Fantasy Basketball 2021: Daily Fantasy Advice for Wednesday's NBA Playoffs

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMay 26, 2021

Fantasy Basketball 2021: Daily Fantasy Advice for Wednesday's NBA Playoffs

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    Seth Wenig/Associated Press

    Three NBA playoff games are on tap for Wednesday.

    The top-seeded Philadelphia 76ers will kick the night off by hosting the No. 8 seed Washington Wizards at 7 p.m. ET in the Eastern Conference bracket.

    Then the No. 4 seed New York Knicks will look for revenge against Trae Young and the No. 5 Atlanta Hawks, who edged the Knickerbockers 107-105 on Sunday evening.

    The No. 8 Memphis Grizzlies and No. 1 Utah Jazz will represent the Western Conference action, with the Grizz looking to shock the Jazz once again after beating the 52-win team 112-109 on Sunday.

    It should be a fun and entertaining night on the court. From a daily fantasy basketball perspective, the options to choose from are intriguing as well.

    Here's a look at the three best plays for Wednesday, using DraftKings' salaries and fantasy-point structure. You can also find two notable fades and two value plays.

Top Plays

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    Philadelphia 76ers C Joel Embiid ($10,100)

    Joel Embiid has nearly scored a point per minute against the Wizards this season. He did just that on Sunday, scoring 30 points in 30 minutes during Philadelphia's 125-118 win.

    With all due respect to Wizards big men Alex Len and Daniel Gafford, they (and pretty much everyone else in the NBA) have little chance stopping the 27-year-old on a nightly basis.

    There's little reason to believe Embiid won't crush the Wizards yet again en route to 30-plus points, especially if the NBA MVP candidate finds himself on the floor closer to 35 minutes.


    Atlanta Hawks PG Trae Young ($8,500)

    No player on this slate is a bigger lock than Young, who has an inexplicably low $8,500 DraftKings salary. 

    The 22-year-old has averaged 50.9 fantasy points per game against the Knicks, and that's despite shooting 39.5 percent from the field and 4-of-17 from three-point range against New York this year.

    A better shooting performance on Sunday (11-of-23) naturally brought about a better fantasy night (56.75 fantasy points).

    The Hawks offense revolves around Young's shooting, distributing and foul-creating, so the massive usage rate will be there, even if his shot is off. Couple that with 35 minutes at minimum, and you have the best play on the slate.


    Philadelphia 76ers PG Ben Simmons ($7,300)

    The Wizards allow the most points per game in the NBA. Ben Simmons is a nightly triple-double threat. This play is too obvious to ignore.

    The 24-year-old made just three field goals on Sunday but still ended the game with 51.75 fantasy points thanks in part to 15 rebounds and 15 assists. He doesn't need to score to dominate from a fantasy perspective, but if he does get going, then a massive, slate-breaking score is in the picture.

    History is by his side, too, as Simmons has averaged 48.0 fantasy points per game against Washington in three games this year. It wouldn't be a big surprise to see him finish as the top fantasy point scorer on the night.

Top Fades

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    Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

    Utah Jazz SG Donovan Mitchell ($8,400)

    Donovan Mitchell has been out since April 16 with a sprained ankle, but he's returning to the court on Wednesday, per Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium.

    He told reporters he was good to go on Monday for Game 1, but the Jazz decided to sit him. At the time, Mitchell declined to tell reporters whether he would be on a minutes restriction "for game-planning purposes," per Eric Walden of the Salt Lake Tribune.

    There are a few different concerns fantasy-wise.

    For starters, if the 24-year-old is on a minutes restriction upon his return, then his fantasy ceiling is capped.

    Second, he could be rusty and fail to get much going after 40 days without playing on an NBA court. 

    The biggest issue is salary: Mitchell is only $100 less than Young, who is simply a far better play. Mitchell is a fade unless you want to be contrarian.


    Memphis Grizzlies PG Ja Morant ($8,100)

    Despite a great opening playoff win, the Grizz are still on the road against a team that finished No. 1 in net rating and No. 4 in defensive rating, per Basketball-Reference. It's a very tough matchup.

    Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant could certainly go off, but he's on the fade list for the same reason as Mitchell: Young is a far better play at a similar salary.

    Plus, Utah getting Mitchell back makes the Jazz a more formidable team, even if the All-Star guard may end up being limited and/or rusty. A potential blowout is on the table here, limiting Morant's production and/or court time.

    Ultimately, the 21-year-old is an incredible superstar capable of dominating on any given night, but Wednesday doesn't seem like the best time to trust him fantasy-wise.

Best Values

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    Seth Wenig/Associated Press

    New York Knicks F/C Taj Gibson ($3,300)

    Knicks starting center Nerlens Noel is listed as questionable with a sprained ankle, although head coach Tom Thibodeau told reporters after practice Monday that he participated some in practice and should be OK.

    If he's unable to go or limited, though, then backup big man Taj Gibson is a must-play with a $3,300 salary.

    The 35-year-old would be getting the bulk of the minutes at the 5, and his production with extended court time (5.3 PPG, 5.6 RPG in 20.5 MPG) should make him one of the most valuable players on the slate.

    Thibodeau clearly isn't afraid to give the vet big minutes, either, as Gibson has posted 30 or more five times. There's also a scenario where Gibson could close ahead of Noel regardless if the coach feels the former player is a better fit down the stretch.

    Regardless, Gibson is a lock if Noel is out.


    New York Knicks PG Immanuel Quickley ($3,400)

    Keep an eye out for the starting lineup announcement before the Knicks game.

    Starting point guard Elfrid Payton played just eight minutes on Sunday, missing all three of his shots and failing to record an assist. He's been leading off with the starting five, but he hasn't been closing.

    After Sunday's effort, it's possible Thibodeau decides to change course and insert another starting point guard.

    Rookie floor general Immanuel Quickley could be that replacement, and if so, he's an easy lock because of his scoring ability.

    The 21-year-old has scored 20 or more points 11 times this year. He's averaged 11.4 points per game on the season while shooting 39.3 percent from three-point range. If he gets hot from deep, he'll be an excellent fantasy play, especially at $3,400.

    He may be a good play even if he doesn't find his way into the starting five. Thibodeau is known to ride the hot hand in the fourth quarter, and if that's Quickley, then he could be in line for a huge night.


    For all the latest betting information and reaction, check out B/R Betting.

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