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Fantasy Basketball Picks: Top DraftKings NBA DFS Targets, Values for May 1

Matt LaMarca gives his top studs and value plays at each position for Monday’s fantasy basketball slate on DraftKings.

NBA: Playoffs-Phoenix Suns at Denver Nuggets Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

We’re officially into the second round of the NBA postseason. The Warriors were the final team to punch their ticket, securing a road win in Game 7 vs. the Kings on Sunday thanks to a monster performance from Steph Curry. He erupted for 50 points, the most by a player in a Game 7 in NBA history. Curry didn’t need anything additional to solidify his place in history, but that’s certainly a nice feather in his cap.

We have two more games scheduled for Monday, and the action on DraftKings gets underway at 7:30 p.m. ET. Things get started with Game 1 between the Celtics and 76ers and wrap up with Game 2 of Nuggets-Suns.

Let’s dive into some of my favorite options to consider at each position.

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James Harden, Philadelphia 76ers at Boston Celtics ($8,800) – There aren’t a ton of injuries to consider on Monday’s two-game slate, but the one exception is a doozy. Joel Embiid is currently considered doubtful for Game 1 vs. the Celtics, and while there’s still a chance he suits up, the 76ers will likely be without their top option vs. the defending Eastern Conference champs.

If Embiid is unable to go, Harden will be asked to pick up the slack. He saw a +5.7% usage bump with Embiid off the court during the regular season, resulting in an average of 1.44 DKFP per minute. Harden has averaged just 1.07 DKFP per minute over the past month, so that has the potential to be a massive boost. He’s coming off a strong showing without Embiid in his last contest, finishing with 48.5 DKFP in a closeout win over the Nets.

Harden also remains far less expensive than usual at $8,800. He’s only been priced below $9,000 on three previous occasions this season, and he’s averaged 46.58 DKFP in those contests. Overall, he stands out as one of the strongest options on the slate.

Jamal Murray, Denver Nuggets vs. Phoenix Suns ($8,000) – Nikola Jokic has won two straight MVP awards, and he called Murray the Nuggets’ best player after their Game 1 win vs. the Suns. That’s obviously not true, but Murray is probably one of the more underrated scorers in basketball. He’s also not afraid of the biggest stages, and he’s taken his game to another level to start the playoffs. He’s averaged 28.3 points per game during the postseason after averaging just 20.0 during the regular season.

Murray’s increased scoring has translated to plenty of fantasy success. He’s scored at least 44.0 DKFP in five of six playoff contests, and he’s increased his production to 1.22 DKFP per minute over the past month. That’s the top mark among all of Monday’s point guards.

Despite his recent production, his price tag has actually decreased for Game 2, so he’s an outstanding value.

Other Options – Devin Booker ($9,200), Chris Paul ($7,100)


Tyrese Maxey, Philadelphia 76ers at Boston Celtics ($6,900) – Maxey is another member of the 76ers that will have to pick up the slack if Embiid is sidelined. He saw a 4.9% usage bump with Embiid off the floor during the regular season, trailing only Harden in that department. He also saw a nice uptick in fantasy production, averaging 1.10 DKFP per minute.

Maxey has played at least 39.2 minutes in two of his past three games, giving him plenty of upside at his current price tag. The Celtics are a tough matchup – they were third in defensive efficiency during the regular season – but Maxey is simply too cheap for his current role.

Other Options – Malcolm Brogdon ($4,900), Bruce Brown ($4,400)



Kevin Durant, Phoenix Suns at Denver Nuggets ($9,500) – It’s a tough call between Durant and Jayson Tatum for the top spot at forward. Neither player has been at their best during the postseason, with both players averaging fewer DKFP per minute than they did during the regular season.

However, Durant is slightly cheaper than Tatum, and I think he has a bit more room for improvement. His decreased numbers vs. the Clippers were due to a lower usage rate than normal. He was still extremely efficient with his chances, but he took a backseat to the scorching-hot Devin Booker. There’s a chance that dynamic changes vs. the Nuggets. Durant’s usage rate was up to 34.4% in Game 1, which represents a massive increase from his average of 24.1% vs. the Clippers.

Durant’s team also needs to win on Monday more than Tatum’s since they’re already in an 0-1 hole. That should result in more playing time for Durant. Ultimately, I give him a slight edge in my projections.

Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers ($8,200) – If you didn’t know any better, you could make a strong case that Brown was the Celtics’ best player based off his work vs. the Hawks. He averaged just 0.5 fewer points per game than Tatum, but he was way more efficient. He shot 54.1% from the field and 51.5% from 3-point range, and if not for a subpar 57.9% from the free throw line, he could’ve had an even bigger series. Brown finished up the first round with back-to-back games of at least 31 points, and he scored at least 45.25 DKFP in both contests.

Brown is still priced a full -$1,700 cheaper than Tatum, making him the superior value among the Celtics’ wings.

Other Options – Jayson Tatum ($9,900)


De’Anthony Melton, Philadelphia 76ers at Boston Celtics ($4,000) – Melton is very affordable at just $4,000, and he should see plenty of playing time if Embiid is ruled out. He logged at least 27.8 minutes in the final two games vs. the Nets, and he responded with 22.0 and 23.0 DKFP. He hasn’t been the greatest per-minute producer over the past month, but his average of 0.85 DKFP per minute for the year is excellent for his price tag. Melton will likely be one of the most popular value options on the slate, but he’s tough to pass up at his current salary.

Other Options – Michael Porter Jr. ($6,100), Josh Okogie ($3,800)



Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets vs. Phoenix Suns ($10,800) – Jokic got off to a slow start this postseason, but he is still one of the top producers in fantasy. In fact, with Giannis Antetokounmpo out and Embiid banged up, the gap between Jokic and the rest of the field is only getting wider. He’s racked up at least 55.75 DKFP in four straight games, including two with at least 71.75.

What’s scary is that Jokic didn’t even play particularly well in his last contest. He had just five assists – well below his season average of 9.8 – and he shot just 9-21 from the field. Jokic was above 63% during the regular season, so he has plenty of room for improvement in Game 2. If Jokic can put up nearly 60 DKFP in a bad game, it goes without saying that his ceiling is astronomical.

This matchup also stands out as the better of the two options on Monday. Not only is the 229.0-point total significantly higher but the Nuggets are listed as just 4.5-point favorites. That suggests a much more competitive game environment.

Other Options – None


Deandre Ayton, Phoenix Suns at Denver Nuggets ($6,200) – Ayton provides a very safe floor at his current salary. He’s a great bet for a double-double on most nights, although he did struggle to just 14 points and seven boards in Game 1 vs. the Nuggets. Having to share the ball with Booker, Durant, and Chris Paul keeps his ceiling low, but he’s averaged 35.3 DKFP per game this season. That would be more than enough to pay off his current salary.

Other Options – Paul Reed ($5,300), Al Horford ($5,200)

Set your DraftKings fantasy basketball lineups here: NBA $400K Shootaround [$100K to 1st]

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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.