The NBA playoffs are in full swing, and we have another three games to choose from on Wednesday. The action gets underway with Game 2 between the Lakers and Grizzlies at 7:30 p.m. ET, followed by Heat-Bucks and Timberwolves-Nuggets.
Let’s dive into some of my favorite plays at each position.
Jrue Holiday, Milwaukee Bucks vs. Miami Heat ($8,200) – The big news heading into this contest involves the injury to Giannis Antetokounmpo. He exited Game 1 with a back injury and is currently listed as doubtful. Playoff reports in the postseason can be meaningless – we’ve already seen Josh Hart go from doubtful to in – but I’m proceeding as though Giannis won’t be in the lineup. The Bucks are a team that has always prioritized long-term health, so if anyone is going to be cautious with a superstar during the playoffs, it’s them.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Bucks PF/C Giannis Antetokounmpo (back) is now listed as questionable for tonight’s game vs. the Heat.
If Antetokounmpo is ruled out, Holiday is going to have to help pick up the slack. He’s seen a team-high 5.7% usage bump with Giannis off the floor this season, resulting in an average of 1.35 DKFP per minute. In 11 full games without Giannis, he’s averaged 47.2 DKFP across 34.3 minutes. Holiday has scored at least 52.75 DKFP in three straight games, and if Giannis is sidelined on Wednesday, he could easily make it four in a row.
Anthony Edwards, Minnesota Timberwolves at Denver Nuggets ($7,800) – Edwards and the Timberwolves are coming off a dreadful performance in Game 1. They struggled to just 80 points vs. the Nuggets, and Edwards was limited to just 34.0 DKFP in 27.7 minutes.
That said, there were some positives to take away. Edwards posted a 32.6% usage rate in that contest, which represented a slight increase from his 29.9% mark during the regular season. Edwards should see closer to 38 minutes if Wednesday’s game is more competitive, and he’s averaged 1.19 DKFP per minute for the year. Ultimately, he’s underpriced at $7,800.
Other Options – Desmond Bane ($8,400), Jamal Murray ($7,600)
Jevon Carter, Milwaukee Bucks vs. Miami Heat ($3,500) – Carter would be an excellent value target if Antetokounmpo is unable to play. He’s seen a slight bump in playing time in games without Giannis this season, averaging 24.9 minutes per game, and Carter has averaged 22.5 DKFP per game in those contests. Carter has averaged 0.79 DKFP per minute for the year, so he’s capable of paying off his minimal price tag with a slightly larger workload than usual.
Other Options – Mike Conley ($5,400), Gabe Vincent ($4,200)
Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat at Milwaukee Bucks ($8,900) – The Bucks are not the only team dealing with a big injury. Tyler Herro suffered a broken hand during Game 1, which is expected to sideline him for four-to-six weeks. Unless the Heat can make a deep run, he’s almost certainly done for the remainder of the postseason.
With Herro out of the picture, Butler is going to have to take on a larger role than usual. He’s already been playing some fantastic basketball of late, averaging 1.27 DKFP per minute, and he’s increased his usage rate (+1.3%) and assist rate (+2.8%) with Herro off the floor this season. Butler was dominant without Herro in Game 1, finishing with 63.75 DKFP thanks to 35 points, 11 assists and five rebounds. He played just under 43 minutes in that contest, and he has a track record of elevating his play during the postseason. You could make a strong case that Butler is the top overall play on the slate.
Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks vs. Miami Heat ($7,700) – Middleton is the other member of the Bucks’ “Big Three,” and he’ll also need to help pick up the slack if Giannis is sidelined. Like Holiday, he’s also seen a sizable usage bump with Giannis off the floor, resulting in an average of 1.33 DKFP per minute. He posted a 37.5% usage rate with Giannis missing most of Game 1, and he responded with 33 points and 48.75 DKFP. The Bucks are a tough matchup, but Middleton is capable of scoring against anyone.
Other Options – Karl-Anthony Towns ($7,500), Michael Porter Jr. ($6,400)
Bobby Portis, Milwaukee Bucks vs. Miami Heat ($5,700) – Don’t forget about the Mayor of Milwaukee. Portis has been an elite role player for the Bucks for years, excelling whether he comes off the bench or moves into the starting lineup. He’s averaged 1.17 DKFP per minute this season, and that figure increases to 1.27 with Antetokounmpo off the floor.
Portis is also cheaper than usual at $5,700. He was priced as high as $6,900 toward the end of the regular season, and Portis has averaged 33.57 DKFP in 20 games with a comparable salary.
Other Options – Bruce Brown ($5,200)
Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat at Milwaukee Bucks ($7,400) – Bam Adebayo is an excellent fantasy center, averaging 1.16 DKFP per minute this season, but that figure has dipped to just 1.03 over the past month. That’s caused his salary to dip to just $7,400 for Game 2 vs. the Bucks. He racked up 45.25 DKFP at $7,700 in Game 1, so there’s no reason his price should have dropped.
Like Butler, Adebayo should also see a boost in value with Herro sidelined. He’s increased his production to 1.20 DKFP per minute with Herro off the floor this season, and he could approach 40 minutes in this contest.
Other Options – Anthony Davis ($10,100)
Brook Lopez, Milwaukee Bucks vs. Miami Heat ($6,200) – Lopez is the final stop on our tour of the Bucks. While his defensive play got most of the attention this season, Lopez remains a very capable producer on the offensive end. He’s averaged 1.09 DKFP per minute over the past month, and that figure increased to 1.11 in games without Giannis.
Loading up on a game 219.0-point total may not feel like the best idea, but the injuries to Antetokounmpo and Herro make it the clear top target for the day. Seven of the top nine values in my projections come from this contest, so stacking it is a viable strategy. Most of these players will garner heavy ownership, but there’s a reason for it.
Other Options – Kevin Love ($4,100)
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is mlamarca) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.