Fantasy Basketball 2020: Daily Fantasy Advice for NBA Playoffs Opening Weekend

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistAugust 15, 2020

Portland Trail Blazers' Carmelo Anthony, right, and Damian Lillard celebrate the team's win over the Philadelphia 76ers in an NBA basketball game Sunday, Aug. 9, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Kevin C. Cox/Pool Photo via AP)
Kevin C. Cox/Associated Press

Damian Lillard is the most reliable daily fantasy basketball option left in the NBA bubble, but he alone will not win you money in contests.

Because of his incredible run of performances, Lillard will be the first player chosen by most fantasy owners when setting lineups for the play-in series between his Portland Trail Blazers and the Memphis Grizzlies.

To be in a winning position, you will have to rely on the scoring depth of both teams, and there are a handful of options that fill that category.

Gary Trent Jr. and Carmelo Anthony were solid in the eight seeding games for Portland. As was Dillon Brooks for Memphis.

Finding the right combination of stars and secondary scorers is vital to climbing the leaderboard Saturday and, if the Grizzlies win, Sunday as well.


NBA Daily Fantasy Advice

Build Lineup Around Damian Lillard

Lillard is the best player on both rosters, and he was the top performer in Orlando, Florida, over the past two weeks. Devin Booker is the only player who could challenge Lillard for that honor.

Even with Brooklyn putting two defenders on him at half-court, Lillard found a way to put up 42 points Thursday and place Portland in the play-in series.

No matter which defensive strategy Memphis utilizes, Lillard will put up shots. And given the way he has played, he will likely sink a majority of them.

During his eight-game run in Orlando, which started with 29 points against Memphis, Lillard has filled up the other stat categories as well. He had three games with 12 assists and chipped in a handful of rebounds and steals.

Although he will likely be the most expensive option in FanDuel and DraftKings contests, Lillard is well worth the high price tag. He has failed to reach the 25-point mark once in the bubble, and even in that game he was productive, recording nine rebounds and eight assists.

The tricky part of lineup-building will be finding the right supporting cast to help you rise up leaderboards with Lillard leading the way.


Find Value with Gary Trent Jr., Carmelo Anthony and Dillon Brooks

Trent, Anthony and Brooks are three of the best options among the second tier of players.

Trent has been one of the pleasant surprises from the Portland bench, hitting the 15-point mark in six of the eight seeding games.

That consistent level of production is impressive for a shooter coming off the bench behind a lineup that contains Lillard and C.J. McCollum. Most of Trent's success has come from three-point range. He knocked down four triples Thursday against the Brooklyn Nets and has done the same in each of his five other 15-plus-point outings.

Anthony is shooting in a similar vein of form as Trent, with five performances of 15 points or better and a sixth with 13 points. Even though he did not reach double digits Thursday, he chipped in with seven rebounds, an assist and a steal. If he fills up those columns and records a few more baskets Saturday, Anthony could end up as one of the best supporting pieces to Lillard.

Brooks has been nothing but consistent alongside Ja Morant and Jonas Valanciunas in the Memphis offense. The Oregon product lit up a depleted Milwaukee side for 31 points Thursday and had at least 14 points in the eight seeding contests.

Similar to Trent and Anthony, Brooks has made contributions in most stat categories to develop into a reliable fantasy option. He is averaging 3.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game in the bubble, and he had four rebounds, four assists, a steal and a block in the July 31 meeting with Portland.

If you roster all or two of the three players, you should be able to get some support to surround the stars from each team.


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90Statistics obtained from Basketball Reference