NBA DFS

NBA DFS DraftKings.com & FanDuel.com Lineups & Picks for May 16, 2018

For the 5/16/18 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.

On 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, and the “STAR” receives 1.5x multiplier. The “PRO” receives a 1.2x multiplier. This forces users to prioritize their selections.

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NBA DFS Playoff Game Breakdown for May 16, 2018

Golden State Warriors (+1.5) at Houston Rockets (Over/Under – 224.5)

The first game of this series was “Nolo Contendere,” but the big names on Houston’s roster still got it done in DFS terms.

James Harden ($13.9k, $17.5k) scored 41 points with a 41.3 percent usage rate, tied for his highest usage rate (in Game 1 against Utah) of the playoffs. Clearly, he has to give it everything he has to match points with the elite Warriors offense. That said, Golden State is often willing to yield production on one end with the knowledge they can score even more efficiently.

Golden State allowed 109.4 PPG on the road versus 105.6 PPG at home this season. Harden is projected for 53.8 FPs according to models on RotoQL and belongs in the MVP slot of FanDuel lineups.

While Chris Paul ($12.6k, $14.5k) didn’t flash tremendous upside, he’s clearly the second-most important player on the floor for Houston. That makes him reliable with his team against the wall in Game 2. His pesky defense also limited Steph Curry ($12.9k, $15.5k) to a degree, as predicted in our column on Game 1.

This series is more conducive to big production from Kevin Durant ($13.5k, $16.5k). He, along with Harden, is the most unstoppable offensive player in the game today. Durant posted a 36.5 percent usage rate while Curry and Klay Thompson ($9.3k, $10.5k) posted usage rates around 23 percent in Game 1.

Rockets wing defenders Trevor Ariza and P.J. Tucker might have been decent options to guard Durant earlier in their careers. But they looked relatively helpless as KD dropped 37 points to secure the victory. Plus, Durant’s peripheral stats are likely to increase in Game 2, making him the second-most important player to try and jam into lineups alongside Harden.

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The Rockets’ supporting cast clearly struggled with the jump in competition after cruising past shorthanded Minnesota and Utah.

Clint Capela ($9.7k, $13.5k) started strong. But like most centers, he lost his role against the small-ball Warriors. I would still have faith in a potential bounce back from Capela since he’s a rare big man capable of containing the Warriors’ superstar scorers on switches. Just limit your exposure to GPP formats on DK.

P.J. Tucker ($5.4k, $9.0k) and Trevor Ariza ($4.3k, $8.0k) both showed their age in this matchup. Ariza’s one year younger at 32 but has far more “NBA miles” on his body than Tucker. Tucker has a little more upside given his competitive fire and ability to cash out on corner 3-pointers if the Rockets are able to force help on drives from Harden and CP3.

Then, Eric Gordon ($7.1k, $9.0k) led the charge off the bench with 15 points on a 22.4 percent usage rate Monday. He’s still a bit of a longshot, while Gerald Green ($3.2k, $7.0k) is a true long shot to find a role off the bench. Still, the Rockets need to give those “instant offense” guys run over the aforementioned aging wing players if they want to score with Golden State up in the 110s.

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To duck back to Durant for a second as we move to the GSW side, he’s projected for 52 FPs, according to models on RotoQL. KD should have little trouble meeting that number with more rebounds and defensive stats than he produced in Game 1. It’s strange that he’s slightly cheaper on FD.

Despite the tough individual matchup, Steph Curry ($12.9k, $15.5k) is relatively cheap and could make for a contrarian option in the MVP or STAR slot on FanDuel.

Draymond Green ($12.2k, $12.5k) is probably the most appealing Warrior to deploy if you can’t quite afford Durant. He didn’t play particularly well in Game 1 but still produced nine points and nine assists for the makings of a triple-double.

Along with Andre Iguodala ($6.3k, $8.5k), Draymond should start to capitalize if the Rockets double Durant or rotate out aggressively on Curry and Thompson.

Speaking of, Klay Thompson ($9.3k, $10.5k) met value with a hot shooting night Monday. But that’s about his ceiling given his lack of peripheral stats. He’s still a very economical option on DK with a projection of 35 FPs on that site.

Finally, the Warriors seemingly have little interest in playing anyone off the bench more than 15 minutes. That narrows lineups on this one-game slate to starters on both sides. A mix of mid-tier values and superstars is basically the only way to go.

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Nate Weitzer
Nate Weitzer is a successful DFS player at DraftKings and FanDuel with numerous tournament wins in NBA and NFL contests. He's been writing about DFS for several years, specializing in NBA picks and advice while continuing to build his bankroll across the daily fantasy industry. When he's not playing DFS, Weitzer is often covering high school sports in the greater Boston area for outlets such as The Boston Globe, or playing basketball himself. Follow Nate on Twitter @Nweitzer7.