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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Game 1 was a tale of multiple quarters with the Celtics honestly dominating for 3 quarters (1st/2nd/4th) and the only reason the Heat won was because they took over in the 3rd, outscoring the Celtics 39-14. You can't win games losing a quarter by that much when you are without two starters. Butler absolutely carried them, amassing 73 DK points. He was the clear CPTN option to go to and was one of my favorite from Game 1. I even pivoted off of the winning lineup because it used all $50,000 of the salary which I avoid in SDs (it usually is duplicated way too much). Nonetheless, I think the Celtics can easily take Game 2 with Smart back even with Horford still out for this one. Going into Boston with a 1-1 series would be a lot more appealing for the NBA and the Celtics and I am pretty confident we see it happen tonight. It will be very interesting how the Celtics change their defensive plan to stop Butler. Will they just let him continue to dominate and stop all the other options (Bam/Strus/Vincent) or try to stop Butler and let the others beat them? Only time will tell but I am very excited for the prospects of this game tonight.
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 clear roster construction tonight will be to CPTN Tatum or Butler and then take 3 mid range guys and one punt. Just be sure to factor that in while you are creating your lineups. It is almost always advantageous to try to be unique and avoid this build if you want a solo win.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.
Jayson Tatum ($15,900 CPTN) and Jimmy Butler ($16,500 CPTN)
I am not going to talk anyone off of this build even if it will be chalky. From an optimal standpoint they will still have a massive gap over the mid range CPTN strategies who will likely project close to 15-20 points lower as the optimal build. There are plenty of ways to get unique even with one of them at CPTN. It probably would come in the form of fading the other which could for certain work out. The prices have flipped from Game 1 with Butler now a couple hundred more than Tatum vs. Tatum being $1,200 more in Game 1. I still think I prefer Butler over Tatum if you are wondering which I like more. I think the Celtics have fewer defensive options to stop Butler whereas the Heat can properly defend Tatum if they focus on him. All in all, you can still CPTN one of these guys and even stack both at CPTN + UTIL, but be prepared to chop with 10's if not 100's of other lineups.
Marcus Smart ($10,800 CPTN)
I think this is the best CPTN you can go to and actually have a chance at being unique. He missed Game 1 with an injury and will likely come in lower owned because of that. He is still likely to see 30+ minutes with solid usage and will get plenty of peripherals to boot. Pritchard was able to play very well in Game 1 and I think Smart can replicate that. He is a big game player and as long as he is 100% healthy I think he can produce in a big way tonight.
Gabe Vincent ($6,600 CPTN)
With Lowry still out, Vincent should see the bulk of the PG minutes and is still way too cheap. He is seeing mid teens usage and around 30 minutes of action which at this price range you wont find. If going Vincent CPTN saves you from having to punt down at your 6th UTIL spot then it might be an optimal move. My only fear is you probably need him to repeat his Game 1 performance of 31 DK points to have a shot at being optimal. Regardless, he offers some leverage at CPTN where only 3-5% of the field will go that direction.
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.)
Jaylen Brown ($9,400)
To be honest Brown is also fine at CPTN. He just has the Heat's number this season, scoring 40 DK points in 3 of the 4 games against MIA this season. From an ownership perspective I think I like Brown more than Tatum. He will probably be 15-20% lower owned and to certain extent can easily outscore Tatum if the Heat just make an effort to force the other C's to beat them. There really isn't much to say. Brown will get minutes, shots, usage and plenty of scoring. If he doesn't then it is likely the Celtics get blown.
Bam Adebayo ($8,400)
Bam just hasn't played well in his career when Robert Williams starts at C. He is definitely a leverage play but I still don't trust him. The minutes will be there and so will the usage but he might just not rack up enough points to contend with the Browns/Tatums/Butlers of this game. Bam is definitely one that I want to love for the savings but I see him letting you down more often then not. I think he is optimal once or twice in this series, but good luck figuring out which that will happen in.
Tyler Herro ($6,800)
I still like Herro tonight with the minutes and usage he should get. The price is still fairly cheap given he scored 33 DK points in Game 1. The only thing I don't like about Herro is his REB% is extremely volatile. Game 1 was an example where he had a strong REB%, but if he isn't able to grab those then he could ruin your lineup tonight. Herro is basically a "flip a coin" type of player. He could be optimal or help you pay the rake. Regardless I still like him as long as ownership projections have him lower owned. If he is high owned I would pass.
Max Strus ($6,400)
The price is somewhat tolerable now and I still think the minutes are in a great spot and he won't garner much ownership at all. As long as he can just pick up the peripherals he should be solid. I think he has a strong floor in this current rotation just based on usage and minutes alone. I still think the price is a bit too steep for my liking and he is really hard to get to if you want to get Butler and Tatum, but nonetheless I think he makes for a solid GPP option. I would probably avoid in cash games.
Robert Williams ($6,200)
I still love Williams here and will probably continue to love him as long as he is under $7,000. He is a high FPPM type of guy that plays his heart out and as long as he is healthy he should be fine. He will eat up all of the ownership compared to Strus and for good reason. However, if Bam gets him into foul trouble (which I think the Heat should try to do) then Williams could bust hard. He is still coming off of injury and I think there is some cause for concern. I am just a "ride or die" Williams fan who tries to play him whenever I can. For tournaments I actually think I would prefer Strus or Herro.
Grant Williams ($5,400)
Not a huge fan here. He just isn't as productive with Robert Williams in the lineup and I would go down to Pritchard/Tucker/Vincent or up to Robert/Strus/Herro in almost every instance. Avoid across the board.
Payton Pritchard ($4,800)
Pritchard got a bit lucky having Smart out in Game 1 and gets even luckier in Game 2 with White missing due to personal reasons. He should see in the 20-25 minute range with decent usage and is always live to hit a good amount of 3's. I wish he was closer to $4,000 then $5,000 but I still think he can be optimal. I would avoid stacking him with Smart because they don't correlate. Just a roster construction tip for you with Pritchard and Smart.
PJ Tucker ($4,600)
I think with the White news coming out I would prefer Pritchard over Tucker. However ownership will 100% side that direction as well and if we see Tucker come in under 20% again then I think there is some merit to going back to him. He might not have the highest FPPM output but he will play big minutes and has broken out of his "5 DK point" floor. I think he settles in the 20 DK point ceiling range, but if you are playing the ownership game I think he gives you some solid leverage.
Dewayne Dedmon ($2,000)
I have literally the exact same excerpt for Dedmon as I did for Game 1.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. However, there is a significantly higher ceiling and floor for Daniel Theis who is $200 cheaper. I would go there 99% of the time.
Daniel Theis ($1,800)
Theis will likely come in 50% owned if not higher in any contest. He should be a lock in cash. I think he is a great play regardless and I think you have to play him if you want a top 5 priced option at CPTN. There is only 1 other play down this low that might have a shot at making Theis not optimal and that is...
Aaron Nesmith ($1,000)
Nesmith should get 10 minutes and okay usage with little ownership. He is the clear pivot off of Theis and will likely be 1/10th as owned. If that extra $800 gets you from one player to another that you like more it actually might be a smart pivot. I wouldn't expect him to get anything more than 10 DK points. He got 8.25 DK points in 11 minutes in Game 1 without Smart. Now they are without White who probably plays more SG anyways. That could mean Nesmith gets closer to 15 minutes here.