Tuesday brings another drama-filled night of playoff basketball with three key Game 5 matchups on the NBA slate for DraftKings. The Heat have a chance to finish off the Hawks in the first game that starts at 7:00 p.m. ET, while the other two series are even at 2-2. With four games in the series, we’re getting a good look at how the matchups break down, so let’s look at some of the top studs and values at each position to help you build your fantasy basketball lineups for Tuesday’s three-game postseason NBA slate.
Chris Paul, Phoenix Suns vs. New Orleans Pelicans ($9,000) – With three elite PG plays on this slate, it’s a very close call for me between CP3 and Ja Morant ($9,900). I’m going with Paul, though, because I think he will need to carry the workload against the Pelicans with Devin Booker (hamstring) still sidelined, and he should be set to bounce back after an uninspiring Game 4 showing. He shot just 2-of-8 from the field in the loss after taking at least 16 shots in the first three games of the series and posting over 42 DKFP in each of those three outings, highlighted by 64.25 DKFP in Game 1. Paul still had 11 assists in Game 4 and has posted double-digit assists in each game, so he’s relatively safe even on an off night. He has an extremely high ceiling if his usage returns to the 22-to-27% range it was in for the first three games after just a 14.6% usage rate in Game 4, and the veteran will understand the importance of the moment and rise to the occasion.
Other Options – Ja Morant ($9,900), Tyler Herro ($6,500)
Gabe Vincent, Miami Heat vs. Atlanta Hawks ($4,100) – With Kyle Lowry (hamstring) ruled out already for a second straight game, Vincent is likely to get another start. He has been listed as probable throughout the series with a toe injury but has been able to play, logging at least 25 minutes in three of the four games with over 21 DKFP in each of those three contests. In his start on Sunday, he made three 3-pointers and totaled 11 points, four assists, three rebounds and 24.25 DKFP in 27 minutes. When given a larger role this season in Lowry’s absence, he has shown a high ceiling and the ability to produce in multiple categories. He is averaging 0.83 DKFP per minute in the playoffs, which should be enough for him to return value at this salary in a starting role.
Other Options – Patrick Beverley ($5,600), Tyus Jones ($4,200)
Desmond Bane, Memphis Grizzlies at Minnesota Timberwolves ($6,800) – While his teammate Ja Morant claimed the Most Improved Player award for this season, Bane’s progress has been key for the Grizzlies and more unexpected since he didn’t win the Rookie of the Year last year like Ja. Bane has averaged 1.07 DKFP per minute in his 80 games this regular season and playoffs and has taken it to another level in the past two games, catching fire from long range. He made seven three-pointers and had 26 points on his way to 45.5 DKFP in the Grizzlies’ Game 3 win, and he shot the ball even better with eight three-pointers, 34 points and 47.5 DKFP in Memphis’ loss in Game 4. He leads the team with 140 minutes in the series to this point and should continue to get a huge workload while he’s so hot. He brings an elite ceiling for under $7K, so he fits nicely into many roster builds in this salary range.
Other Options – CJ McCollum ($8,500), Anthony Edwards ($8,000)
Max Strus, Miami Heat vs. Atlanta Hawks ($4,600) – Strus has started all four games against the Hawks, averaging 24.2 DKFP in 28.0 minutes per game. He played a series-high 36 minutes in Game 4 and finished with 26.25 DKFP. That production was in spite of shooting just 4-for-16 from the field, and he brings an incredibly high ceiling if he keeps that same workload but hits more of his shots. In the series, Strus is third on the team with a 20.4% usage rate in the series and has produced 0.86 DKFP per minute. His usage climbs to 21.8% with Lowry off the floor, so look for him to take more shots with Lowry out, giving him lots of upside for a player priced under $5K.
