look quite similar, which means those going this route must find some differentiation elsewhere to set their rosters apart in large-field tournaments.

Yahoo Daily Fantasy Basketball Discount Dandies

  1. Cody Zeller: CHA at IND – $11

  2. Ish Smith: WAS at BOS – $10

  3. Tristan Thompson: BOS vs. WAS – $14

Final Thoughts on the Tuesday, May 18th NBA DFS Slate

Rotations are going to be tighter, and most teams will be rolling with eight or nine players. Be aware of who may be pinched and understand that finding a few leverage/pivot options is going to be the key to seeing your name at the top of the leaderboards. Keep in mind that salaries and scoring formats differ across the various fantasy sites, and a slam-dunk play on Yahoo may be a below-average NBA DFS pick on DraftKings or FanDuel.

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