The Heat and 76ers kick off their second round series Monday night in Miami and below are some of my favorite options to consider for this Showdown slate.
James Harden ($16,200) — Sunday, the 76ers received the unfortunate news that Joel Embiid (face/concussion) will not travel with the team to Miami for the first two tilts of this best of seven. This is obviously a huge blow for Philadelphia’s chances of advancing, but from a fantasy perspective, it should return Harden to stardom. Take Embiid off the floor and Harden’s usage skyrockets 10.3 percentage points to 34.4%, and his assist rate also jumps 10.7 points to 50.8%. Both these rates are team highs for this situation, and Harden’s fantasy production upgrades to 1.5 DKFP per minute with this godly role.
Going against Miami’s defense — top 5 in efficiency during the regular season — is obviously never easy, but Harden still has the highest upside of any player in this contest and is underpriced for his unmatched ceiling.
Bam Adebayo ($12,600) — Adebayo has topped 40 DKFP in two of his past three starts and generates 1.2 DKFP per minute with Kyle Lowry (out, hamstring) off the floor — mostly attributed to a 2.6 percentage point increase to his assist rate. Furthermore, not having to face Embiid is a huge boost for Adebayo for multiple reasons. The severe foul risk of guarding Embiid is eliminated, and the Sixers’ defense is also a shell of itself without the MVP candidate. When Embiid has been off the floor this season, Philadelphia’s defensive rating has plummeted to 117.2, which would be the worst defensive rating in the league if this were the Sixers’ average for the season.
Philadelphia should have no answers for Adebayo inside, and he is a terrific pay-down option at captain that should be contrarian with most opting for Harden or Jimmy Butler.
Tyrese Maxey ($8,600) — The combination of Miami’s defense focusing on Harden and Embiid’s absence should translate into Maxey easily beating this salary. Sans Embiid this season, Maxey’s usage rises 6.2 percentage points to 26.2%, resulting in 1.1 DKFP per minute. Maxey led the Sixers with 42 minutes per game in the first round and should essentially play the entire game with Embiid out of the equation, barring a blowout. Expect over 40 DFKP from Maxey and confidently roster the second-year guard at this price.
Gabe Vincent ($4,800) — In the past two games with Lowry inactive, Vincent has started and contributed 24.2 DKFP in 28.5 minutes per game. The 25-year-old collects 0.8 DKFP per minute with Lowry off the court and as mentioned above, the Sixers’ defense should be a mess with Embiid unavailable. At this low salary, Vincent is a difficult value to overlook.
Paul Reed ($4,600) — Reed has been Embiid’s direct backup this postseason, while Deandre Jordan has yet to see a minute of action. In result, Reed should get the spot start at center Monday and be forced to play at least 20 minutes in this matchup against Adebayo that requires size. This season, Reed is amassing 1.15 DKFP per minute and is averaging 29.3 DKFP per game for the three occasions he logged a minimum of 20 minutes. Assuming he is named a starter as expected, Reed is the best value available for this Showdown slate.
Tyler Herro ($7,400) — While you would expect Herro to benefit with Lowry missing, it has been the opposite. In these last two with the veteran on the shelf, Herro has only provided 19 DKFP per game. In general, Herro has been terrible this postseason, shooting an abysmal 17.9% from beyond the arc and recording less than 30 DKFP in four of the Heat’s first five playoff games. With Victor Oladipo starting to carve himself a more prominent role in Miami’s rotation, Herro is an extremely tough sell at this price point.
Overcoming Embiid’s absence is just too tall of an order for the Sixers, especially on the road. Philadelphia finished 6-8 in games without Embiid this season, and the Heat were one of the best home teams in the association, boasting a 32-12 record at the FTX Arena. Miami was also one of the best teams in the league ATS this season, covering at a 57% clip and to top it all off, they have the rest advantage, not competing since last Tuesday. The Heat should take Game 1 by a solid margin and are a sharp investment at -7.5 on the DraftKings Sportsbook.
Final Score: Heat 112, 76ers 102
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