Tuesday, May 17, brings the first game on the NBA Eastern Conference Finals with Miami hosting Boston in a featured slate tipping off at 8:30 p.m. ET on Yahoo, DraftKings and FanDuel. Below, we will examine the player pool and break down the best NBA DFS picks today for DraftKings, FanDuel and Yahoo lineups.
NBA DFS Picks: Fantasy Basketball Building Blocks Today | Tuesday, May 17
Yahoo Play of the Day — Jimmy Butler: Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 44.8 | DraftKings: 44.62
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 70.2% | FanDuel 61.4% | DraftKings 63.7%
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $42 | FanDuel $15,000 | DraftKings $10,800
It is hard to infer anything from the three regular-season meetings between these two teams. The road teams won twice, and Jimmy Butler, Kyle Lowry, and P.J. Tucker each missed a game that saw Bam Adebayo and Max Strus joined in the starting lineup by Gabe Vincent, Duncan Robinson and Caleb Martin for a 30-point drubbing in Boston. What we do know is that Miami wrapped up its series last Thursday while the Celtics still had two daunting must-win games in front of them on Friday and Sunday.
Lowry is still out with his hamstring issue, but the rest of the Heat rotation should be intact and raring to go. Robert Williams is available tonight and, of course, that makes an already tough Boston defense even more formidable. Miami is favored by a bucket and Game 1 has a 204.5 implied point total, which should remind everyone that fantasy production can be fickle as the postseason draws closer to the NBA Finals.
Butler has been outstanding in the playoffs with at least 50 fantasy points in seven of his last nine games. Clearly, he is the go-to option on offense and he should approach 20 field goal attempts tonight. The 32-year-old wing also contributes as a rebounder, and he will be seeing the ball in his hands on most possessions with Lowry on the shelf. It should be interesting to see what wrinkles coach Erik Spoelstra employs in this series opener.
Jaylen Brown: Boston Celtics at Miami Heat
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 38.02 | DraftKings: 39.84
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 55.5%| FanDuel 48.9% | DraftKings 57.4%
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $31 | FanDuel $13,000 | DraftKings $9,200
Jayson Tatum has been amazing this postseason and has really become a terrific scorer at all three levels on the court. However, salary is going to be an issue, and that is where Jaylen Brown comes into prominence for the single-game contests. Through his first 11 games in the postseason, Brown has at least 16 field goal attempts in all but one appearance, recording a 48.4% conversion rate and a 37.3% rate on 5.1 3-point attempts. In these games, he is averaging 37.7 minutes, 22.2 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 1.5 steals and 0.5 blocks. That is impressive production for a player who is going to be underrepresented in tournaments, even on a one-game slate.
Even if you choose to go a different route with your DFS lineups, Brown looks like a strong option in the NBA player props market. Currently, he has a 5.5 over/under on his rebound prop, and the Awesemo NBA player projections have him for 7.1 rebounds, which gives him a 71% probability of surpassing the over.
Marcus Smart: Boston Celtics at Miami Heat
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Point Projections: Yahoo and FanDuel: 30.28 | DraftKings: 30.84
- Awesemo’s Preliminary Rostered Projections: Yahoo 60.5% | FanDuel 41.9% | DraftKings 50.9%
- DFS Salary: Yahoo $21 | FanDuel $11,500 | DraftKings $7,600
Marcus Smart is listed as questionable with a sore right foot. If he is in the starting lineup, then we can roll the dice with his upside for a very reasonable salary on Yahoo and DraftKings. If he is out, then Derrick White will become the chalk du jour for obvious reasons. Keep in mind that Robert Williams was available on Sunday but did not start and never left the bench. If Smart ends up in a similar situation, just know that there is tremendous risk of him not setting foot on the court.
Yahoo Discount Dandies
- Derrick White ($14): It would be better for us if Smart is healthy, because that will keep gamers away from Derrick White. While he was a disappointment in Game 7, he still had 10 field goal attempts, and if he had made more than one of his six 3-point attempts, he probably would have seen more court time. But even he recognized that Grant Williams was in the zone and enjoyed the display from the bench.
- Grant Williams ($12): To say that Williams was locked in on Sunday would be a complete understatement. Out of nowhere, he attempted 18 3-pointers, making seven while also going 3-of-4 from inside the arc and ending the night with 27 points. In the other six games of the series, he scored 2, 0, 0, 0, 21 and 8 points. Which outcome seems most probable tonight?
- Payton Pritchard ($10): Second-year guard Payton Pritchard is a lottery ticket as a minimum-salary play. Typically, he sees about a dozen minutes per game and launches a couple of 3’s. His real value is opening up other upgrades with his miniscule cap hit.
- Gabe Vincent ($10): The last two games have seen Gabe Vincent in the starting lineup as the replacement for Lowry. Vincent is currently listed as questionable with his own hamstring issue. However, Miami is typically conservative with their injury designations, and as long as Vincent is starting, he is by far the best point-per-dollar option on Yahoo tonight.
- Victor Oladipo ($12): This postseason, Victor Oladipo has been a fantasy darling for his production at a low salary. That should continue again tonight with Lowry out of the mix. Something in the low to mid-teens is a realistic expectation, with a chance at 20 fantasy points if Vincent is limited in any fashion.
- P.J. Tucker ($12): Old Man Tucker is in play, though he may find the rebounding a lot more difficult against the Celtics than it was against a limited or absent Joel Embiid in the last series. Regardless, he should be on the court for around 30 minutes, and there is a chance he continues to produce around 20 fantasy points per game in this series. The extended time off will be of the most benefit for the well-travelled veteran who just celebrated his 37th birthday.
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