NBA DFS & Lineups & Picks for May 15, 2018

For the 5/15/18 NBA DFS playoff slate, we look at the best DraftKings and FanDuel picks for the lone game. The info below can also be used when crafting your strategy on FantasyDraft.

Please note the advice below is relevant for daily fantasy purposes. A player or team might be better or worse from a fantasy perspective than in real life due to matchup, price, and lots of other factors. This is important to consider when constructing a roster.

Injuries play a huge role in NBA DFS on a nightly basis. Value plays on the various daily fantasy sites can arise at a moment’s notice so always, always check the starting lineups and injury news right before tipoff.

For one-game slates, the pricing and lineup structure is different on both DraftKings and FanDuel. There are six utility spots on DraftKings with a $50k salary cap.

On FanDuel, there are now two utility spots and three “special” spots at a $60k salary cap. The MVP on the roster receives 2x multiplier to all FPs, the “STAR” receives 1.5x multiplier and the “PRO” receives a 1.2x multiplier, forcing users to prioritize their selections based on which player they’re highest on.


Showdown Big Jam $10 entry, $400k guaranteed (DraftKings) – $100,000 to 1st!
Showdown Four Point Play: $4 entry, $40k guaranteed (DraftKings)
Shot Machine: $7.77 entry, $300k guaranteed (FanDuel) – $100,000 to 1st!
Click here for FantasyDraft NBA DFS Contests – $4 free entry!

Gordon Hayward (ankle)
Kyrie Irving (knee)
Daniel Theis (knee)


NBA DFS Playoff Game Breakdown for May 15, 2018

Cleveland Cavs (PK) at Boston Celtics (Over/Under – 203)

The Celtics absolutely dominated Game 1 from start to finish and held LeBron James ($18.0k, $20.0k) in check. Yet we’ve seen this movie before. As recently as the first round of these playoffs, LeBron has effectively yielded Game 1, showcasing disinterested body language, before bouncing back with a furious effort to even the series.

James obviously leads all players with a projected score of 60.2 DK points, according to models on RotoQL. He’s tormented the Celtics franchise time and time again in this situation but faces a different challenge this year with a very weak supporting cast around him and opposed by a number of solid athletes capable of doubling him on drives.

That being said, “King James” remains the obvious option for the MVP slot on FanDuel. He’s worth paying up for on DK since he’ll likely reach a triple-double and/or drop 30-plus points in this key spot.

Kevin Love ($12.7k, $14.0k) tormented the Celtics in the ECF last year and came into this series with plenty of momentum. While his overall line was unimpressive due to the blowout nature of Game 1, Love was relatively efficient. The Cavs’ second option should see positive regression, along with the rest of his team, in terms of their 3-point percentage.

To be more specific, the Cavs shot an abysmal 4-of-26 (15 percent) from deep in Game 1. Even Kyle Korver ($5.2k, $7.5k) uncharacteristically went 1-for-5. He’s not going to find much room to fire against an athletic, disciplined Celtics team that ranked atop the league in opponent 3-point percentage (33.9 percent), making him a bit risky.

Korver is still worth using over J.R. Smith ($4.4k, $8.0k), a true longshot value.

Then, George Hill ($4.0k, $9.0k) somehow managed a complete lack of peripheral stats to go along with five points in Sunday’s blowout loss. He’s also a low-upside value play and a relatively hopeless defender when matched up against the Celtics’ spry young backcourt.

Tristan Thompson ($4.8k, $7.0k) did indeed re-emerge with 8 points and 11 rebounds over 20 minutes of play. Coach Tyronn Lue has to make adjustments, and attacking Boston with a wily rebounder capable of producing extra possessions makes sense. Thompson is averaging 11.4 points and 11.2 rebounds per 36 minutes this postseason and has a steady role in this series as long as Boston continues to play Al Horford and Aron Baynes together.


Meanwhile, the Celtics are only playing seven guys right now, and they’re all producing, making this the preferable side to consider in terms of Cash plays.

To start, Marcus Morris ($7.1k, $10.5k) appears to be the biggest winner in terms of playing time and usage in this series. He did an admirable job as the initial defender on LeBron and will likely be less successful on defense tonight. Still, he’s a solid mid-tier option after dropping 21 points on 7-of-12 shooting Sunday.

Aron Baynes ($6.0k, $8.0k) lost the most playing time with Morris starting, but he still has a solid floor with the potential for upside if he serves as Boston’s counter to Tristan Thompson playing more.

Al Horford ($12.2k, $14.0k) continues to lead the Celtics this postseason. He posted an incredible 184 offensive rating in Game 1 of this series. Some form of regression is likely for Horford, but the Cavs don’t have any stalwart defenders in the low post. Plus, their defensive rotations looked horrible overall, allowing Horford to tally six assists while shooting 8-of-10 from the field.

Terry Rozier ($10.4k, $12.0k) took a bit of a back seat with Jayson Tatum ($11.4k, $13.0k) and Jaylen Brown ($10.8k, $12.5k) leading the young Celtics breakout party.


Per Elias Sports Bureau, this is the youngest team to play in a conference finals series in the modern era when weighted by playing time. Yet Tatum is hardly shying away from the spotlight. He’s routinely bailing the Celtics out of their rare poor offensive possessions with tough jumpers or drives that indicate his budding stardom. Tatum is a rock-solid option with a reliable projection of 30.8 DK points on RotoQL.

While Brown’s best work came on the defensive end, he also managed 23 points on 8-of-13 FG shooting by capitalizing on poor Cavs defense in transition and on rotations. He only played 28 minutes, presumably because Brad Stevens had the game well in hand. Ultimately, Brown looks to be over his hamstring issue.

Still, it’s hard to pay up for Brown after his $3,000 price bump on FanDuel. Comparatively, Rozier sees a $3,000 price drop on FD and is worth a gamble in the hopes he has a big night. The Cavaliers’ defense has struggled against athletic guards all season.

Marcus Smart ($8.5k, $10.0k) is less appealing now that he’s in a reserve role. His price tag is accordingly low on DK, and that gives him some appeal for those in need of salary relief. Along with Tristan Thompson and Marcus Morris, he’s the best risky value to consider in optimized GPP plays on that DFS site.