The NBA regular season wrapped up on Sunday, and the playoffs get underway this coming Saturday, but don’t worry, there are still fantasy basketball opportunities on DraftKings and plenty on the line this week as four teams from each conference enter the play-in tournament to contend for the seventh and eighth seeds. There are two games on Tuesday night, and the winner of each will become the No. 7 seed and take on the No. 2 seed in their respective conferences. The Nets host the Cavaliers in the first game of the night with the winner moving on to play the Celtics, and the Clippers visit the Timberwolves in the late game with the winner advancing to take on the Grizzlies.
Let’s break down some of the top studs and values at each position to help you build your DraftKings NBA lineups for Tuesday’s Play-In Tournament tip-off.
Darius Garland, Cleveland Cavaliers at Brooklyn Nets ($9,600) – Garland carried the Cavaliers’ offense with a 27.8% usage rate over his 68 games this season. He averaged 41.02 DKFP per game on 21.7 points, 8.6 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals, all of which were easily career highs for the third-year guard. His emergence as a superstar was a big reason the Cavs took the leap to return to the playoffs, and he’ll need a big game to push them past the Nets. Against Brooklyn, he posted 45.25, 48.25, 51 and 40 DKFP in four meetings. He carries so much of the offense, especially with Jarrett Allen (finger) sidelined, that he is a relatively low-risk play since the minutes and scoring opportunities are almost guaranteed to come his way.
Other Option – Kyrie Irving ($10,700)
Patrick Beverley, Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Los Angeles Clippers ($5,200) – Beverley will take on his former team as he looks to help the Wolves move on. He was ejected from the final game of the season but averaged 10.2 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.0 blocked shots for 25.7 DKFP in 25.8 minutes per game. He always brings intensity on defense and multi-category potential, which makes him a very solid midrange play, especially if he gets more minutes than usual in this win-to-advance situation.
Other Options – Jaylen Nowell ($3,400), Jordan McLaughlin ($3,100)
Paul George, Los Angeles Clippers at Minnesota Timberwolves ($9,000) – George missed almost four months with an elbow injury, but he returned over the past couple of weeks to get ready for the playoffs. He’ll have to carry the offense with Kawhi Leonard (knee) still sidelined and has a 32.6% usage rate since returning and a 34.0% usage rate on the season. In his five games back, he averaged 22.6 points, 6.8 assists, 5.6 rebounds, 2.8 steals and 47.5 DKFP in 30.7 minutes per game. With more minutes almost certain to come his way in this contest, he should stuff the stat sheet and offer elite upside. A little bit like Garland, he’s relatively safe since his workload will be heavy due to his team having few other proven offensive options.
Other Options – Kyrie Irving ($10,700), D’Angelo Russell ($7,000)
Norman Powell, Los Angeles Clippers at Minnesota Timberwolves ($5,400) – One of the best second scoring options behind PG13 on the Clippers is only eligible at the same position, but both flex around enough that it isn’t a problem in real life. Powell was acquired from the Trail Blazers midseason but only played five games with the Clippers and only two with George back in the lineup. He looked very good with 24 and 20 points in 23 minutes in each game while adding a few non-scoring numbers to total 32 and 27.75 DKFP respectively. He rested the final game of the season but is expected to be back in action. Powell produced 1.28 DKFP per minute in his time with the Clips, and if he gets a substantial workload, he should easily offer good returns at this salary. He’s risky since he isn’t quite as proven in his role, but his upside is extremely high.
Other Options – Luke Kennard ($5,100), Malik Beasley ($4,500)
Anthony Edwards, Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Los Angeles Clippers ($8,300) – In just his second season, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft has exploded for 21.3 points and 37.4 DKFP per game. Not counting the final game of the season, he posted a 25.7% usage rate in 35.4 minutes per game over his 10 most recent contests, producing 24.1 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game. He averaged 40.3 DKFP in four matchups against the Clippers. The 20-year-old is a dynamic scorer who can go off for a monster game like he did with 49 points in a win last week against the Spurs, and he has an extremely high ceiling.
