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DraftKings Championship Series: Fantasy Basketball World Championship Slate Preview

Matt Meiselman previews the upcoming slate for the 2021 DraftKings Fantasy Basketball World Championship.

The 2021 DraftKings Fantasy Basketball World Championship is scheduled to begin at 8:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, May 22, beginning with Game 1 between the Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics. The slate spans two days, and will include Saturday’s final two NBA games along with all four of the games on Sunday. Here’s a full list of the games that will be on the slate:

  • Nets vs. Celtics
  • Nuggets vs. Trail Blazers
  • 76ers vs. Wizards
  • Suns vs. Lakers
  • Knicks vs. Hawks
  • Jazz vs. Warriors/Grizzlies

The DraftKings Championship Series is the king of competitions, minting 100 millionaires in the 2021-22 season. For more info on the series and all of the events, visit our DraftKings Championship Series Information page.

This is the second consecutive year that the DraftKings FBWC will be a multi-day slate during the NBA Playoffs, which makes for some potentially unique strategies that don’t exist in more ordinary NBA DFS contests. For those interested in participating alongside this event, there will be a free-to-play shadow contest — NBA 2021 FBWC Shadow Contest (FBWC) — which will have a $20,000 total prize pool, with $1,000 going to 1st place, and an additional $10,000 jackpot to be split among any participants who beat the winning score in the FBWC.


Head on over to DraftKings Sportsbook to place a bet on Saturday’s Mavericks-Clippers promo. For every 1,500 bets the total drops by a point, so tell all your friends!

What Happened in 2020

As mentioned above, this is the second straight year that the FBWC will be a two-day playoff contest, and that means we can look to last year’s contest to get a feel for how the 2021 slate may play out. The 2020 contest actually began with arguably the most memorable matchup in recent playoff history, one of several duels that took place between Donovan Mitchell and Jamal Murray during the epic seven-game series between the Jazz and Nuggets. The winner of the event — ragingphilip — didn’t actually manage to pick Mitchell, the slate’s highest scorer at 81.25 DKFP, but he did avoid the highest owned value play in Jordan Clarkson, who was drafted in 56% of lineups. Clarkson wasn’t bad, but 27.5 DKFP at $4,500 was a moderate enough outcome that there were surely going to be better value plays later on the slate. Staggered start times offer a unique strategic element because there were still several more games to choose from even after the earliest game had concluded, and ragingphilip took advantage of that en route to victory.

Where does Mitchell’s Game Rank in Fantasy Basketball World Championship History?

Donovan Mitchell’s playoff performance in 2020 was extraordinary for all of the obvious reasons, but perhaps the most surprising thing from a fantasy perspective is that he was just 2% owned in the FBWC for his 57-point, 9-rebound, 7-assist game. Here’s a look at the most notable fantasy games from each of the last five events, factoring in price, ownership percentage, and total scoring output.

Previewing the Upcoming 2021 Fantasy Basketball World Championship

Pricing for the FBWC still isn’t out yet (as of Friday), as the games on the schedule won’t be fully determined until the Warriors play the Grizzlies in the final play-in game on Friday night. Having said that, the slate dynamics have still probably unfolded to a significant enough degree that thinking through lineup construction is already a possibility. The main variable for this particular slate, aside from the aforementioned scheduling quirks, is that it’s going to be Game 1 of the first round for all of the teams involved. This means that there probably won’t be any surprise injury situations or missing players that would open up appealing cheaper players, and prioritizing all of the stars is just going to be more difficult than usual. The playoff pricing may be such that fitting a few of James Harden, Kevin Durant, Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid, LeBron James, etc. may be doable, but it’s more likely that the winner of the 2021 FBWC uses a lineup with players priced in the mid-tier that happen to have big games. That all could change if something strange happens with the Warriors or Grizzlies, but this is not your typical late-season NBA slate where key players are sitting out and backups are making significant contributions.

For more info on the series and all of the events, visit our DraftKings Championship Series Information page.

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All views expressed are my own. I am an employee of DraftKings and am ineligible to play in public DFS or DKSB contests.

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