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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The Warriors really put the Mavs in their place in Game 1 with an absolute blowout. I still think that the Mavs get a game or two in this series, but things are looking bleak for them to make the Finals. Luka disappointed massively and there was clearly something going on in Game 1 with his shoulder. I think a lot hinges on whether or not Luka is fully healthy. If he is still banged up and won't be 100% the rest of the series this could be over quick. However if he is able to get over this and continue to carry this team then I think the Mavs can turn some heads. I think this becomes a pivotal game in the series. If the Mavs get blown out again this series might not make it back to GS with the Warriors sweeping. Only time will tell.
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. I think the main build for tonight will be stars and scrubs. I doubt there are too many games in this series where either Luka or Curry are out of the optimal (Luka was not optimal Game 1). A lot comes down to Luka's injury. The following guys I think have a strong chance at being optimal or give you a lot of leverage at CPTN without giving up win equity.
Luka Doncic ($20,400 CPTN) or Stephen Curry ($17,100 CPTN)
Both Luka and Curry got priced up a bit. Curry dominated and Luka underwhelmed which was quite surprising. I think Curry and Luka are almost for sure going to be top scorers in the game throughout the series, so picking one of them at CPTN makes the most sense. The only thing you really have to consider is atleast 80% of the field will likely have one of these two at CPTN. Is there an 80% chance these two finish as the optimal CPTN? That is quite possible, but if you want to get a bit of leverage, not captaining one of them could be a decent option to increase uniqueness. All in all, I am going right back to the well with Luka and expecting him to be the optimal CPTN. Steph I still could let you down if his shot isn't falling. However the peripherals are propping his floor up quite a bit right now so he should be optimal in some form regardless. Try to get both of these dudes and then get leverage in other spots.
Andrew Wiggins ($11,400 CPTN)
I can say the same thing as I did in Game 1. I think this is a sneaky smart play at CPTN that should be less than 5% owned up top. He played excellent in the MEM series and great against DAL in the regular reason (AVG 30 DK points/game vs. MEM and in the reg. season vs. DAL). He showed up in Game 1 to the tune of 34 DK points which was respectable and was even apart of the optimal lineup at UTIL. If Luka comes back to life and does his normal thing then you might have to go down at CPTN to avoid punting the last 2-3 UTIL spots. He should see Bullock on defense quite a bit who actually fell off in the defensive category since coming from the Knicks. He is going to get the minutes, shots and an easier matchup. You really can't go wrong with him tonight.
Reggie Bullock ($7,500 CPTN)
Bullock is going to play a ton that is for sure. He scored 22 DK points in 36 minutes of a blowout in Game 1. That number could honestly go up in this one and he is extremely cheap. Going with him at CPTN could get you Luka, Steph and one more pay up option before having to consider the cheaper guys. His ceiling isn't too high but he has the floor just on the minutes alone and gives you tons of options at the UTIL spot. He should come in at around 1-2% ownership at CPTN and if he starts hitting some 3s and the other studs go off then you might be getting a ton of leverage with just that move. It is risky, but I think it is certainly viable.
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.)
Klay Thompson ($9,200)
It really sucks that Klay is the most expensive guys outside of the top 2 because you could make an argument that anyone from him to DFS can and will score around the same amount of DK points so for Klay to be optimal he would have to go nuts and Steph underwhelm. That is certainly in the realm of possibilities, but getting Steph/Luka/Klay is really hard tonight without punting CPTN. I love him in GPPs for leverage if you fade Steph, but prepare for disappointment.
Jalen Brunson ($8,600)
To be honest I hate Brunson in all formats. His ceiling just isn't there and I doubt that he is optimal two games in a row unless Luka is injured. With the way the Warriors defend Game 1 was pretty much his ceiling. I don't like chasing that at all and I am more than willing to die on this hill.