Other Options – Dillon Brooks ($5,800), Delon Wright ($3,900)
Brandon Ingram, New Orleans Pelicans at Phoenix Suns ($8,900) – Ingram had a slow Game 1 but has been dominant in the three games since then, scoring at least 30 points in each of those games with 69.25, 49.75 and 42.5 DKFP. His Game 2 performance in Phoenix was one of the best by any player in the postseason, as he went off for 37 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists in 39 minutes. He’ll have to have another epic performance like that for the Pelicans to steal another road win and take the lead in the series. The former Tar Heel has a 32.1% usage rate over his three most recent games and his assist and rebound rates have also jumped, making him a true threat for a triple-double while keeping his scoring ceiling sky-high. He’s the sixth-most expensive player at any position on the slate, which actually feels a little low given his recent run of production.
Other Options – Anthony Edwards ($8,000), Bogdan Bogdanovic ($6,100)
Cameron Johnson, Phoenix Suns vs. New Orleans Pelicans ($4,800) – Johnson replaced Booker in the starting lineup for Game 4 and took a series-high 12 shots in 32 minutes. He finished with 25.25 DKFP on 13 points, five assists and three rebounds despite an off-night shooting. He brings plenty of upside if his shot starts dropping, and the Suns will need him to carry some of Booker’s workload for the next several games. In his 16 regular-season starts, he averaged 16.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 34.0 minutes per game, and he should be around those numbers again if he gets another start in place of Booker.
Other Options – Mikal Bridges ($5,700), De’Andre Hunter ($4,700)
Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat vs. Atlanta Hawks ($9,200) – Butler has over 50 DKFP in three straight games and posted back-to-back double-doubles in the two most recent games in Atlanta. He only needed 36 minutes to score 36 points in Sunday’s Game 4 and added 10 rebounds, four assists and four steals for 66.5 DKFP. With Lowry hurting, the Heat would love to finish this first-round series and move on, so look for Butler to push early in this game to wrap things up. He has produced 1.47 DKFP per minute so far in this series with a team-high 30.6% usage rate.
Other Option – Jaren Jackson Jr. ($6,000)
Jarred Vanderbilt, Minnesota Timberwolves at Memphis Grizzlies ($4,100) – Vanderbilt barely contributed in the first two games of this series, but he turned things around in Game 3 with a massive 36.25-DKFP double-double and followed that up with another strong showing in Game 4 with 27.5 DKFP with 12 points and eight boards. At barely over $4K, he’s a great value option at PF.
Other Options – Herbert Jones ($4,800), Larry Nance Jr. ($4,000)
Deandre Ayton, Phoenix Suns vs. New Orleans Pelicans ($7,900) – Ayton and Paul will need to continue their synergy to carry the Suns without Booker. In this series, with Booker on the floor, Ayton only had a 14.6% usage rate while producing 1.18 DKFP per minute, but that skyrockets to a 26.8% usage rate and 1.25 DKFP per minute with Booker off the floor. For the regular season without Booker, Ayton had a 23.3% usage rate, so he should continue to benefit from more work coming his way with Booker sidelined. He had a huge 60.25-DKFP performance in Game 3 with 28 points and 17 rebounds, so the ceiling is there for a monster game. In Game 4, he was still very efficient, shooting 11-for-14 from the field and scoring 23 points but his rebounds dropped to just eight and he had 35.5 DKFP. Of all the elite centers on this slate, he has been the most consistent, and he’s the play that makes the most sense, especially when you figure in the bump in usage from not having Booker.
Other Option – Karl-Anthony Towns ($9,100), Jonas Valanciunas ($7,400)
Brandon Clarke, Memphis Grizzlies vs. Minnesota Timberwolves ($5,900) – Clarke has stepped into a much larger role this series for the Grizzlies and has been a key contributor off the bench. He is shooting a sizzling 73% from the field and averaging 15.3 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.3 steals in 26.6 minutes per game. He has put up over 30 DKFP in three of the four contests and will need to continue to come up big for Memphis to protect their home floor and retake the series lead. If you can’t afford one of the elite plays in the middle, Clarke still brings a high ceiling from under $6K.
Other Options – JaVale McGee ($3,900), Xavier Tillman ($3,500)
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