Fantasy Basketball 2021: Daily Fantasy Tips for Saturday's NBA Playoffs

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJune 5, 2021

Fantasy Basketball 2021: Daily Fantasy Tips for Saturday's NBA Playoffs

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    Adam Hunger/Associated Press

    The three regular-season meetings between the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks suggest that their Eastern Conference semifinal series will have plenty of points.

    Each team eclipsed the 110-point mark in those games, and there is potential for more points in the series since the Nets were not at full strength for any of those contests.

    Kevin Durant was the only one of Brooklyn's three superstars who played in every game against the Bucks. Kyrie Irving participated in the two contests played in early May. James Harden started the January 18 contest in Brooklyn.

    With Harden and Irving in the lineup, the Nets cruised past the Boston Celtics in the first round. Each star had a high usage rate that made him an ideal daily fantasy basketball player.

    In FanDuel's single-game contest for Saturday's Game 1, Harden, Durant, Irving and Giannis Antetokounmpo have salaries of $13,500 or higher.

    With $60,000 available for five positions, you need to find the right combination of the four stars to get the best out of your lineup with role players chipping in as well.

Run with James Harden as Top Option

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    Adam Hunger/Associated Press

    James Harden has a remarkable track record in Game 1 of his recent playoff series.

    In six of his past eight Game 1s, Harden produced 35 points or more. Harden's teams are 6-2 during that span, which dates back to the start of the 2018 postseason.

    Harden's lowest Game 1 output of that run came against Boston, when he produced 21 points and went 5-of-13 from the field.

    The Game 1 outing in the opening round should not keep you from rostering Harden on Saturday. He played more than 25 minutes in two regular-season games in April and May.

    Now that Harden has more full-game strength in his body, he should not put up many lackluster scoring nights, even if one of Durant or Irving goes off.

    Harden should be considered for the MVP role (2x) because of his three-point shot volume. He attempted at least seven from downtown in the five first-round games. He also experienced an uptick in rebounds and assists as the series with the Celtics went on. He had three double-digit assist games to close out the series and hauled in 10 boards in Game 5.

    If Harden continues to play at a triple-double pace, he has to be included in DFS lineups because he will up the box score more than Durant, Irving and Antetokounmpo.

Look at Jrue Holiday as Top Option Outside of Biggest Stars

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    Morry Gash/Associated Press

    Some DFS players may have to get creative with their lineup building since a pairing of Harden and Antetokoumnpo takes up a significant amount of salary.

    One direction to go is to put Jrue Holiday in the Star (1.5x) position alongside Harden or one of the other top players in the series.

    Holiday was a menace to Brooklyn in the regular season. He had two 20-point performances and 18 points in the third game. The Milwaukee guard also had one of his nine double-digit assist games in the regular season against Brooklyn on May 4.

    Just like Harden, Holiday carries a ton of value in the assist column on top of what he does to score. He had at least nine assists in the final three victories over the Miami Heat.

    Holiday also chipped in six or more rebounds and multiple steals in three of four games. With Donte DiVincenzo out for the postseason, Holiday could see more time on the ball and chip in more three-point shots.

    Holiday attempted four or more three-pointers in the first three games of the opening round. If he knocks down a few more of those shots, he could become the most important supporting piece behind the four stars from a fantasy perspective.

Go to the 3-Point Shooters for Value

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    Aaron Gash/Associated Press

    The three-point shooters on both teams are the best players to look at in terms of value plays.

    Joe Harris ($10,000), Bryn Forbes ($9,000) and Pat Connaughton ($7,000) are the best pure shooters to surround the stars with.

    Forbes and Harris both had moments when they took over games in the first round. Harris went 7-of-10 in Game 2 versus Boston, and Forbes produced 22 points in Games 2 and 4 against Miami.

    Connaughton can be considered a value play because he is expected to receive more time on the floor with DiVincenzo unavailable.

    Nineteen of Connaughton's 22 shots in the Miami series were three-pointers. He only made eight of those triples, but when he made them, he was hitting them at a decent volume. Connaughton had five three-point makes in Game 2 and three more in Game 3.

    At $7,000, Connaughton is the cheapest option you can seriously consider for a five-man roster build. Forbes, at $9,000, may be the second-lowest salary you can trust for Saturday's game since Blake Griffin has not scored much for the Nets.

    If you choose Harris, Forbes and Connaughton, it would allow you to use Harden and Antetokounmpo without putting many constraints on your salary budget.

    Even if you go with just Harris and Forbes, there is enough room to place Durant or Irving around Harden to include Brook Lopez ($11,000) or Khris Middleton ($12,000) for the final roster spot.


    Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90Statistics obtained from Basketball Reference.


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