The NBA Playoffs have finally hit the Conference Finals so that means it is Showdown Time! This is one of my favorite periods given the game theory nature of Showdown and want to do everything I can to get you guys the information you need to separate yourself from the pack and be unique while also having a shot at 1st place. There are four key things I look for in a player to have the highest probability of being optimal!
These four statistics paired together are the best suitors to find a gem. Almost everyone I mention below hits on atleast 2 of these if not all of them! Hopefully this will help you be more successful while building lineups and give you a higher chance of winning the big bucks!
I would also like to note that I write these articles early in the day. It is always beneficial to check @Underdog__NBA for lineup changes. Those changes could have a direct effect on some of my "favorite plays" in the sense that if a cheap guy that was one of my favorites doesn't start, then they might no longer be a favorite play or even a play at all. Check out my Twitter @HeatingUpDFS for any updates on favorite play changes!
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This series should be quite defensive with both teams squarely in the top 5 in defensive efficiency this season. Anchored by Butler/Bam and Smart respectively, I think this series could go a number of ways in all facets of the game. I think it comes down to the final possession in multiple games which has me very excited for what is to come. Both teams are 11 games deep into this playoffs run and have had to take down a top 5 players in the league in the process (Heat: Embiid, Celtics: Durant/Giannis). The Celtics feel more battle tested of the two, overcoming a 3-2 deficit against the defending Champions. However, the Heat have had a couple extra days of rest leading into this series. It has given them plenty of time to get healthy. If they get out to an early series lead, I really think this could be detrimental to the Celtics' chances. On the other hand, if the Celtics shoot like they did in that Game 7 against the Bucks then there is an avenue for them to sweep the Heat here. I don't envision that will happen given the Bucks were one of the worst 3 PT defenses in the league this entire season anyways, but the Heat weren't much better. They both have a lock down the paint mentality that could lean in the Celtics favor here. Just looking at the regular season, Boston won the season series 2-1 with only 1 game going over a 204 total score. This series will likely be the polar opposite of the GS vs. DAL series with strong defensive play and the studs separating themselves to decide who heads to the NBA Finals.
For Showdown slates it is always crucial that you get the CPTN correct or you won't stand a chance at the top prize. Usually the top 0.1-1% of the highest scoring lineups in a SD setting feature the same CPTN with varying UTIL spot choices to round out the lineup. Given the rotations should remain fairly tight, there might only be two roster constructions you can choose tonight. The 1st is a stars and scrubs approach. That is where you take a top 3 option at CPTN, follow it up with 3 more of the top 5 priced options, and round it out with two guys that are extremely cheap in hopes that the stars get 80%+ of the usage and you only need 3-10 DK points from the cheap guys to get you to the top. The 2nd option, which will likely be my personal approach, is a balanced approach. Usually it comes with taking a mid range CPTN option, then multiple high to mid priced options at UTIL and only have to lean on one cheaper option that still has scoring viability. With how much usage the mid range gets from both of these teams, I think this is likely the most efficient approach. The following players feel like the best options to role with at that CPTN spot who also give you a bit of leverage over the field.
Jaylen Brown ($13,800 CPTN)
Brown was extremely consistent in the MIL series in the games he didn't get into foul trouble, scoring 45+ DK points in 3 of the 5 games he fit those parameters. During the regular season series, Brown actually outscored Tatum in 2 of the 3 and you can get him at a significant discount tonight. I actually think they overpriced Tatum who will be the major focus for Miami on defense which could open up things for Brown to thrive. I think he gets a much easier matchup against Strus compared to Butler guarding Tatum. For those reasons, I think Brown returns a much higher value and his ownership at CPTN should give you a major advantage over the field. He might come in underowned in general, not just at CPTN.
Bam Adebayo ($12,600 CPTN)
Bam did not have a good series against PHI but that was more due to his matchup against Embiid. It was never going to be an easy task for him and I think it gets much easier in this one. He will get a banged up Robert Williams and Daniel Theis from the C spot which should be exploitable. I think they go to him early to test out Robert on the defensive end and see if he can handle things. Just from a pricing perspective, Bam is quite cheap from his poor finish to the PHI series. I can't imagine he continues that run of form here and should return to his 35+ DK point floor. He is a guy that can score you DK points in a number of ways and has a lot of things going for him tonight (price, matchup, usage). I think he can have a really solid game and series, so roll Bam out with confidence.
