Basketball Lineups Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Joel Bartilotta

FanDuel NBA Picks and DraftKings NBA Picks - Wednesday, 5/26/21

These NBA Playoffs have been unbelievable so far. We're not even to the elimination games, and it feels like every matchup is a must-win game. That's definitely the case here, with many of these teams trying to even these series'. There's a lot to discuss, though, so let's talk about one of the biggest heroes from the exciting Game 1 games.

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Point Guard

Trae YoungTrae Young FD - $9000 DK - $8500
Opponent - NY
Proj Pts FD - 47.14 DK - 51.31

Facing the Knicks is no easy matchup, but Trae was absolutely brilliant in their Game 1 victory. The former Oklahoma guard dropped 57 DraftKings in that wonderful performance, and it's really no surprise when you look at his splits. In four meetings with New York this year, Young is averaging 51 fantasy points per game. That's a brilliant total from a $9K player, and it's clear that he will lead the team in shot attempts, usage rate, and minutes played in this series. It also extends one of his best stretches of the year, scoring at least 54 fantasy points in four of his last six games as well.

Ben SimmonsBen Simmons FD - $8100 DK - $7300
Opponent - WAS
Proj Pts FD - 43.46 DK - 43.15

Simmons is a tough guy to figure out in terms of DFS, but we absolutely adore him in a matchup like this. The biggest thing is the fact that Washington plays at the fastest pace in the NBA. That caters beautifully to a player like Sim, who happens to be one of the best athletes in our sport. That was on full display in Game 1, with Big Ben collecting 15 rebounds and 15 assists en route to 52 DraftKings points. Imagine how that could look if he had more than six points! In any case, we'll take the stat-stuffing abilities in such a tasty matchup, especially with Simmons sitting at just $7,300 on DK.

If you have the salary, Russell Westbrook is hard to overlook with his triple-doubles averages.

Shooting Guard

Bradley BealBradley Beal FD - $9500 DK - $8800
Opponent - PHI
Proj Pts FD - 50.4 DK - 51.89

Beal had a down second half due to some injury issues, but he appears to have recaptured the form that made him the second-highest scorer in the NBA. BB dropped 56 fantasy points in the Game 1 defeat and is now generating a 47-point average over his last eight games played. That's the guy we saw in the opening months of the year, and one has to believe his usage, shot attempts, and minutes will be up in this must-win Game 2. The Sixers are certainly a tricky matchup, but Beal is averaging 50.4 fantasy points per game in their four matchups this season.

Donovan MitchellDonovan Mitchell FD - $8000 DK - $8400
Opponent - MEM
Proj Pts FD - 43.19 DK - 45.15

This could be a bit risky with Mitchell making his return after a two-month absence, but he's got way too much upside to be this cheap. Let's kick things off by talking about his form, averaging 45 fantasy points per game in his 16 games before getting injured. That's right on par with our projection, and we also can't overlook his ridiculous numbers in last year's postseason. In the seven-game first-round exit last season, DM averaged 49 DK points per game across 38 minutes a night. He also attempted 22.4 shots per game in that span, which could definitely be duplicated in a must-win game for the Jazz.

Dillon Brooks has been a revelation in these playoffs and is obviously in play.

Small Forward

Bojan BogdanovicBojan Bogdanovic FD - $5600 DK - $6400
Opponent - MEM
Proj Pts FD - 25.94 DK - 27.98

What's with this $5,600 price tag on FanDuel? Bojan carried Utah in their Game 1 defeat and has been fantastic for a month now. The sharpshooter has scored at least 29 DraftKings points in 11 of his last 12 games, generating a 33-point average in that span. He played similarly dating all the way back to the beginning of February, and it makes it hard to understand why he's not $7K on both sites. The matchup isn't too shabby either, with Memphis owning an 18th OPRK against opposing small forwards. That's clear when you see that Bogey is averaging 28 DK points per game n their four matchups this year.

De'Andre HunterDe'Andre Hunter FD - $4200 DK - $4000
Opponent - NY
Proj Pts FD - 24.43 DK - 24.64

This is certainly a risky play since Hunter is just returning from injury and was unproductive in Game 1, but this dude has too much potential to be this cheap. In his 17 games before getting injured, Hunter averaged 31 fantasy points per game in 33 minutes a night. That alone makes the $4K price tag laughable, especially when you see that De'Andre played 22 minutes in Game 1. That's still well behind his 33-minute average from early on, but he's still on pace for a 21-point average, even if he only plays 22 minutes. That's all you can hope for from a $4,000 player, and we anticipate Hunter's minutes creeping up here as well, along with his fantasy production.

Rui Hachimura is around $5K on both sites and could flirt with 35-40 minutes.

Power Forward

Julius RandleJulius Randle FD - $9800 DK - $9400
Opponent - ATL
Proj Pts FD - 49.87 DK - 53.87

To say Randle was bad in Game 1 would be a drastic understatement. He played one of his worst games of the season, but that makes us want to go right back to the well. It lowered his price just enough to tempt us, and it should keep his ownership a bit down as well. That's huge for a guy that's been going off all year, with Julius averaging 49 fantasy points per game. More importantly, he's one of the league leaders in minutes played and usage, which is scary since Thibs will likely ride him 45 minutes in every playoff game from here on out. He's killed Atlanta this year, too, posting a 58-point average in four meetings with them this season.

Royce O'NealeRoyce O'Neale FD - $4000 DK - $4100
Opponent - MEM
Proj Pts FD - 20.49 DK - 20.86

Royce is not the sort of guy who's going to lead your lineup in scoring, but he's one of the best bets out there to provide 5X value. We say that because he plays a ton of minutes and provides value through sheer hustle and defense. That was on full display in Game 1, with Royce playing a team-high 37 minutes. He's not going to get a lot of shots, but any guy sitting around $4K playing close to 40 minutes needs to be looked at. In the 42 games that O'Neale has played at least 32 minutes, he's averaging over 23 fantasy points per game. That might not sound like much, but it's quite the total from such a cheap player.

Tobias Harris went nuts in Game 1 and should have another solid game here.


Joel EmbiidJoel Embiid FD - $10100 DK - $10100
Opponent - WAS
Proj Pts FD - 59.37 DK - 61.52

Many people will pay a ridiculous total for Russell Westbrook, but we want to ride Embiid for way cheaper. We prefer Embiid because he's got the better matchup, and his team is favored. Not only does Washington rank dead-last in total defense, but they also surrender the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing centers as well. That's clear when you see Embiid's 50-point average in four outings against the Wiz, despite playing just 30 minutes a night. All of that is bad news in this playoff game, with Joel likely playing 35-40 minutes. Not to mention, Embiid has at least 34 fantasy points in 46 of his 51 games this year, one of the best floors in the NBA.

Nerlens NoelNerlens Noel FD - $4500 DK - $4000
Opponent - ATL
Proj Pts FD - 25.71 DK - 22.9

Noel struggled a bit in Game 1, but he's been way too good to be this affordable. Over his last 18 games played, Noel is averaging 27 DraftKings points per game in 27 minutes a night. That means he should be north of $5K on both sites, particularly in a matchup like this. Atlanta currently ranks 21st in defensive efficiency ratings, with Noel dropping 35 fantasy points in their last meeting late in the regular season. All of that makes him a great pairing with some of the high-priced players because not many guys on this slate have the 8X upside that Noel does.

Rudy Gobert and Clint Capela are both in play with their double-double capabilities.





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