Basketball Lineups Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
FanDuel NBA Picks and DraftKings NBA Picks - Tuesday, 5/25/21
The first few days of the playoffs were absolutely incredible, and we should have some more stunning action here. The Lakers, Clippers, and Celtics are all looking to avoid 0-2 holes, and it should have those teams especially hungry. With that in mind, let's kick things off with someone who has motivation for other reasons!
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We just mentioned that Kyrie is motivated for differing reasons than most players because he's facing his former team. Everyone knows that his days in Boston were far from pretty, and it looks like it has Irving starving when he faces his former team. In their four meetings this season, Kyrie is averaging 30.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, 5.8 assists, and 1.5 steals en route to 53.3 DraftKings points per game. That's some of the best splits you'll see, and it makes it hard to understand why he remains around $9K. That's close to the guy we saw all year anyway, with Kyrie posting a 46-point average.
Schroder is not quite the same guy when LeBron James and Anthony Davis are both suiting up, but he's still too good to be this cheap. We're talking about a guy who's averaging over 30 fantasy points per game, playing even better in the second half of the season. That's right on par with our projections for Dennis the Menace, and it's hard to neglect from a guy barely cracking $5,500 on both sites. Facing Phoenix is definitely a tough matchup, but Schroder is averaging 28 DK points per game across 34 minutes a night in their four meetings this year.
It's strange to see Harden in this price range. The Beard is usually $1,000 more on each site, and it's hard to understand why he's seen a drastic price drop. It's probably due to a late-season injury, but 54 DK points across 36 minutes in Game 1 is a good indicator that he's fully healthy. Those 54 fantasy points are actually slightly below his season average, and we love that he's handling the ball on every play with shooters like Kevin Durant, Irving, and Joe Harris around him. We also don't mind the matchup, with Boston owning a 21st OPRK against opposing shooting guards this season.
Marcus Smart FD - $5300 DK - $5800
Opponent - BKN
Proj Pts FD - 33.7 DK - 33.91
Smart is actually in the same boat as Schroder. Both of these guys have been playing at a $6-7K level all season long, and it's weird that they remain so cheap here. What makes Smart's price even more mind-boggling is the fact that he's doing even more in the absence of Jaylen Brown. That's allowed him to score at least 24 fantasy points in 17 of his last 18 games, generating a 31-point average in that span. That's an absurd total from a $5K player, especially in such a tasty matchup. Not only is Smart averaging over 30 DraftKings points per game in their four matchups with the Nets this year, but Brooklyn is also sitting 22nd in defensive efficiency ratings as well.
Kawhi Leonard FD - $9400 DK - $8300
Opponent - DAL
Proj Pts FD - 49.53 DK - 50.13
This $8,300 price tag is laughable. Kawhi is one of the best postseason performers in the NBA, and a late-season slump lowered his price way too far. In the playoff series against Dallas two years ago, Kawhi averaged 58 fantasy points per game. While we don't necessarily expect him to duplicate that, it's hard to overlook when you see his 49-point average in the postseason in that same span. That looked like the guy we saw in Game 1, with Leonard dropping 56 fantasy points in a narrow loss. The fact that they lost should make him even hungrier here, and that's bad news for Dallas and these DFS sites.
Mikal Bridges FD - $5400 DK - $5300
Opponent - LAL
Proj Pts FD - 32.48 DK - 31.83
Bridges is not the sort of guy who will stand out with his sharpshooting or playmaking on the offensive end, but he's a solid fantasy producer because of his defense and role. Bridges is averaging 31 DK points per game across 34 minutes a night across his last 12 outings, if you take out the finale where all the starters played limited minutes. That's all you can ask for from a guy barely cracking $5K, especially when he has to play extra minutes to cover guys like LeBron James and Anthony Davis. That's crystal clear when you see that Mikal is averaging 28 fantasy points per game across 37 minutes a night in their four meetings this year.
Joe Harris remains below $5K on both sites and plays 30-plus minutes with one of the sweetest strokes in the NBA.
Jayson Tatum FD - $10000 DK - $9800
Opponent - BKN
Proj Pts FD - 50.6 DK - 52.27
The Celtics are in for a long series (or short one) with the way these teams are looking right now, but that doesn't mean Tatum won't post some gaudy numbers. With Brown off the floor this season, Tatum leads Boston with a 35 percent usage rate while averaging 1.4 DK points per minute. That's a ridiculous rate, and it's led to the best stretch of his career. In fact, JT is averaging 51 DraftKings points per game across his last 11 outings. We can't overlook production like that in a matchup like this, with the Nets surrendering the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing PFs.
Kristaps Porzingis FD - $6900 DK - $7800
Opponent - LAC
Proj Pts FD - 42.01 DK - 44.03
KP can be a tough guy to trust in season-long formats because of his propensity to leave games, but he's a fantastic play in DFS when his price tag gets this low. I mean, sub-$7K on FanDuel is absolutely insane! We're talking about a guy who's averaging 38 fantasy points per game for the season, scoring at least 31 fantasy points in his two regular-season matchups with Los Angeles this year. That's actually well below his projection, but it's really all you need from a guy with such a deflated price tag. Facing the Clippers is obviously a tough task, but their one weakness is their frontcourt, and that could allow KP to feast.
Maxi Kleber just played 37 minutes in Game 1 and would be hard to avoid if that happens again here.
Deandre Ayton FD - $7200 DK - $6100
Opponent - LAL
Proj Pts FD - 36.44 DK - 37.66
The center position is a disaster on this slate. Ayton is almost in here by default, but it's hard to omit how special he played in Game 1. The big man dominated AD all night, finishing with 21 points and 16 rebounds on 10-of-11 from the field. Games like that have not been common for Ayton, but he's shown this ability at times when he's motivated. That certainly appeared to be the case in Game 1, and he can quiet a lot of doubters if he continues to dominate the paint as he did in that opener. Despite the tough matchup, Deandre is actually averaging 33 fantasy points per game in his four meetings with the Lakers this year, and that's a stellar average from a $6K player.
Robert Williams III FD - $5800 DK - $4600
Opponent - BKN
Proj Pts FD - 32.79 DK - 30.53
Williams came off the bench in Game 1, but he showed just how dominant he could be. The big man set a playoff record with nine blocks, doing that damage in just 23 minutes of action. He also fell a rebound shy of a double-double, finishing with 44 DraftKings points. That might look flukey on the surface, but this is a per-minute monster who averaged nearly 1.4 DK points per minute in the regular season. That means he only needs 20 minutes to be a beast at this price, which seems likely after that Game 1 gem. We obviously don't mind that Brooklyn owns a 24th OPRK against opposing centers either.
Nicolas Claxton has been playing a lot more for Brooklyn recently and remains a great value.