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Fantasy Basketball Picks: Top DraftKings NBA DFS Lineup Strategy for Heat vs. Celtics Showdown on September 25

Matt LaMarca preps you for Friday’s 8:30 p.m. ET contest for Game 5 between the Heat and Celtics with game-script analysis and Captain’s Picks.

NBA: Playoffs-Boston Celtics at Miami Heat Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Friday’s NBA slate features Game 5 between the Celtics and Heat at 8:30 p.m. ET. The Heat are just one win away from a trip to the NBA Finals, and tonight’s contest will be their first of three chances to secure that victory. That means the Celtics must win three-straight games to advance, which is a low probability outcome. Historically, teams with a 3-1 series lead have won the series at a 94.9% clip. That said, the Nuggets have already accomplished that feat twice this season, so maybe 2020 will be the year of the comeback.

Let’s take a look at some of the showdown options to get your lineup started.

(NOTE: All salaries are in the utility spot unless otherwise indicated.)

Set your DraftKings lineup here: NBA Showdown $800K Shootaround [$200K to 1st]


Showdown Strategy

Boston Celtics

Jayson Tatum ($10,600) is the most expensive player in this contest, and it was a tale of two halves for him in Game 4. He was dreadful in the first half — he didn’t score a single point — but he exploded for 28 points on 10-16 shooting in the second half. Overall, he finished with 52.25 DKFP, which was more than enough to put him in the optimal lineup.

He’s been excellent as a scorer all season, but his improvement in the peripheral categories has taken his fantasy game to another level during the playoffs. He’s averaged 10.2 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game during the postseason compared to just 7.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists during the regular season. Part of that is due to an increase in minutes, but he’s also increased his assist rate and rebound rate. He has the top ceiling for all the Celtics’ players and it’s really not that close.

After Tatum, Jaylen Brown ($9,200) stands out as their No. 2 option. He was also in the optimal lineup in Game 4, and he’s been the Celtics’ most efficient scorer in this series. He’s shot 55.9% from the field and 58.8% from 3-point range, both of which represent solid increases compared to his marks during the regular season.

That has obviously been great for his fantasy stock. He’s scored at least 39.25 DKFP in each of his past two games, including a high of 49.75 DKFP. I think he’s probably overpriced given that he’s likely due for some shooting regression, so I have no problem fading him on today’s slate.

Kemba Walker ($8,800) is a more appealing target in this matchup. He’s been pretty consistent after an early shooting slump during the playoffs, and he’s scored at least 31.5 DKFP in each of his past five games. The Celtics were counting on Walker when they signed him during the offseason, and this is an opportunity to prove his worth.

Gordon Hayward ($6,400), Marcus Smart ($7,200) and Daniel Theis ($5,000) round out the Celtics’ rotation. All three players should see at least 30 minutes in this contest, and I wouldn’t expect anyone outside of their top six to play much in an elimination game. Smart has been the best option of the trio recently, and he was able to overcome a lackluster shooting performance in Game 4 thanks to 11 assists. Smart is a gamer, so expect him to contribute in a must-win contest in one way or another.


Miami Heat

The Heat have the luxury of not necessarily needing to push their best players to the limit in this contest. They would obviously love to take care of business on today’s slate, but don’t expect to see their main guys play 40-plus minutes.

Bam Adeabyo ($9,800) is their most expensive player, and he’s been absolutely fantastic in this series. He’s scored at least 43.5 DKFP in all four games, and he’s posted a double-double in each of his past three. He has been the best fantasy producer on the Heat during the regular season on a per-minute basis, and he’s also led the Heat in minutes per game this series. That makes Adebayo a very appealing option, and he definitely deserves some consideration in the Captain spot.

Jimmy Butler ($9,400) is coming off 43.25 DKFP in Game 4, but I remain lukewarm on him. He was a pedestrian scorer during the regular season — particularly from behind the arc — and those struggles have been prevalent vs. the Celtics’ excellent defense. His effective FG% has dropped from 57.3% vs. Milwaukee to 44.8% vs. Boston. The Celtics are also a tough team to rack up peripherals against, so Butler will need to increase his efficiency to be a relevant fantasy option at his current salary. Overall, he’s scored more than 37.75 DKFP in just one of four contests, which is simply not going to get it done.

The big story in Game 4 was the ridiculous performance from Tyler Herro ($7,800). The 20-year-old rookie scored 37 points in that contest, which was the second-highest scoring game in playoff history for someone under the age of 21. The only player with a better performance before the legal drinking age was Magic Johnson, who dropped 42 points on the 76ers during the 1980 NBA Finals. That’s pretty impressive company for Herro.

Herro has scored at least 30.75 DKFP in all four games vs. the Celtics, so he continues to look like a solid option. That said, his salary has jumped up quite a bit after his monster performance in Game 4, and he should command increased ownership as well. Fading Herro is a bit scary at the moment, but it definitely has some merit.

Goran Dragic ($8,200) is only $400 more expensive than Herro, but he’s been the superior fantasy producer on a per-minute basis over the past month. He wasn’t particularly efficient in Game 4 — he shot just 8-of-21 from the field and 3-of-9 from 3-point range — but that kind of volume is appealing in the Showdown format. He has the potential for a big offensive game if his shot is falling.

Jae Crowder ($6,000) is another player who should see some positive shooting regression today. He shot a dreadful 1-of-9 from the field and 1-of-7 from 3-point range on Wednesday, which looks like a major outlier. He had scored at least 27.0 DKFP in seven-straight games prior to that outing, so he looks like a prime bounce-back candidate.

Duncan Robinson ($4,800), Andre Iguodala ($3,200) and Kelly Olynyk ($3,600) are expected to round out Miami’s rotation. Robinson should see the most minutes, and he’s always a threat to fill it up from behind the 3-point line. Iggy and Olynyk are bigger gambles, but both players are very affordable. If you’re looking to go with a stars-and-scrubs approach, they seem like two of the most logical “scrubs”.


The Outcome

The Celtics will likely be the more popular team to target in this contest, and it’s easy to see why. Not only are they currently implied for more points, but most of their starters should play heavy minutes in an elimination contest. I like the idea of potentially stacking four players from that side and just two from the Heat.

However, the Celtics’ top guys are all expensive, so you’re going to need to get a bit creative if you want to jam those guys in. Crowder seems like a lock at his current salary, and you can also save some money by going with someone like Robinson.

It’s going to be tough for the Celtics to come back and win this series, but I think they can live to fight another day.

Final Score: Celtics 104, Heat 99

Set your DraftKings lineup here: NBA Showdown $800K Shootaround [$200K 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 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.

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