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, so always, always check the starting lineups and injury news right before tipoff.
The Full Roster contests on FanDuel include a new scoring system in which the lowest score of the nine selected players is dropped, allowing users to take more risks with a punt play or two. Then, DraftKings has brought back its late swap for NBA contests.
On short NBA Playoff slates, we’re recommending three options to play, and three to fade at each position. Decisions are magnified on shorter slates, so chose your stars wisely.
4/19/19 NBA DFS TOURNAMENT PICKS
Fadeaway: $15 entry, $500k guaranteed (DraftKings) – $100,000 to 1st!
Four Point Play: $4 entry, $100k guaranteed (DraftKings)
Shot: $9.99 entry, $300k guaranteed (FanDuel) – $100,000 to 1st!
Shot: $4.44 entry, $40k guaranteed (FanDuel)
NBA DFS Top Plays for April 19, 2019
Best Guards for April 19, 2019
Russell Westbrook vs. POR ($10.2k DraftKings, $11.8k FanDuel)
After posting two of the worst playoff games of his career, Russell Westbrook is bound to bounce back at home. He accepted full responsibility for getting outplayed by Damian Lillard and will look to attack the Blazers’ high-scoring but vulnerable backcourt. Portland gave up the most PPG (22.27) to PGs this season, and Westbrook averaged 29.5 PPG, 10 RPG, and 8.8 APG in four regular-season meetings with the Blazers. He posted a higher usage rate (31.8%) and a much better plus/minus rating (+9.2) at home this year. Westbrook went for 45 points on a ridiculous 47.3% usage rate in his last playoff appearance at home, carrying the Thunder to a 107-99 win over Utah. A similar effort could be in the cards tonight, giving Westy significant appeal on DK with his ability to post triple-doubles.
Kyrie Irving @ IND ($8.9k DraftKings, $9.7k FanDuel)
Westbrook may be the preferred GPP play, but Kyrie Irving is the PG you want to lock into Cash lineups. When the Celtics offense breaks down, Kyrie freelances. He did just that with a 34.6% usage rate and 39.4% assist rate in a comeback win on Wednesday. The Pacers’ stellar defense should force more superhuman efforts from Kyrie as the series transitions to Indiana. The Pacers allowed the fewest PPG (104.7) in the NBA this season and fewest PPG at home (101). But they were most vulnerable in the backcourt, yielding the fourth-most PPG (22.7) to PGs over the last month.
C.J. McCollum @ OKC ($6.9k DraftKings, $8.0k FanDuel)
We’re not looking to save at guard tonight. C.J. McCollum is at least reasonably priced on DraftKings and FanDuel with a solid floor in an appealing game to target (221.5-point Over/Under is highest on the slate). He went off for 33 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists while posting a higher usage rate (32.9%) than Damian Lillard in Game 2. That trend could continue with Lillard working hard on both ends against Westbrook while McCollum carves up the Thunder’s mediocre litany of SGs. OKC gave up the ninth-most PPG (21.9) to SGs over the last two weeks of the season, and McCollum has been locked in since the ASB with averages of 20.9 PPG and 3.8 APG on 46.8% FG shooting. While the Blazers were swept by the Pelicans last year, McCollum produced a combined 60 points over Portland’s final two games on the road.
Other guards to consider: Kyle Lowry, D.J. Augustin, Tyreke Evans, Michael Carter-Williams
Best Forwards for April 14, 2019
Aaron Gordon vs. TOR ($6.2k DraftKings, $6.7k FanDuel)
The Raptors wisely sold out to stop Nikola Vucevic in Game 2. The result was a blowout win to even the series. That approach left Aaron Gordon open to score 20 points with 5 rebounds and meet value once again. Gordon is 5-for-7 from 3-point range so far this series and shot the ball significantly better (41.3% from 3) at home this season. Despite Tuesday’s result, Orlando (+4) is only a slight underdog tonight since the Magic went 25-16 and average four more PPG (109.5) at home this year. Toronto led the NBA in DvP against centers over the last month and is well-equipped to stop Vucevic with Marc Gasol starting now. Thus, Gordon will have to step up to keep Orlando in it.
Side note: If you expect a close game, make it a priority to pay up for Kawhi Leonard. He can post monster lines in playoff road games when his team has few other scoring options. Kyle Lowry often fades in the postseason, and Orlando completely shut him down in Game 1.
Jayson Tatum @ IND ($6.1k DraftKings, $6.8k FanDuel)
With Al Horford (knee) hobbled and Marcus Smart (oblique) unavailable, Jayson Tatum has emerged as the clear-cut 1B option for Boston. Tatum posted a 27.3% usage rate in Game 2. No other members of the Celtics starting lineup topped 12.3% (besides Irving, of course). Tatum has thrived in the playoffs with postseason averages of 18.7 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 2.6 APG, and 1.7 STL/BLK per game over 21 career appearances. Indiana’s aggressive switching defense left Tatum open down the stretch to penetrate in Game 2. The gifted 6’8 wing made the Pacers pay repeatedly. He averaged 16.8 PPG on 51% FG shooting over four meetings with Indiana this year, posting a +22.3 plus/minus rating in those contests. Celtics coach Brad Stevens could ride him for 38-plus minutes once again, giving Tatum an excellent floor as a mid-tier option.
Bojan Bogdanovic vs. BOS ($6.0k DraftKings, $6.5k FanDuel)
The Pacers (-3) are expected to defend home court and win a close game tonight. Frankly, there is no way they’ll pull that off without a big effort from Bojan Bogdanovic. He’s averaging 20.9 PPG on a 26.1% usage rate to carry their offense since the ASB. He got hot against the Celtics once again on Wednesday with 23 points, including a slew of clutch shots late. He posted incredible shooting splits (50.6% from the field, 42.8% from 3-point range) at home this season, and the Celtics allowed the eighth-highest shooting percentage (45.58%) to his position this year. It also happened to be Bogdanovic’s 30th birthday yesterday, if you want to chase that narrative.
Other forwards to consider: Kawhi Leonard, Evan Fournier, Marcus Morris, Jerami Grant, Maurice Harkless
Best Centers for April 14, 2019
Enes Kanter @ OKC ($6.5k DraftKings, $7.3k FanDuel)
Enes Kanter posted a quiet line in Tuesday’s win over the Thunder due mostly to a couple of questionable charge calls that limited him to 20 minutes of playing time. But he remains the most appealing per-dollar option at center tonight. Kanter got loose for 20 points and 18 rebounds with a 26% rebounding rate in Game 1, demonstrating his value against a Thunder team that ranked second in total rebounding this year. OKC did cough up the fifth-most defensive RPG (35.8) this season. And Kanter posted a 29% defensive rebounding rate in Game 1. He’s averaging 21.2 points and 13.9 rebounds per 36 minutes since joining Portland, and his role increased dramatically over the final weeks of the season. Kanter’s questionable designation with a bruised hand should lower his ownership. But it’s unlikely to play a big factor.
Marc Gasol @ ORL ($5.5k DraftKings, $6.2k FanDuel)
Toronto has used Marc Gasol situationally since acquiring him at the trade deadline, but he should continue to play a key role in this series as the best defensive option againstVucevic. Gasol posted 13 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists over 32 minutes in a narrow Game 1 loss, then took an early seat after posting a similar line over 22 minutes in Tuesday’s blowout win. While he’s not necessarily a great tournament option with his limited upside, Gasol offers safety in the mid-tier range on a slate bereft of values at center.
Other centers to consider: Al Horford, Steven Adams