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NBA Playoffs: DFS By the Numbers, Part II

Juan Carlos Blanco

Winner of the FSWA 2016 Newcomer of the Year Award, Juan Carlos Blanco has been playing fantasy sports for close to 20 years and covers NBA, MLB, and the NFL for, including serving as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' beat writer. He has previously written for and remains an avid season-long and daily fantasy player in multiple sports.

Postseason rotations tend to get a lot tighter, but there’s still value to be found on each team. Ideally, those plays will match up well with specific weaknesses on the opposition. The purpose of this two-part series will be to take a bit of a deeper dive into some typically useful DFS metrics and see where there may be exploitable spots that can be attacked with modestly priced players.
We reviewed the four Western Conference opening-round series in Part 1 and now follow up with an analysis of the Eastern Conference in Part 2:

Toronto (1) vs. Washington (8)

Season series results: Raptors 2, Wizards 2

Notable Raptors metrics/areas to exploit: 45.5 points in the paint per game allowed this season, including fifth most (53.3) over the last three regular-season games/ Bottom five in fantasy points allowed to centers over last 10 regular-season games on FantasyDraft (52.3), FanDuel (45.3) and DraftKings (77.5).

Wizards value play to consider: Marcin Gortat, C

Gortat averaged a near double-double against the Raptors this season (10.3 points, 9.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists across 30.5 minutes in four games), and he logged over 80 percent of his points in the paint. Although he averaged his fewest minutes since the 2009-10 campaign this past season, Gortat should be in for a bump in playing time during the postseason, and his price should often be near the low end for starting centers across the different DFS sites running postseason contests.

Notable Wizards metrics/areas to exploit: Bottom-10 figures in fantasy points allowed to small forwards over the last five regular-season games on FantasyDraft, FanDuel, DraftKings and Yahoo; second-highest shooting percentage (46.1) allowed to small forwards on the season, including eighth-highest three-point percentage (37.0).

Raptors value play to consider: C.J. Miles, SF

Miles isn’t going to see a heavy load of minutes barring injuries in front of him, but he carries higher offensive upside and boasts considerably more experience than starter OG Anunoby and fellow reserve Norman Powell. Miles averaged a solid 10.7 points across 18.0 minutes in three games versus the Wizards this season, a sample during which he shot an impressive 42.9 percent from three-point range on an average of 7.0 tries per contest. He’s undoubtedly a tournament-only play, but he’ll often come at near-minimum price and can potentially pile up the points in a hurry against a Washington team that’s been vulnerable to scoring from small forwards all season. Miles went for 12 points with a pair of rebounds in 19 minutes in Saturday’s Game 1 victory.

Cleveland (4) vs. Indiana (5)

Season series results: Pacers 3, Cavaliers 1

Notable Cavaliers metrics/areas to exploit: Ninth-most points in the paint allowed on the season (47.0), including the fourth most (54.7) over the last five; sixth-highest offensive efficiency rating allowed in the paint on the season (57.0); fourth-highest offensive efficiency rating allowed to power forwards on the season (27.4)

Pacers value plays to consider: Domantas Sabonis and Trevor Booker, PF

Sabonis and Booker should both have solid roles in the postseason frontcourt rotation, although Sabonis certainly carries more offensive upside. Both should find success in the paint given the Cavs’ vulnerabilities cited above, as Sabonis has logged 64.3 percent of his points in that area of the floor, while Booker recorded 73.4 percent of his points near the basket, as well. It’s also worth noting Sabonis was particularly heating up as the season wound down – averaging 15.0 points, 6.6 rebounds 1.8 assists and 1.2 steals across 22.6 minutes in his last five games – and he posted 13.3 points and 11.8 rebounds over four games against Cleveland this season.

Sabonis struggled with foul trouble for much of Game 1 and finished with four points, four rebounds and two steals in 19 minutes.

Notable Pacers metrics/areas to exploit: Ninth-highest percentage of scoring from three-pointers allowed on the season (30.6), including eighth most (34.8) over the last three regular-season games; fifth-most made three-pointers per game allowed to two-guards on the season (3.2); eighth-highest offensive efficiency rating allowed to two-guards on the season (21.7); most fantasy points to two-guards allowed on FantasyDraft (64.7) and sixth most on FanDuel (48.1) over the last 10 games.

Cavaliers value play to consider: Kyle Korver, SG

While Korver saw only four minutes off the bench in Game 1, the Cavs will need his shooting presence after Jose Calderon, George Hill, Jordan Clarkson and Rodney Hood combined for just two made threes Sunday afternoon. Korver should be the first two-guard of the bench behind Rodney Hood, and he compiled an impressive 43.6 percent success rate from three-point range on an average of 5.2 tries from behind the arc over 73 games this season. Korver should also be able to largely avoid Victor Oladipo’s defense while coming off the bench, certainly a boost for his fantasy prospects.

