Fantasy Basketball 2021: Daily Fantasy Advice for NBA Play-in Games

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistMay 17, 2021

Fantasy Basketball 2021: Daily Fantasy Advice for NBA Play-in Games

0 of 3

    Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

    Sometimes it is best to keep things simple when it comes to your daily fantasy basketball strategy.

    The NBA play-in tournament will feature some of the league's top superstars that are known to be lineup cornerstones. 

    It makes little sense to avoid rostering Stephen Curry, Jayson Tatum, LeBron James, Anthony Davis and others when you know they will have the ball in their hands for most of the games. 

    The strategy aspect will come into play when filling out the positions around the superstars. Boston's Evan Fournier is one of the top secondary players to use because of his high usage rate down the stretch of the regular season. 

    Some role players will be needed to fit the salary requirements as well. If you find the right combination of lesser-used players and superstars, you could have a profitable few nights on your hands. 

Use Stephen Curry as Your Lineup Anchor

1 of 3

    Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

    Do not overcomplicate things when it comes to the Western Conference play-in games on Wednesday.

    Stephen Curry has been on an offensive tear that was extended on Sunday through a 46-point performance against the Memphis Grizzlies. 

    In seven of his eight May appearances, Curry reached the 30-point mark. He knocked down at least five three-point shots in six of those contests. 

    Curry averaged 23 points per game in three matchups with the Los Angeles Lakers this season, but those performances can be thrown away to an extent when breaking down the play-in games. 

    The last of those three games came on March 15 before the Warriors started their winning push to the fringe of the postseason. 

    Although Wednesday's 7-versus-8 clash is not considered a true playoff game, you can consider Curry's postseason stats as justification to anchor your DFS lineups. 

    Curry has a career playoff average of 26.5 points per game, and he is a 40.1 percent three-point shooter in the postseason. Curry also has 40 30-point games in his postseason career.

    There is always a chance Curry puts up a dud of a performance, but given his history and recent form, it is hard to imagine him scoring fewer than 30 points. 

    With that in mind, you should budget to have Curry on your roster and then worry about surrounding him with players who have a smaller roster percentage to climb to the top of contests. 

Utilize Evan Fournier as a Supporting Piece

2 of 3

    Tony Dejak/Associated Press

    Evan Fournier was thrust into a larger role in Boston's offense once Jaylen Brown was ruled out for the season. 

    In six of his seven May appearances, the former Orlando Magic guard knocked down at least three three-point shots, and he turned in at least 15 points in all of those games. 

    Fournier opens the Eastern Conference play-in tournament on Tuesday with a favorable matchup versus the Washington Wizards. 

    Washington conceded 10 or more made three-point shots in each of its last four games. On Sunday, the Wizards let up 14 three-point shots to the Charlotte Hornets. 

    Fournier should test Washington's defensive mettle on the outside right away to take some pressure off Tatum and break out to an early advantage. 

    There is also a chance the Celtics-Wizards game turns into a shootout since the victorious team in seven of the last eight Washington games reached 120 points. If that happens, Fournier may be asked to shoot at a higher volume than usual. 

    Fournier should not be the first player selected into your lineup, but he could be third or fourth option once you determine which superstars headline the group. 

Trust Jonas Valanciunas as the Top Rebounder

3 of 3

    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    Even if the Memphis Grizzlies are eliminated in the play-in tournament, Jonas Valanciunas should put up big numbers as long as he does not face the Lakers. 

    Valanciunas dominated the paint in Sunday's loss to the Warriors, as he put up 29 points and 16 rebounds with a distinct size advantage over Kevon Looney and Draymond Green. 

    If Memphis beats the San Antonio Spurs and the Warriors lose to the Lakers, Valanciunas should be in for another massive stat line. 

    On Tuesday, the Lithuanian big man should control his matchup against Jakob Poeltl. Valanciunas had 15 points and 13 rebounds in his lone appearance versus the Spurs on December 23. 

    The only other reliable option at center in the West is Andre Drummond, but some of his scoring production should be taken up by LeBron James and Anthony Davis. 

    As we saw on Sunday, Memphis could go to Valanciunas on most possessions to either batter his opponent down low or draw attention before passing out to the shooters on the perimeter. 

    If he thrives versus San Antonio and receives the ideal meeting with Golden State, Valanciunas could end up as the top point-earning center across both conferences. 


    Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

    Statistics obtained from Basketball Reference.