Marcus Smart ($11,400 CPTN)
Smart is just one of those guys that is going to give it his all every single night. With him being this close to getting to the Finals, I think we see his best almost every night. He finished out the MIL series on a high, scoring 39 and 40 DK points in the two final games after his Game 5 blunder. He scored well in the regular season series against MIA as well with 32 and 34 DK points in the final two games. Similar to Bam, Smart can do it all from scoring to picking up peripherals which has me in love with him for this series and game. The matchup is also heavily in his favor against Vincent who might cave under the pressure. Give me all the Smart I can handle tonight.
Along with all of the CPTN options, the following players look to be a good value tonight for a number of different reasons (pricing, matchup, ownership leverage, etc.)
Jayson Tatum ($12,000)
As crazy as it sounds I really don't like Tatum here. The matchup against Butler is not going to be easy. He will likely be in the 60-80% ownership range and in the regular season series against MIA he only averaged 38 DK points/game across the 3 games. His price is also way higher than any other player which makes it to where you almost have to punt down to a $4,000 or less option. I really don't like having to do that so I will more that likely be way under the field on Tatum tonight.
Jimmy Butler ($10,800)
I think he will hold 80%+ ownership tonight, but it is likely you need it. He is locked in right now and should be a top 3 DK scorer in the game tonight.
Max Strus ($7,000)
Honestly the price on Strus is gross, but that alone should give you a ton of leverage in the ownership department. He scored 43 and 36 DK points in the final two games of the PHI series along with 35 and 37 DK points in the final two games of the regular season series against BOS. He clearly likes this matchup and I am more than willing to say he is a good play tonight even if not many others are willing to plant that flag with me.
PJ Tucker ($5,400)
Similar to Smart, Tucker is a big game player and will give it his all for every minute he is out on the court. He should play north of 30 minutes and even at a low usage I think he can get you what you want. There might be a few cheaper options below him that look better on paper, but Tucker is always live for a big score even if he is just as live to score under 5 DK points. I will take that volatility any day of the week at a low ownership like he will garner tonight.
Derrick White ($5,200)
White will likely see a slight drop in minutes the Robert Williams returning, but at the end of the day he is going to get a sizeable amount of the G minutes and can't be as bad as he was in that close out game against MIL. I don't think he is in a ceiling spot here, but down at these salaries you really are starting to dip into some really questionable plays regardless. I am fine taking a shot at White who will be lower owned and has been apart of one of Boston's most efficient lineups this postseason (Smart/White/Brown/Tatum/Horford).
Grant Williams ($5,000)
I think he will be a bit over owned tonight following his Game 7 heroics. His minutes will likely dip with Robert returning and getting his normal run, but I actually like him a bit more off of the bench. He was honestly better off of the bench in the MIL series and will still get a ton of 3's up. The only qualm I have with him is the Heat will 100% pivot to defend him if he starts to get hot shooting like he did in Game 7. Just remember, in Game's 4-7 he averaged 10 DK points/game. He is always live to get almost no usage and ruin your lineup.
Robert Williams ($4,800)
Williams is one of my favorite plays tonight. He is a high FPPM player when he gets the minutes and Udoka has said Williams will get his normal run tonight. While that might only be ~25 minutes, he can still produce 30+ DK points in that time. I just love his upside and price. The only thing that scares me is the ownership will likely be in the 40-60% range which is quite high. If you can find a low ownership guy to fit in your lineup then Williams is more than fine.
Gabe Vincent ($4,200)
Still no Lowry so Vincent will likely start and get 25-30 minutes. He will be chalk and likely for a good reason. I think if you want leverage, Vincent seems like the easiest guy to pivot off of to do that. However, he is likely to give you a really solid floor and is too cheap for the role he will play tonight. If you want to pivot off of Vincent, Strus, Oladipo and Herro seem like the best moves to go to.
Dewayne Dedmon ($2,000)
There isn't much to say here about Dedmon. He probably won't break 15 minutes and the usage won't be there. If you really want to get 3-4 studs though you might have to consider Dedmon. I think he is a better bet over Theis who might not even play. This is a tough guy to try to tout because I don't think there is any bit of a ceiling here. However, down in this price range he is about the only one guaranteed to get minutes.
Duncan Robinson ($1,000)
He barely got run in the PHI series but being that it is Game 1 that could change. He got run in the regular season series against BOS so you might see him make some appearances in this one as a shooting spark off the bench. My only issue with Robinson is he has atleast 5 guys ahead of him in the pecking order, so a DNP-CD is the likely outcome.
Fades (for me):
Al Horford, Tyler Herro, Victor Oladipo, Payton Pritchard, Daniel Theis