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

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistMay 28, 2021

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

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    Seth Wenig/Associated Press

    Friday's three-game slate for the 2021 NBA playoffs is loaded with intrigue.

    Who will get a leg up in the evenly matched New York Knicks-Atlanta Hawks series? Can Jayson Tatum will his Boston Celtics to a badly needed win over the super-powered Brooklyn Nets? Are the Los Angeles Clippers broken beyond repair, or can they swipe a road win over the Dallas Mavericks and find their way out of this funk?

    Oh, yeah, there's also this: Which players will earn you the most money in daily fantasy?

    We're here to help with that last question with three pieces of lineup advice.

Break the Bank for Luka Doncic

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    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    The next time the Clippers make Mavericks all-galaxy superstar Luka Doncic sweat will be the first.

    Doncic has been a fantasy goldmine all season, but he has hit a different gear in this series. His per-game-averages are at an absurd 35.0 points, 9.0 assists and 8.5 assists, making him a top-five scorer, a top-10 table-setter and a top-20 glass-cleaner. He's also shooting 50.9 percent from the field and 41.7 percent from three, just in case there was any confusion over whether he had solved the game of basketball.

    "This is his time of year," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle told reporters. "He's one of the smartest basketball players you will ever meet at any age at any level."

    Theoretically, L.A. is built to make life difficult for Doncic, as Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Marcus Morris Sr. and Nicolas Batum all physically stack up as potential Doncic stoppers. But they aren't bothering Dallas' superstar a bit, and the Clippers have too many problems (including a five-game playoff losing streak dating back to last year's conference semifinals collapse) to think they will suddenly figure things out.

Pay Up for Trae Young Too

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    Seth Wenig/Associated Press

    The New York Knicks have arguably the best defense of any playoff participant. Statistically speaking, they rank third overall, but the two teams in front of them—the Milwaukee Bucks and Brooklyn Nets—are arguably benefiting more from bad opposing offense than playing dominant defense.

    The Knicks are legitimately stingy too. During their Game 2 win, they bottled up almost every person in an Atlanta Hawks jersey.

    Except for Trae Young. Not even New York's defensive mastermind coach, Tom Thibodeau, has figured out how to get a handle on Atlanta's prolific point guard.

    Young has 62 points in two games, and in a nod to his consistency, the scoring is almost evenly split between the contests (32 in Game 1, 30 for a follow-up). He also has 17 assists, eight rebounds and 13 made free throws on 13 attempts. He's also 5-of-10 from three-point range, which is tremendous efficiency but also points to some growth potential since he could easily average more than 2.5 triples.

    When you pay up for stars in daily fantasy, you need to be supremely confident they will deliver. Young's sizzling start to the postseason should inspire that confidence.

Balance the Budget with Reggie Jackson

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    Jacob Kupferman/Associated Press

    When paying up for stars, you won't have a ton of fantasy funds with which to fill out the back end of your roster. While it's hard to find value in the bargain bin, the impact is immense when you do.

    When searching the clearance section, always keep an eye on opportunity. Players need minutes and touches to move the needle for your fantasy team, so make sure they can get them.

    The Clippers just proved that if Reggie Jackson shows a pulse, they will give him all the work he can handle. He had a rough Game 1, and L.A. limited his workload to 21 minutes and six shots (of which he missed five). But he was much better in Game 2, and the Clippers let him get up to 30 minutes and 12 field-goal attempts, both of which trailed only Leonard and George.

    L.A. is desperate for a spark to help it avoid falling into a probably insurmountable 0-3 hole. Jackson has the game to provide it. And if he does, he could carry both the Clippers and your daily fantasy roster to victory.