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Fantasy Basketball Picks: Top DraftKings NBA DFS Targets, Values for June 15

Matt LaMarca gives his top plays for Tuesday’s fantasy basketball slate on DraftKings, which starts at 8:30 p.m. ET.

Tuesday features Game 5 of the series between the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks, and the game starts at 8:30 p.m. ET.

The biggest storyline in this series has been the Nets’ injuries. James Harden ($11,000) left after less than a minute in Game 1, while Kyrie Irving suffered a nasty-looking ankle injury in Game 4. That has allowed the Bucks to crawl back into this series, which is currently tied at two games apiece.

The Nets initially ruled out both Harden and Irving for Game 5, but Harden has now been upgraded to questionable. The Athletic’s Shams Charania reports that Harden plans to play barring a setback in pregame warmups, and it will be interesting to see just how limited he is if he plays.

With Harden’s status uncertain, the Bucks appear to have the edge in this series. They’re listed as three-point road favorites in Game 5 on DraftKings Sportsbook, and they’ve moved to -155 to win the series.

The Harden factor will obviously be a major one, so make sure to download the DK Live app to get notified of any updates. There will likely be some spread movement if he does suit up, and it would have an impact on the Nets in DFS, as well.

EDITOR’S NOTE: James Harden (hamstring) will be available to play in tonight’s game vs. the Bucks, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

DraftKings is offering up a featured Showdown slate for this contest, so let’s break down some of the top options to consider for your lineups.

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

Captain’s Picks

Kevin Durant ($18,000 Captain) – If Harden is unable to suit up, Kevin Durant is going to be asked to carry the scoring load for the Nets. He’s seen a massive 14.6 percentage point usage bump with Harden and Irving off the court during the postseason, resulting in an average of 1.60 DKFP per minute. The Bucks will try to make his life difficult by throwing P.J. Tucker ($5,200) at him as much as possible, but Durant has still found success in that matchup. Tucker has slowed Durant down slightly, but he’s still shooting 46.5% from the field with Tucker as his primary defender. He should command massive ownership in this contest, but anything less than 100% is probably a mistake. There’s also plenty of value available, so I think using him in the Captain spot is the preferred strategy.

Giannis Antetokounmpo ($17,700 Captain) – If you’re not going to use Durant at Captain, pivoting to Giannis makes the most sense. The Nets have done a good job on Giannis to start the series, but he remains one of the best players in fantasy on a per-minute basis. His playing time is unsurprisingly way up during the postseason, and he’s posted a usage rate of at least 40.7% in each of his past two contests. He hasn’t been particularly efficient as a scorer – which has kept his fantasy production in check – but Giannis still possesses arguably the highest ceiling on the slate.

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UTIL Plays

Jrue Holiday ($9,000) – Holiday has struggled mightily in this series. He scored at least 38.5 DKFP in all four games vs. the Heat, but he’s yet to crack that threshold vs. the Nets. That said, he’s a prime candidate for some positive regression. He’s shot the ball dreadfully in this series, shooting just 39.0% from the field, 30.0% from 3-point range, and 33.3% from the free-throw line. Holiday is obviously capable of putting up much better numbers, and he did post his second-highest usage rate of the series in Game 4. This seems like a nice buy-low opportunity.

Mike James ($4,800) – James is a steal at just $4,800. He drew the start in place of Irving in the second half, and the Nets are going to need his offense if Harden is unable to suit up. He’s struggled in back-to-back games, but he’s capable of averaging close to 1.00 DKFP per minute.

Jeff Green ($4,000) – Green also moved into the starting lineup in the second half of Game 5, and the Nets could start him again if Harden is out. He’s a more offensive-minded player than Bruce Brown ($6,200), and head coach Steve Nash might decide he needs Green’s offense in the lineup. He has the potential to play more than 30 minutes in Game 5, and Green is basically a lock to return value with that much playing time.


Joe Harris ($8,400) – Harris is priced just below Holiday in Game 5, but he doesn’t possess nearly the same upside. He’s a one-dimensional player, and he needs to make a bunch of 3-pointers to have a shot at returning value. He’s capable of doing that – Harris is arguably the best 3-point shooter in the league – but he’s had fewer open looks than usual with Harden and Irving out of the lineup. Turns out, he’s a lot easier to guard when he’s your No. 2 option offensively instead of your No. 4. Harris has averaged just 0.45 DraftKings points per minute with Irving and Harden off the court during the postseason, so I have zero interest in him tonight if Harden is out.

The Outcome

If Harden is in tonight, your first big decision is going to be how to handle him. There’s a chance that he’s hobbled if he tries to play – like Anthony Davis in Game 6 vs. the Suns – but he should command a fraction of the ownership of guys like Durant and Antetokounmpo. I’m always interested in low-owned studs in the Showdown format, but it ultimately comes down to risk tolerance.

If Harden is out, the most difficult part of today’s slate is going to be building a unique lineup. I would imagine a large majority of DFS players will use Durant at Captain and Giannis as a utility, and there are only so many combinations you can make after that. I still think that’s the optimal lineup construction, but it’s something to keep in mind. Often, sacrificing the optimal lineup for more win equity is the correct decision in large DFS contests.

As for the game itself, I’m not counting out Durant even if he’s the only stud available for the Nets. Still, it’s going to be an uphill battle. The Bucks are clearly not a perfect team, but they should be able to win if the Nets are shorthanded.

Final Score: Bucks 108, Nets 105

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

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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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