Basketball Lineups Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

Joel Bartilotta

FanDuel NBA Picks and DraftKings NBA Picks - Tuesday, 6/1/21

The last few days of the NBA playoffs have been ugly in terms of blowouts, but this slate should be special. This is arguably the most important ledger of games we've had all year, with two of the three games featuring a 2-2 series. The winner of Game 5 in these circumstances wins the series 86 percent of the time in NBA history, so it's obviously critical for all the teams involved. That should force these starters to play huge minutes, and we should see some monster performances from the superstars in our sport!

Head on over for your chance to get DFSR PRO, which will give you access to our NBA FanDuel and DraftKings optimizer, our MLB Optimizer, and NHL Projections as well. Plus, our new player lab! Get started for free by clicking the button below.

First time with NBA or NFL? Be sure to read our free NBA and NFL Ebooks on building lineups, general strategy, and more. We've got you completely covered.

Point Guard

Kyrie IrvingKyrie Irving FD - $9600 DK - $8800
Opponent - BOS
Proj Pts FD - 52.71 DK - 53.93

If you don't think Irving is motivated in this series, you should check out the postgame video of him at TD Garden. The former Boston guard had tumultuous times with the Celtics, and it clearly has him more motivated than ever. He dropped 64 DraftKings points in his last game against them, which is scary when you see his 48-point average in his seven meetings with them this year. That's all you can hope for from a $9K player, and he has to show up after that stomping statement he made in Game 4. It's not like Boston is a tough matchup right now anyway, owning the second-worst defensive rating in this postseason.

Monte MorrisMonte Morris FD - $4700 DK - $4500
Opponent - POR
Proj Pts FD - 22.34 DK - 22.49

Morris might be the Nuggets best all-around guard right now, stepping up with Jamal Murray and Will Barton out of the picture. That has led to MM playing at least 25 minutes in three straight games, generating a 25-point average in that span. That might not sound like much, but it's a tremendous total from a guy sitting well below $5K. The fact that Denver struggled so badly in Game 4 might mean that Morris gets more minutes here too, which is stellar news since Portland posted the second-worst defensive rating in the regular season. There are many studs that you need to fit into your lineup, and there might be no better pairing out there than Morris.

Damian Lillard is obviously a great play if you have the salary.

Shooting Guard

Devin BookerDevin Booker FD - $7500 DK - $8100
Opponent - LAL
Proj Pts FD - 49.63 DK - 51.84

The Suns have their most important game in nearly 20 years here, which means their best player needs to step up. He's actually been slumping a bit in this series, but it's lowered his price to a number we can't pass up.  It's not like he's been that bad either, scoring at least 32 DraftKings points in five straight fixtures. We're still talking about a guy who averaged nearly 40 fantasy points per game in the regular season, and we expect him to be looking at season-highs in usage and minutes played here. Not having to deal with Anthony Davis is a bonus, too, turning this elite defense into an average one at best.

Marcus SmartMarcus Smart FD - $6800 DK - $6500
Opponent - BKN
Proj Pts FD - 33.7 DK - 33.91

The Celtics look well on their way to be ousted in this postseason, but Smart is not giving up. The gritty guard has been a fantastic fantasy option for over a month now, averaging 31.4 DK points per game across 35 minutes a night over his last 21 outings. That's a pretty good total from a sub-$7K player, and he's being asked to do even more now. Boston is expected to be without Kemba Walker and Jaylen Brown, making Smart the primary ball-handler and a near guarantee for 40 minutes of play. He's been showing that in this series, scoring at least 38 fantasy points in each of his last three games. We love that against a 22nd-ranked Nets defense as well.

Austin Rivers had a gem in Game 3, and if he can duplicate that, he'd be a fantastic value around $4,500.

Small Forward

LeBron JamesLeBron James FD - $10000 DK - $9800
Opponent - PHO
Proj Pts FD - 54.95 DK - 58.75

King James is arguably the best player of our generation, and these are the sorts of games where he thrives. Banking on something like that is risky for DFS purposes, but he's in a fantastic spot to succeed. The thing that we love is that LA is expected to be without AD. That means LBJ will be running the show, leading the club with a 33.2 percent usage rate with him off the floor. James is also averaging 1.5 DK points per minute in that time, one of the best rates you'll see. To put it in perspective, James will likely play 35-40 minutes which would equate to 52-60 DraftKings points in that amount of time. If you get that, you're way ahead of the pack!

