The first round of the NBA Playoffs is ramping up, and Game 3 action continues tonight with a trio of intriguing contests that should make for an exciting DFS slate.
The night begins on the east coast with the 76ers at Nets followed by a pair of exciting west coast matchups in Kings at Warriors and Suns at Clippers, with several star players set to take the court.
While it’s tempting to load up on superstars when setting a DFS lineup, the key is finding value in players that aren’t priced as high and have a chance to put up similar production to the top players. We’ve broken down all three matchups from a DFS perspective to diagnose which players are worth playing tonight with an example of a balanced lineup that stays under the salary cap.
76ers at Nets
This contest features the most expensive player on the board in Joel Embiid at $10,700, but we don’t see him being worth that considering he’s shared more of the scoring load so far in the playoffs with guards James Harden and Tyrese Maxey. Harden also appears pricy at $8900, but Maxey offers value at $6700 along with forward Tobias Harris at $5900.
As for the Nets, Mikal Bridges has established himself as a go-to scorer and is worth the $7600 price at shooting guard since he’s set for 40-plus minutes in a high-volume role. Spencer Dinwiddie and Cameron Johnson are also intriguing since they get a lot of minutes, but it’s probably wise to avoid having too many Nets after the 76ers held them to 84 points in Game 2.
Kings at Warriors
The Warriors will be without Draymond Green, which opens up opportunities for some of their bench players. Stephen Curry should once again see all the minutes and shots he can handle, so we’re willing to pay the hefty $9700 to have him as a lineup anchor. Kevon Looney is a value play at $5500 since he should see an increased role with Green out, and Gary Payton II has been trending up as of late off the bench and makes for a nice utility play at $4400.
The Kings could have a tougher time in Game 3 than they’ve had the previous two contests since the Warriors are a much better team at home, and Damontas Sabonis might still be banged up after being stepped on by Green in Game 2. The offense should still go through Sabonis and De’Aaron Fox, but we like Kevin Huerter as a value play at $5400 since the sharpshooter will likely be busy trying to help the Kings keep up with Curry and company.
Suns at Clippers
The Suns are coming off a much-needed Game 2 win, and they were able to distribute the scoring load fairly evenly among their star players. Kevin Durant and Devin Booker are the obvious go-to options, but their hefty price tags have us pivoting to Torrey Craig as a must-have bargain at $4700 since he’s been seeing starter’s minutes and putting up quality numbers that aren’t too far off from the Suns’ stars.
The Clippers have leaned heavily on Kawhi Leonard, but he’s been ruled out for tonight, making Russell Westbrook an intriguing option at point guard. Westbrook’s still a risky play at $8000 due to his inconsistent shooting, but Eric Gordon could be a sneaky play at $4600 having seen steady minutes in both playoff games as well as Norman Powell at $4900 since he’s set for an increased role without Leonard.
OPTIMAL THURSDAY LINEUP ($50,000 SALARY CAP)
Prices via DraftKings
PG: Stephen Curry, Warriors ($9700)
SG: Mikal Bridges, Nets ($7600)
SF: Tobias Harris, 76ers ($5900)
PF: Torrey Craig, Suns ($4700)
C: Kevon Looney, Warriors ($5500)
G: Tyrese Maxey, 76ers ($6700)
F: Kevin Huerter, Kings ($5400)
UTIL: Gary Payton II, Warriors ($4400)