Basketball Lineups Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Joel Bartilotta

FanDuel NBA Picks and DraftKings NBA Picks - Friday, 5/28/21

We're getting to the guts of these critical First-Round series, and it's been fascinating up to this point. The most shocking series has been the Dallas-Los Angeles one, with the Mavs carrying a 2-0 lead back home. That means that Game 3 should be highly contested, but it's not like the Atlanta-New York one won't be either. The Boston-Brooklyn matchup is the only real concern in terms of blowout potential, but there's still value in that game too. With that in mind, let's kick things off with two guys who have been linked together since they were drafted.

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Point Guard

Luka DoncicLuka Doncic FD - $10500 DK - $11000
Opponent - LAC
Proj Pts FD - 60.28 DK - 64.81

Doncic has developed into one of the best players in fantasy at the ripe age of 22, and he looks to be on a different planet in this series so far. In the first two games of this first-round, Luka is averaging 35 points, 8.5 rebounds, 9.0 assists, 1.0 steals, and 1.5 blocks per game. That has led to a 66.4 average on DraftKings, one of the highest totals in this postseason. While many people might be concerned about facing a tough defensive team like this, Luka has shown it really doesn't matter. In their five meetings this year, Doncic is averaging 64.7 fantasy points per game.

Trae YoungTrae Young FD - $9000 DK - $8600
Opponent - NY
Proj Pts FD - 44.66 DK - 47.19

I was concerned with Trae facing this Knicks defense in this series, but he's made minced meat of them so far. Trae is averaging 31 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 8.5 assists per game in the first two games against them. That might look shocking when you see NY's elite defensive statistics, but it's far from surprising when you see that Young is posting a 49-point average in his five meetings with the Knicks this year. The simple fact is, he's handling the ball on every possession and is taking on even more shots and usage in these critical playoff games. As long as that continues, Trae should be a five-figure player on both sites.

If you're looking for someone cheaper, Derrick Rose has been playing starter minutes and remains too cheap.

Shooting Guard

Paul GeorgePaul George FD - $8800 DK - $8100
Opponent - DAL
Proj Pts FD - 46.59 DK - 49.12

There's this stupid notion out there that PG13 can't perform in the postseason, and while that's been the case, it's just a matter of time before he does. This is one of the best players in the NBA, and there are many people out there who literally think he's bad because of that. We can capitalize on those silly notions because it's made George's price a bit too cheap. In the first two games of this series, he's averaging 25.5 points, 9.0 rebounds, 5.5 assists, and 1.0 steals per game. That's the regular season stud we've become accustomed to, and he clearly looks motivated with all of this talk around his playoff play. We expect that to continue against a team like Dallas, owning a 16th OPRK against opposing shooting guards this season.

Marcus SmartMarcus Smart FD - $6000 DK - $5900
Opponent - BKN
Proj Pts FD - 33.7 DK - 33.91

It's strange that Smart sits around $6K on both sites, and he'll likely remain in this article until it rises or until Boston eventually gets knocked out by Brooklyn. We say that because he's been playing at a $7K level, We're talking about a guy who's scored at least 24 DK points in 18 of his last 19 games, generating a 31-point average in that impressive stretch. What adds to his intrigue here is that he's asked to do more with Jaylen Brown sidelined, which shows in the numbers we just mentioned. Not to mention, Smart is averaging over 30 fantasy points per game in his five matchups with the Nets this season, combining for 66 DraftKings points in the first two games of this series so far.

James Harden is a fantastic option if you have the salary.

Small Forward

RJ BarrettRJ Barrett FD - $6300 DK - $6100
Opponent - ATL
Proj Pts FD - 33.25 DK - 34.7

It's not exciting to watch Barrett because of his lack of efficiency, but he simply has way too much usage to avoid at this price. We're talking about a guy who could be looking at 20 shots and 40 minutes of play. That's not that far off of his regular-season averages, and it makes these price tags hard to understand. R.J. has also stepped up his rebounding in this series, allowing him to score at least 29 DraftKings points in three straight games. If he can add rebounding with this usage, Barrett could flirt with 40-50 fantasy points on a hot shooting night. The matchup only makes him more enticing, with Atlanta ranked 21st in defensive efficiency ratings.

Dorian Finney-SmithDorian Finney-Smith FD - $4400 DK - $4800
Opponent - LAC
Proj Pts FD - 24.33 DK - 24.75

Finney-Smith has been a punt play target of mine all season long, and he becomes even more attractive on a short slate like this. The thing that makes him such a good option below $5K is his minutes. The versatile forward has played 37 minutes in each of the first two games of this series, averaging over 33 minutes a night since the end of March. That sort of role is hard to overlook from a sub-$5K player, especially with DFS posting a 25-point average in that span. That might not sound like much, but it equates to 6X value at these dirt-cheap price tags.

Kawhi Leonard has been amazing in the first two games of this series and is clearly a great play again.

Power Forward

Julius RandleJulius Randle FD - $9400 DK - $9700
Opponent - ATL
Proj Pts FD - 47.49 DK - 51.37

Randle has been struggling in this series, but it's just a matter of time before he starts rolling. Despite posting some ugly shooting numbers in the first two games, Julius has still scored at least 37 fantasy points in each of them. That shows just how scary he can be, posting one of the best floors in the NBA. The reason his floor is so high is the fact that he's one of the league leaders in usage and minutes played. Both of those are likely to increase in this series, ultimately leading to some 50-60 point games sooner rather than later. He's thrived in this tasty matchup all year, too, averaging 54 fantasy points per game in their five matchups this year.

Maxi Kleber (FD $4800 DK $3700)

Kleber and Finney-Smith have pretty much the same role in Dallas, and it's weird that both guys remain so affordable on these sites. The $3,700 price tag on DraftKings is ridiculous, with Kleber having 7-8X upside at that price. The big man has scored at least 23 fantasy points in the first two games of this series, playing 35 minutes a night. Those are impossible totals to avoid from someone this cheap, making him a great pairing with some of the studs we mentioned before. He does enter this matchup with a questionable tag, so be sure to keep an eye on that before tip. If he's out, Finney-Smith is a lock in every lineup.

Jayson Tatum is doing everything for the Celtics and is obviously a great play if you have the salary.


Clint CapelaClint Capela FD - $8300 DK - $7700
Opponent - NY
Proj Pts FD - 47.55 DK - 47.18

Capela only has 13 combined points in the first two games of this series but has done his usual thing through the defense. The Swiss big man has at least 12 rebounds and seven combined blocks in this series, which we've become accustomed to from the talented big man. We actually anticipate there being even more rebounding on the way, with Cap leading the league with 14.3 rebounds a night. That means if he can just get a few more putbacks and lobs to get to 10-15 raw points, Capela could be in for one of his 50-point gems. All of that makes him a spectacular option around $8K, especially with New York surrendering the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing centers this season.

Tristan ThompsonTristan Thompson FD - $5000 DK - $4900
Opponent - BKN
Proj Pts FD - 20.74 DK - 20.69

It's hard to get excited about using Thompson in your lineup, but there may be no better bet for a double-double from a $5K player. He did just that in Game 2, marking his third straight game with at least 25 fantasy points. That actually extends his best stretch of the season, generating a 26-point average over his last 10 outings. You can't ask for any more from such a cheap player, especially with Brooklyn ranked 23rd in total defense this year. TT actually has a 24-point average in his five meetings with the Nets this year, too, and that only adds to his value at this price.

Robert Williams also has a huge upside for Boston.





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