Michael Porter Jr.Michael Porter Jr. FD - $6500 DK - $7000
Opponent - POR
Proj Pts FD - 40.52 DK - 43.27

Porter has really struggled in this series, and it's hard to understand why. The 22-year-old has scored at least 30 fantasy points in 35 of his last 40 games, with two of those coming in this series. What makes that hard to understand is the fact that this is such a premium matchup, with the Trail Blazers sitting 29th in defensive efficiency in the regular season. We expect him to reach at least 30 here because he's averaging 38.2 fantasy points across his last 22 home games. That tells us that he's obviously more comfortable in his home building, and he's going to be a near guarantee for 20 shots and 40 minutes in this must-win Game 5.

If you want someone cheaper, don't forget about Evan Fournier with so many key Celtics sitting.

Power Forward

Jae CrowderJae Crowder FD - $5500 DK - $4700
Opponent - LAL
Proj Pts FD - 27.23 DK - 28.01

To say the power forward position is putrid would be a drastic understatement. Jayson Tatum and Kevin Durant are north of $10K, and the only viable options below them are these two and guys like Aaron Gordon and Kyle Kuzma (gross). We obviously can't AG or Kuz, and we want to save some salary, so let's bet on Crowder and Covington. We love Jae because he's playing so much in this series, averaging 31 minutes a night. He's also taking seven three-pointers a game in that span, too, which is huge since he provides most of his value through defense. It's the price that makes him really attractive, though, posting a 27-point average in this series and sitting at just $4,700 on DraftKings.

Robert CovingtonRobert Covington FD - $5300 DK - $4800
Opponent - DEN
Proj Pts FD - 27.68 DK - 26.66

RoCo is all over the map in terms of consistency, but he showed in Game 4 and Game 5 why he could be such a bargain. The defensive forward scored at least 27 fantasy points in both of them, just shy of his 25-point season average. He was an even better player in the second half, too, averaging over 27 DK points per game in his final 51 games of the regular season. That's brilliant from such a cheap player, and one has to believe he's in line for 40 minutes in such a pivotal game. If he gets that sort of minute total, it'll be hard for him not to reach value south of $5,000.

Aaron Gordon has been terrible, but a sub-$5K price tag is hard to overlook from such a cheap, talanted player.


Nikola JokicNikola Jokic FD - $10500 DK - $10400
Opponent - POR
Proj Pts FD - 59.02 DK - 61.55

In a short slate like this, it's imperative to grab guaranteed fantasy points when you can. There's no better bet for 50-60 DraftKings points on this slate than Nikola, with Joker leading the NBA with 57 fantasy points per game in the regular season. He actually reached that exact total in the first three games of this series, averaging 58 DK points per game before a rare dud in Game 4. Like the rest of these guys in this critical Game 5, Jokic should be looking at monster totals in terms of usage and minutes played. That's bad news for Portland with his absurd averages, and it wouldn't be surprising at all to see him flirt with a 40-point triple-double in this must-win game.

Jusuf NurkicJusuf Nurkic FD - $7500 DK - $7100
Opponent - DEN
Proj Pts FD - 38.8 DK - 39.55

Nurkic has been crushing it recently, and it's weird that his price hasn't crept above $8K on both sites. The big man has scored at least 27 fantasy points in every game of this series and is averaging nearly 40 DraftKings points per game across his last 18 outings. He's done that damage in fewer than 27 minutes a night, and it'll be scary to see what he does in the 35-40 minutes we anticipate here. Denver is hardly a scary matchup either, with Jokic being one of the worst defensive centers in the NBA.

Tristan Thompson has been a double-double machine and should continue that with Robert Williams missing this game.





Our free NBA and MLB eBooks, and picks to your inbox every day!

Your eBooks are on their way!