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NBA Team/Player Situational Spots (May 10th-May 16th)
Here’s a look at some injury notes and other relevant player spots to consider when constructing your DFS lineups throughout the week and looking at player props. As an NBA Premium subscriber you will receive an email alert every day of the week, as soon as we launch our daily DFS Top Plays & Player Props articles.
After taking on the Minnesota Timberwolves last week, Jimmy Butler is in another revenge spot when the Heat host the Sixers on Thursday night. Butler had 25 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists against the Timberwolves on Friday and we believe he will be out to ensure Philadelphia does not clinch the No. 1 seed in the East against his team. The Heat could be the more motivated team here on Thursday well, as they currently just one game behind both the Hawks and Knicks to get the #4 seed and home court advantage in the first round. The Sixers, on the other hand, could have the #1 locked up even before this game, as they currently sit three games of Brooklyn/four ahead of Milwaukee, giving Butler more of a ceiling to ball out both offensively and defensively, especially in a situation where Philly could not play their main guys a full allotment of minutes. While Butler hasn't played the Sixers this year personally, but last year he played them at home on February 2nd and lit them up to the tune of 38 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists on 14-of-20 shooting and 8-of-8 from the line. In the game before that he posted a line of 25-9-9, so we're looking at Butler overs here possibly just on points and/or points + rebounds + assist lines for this game.
We're going to lump three players into one bullet here since the angle we’re getting at is similar with each player: Atlanta’s De’Andre Hunter, in addition to Dallas' Kristaps Porzingis and Miami's Victor Oladipo all could return this week. The situations for each are murky, but all three have been sidelined for extended periods of time. All three have knee injuries and the severity of each has varied. Oladipo has missed over a month for the Heat, Porzingis has recently missed two weeks himself and Hunter has been out since the end of January for the Hawks. All three teams are in situations in their respective conferences where it is likely they will avoid the play-in round, but it's not etched in stone (yet). Given the lengthy timetables for these three, and the chance that avoiding the play-in round is locked up later in the week for their teams, minutes restrictions are very much in play for each one. However, they’re all big enough names to where the DFS prices and prop numbers might not match up with their situations, making all three fades in their first games back. Our NBA player values project each of these players to be worth about one point to the line.
DFS Beneficiaries: Duncan Robinson had 22 points on 6-10 from the three-point line for the Heat on Sunday in Boston and followed that up with another 22 on 5-of-9 from three on Monday, both resulting in
big Miami wins and putting them three games ahead of the Celtics in the play-in race between the sixth and seventh seeds in the East. The second-year marksman would figure to be the player most likely to cede minutes to Oladipo upon his return, sure, but until that happens Robinson remains a DFS buy. Atlanta’s situation is a bit trickier, as Hunter’s return would likely take minutes away from either John Collins or Clint Capela in the frontcourt, but both of those bigs for the Hawks have been productive. In regards to Porzingis, there really hasn’t been a front court player for the Dallas Mavericks productive enough to complicate things for his return. The lanky Latvian is probably the one we’d be most comfortable using early on upon return in attacking potentially soft props and lowered DFS price tags.
Reports have all but confirmed that indeed LeBron James will return to action from an ankle injury on Wednesday this week after being scratched late on Tuesday for the front end of a back to back against the Knicks at home. We project James to be worth four points to the line and would not expect any restrictions for the Lakers’ franchise forward as the purple and gold are fighting to avoid the play-in round in the Western Conference this week. The Lakers, before their game Tuesday night, were in the 7th seed and just 1.5 games behind both Dallas and Portland. L.A. faces the Rockets, Pelicans and Pacers to close the regular season, while Dallas faces the Pelicans/Raptors/Wolves - both relatively easy schedules to finish the year. The Blazers, on the other hand, face the league's TOUGHEST schedule to close out the season, with their three remaining games pitting Portland against the likes of Phoenix, Utah and Denver. Yikes.
Washington guard Bradley Beal missed Monday’s game against Atlanta while nursing a hamstring injury and will miss Wednesday's rematch at the Hawks as well. The Wizards aren’t going to climb high enough in the East to avoid the play-in round, sure, but it's also unlikely that they’re low enough to where they miss the playoffs all together. Therefore, it’s possible that he misses more than just these two games. We project Beal to be worth four points to the point spread, and undoubtedly the scoring outputs of Russell Westbrook, Rui Hachimura and Raul Neto will all continue to increase in Beal's absence. All three players eclipsed their player prop point totals on Monday, while Westbrook's assists totals continue to soar through the roof as we project he'll be not just scoring more, but also handling the ball and distributing more without his NBA All-Star counterpart on the court. As of late Tuesday night the Wizards are just one game behind both Indiana and Charlotte for the 9th and 8th seeds, respectively, and regular season finale between Washington and the Hornets just could determine who falls to the 10th seed. We'll monitor this situation closely as all three teams round out the week all fighting to avoid both the 9th and 10th seeds.
DFS Beneficiaries: We mentioned Neto and Hachimura above, in addition to Russ' increased scoring responsibilities sans Beal. Washington also doesn’t boast the deepest of benches either, which means Ish Smith and Davis Bertans both will benefit here for potential scoring props and bargain buys in DFS. Both had nice games as reserves for the Wizards in Saturday night’s win at Indiana and in Monday's loss to Atlanta, and considering Beal had 50 points and played 39 minutes against the Pacers, there’s certainly plenty of points and minutes to go around now. Also keep in mind that across the country, the Beal news is good news for Steph Curry, who looks to all but lock up the scoring title this week and could actually present us with some unders once he does. Obviously, you’re paying a premium to use Curry in DFS or to play his props over right now, but once the scoring crown is nearly complete/finished, we play either way.