This article aims to highlight some of the best plays for today’s showdown NBA slate. Keep in mind that the following player write-ups were constructed earlier in the day, and sometimes injury/rest situations can alter the fantasy landscape. Monitoring our NBA News & Headlines Feed throughout the day will keep you in the loop. Today’s showdown slate on FanDuel and DraftKings features Boston and Miami at 8:30 ET.
DraftKings format uses six players with one captain earning 1.5X fantasy points (and costing 1.5X salary). FanDuel format uses five players with MVP (2.0X fantasy points), Star (1.5X), Pro (1.2X) and two utility. Yahoo does not have NBA DFS today.
Jamal Murray – Denver (at LA) – DK $15,000 (Capt)/$10,000, FD: $13,500
The stage is set for a third straight 1-3 comeback for the Nuggets. I don’t know if they have the strength and energy to get it done, but I’m leaning toward a Denver win tonight at least. For that to happen, Murray has to be magical again. As the cheapest star on the one-game slate, I like him in the DK Captain seat. He carries the same 50-60 fantasy point upside as the other three, for thousands less of the salary cap. That goes a long way in filling your entire roster with guys that actually play.
LeBron James – LA (vs. Denver) – DK: $18,300 (Capt)/$12,200, FD: $16,500
I’m writing in order of preference here, so yes, I like James over Davis tonight. Partly it’s pricing, since they aren’t that different, but I also like that James is far more of a double-double or triple-double threat than Davis. It hasn’t escaped me that James was stellar in the Lakers only (other?) loss to Denver. The Lakers have to be bringing a closeout mentality to this game, and that stems from James’ leadership and performance. I expect a big stat line from James regardless of the final score.
Anthony Davis – LA (vs. Denver) – DK $17,700 (Capt)/$11,800, FD: $16,000
Davis turned his ankle in Game 4, but it would be very hard to imagine him not playing tonight. Ignoring the questionable tag, pending late day news, Davis has every right to be in lineups tonight. He’s averaging about 33 real points per game in this series and has been fantastic on defense, though that has translated to only two blocks and five steals in the series. His rebounding numbers are lower than I’d like – down about five per game compared to the Houston series, but I suppose with Nikola Jokic and a bevy of Denver forwards and Murray on the court that’s no surprise. Davis will return a solid 40-plus fantasy points just like he does every night, though I’d only put him in the Captain/MVP in multi-entry tournaments.
Nikola Jokic – Denver (at LA) – DK: $17,400 (Capt)/$11,600, FD: $15,500
The Joker is the real wild card tonight, because as critical as Murray is to a potential Denver win, I think the outcome truly hinges on Jokic. He has looked exhausted, which worries me, but I’ve been in this headspace before in a Game 5 and Jokic has prevailed. Dwight Howard is a thorn in his side, and as noted, Davis’ defensive presence is having an impact. Everything is harder for Jokic this series, but better believe he’ll be fighting for his team’s playoff life tonight. His salary is high, so there’s risk, but I think he’ll run the lowest ownership of the Top 4, so in the right multiplier slot he could really pay off with a huge game.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope – LA (vs. Denver) – DK: $5400, FD: $8500
Caldwell-Pope is the only guy in the bargain tier averaging over 20 fantasy points per game in this series. He has double-digit points, and a steal, at least one rebound and an assist in every game. It’s not a massive amount of peripherals, but a balanced stat sheet means a solid floor. I’m not counting on any real upside here, just a stable floor at a price that allows me to roster the stars I want.
Monte Morris – Denver (at LA) – DK: $3800, FD: $8000
Morris is almost a must for me on DraftKings. He’s played at least 20 minutes in three of the four games vs. LA, reaching 27 minutes in Game 4, and has scored an average of 13 points in the last two of those (good for an average of 19 fantasy points per game).
Jerami Grant – Denver (at LA) – DK: $7660, FD: $11,000
Grant is on the pricy side of bargain, but there isn’t much of a middle tier in this series. Michael Porter Jr. has been decent, and I still can’t forget the upside he showed up earlier in the bubble, but Grant gets a lot more court time. You also have Paul Millsap, who has been a key defender for Denver, but, again, I vastly prefer Grant for fantasy purposes. He’s taking a hefty amount of shots, scoring 26 and 17 real points in the last two games. He’s also playing super heavy minutes, with the exception of Game 2, in this series (43 minutes on Thursday). A couple more timely three-pointers should go a long way to Grant meeting value and Denver moving on to a Game 6.