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Fantasy Basketball Picks: Top DraftKings NBA DFS Lineup Strategy for Celtics vs. 76ers Showdown on May 3

Matt LaMarca gives his top NBA lineup advice for Wednesday’s fantasy basketball contest on DraftKings between the Celtics and 76ers.

The 76ers managed to pull off a Game 1 upset over the Celtics in their Eastern Conference semifinals matchup despite playing without Joel Embiid. The newly crowned NBA MVP is currently listed as doubtful for Game 2, but The Athletic’s Shams Charania reports Embiid will play on Wednesday, barring a setback. With or without Embiid, this has become essentially a must-win contest for the Celtics, who don’t want to fall into an 0-2 hole before the series shifts to Philadelphia.

Let’s dive into some of my favorite Showdown selections for this contest, which starts at 8 p.m. ET.

Set your DraftKings fantasy basketball lineups here: NBA Showdown $500K Shootaround [$100K to 1st] (PHI vs BOS)

Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers

Captain’s Picks

Joel Embiid ($16,500 CP): If Embiid does return to the lineup on Wednesday, how you choose to handle him will be a determining factor on this slate. He was easily the top producer in this matchup on a per-minute basis during the regular season, averaging an elite 1.65 DKFP per minute. For comparison, Jayson Tatum – who is slightly more expensive than Embiid at $17,100 – averaged just 1.42.

Of course, Embiid was operating at less than full strength during his first-round matchup vs. the Nets. His usage rate was way down from his regular season mark, and he finished with 42.25, 59.75 and 34.5 DKFP in his three games vs. the Nets. There’s also a chance his minutes could be slightly limited in his first game back, making him more risky than usual.

Still, his upside is high enough to make him the top stud on the slate. He also had plenty of success vs. the Celtics during the regular season, scoring at least 69.5 DKFP in two of four meetings.

Jaylen Brown ($13,500 CP): If I’m not paying up for Embiid, I will likely be saving a little bit of salary by going down to Brown. Brown has been the clear Robin to Tatum’s Batman for the Celtics this season, but he has been fantastic during the postseason. He was arguably the team’s top scoring threat in their first-round series vs. the Hawks, racking up 26.7 points per game while shooting 54.1% from the field and 51.5% from 3-point range. His volume was down in Game 1 vs. the 76ers, but his efficiency remained elite: He knocked down 8-of-10 shots from the field and 3-of-4 from behind the arc.

Brown posted a usage rate of 18.4% in that contest, which was well below his season average. He had a usage rate above 30% in his final two games vs. the Hawks, so expect far more volume for Brown on Wednesday.

UTIL Plays

Jayson Tatum ($11,400): I have Tatum slightly behind Embiid and Brown in my projections, but I’d like to fit all three in as many lineups as possible. He’s turned in back-to-back elite performances, racking up 67.5 DKFP in Game 6 vs. the Hawks and 67.25 DKFP in Game 1 vs. the 76ers. He’s scored at least 29 points in five of his past six contests, and he has double-digit boards in five of his past seven. That makes him a good bet for a double-double on Wednesday with plenty of points scored.

Derrick White ($6,000): White is my favorite of the midrange options on Wednesday. His production has been down recently, scoring 24.5 DKFP or less in four of his past five games, but he’s been a steady contributor for the Celtics all season. He averaged 0.93 DKFP per minute for the year, and he should play around 32 minutes in this contest.

There’s also a chance that Marcus Smart is out or limited on Wednesday, which would make White even more appealing. He’s seen a team-high bump in both usage and assist rate with Smart off the floor this season, and he’s increased his production to 1.00 DKFP per minute.

Jalen McDaniels ($2,200): Unfortunately, most of the 76ers’ rotation players have been priced up since Embiid has missed the past two contests. That makes them a tough team to target for value. However, McDaniels stands out as an exception. His price tag has dipped from $5,000 during the Nets series to just $2,200 on Wednesday, giving him some appeal as a punt play. He’s played at least 15 minutes in three of his five postseason contests, which is a decent figure for this price range. He’s far from an elite option, but he’s a great way to jam as many studs as possible into your lineups.


James Harden ($10,200): The obvious fade answer is Paul Reed, who would be 100% unplayable at $7,000 if Embiid returns to the starting lineup. That said, Harden is also a pretty appealing fade candidate. He’s coming off arguably the best playoff performance of his entire career, dropping 45 points in the Game 1 upset. However, his shooting in that contest was clearly unsustainable. He shot 17-of-30 from the field and 7-of-14 from 3-point range, and I would be shocked if he had a similar performance in Game 2. Harden also sees a 2.6% usage decrease when sharing the floor with Embiid, resulting in an average of 1.27 DKFP per minute. Ultimately, this feels like the right time to sell high.


It’s hard to envision the Celtics leaving Boston down 0-2 in this series. They’re still -155 to win this series on DraftKings Sportsbook, and they’re -120 to win the Eastern Conference. Embiid returning to the lineup should give the 76ers a lift, but there’s no way they’re getting another 45 points from Harden. It hasn’t exactly been the best run for Boston sports recently – sorry, Bruins fans – but expect the Celtics to take care of business on Wednesday.

Final Score: Celtics 115, 76ers 103

Set your DraftKings fantasy basketball lineups here: NBA Showdown $500K Shootaround [$100K to 1st] (PHI vs BOS)

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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.