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Whatsup guys. I wanted to put out an NBA article for everyone with a couple of tips that could help going into playoff NBA DFS. Playoff slates are typically a little different – almost like Christmas day slates. While the “game” and theory of DFS are relatively similar I hope this could help in any way.

Primary players minutes increase

This one should seem fairly obvious. You want to win, play your best players… right? And I’m sureeeee you’ve heard from someone somewhere in the industry “minutes = money” or “minutes = safety”. While Dragan Bender or Terrence Ferguson might really make you eat your words there, in terms of our studs who are our typical strong FPPM producers this usually holds true. We know the studs will play a bigger allotment of minutes of course, but I think it’s important to take into consideration their regular season averages.

2018 Averages:

Ben Simmons Regular Season MPG – 33.7

Ben Simmons Playoff MPG – 36.9

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Giannis Regular Season MPG -36.7

Giannis Playoff MPG – 40.0

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Kyle Lowry Regular Season MPG – 32.2

Kyle Lowry Playoff MPG –  36.1

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Simply put, and as stated, star players get more minutes. While it’s an “across the board” trend, I think it’s important to pick spots where this can be exploited most and for me, that’s with the Bucks. No one on the Bucks averaged over 32mpg.

Season averages for Bucks starting 5 MPG:

Giannis – 32.8

Khris Middleton – 31.1

Eric Bledsoe – 29.1

Brook Lopez – 28.7

Malcolm Brogdon – 28.6

Deeper rotational guys minutes should get cut completely or to the bare minimum while the starters should see minutes ramped up a lot over their season average. Obviously, there are some underlying numbers that can lead to depleted MPG averages – injuries, blowouts, etc. . The Bucks open at home against the Pistons as 12.5 favorites and there’s a chance they can get limited to an extent still if a blowout happens, but coaches [who aren’t named Greg Popovich] are on a much looser leash with playing their starters in blowouts and allow them to go deeper into games. In the 27 point win by the Sixers against the Heat on opening day, the Sixers starters only lost a minute and a half of their last closing rotation. Budenholzer is no Brett Brown, but point being don’t be afraid to target the Bucks who have had significantly lower MPG averages than most teams who should see the biggest boost over their season averages come playoff time.

Being Contrarian is still a thing

I guess this is more of an opinion, but as with the regular season, being contrarian is still a viable route to go. I think it’s a big misconception that because there’s typically less variance in the playoffs as players minutes are typically more secured that it’s best to stay right on the golden path and stack up as much of the higher total games with the closer spreads that you can. But that’s not always the case.

On last years opening day slate, we saw 4 games. The Pelicans/Blazers gained most attention on the slate as it had the highest Vegas implied total and closest spread (217.5 total and 5.5 spread). Nurkic, Lillard, and Aminu were three of the top four highest owned players on the slate in DK’s largest field GPP at ~38%, 32%, and 32%. It made sense right? Biggest total, highest implied team total, closest spread, Blazers pace-up spot? Fantasy greatness! Well, that didn’t turn out to be the case. While staying a close game, the game went massively under – the Blazers won in a 97-95 slugfest and although the game stayed close, everyone underperformed their fantasy value (outside of AD).

I would absolutely LOVE to sit here and show some numbers how the winning lineup had all pieces from lower total games, but it really was just a mix of ancillary pieces from various teams that won it. Markieff Morris scored 46.75dkp in 38 minutes at only $5,200, Ersan Illyasova scored 40.5dkp in 31 minutes off the bench. I don’t think there’s really any tangible evidence to say why they had an amazing game, but don’t be afraid to take a few shots on typical ancillary guys who “play up” in the playoffs.

Pricing inefficiencies are [still] key

I take a strong stance where I think the best players at DFS (most profitable) realize DFS is a game with the sports just being pieces of our puzzle for the most part. To most, DFS is a fun hobby – it gives you a little extra excitement in watching the games and you have fun with doing your research through the day. That’s nice, and learning and knowing the sport certainly is one aspect of the game, but I think the top tier players realize that knowing the actual sport is actually pretty trivial to being “good” at DFS. One of the better ways to being “good” at DFS is exploiting pricing inefficiencies… and that run across all sports.

Players are price adjusted so you can actually make lineups, otherwise, with all the studs being the priority players it would be almost impossible to fit players and your lineups would look extremely ugly. We also this with Christmas day slates every year. Find the players who are mispriced. Injury news is already starting to come and some value is already looming. We play awful real-life players all the time. We don’t play that min priced player because he’s GOOD at basketball, it’s because he’s priced at $3k with the occasion/game environment warranting him to be mispriced. This doesn’t always only apply with injury news though. If Draymond is normally a $6.5k priced player, if game environment and everything equal through the season, but gets priced as a 5.5k player on the playoff slate, that’s a clear mispricing (even if his shot is broken). Simply put – find the players that are priced below what they should be given expected production and pricing.