Philadelphia (3) vs. Miami (6)

Season series result: Sixers 2, Heat 2

Notable Sixers metric/area to exploit: Third-highest pace of play on the season (103.6 possessions per game), including the highest (106.2) over the final three games of regular season; ninth-highest offensive efficiency rating allowed to opposing benches (42.4); seventh-most points allowed to shooting guards on the season (23.2)

Heat value plays to consider: Dwyane Wade and Wayne Ellington, SG

Wade scored in double digits in five of the final eight regular-season games, and in 13 contests overall since coming over to the Heat at the trade deadline. That includes a trio of 20-point efforts, and it’s also worth noting he averaged 15.8 points (on 50.0 percent shooting), 3.0 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.0 block across 24.0 minutes in five games versus the Sixers this season.

Ellington exploded for 32 points with extended playing time in regular-season finale, but he played well off the bench throughout the majority of the season. While he doesn’t offer much beyond scoring, that aspect of his game is formidable. The veteran sharpshooter averaged career highs in made three-pointers (2.9) and three-point attempts (7.5) this season, as well as his best three-point shooting percentage (39.2) since the 2013-14 season.

Notable Heat metrics/areas to exploit: Eighth-most fantasy points allowed to two-guards on the season on FantasyDraft (43.3) and Yahoo (41.5), and 11th-most fantasy points (61.6) allowed to two-guards on the season on DraftKings.

Sixers value plays to consider: J.J. Redick and Marco Belinelli, SG

Redick averaged 15.0 points, 4.3 assists and 3.3 rebounds across 30.3 minutes in four games against the Heat this season, and 20.5 points (on 50.7 percent shooting, including 47.1 percent from three-point range), 3.0 assists and 2.4 rebounds across 28.0 minutes in his last 10 regular-season games. That stretch included a quartet of 20-point efforts, along with a 24.6 percent usage rate and averages of 1.06 fantasy points per minute on DraftKings and FantasyDraft.

Belinelli hit his stride in later March and remained on a hot streak through the end of the regular season. He averaged 16.5 points (on 50.8 percent shooting, including 40.0 percent from three-point range), 2.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.2 steals across 26.9 minutes in the final 10 games of the campaign. As a key source of offense off the bench at two-guard, Belinelli, just like Redick, will be poised to exploit the same weaknesses Miami exhibited versus his position.

Boston (2) vs. Milwaukee (7)

Season series result: Celtics 2, Bucks 2

Notable Celtics metric/area to exploit: 53.4 fantasy points allowed to two-guards on FantasyDraft, 45.5 fantasy points allowed to two-guards on FanDuel and 88.0 fantasy points allowed to two-guards on DraftKings over last 10 regular-season games.

Bucks value play to consider: Malcolm Brogdon, SG

Brogdon averaged 14.7 points (on 45.7 percent shooting), 4.0 assists and 3.0 rebounds across 36.3 minutes over three games versus the Celtics this season, and he was able to work up to 18 minutes in the final regular-season game after having missed 30 games with a quadriceps injury. Defensive specialist Marcus Smart (thumb) is expected to miss the entirety of the first round for the Celtics, which would give Brogdon, who’s also likely to open the series coming off the bench, an easier path to fantasy success than he’d have otherwise. That theory is further validated by the Celtics’ obvious vulnerability to the shooting guard position late in the season without Smart in the lineup.

Notable Bucks metrics/areas to exploit: Highest offensive efficiency rating allowed to centers on the season (34.2); seventh-most points in the paint (47.3) allowed on the season, including most over the last three (58.7); most fantasy points allowed to centers on FanDuel (50.3) and DraftKings (88.7) over last 10 regular-season games; bottom-10 ranking in fantasy points allowed to centers on FantasyDraft (48.6) and Yahoo (49.2) over last 10 regular-season-games.

Celtics value play to consider: Greg Monroe, C

Monroe lit up his old Bucks squad for 16.7 points (on 60.0 percent shooting), 10.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.0 steals across 28.3 minutes in three games this season. He proved a highly valuable source of scoring and rebounds on the second unit in the latter stages of the campaign, averaging 14.4 points (on 67.5 percent shooting), 7.2 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.2 steals over his last five games, a stretch that even included a triple-double against Bulls on April 6. The Bucks’ considerable vulnerabilities versus centers cited above and the fact Monroe logged 78.6 percent of his scoring in the paint this season bodes well for his chances of offering solid returns on what should be a reasonable price across various sites.
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