Zach Thompson gives his top studs and value plays at each position for Sunday’s fantasy basketball slate on DraftKings, which starts at 1:00 p.m. ET.
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The NBA has three games on the schedule for Sunday, starting with the first series of the second round when the Raptors and Celtics tip off at 1:00 p.m ET. Two more teams have a chance to move on to join Toronto and Boston as the Clippers and Jazz can both advance with a win in their respective Game 6s against the Mavericks and Nuggets, respectively.
It should be another great day of bubble action on the hardwood, featuring plenty of fantasy basketball options. To keep up with all the latest news, analysis and lineups, download the DK Live app. You also can follow DK Live on Twitter @dklive to keep up with any injury news that should impact your roster.
Kemba Walker, BOS at TOR, $7,200 – I see Walker as the key to the series between Toronto and Boston. If Walker is healthy and productive, Boston has a very good chance to move on but if he struggles or battles knee issues like he has throughout the season, Toronto could advance pretty quickly. Getting some extra days off between series should have him fresh and ready to roll in Game 1, making him a good fantasy option as he takes on Kyle Lowry ($7,900), who could be at less than 100% after rolling his ankle in the final game of the last round.
Walker finished the last round with a strong 32-point, 50-DKFP performance against the 76ers and was able to play 35 minutes or more in three of the four games in that series. After the injury to Gordon Hayward, he assumed more of the offensive workload and produced 47 and 50 DKFP, which is a very nice return for a player at $7K. If Lowry’s mobility is hampered in any way, Kemba should go into attack mode and put up a big game to start the series.
Trey Burke, DAL vs. LAC, $4,800 – Dallas has several players listed as questionable for the team’s Game 6 matchup against the Clippers including Burke, who is battling through a left ankle sprain. He played almost 30 minutes on the bad wheel in Game 5 and still managed to chip in 15 points, two assists, a steal and a rebound for 22.25 DKFP. He had his best game of the series in the previous contest as he supported Luka Doncic ($11,200) in his heroic Game 4 performance with 25 points and 37.75 DKFP of his own.
Burke could end up with a heavy workload again on Sunday, depending on his health and the health of the rest of the lineup. Stay locked into the latest news by downloading the DK Live app and following on Twitter @dklive to know if Burke will play and who else will be available. If he gives it a go, he could be a treat fantasy option under $5K.
Fred VanVleet, TOR vs. BOS, $7,700 – VanVleet has emerged as a star in the bubble and continues to step into a bigger role for the Raps. He had a huge series against Brooklyn before game flow and foul trouble limited him to under 20 minutes in Game 4. In the three games before that, though, he averaged 49.8 DKFP per game on 25.3 points, 8.7 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game.
With Lowry potentially limited, VanVleet should be ready to carry the load again in the second round for Toronto. He averaged 36.5 DKFP in four games against Boston during the regular season and should bounce back from that forgettable Game 4 showing.
Jordan Clarkson, UTA vs. DEN, $5,300 – Since joining the Jazz via a midseason trade, Clarkson has become a key part of Utah’s backcourt rotation and typically gets plenty of scoring opportunities. He has at least 11 points and over 25 DKFP in each game this series with at least 17 points in four of the five games.
Even the return of Mike Conley ($6,600) didn’t reduce his scoring workload very much, although it did return his assist numbers back to their usual level. He doesn’t typically provide significant production in other categories besides scoring but can grab a rebound or steal from time-to-time. If you’re using him in fantasy, though, your main focus will be those points and his long-range production as one of the Jazz’s best shooters.
Kawhi Leonard, LAC at DAL, $10,100 – Although Doncic had the biggest shot of this series and the most memorable performance, Kawhi has been consistently excellent throughout the postseason once again and is ready to help his team advance to Round 2. Leonard has scored at least 29 points in each game of the series while adding strong rebounds, assists and steals as well. He hasn’t finished with under 50 DKFP in any of the games, and his best showing was in a Game 3 victory when he totaled 64.75 DKFP.
With so many Mavericks ailing, it won’t be easy for them to contain Kawhi in Game 6. Leonard has consistently been the Clippers’ best player and a great fantasy option. He’s an expensive play to build around as Los Angeles tries to close out the Mavs.
Royce O’Neale, UTA vs. DEN, $4,600 – O’Neale is Utah’s defensive stopper and usually plays plenty of minutes as a result. He has logged at least 35 minutes in three of his past four games and is finding ways to contribute across the board with over 19 DKFP in three of those four contests as well. He had a series-high 10 points in Game 5 with four rebounds, three assists and three steals. His workload makes him a low-risk play under $5K, who will almost certainly give you decent production even though his offensive load probably won’t allow him to go off for a monster game.
Jayson Tatum, BOS at TOR, $9,200 – The Celtics leaned heavily on Tatum in a four-game sweep of the 76ers and will continue to count on the emerging star to carry them in this series against Toronto, especially with Gordon Hayward (ankle) still sidelined. Tatum had over 50 DKFP in three of the four games in Round 1 and shot over 55% in two of those games.
With Hayward out, Tatum was more active on the boards in Game 4 hauling in a series-high 15 rebounds to go with his 28 points, four assists and two blocks for a total of 60.75 DKFP. While he’ll need help from Kemba and Jaylen Brown, Tatum is clearly the leader of this team right now and establishing himself as one of the best emerging stars in the NBA.
Jerami Grant, DEN at UTA, $4,800 – To match up with the Jazz, Denver has relied heavily on Grant, who is getting much more work than Paul Millsap ($4,900) at this point. Grant logged 40 minutes in Denver’s Game 5 win and finished with 13 points, six rebounds and 23.5 DKFP.
He has scored at least 12 points three times in the series, highlighted by 19 points and 28.5 DKFP in Game 1. He should be set up for a big workload again in this matchup as the Nuggets try to stay alive and force a Game 7.
Nikola Jokic, DEN at UTA, $9,500 – Jokic has gotten help from his teammates, specifically Jamal Murray ($8,600), to get the series this far but Jokic continues to be the focus of Denver’s offense with the potential for a monster statline in any given contest. He has been held under 50 DKFP in three straight games but did have a series-high 31 points in Game 5 with six rebounds and four assists.
Even in a tough matchup with Rudy Gobert ($7,800), Jokic has remained productive across the statsheet. If Denver is going to force a Game 7, the Nuggets will need Jokic and Murray to step up again. Jokic has been carrying a heavy minutes load since returning to play in the bubble, so maybe a few days off will help him come back with a little extra energy.
Montrezl Harrell, LAC at DAL, $4,400 – When the playoffs started, Harrell hadn’t played a game since March since he missed all the seeding games in the bubble. He’s just starting to get his legs back under him and makes a great play at this price, especially with Dallas short-handed in the frontcourt after losing Kristaps Porzingis (knee) for at least this series.
Harrell has reached double-digit scoring in three of his four most recent contests and finished Game 5 with a series-high 23 minutes, his first three-pointer of the series and a nice double-double of 19 points and 11 boards for 37.25 DKFP. He has a great ceiling as he continues to get back to full strength and makes for a great sub-$5K play at center on this slate.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is z.thompson) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.
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