Postseason Fantasy Ranks: PTS, 9-cat & 8-cat

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Fantasy fortunes change dramatically in the NBA postseason. Rotations shrink, gameplans relentlessly exploit mismatches, superstars enjoy elevated usage, and as a result the rich often get richer. Luka Doncic led the NBA with a 38.3% usage rate in the regular season, and through a few weeks of playoff games he's soared even higher at 40.4%. Giannis Antetokounmpo's relentless attack has netted him 38.1% usage, up 3.4% from the regular season, and on and on.

Spikes in playing time are even more glaring. Through May 12, there are 22 players averaging 37+ minutes per game in the postseason. During the regular season (with double the teams under consideration) there were only six players who averaged 37+ minutes -- Pascal Siakam, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Fred VanVleet, James Harden and LeBron James. Only Harden is still playing.

Despite the top-heavy nature of playoff hoops, there are always breakout performances from players further down the regular-season pecking order. Some players benefit from increased opportunity, such as Mikal Bridges scoring a personal postseason-high 31 points without Devin Booker early in the postseason.

Other players benefit from simple effectiveness in the matchup, including Brandon Clarke vs. Minnesota's frontcourt, Grayson Allen lighting up Chicago's perimeter defense, and Nicolas Claxton supplanting Andre Drummond at center during Brooklyn's brief postseason. With so many variables and a surplus of narrative-driven "takes" to distract us (just ask Jordan Poole), focusing on numbers allows us to cut through the noise and determine each player's objective fantasy value...or lack thereof.

The following is an analysis of 154 qualifying players (10+ minutes) in the 2022 NBA postseason. It's a very small sample size, though I have eliminated 63 players who didn't qualify based on playing time. We get a clearer picture without those low-end players, who would otherwise drag down population averages and thereby distort the numbers. Field goal percentage (FG%) and free throw percentage (FT%) are both weighted by volume of attempts.

Here are the values for DFS, 9-cat and 8-cat! The raw stats are from NBA.com's postseason stats through May 11.

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