Jaden McDaniels, Minnesota Timberwolves at Houston Rockets ($3,700) – McDaniels is one of the best cheap options on the slate since he has become a key part of the Wolves’ second unit. He was sidelined for nine straight games with a sprained ankle but played 21 and 18 minutes in the final two games of the season, producing 15.5 DKFP in each contest. McDaniels typically is a multi-category producer and put up 23.7 DKFP in 27.8 minutes per contest in eight games prior to the injury. Even if he doesn’t get all the way back to that level, he’s one of the best options under $4K on this limited slate.
Other Options – Marcus Morris Sr. ($5,500), Taurean Prince ($3,500)
Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets vs. Cleveland Cavaliers ($12,000) – Durant’s playoff prowess definitely makes him worth the highest salary on this slate. Last season in 12 playoff games, he averaged 34.3 points, 9.3 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 1.6 blocked shots and 1.5 steals in 40.4 minutes per game. He had a memorable 48 points in the Nets’ Game 7 loss to the Bucks, but almost single-handedly dispatched the eventual champions in that series. He had four double-doubles and a triple-double in those seven games, so he can be counted on to add non-scoring numbers in addition to pouring in points. Since returning from injury in early March, he has averaged 54.8 DKFP per game on 31.1 points, 7.6 assists, 7.4 rebounds and 1.1 steals in 38.6 minutes per game for an astounding rate of 1.42 DKFP per minute. Of all the players on the slate, he’s the most likely to put up the biggest total, but his salary is hefty, so you’ll have to get creative at other spots if you build around KD.
Other Option – Evan Mobley ($7,300)
Bruce Brown, Brooklyn Nets vs. Cleveland Cavaliers ($5,800) – The Nets’ rotation has shifted dramatically multiple times this season with Brown’s role fluctuating wildly. He has established himself as a key piece coming into the playoffs though, and he has been the Nets’ third-best offensive option down the stretch with Seth Curry ($4,400; ankle) battling injury. Brown had at least 15 points in five of his final six games of the season, reaching at least 29 DKFP in each of those five contests. He reliably contributes solid non-scoring numbers as well, making him a key play at forward with a high ceiling, which he showcased by posting 54.5 and 43.25 DKFP in the final two games of the season.
Other Options – Nicolas Batum ($4,300), Jarred Vanderbilt ($3,900)
Andre Drummond, Brooklyn Nets vs. Cleveland Cavaliers ($6,500) – While I love the upside of Karl-Anthony Towns ($10,300), I feel more confident in the return on paying up for Durant, George or Garland, and I think that Drummond is a very solid play at his much more affordable salary. Drummond only needed 24 minutes against the Cavs last week to put up 38 DKFP with 15 points, 12 rebounds, two assists and a blocked shot. He is a rebounding machine and has reached at least 30 DKFP in seven of his past nine games, averaging 12.0 points and 12.0 rebounds in 22.8 minutes per contest. If he plays closer to 30 minutes against his former team, he should be a lock for a double-double. That’s enough to make him worth the savings over KAT, even though he doesn’t have the same sky-high ceiling since his usage isn’t nearly as high.
Other Options – Karl-Anthony Towns ($10,300), Ivica Zubac ($5,700)
Nicolas Claxton, Brooklyn Nets vs. Cleveland Cavaliers ($4,000) – Even with LaMarcus Aldridge ($4,100) healthy, Claxton has remained firmly entrenched as the Nets’ backup center and has been productive in his time on the floor. Since March 1, he has averaged 0.97 DKFP per minute over 20 games. During that span, he has contributed 8.6 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.1 blocked shots and 1.1 assists in 21 minutes per game. He’s usually right around that 20-DKFP threshold which would make him a solid 5x value return at his affordable $4K salary.
Other Options – Robert Covington ($5,300), Naz Reid ($4,000)
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