Draymond Green ($8,200)
I actually prefer Green over a lot of guys tonight with how he picks up peripherals. He has serious triple double upside and the matchup to grab boards isn't a difficult one at all. If he can be more involved in the facilitation department and get some extra assists then 40+ DK points is certainly in the cards. It really all comes down to whether or not he can outpace the likes of Brunson, Poole and Wiggins which I think he certainly can.
Jordan Poole ($8,000)
I am really not a fan of Poole's production as of late. His minutes have come down and he really has to get hot shooting to rack up points which isn't my forte. However, his ownership will be lower than that of Brunson and Draymond. I can get down to that because his ceiling is in line with both of theirs. I still think it is risky with how close the ownership will likely be. Id lean Green first over both of them.
Dorian Finney-Smith ($6,600)
Dorian Finney Smith is an overpriced Bullock in my opinion. He will get a ton of minutes and maybe a slightly higher usage rate compared to Bullock but for a much higher price tag. He should be in the mid 20% ownership range which is actually decent because DFS does have a ceiling. Good luck guessing when that ceiling will come though. He has a good bit to deal with in the paint with Draymond his natural defender. I just don't think this series is set up for him to be successful and the price is still too lofty.
Spencer Dinwiddie ($6,800)
I liked Dinwiddie in Game 1 because I thought he would come in under owned and had a shot at getting some extra minutes. Well he didn't really get any extra minutes and got a price jump after underwhelming at 30% ownership which was way higher than I expected. He is a big pass for me here. I just think he is a poor mans Poole who I don't really like anyways. The floor is too low given his peripherals are non existent.
Kevin Looney ($4,800)
Looney got a healthy 28 minutes in Game 1 which was quite surprising with the Mavs going small. He did play really well in Game 1 so there is not reason to believe he doesn't continue to get those minutes. I think he is a great value option that might come in a bit over owned. I still think the ownership is warranted which is why I am fine going back to him here.
Otto Porter ($4,200)
I think Porter should get the "small ball" minutes tonight and in this series in general. I think the price is way too low and he is a great play BARRING massive ownership numbers. If he comes in at a decent ownership projection then I would try to get him in however you can. I honestly don't even hate him at CPTN if it lets you fit in what you want. I just really like his usage as well with this second unit.
Maxi Kleber ($4,600)
I think a bit of the issue with Kleber last game was that the blowout caused him to not get as many minutes. It seemed pretty obvious they wanted to go to a small ball lineup which would include Kleber but he wasn't getting the usage while they were trying to get back into it. If he can get back to the mid 20s minutes and see his usage come up a tad I actually think he can be a great play from a median projection standpoint and ownership. I don't think he will be too highly owned and for the price he can probably grade out as a solid value. I actually really like him here as a mid range pivot off of either Porter or Looney (I still think you need one of those guys)
Dwight Powell ($3,200)
Not a huge fan at all. The price is too steep for a guy that will get max 15 minutes and they are trying to go small. He doesn't fit that mold.
Davis Bertans ($2,400)
I have some intrigue for Bertans because they did give him the minutes I expected and he fits that small ball lineup mold. He can shoot if they get down, but Kleber can do the same thing. I just think he is a poor mans Kleber that doesn't have the ceiling and a lower floor. Leave him as a 6th man in only if you need someone this cheap.
Damion Lee ($1,600)
I would rather go to Lee here who will get the same minutes as Bertans but might actually do something with them for $800 cheaper. He is getting in the low teens for minutes and I doubt he gets just 1 shot attempt again tonight. He is the perfect filler if you really need to punt at the 6th UTIL spot and have an expensive CPTN (Luka or Curry). I would likely avoid trying to punt CPTN and at the 6th spot just to get the top 4 priced options at the other UTIL spots.
Frank Ntilikina ($1,000)
Same as last game for Frank here. Very similar situation to Lee. He got a 8-12 minutes/game towards the end of the PHX series and actually got 18 minutes in his last game against GS this season. He played 10 minutes in Game 1 and amassed just 1 DK points. That is putrid. I really just don't like his usage compared to Lee, but if Lee ends up getting 4-5x the ownership of Frank then I think it worth considering the pivot.