This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Basketball series.
This is one of the most unique slates of the season. Not only do we kick off the Eastern Conference semi between the Sixers and Hawks, but we also get a Game 7 between the Clippers and Mavericks. The latter has been the best series in the opening round, and it's hard to know what to expect with the road team winning the first six games. One thing you can expect is we have plenty of exposure to this critical contest with all of the big players projected for as many minutes as they can handle.
Luka Doncic, DAL at LAC ($52)
If you're playing this slate and fading Luka, you should probably think again. He's been the best player in the postseason so far having scored at least 57 Yahoo points in five of six games. What's really amazing is Doncic's usage while averaging 40 minutes and taking 28 shots. That's incredible since he's also handing out 9.7 assists per game, giving him the biggest usage rate of anyone in this postseason. Those numbers are likely to be the floor tonight, with Doncic possibly never hitting the bench.
Ben Simmons, PHI vs. ATL ($37)
Simmons has recently been a regular in this section, and he's going to remain here. The simple fact is, he's been way too productive to remain this cheap. The big point guard has scored at least 33 fantasy points in six straight, generating a 44-point average in the Washington series. That's all you can ask for from a sub-$40 player, especially with Atlanta ranked 21st in defensive efficiency during the regular season. Not to mention Simmons will likely see his usage increase here with a significant player sitting out, and we'll get into that more later.
Guard to Avoid
Bogdan Bogdanovic, ATL at PHI ($28)
This is a risky fade with the way Bogdan has been balling, but you have to take some chances on a two-game slate. What worries us about him is the fact the Hawks are finally getting healthy. Bogey was easily dropping 40-point efforts when injuries ravished the roster, but he's taken a major step back in terms of usage with everyone back. That's actually led to him scoring 35 or fewer fantasy points in every game of that Knicks series, ceding tons of touches to Trae Young. That's even more concerning in a matchup like this considering Philly ranked Top-5 in total defense in the regular season.
Kawhi Leonard, LAC vs. DAL ($45)
You're probably asking why we have so many expensive players, but we're using the big dogs at these top-tier values while every other play from here on out will be a salary-saver. The simple fact is you can't fade these studs in a Game 7. Kawhi has been a monster in this series by scoring at least 52 Yahoo points in five of six appearances. He's also averaging 57 fantasy points per game in his five elimination games since 2018 while playing at least 41 minutes in all. That makes Kawhi the best bet of any player on this slate and a lock for 50 Y! points.
Dorian Finney-Smith, DAL at LAC ($15)
There's always an unsung hero on every contender, and Finney-Smith is definitely that for Dallas. He's become their defensive stopper, and it's forced him into an advanced role. The versatile forward has played at least 37 minutes in every game this series while dropping at least 28 Yahoo points in back-to-back outings. That's amazing since Finney-Smith is averaging fewer than 10 shots a game while providing a lot of value through defense and sheer hustle. If you think Kawhi will do well, it's hard to fade DFS because he'll match nearly every minute Leonard plays.
Forward to Avoid
Kristaps Porzingis, DAL at LAC ($25)
The Unicorn is one of the most talented players in our game, but something looks off. He's actually failed to crack 26 Yahoo points in the last four this series only averaging 10.5 points and 4.8 rebounds in 31 minutes a night. Those are horrific averages from such an expensive player, and it's even scarier when you see Porzingis is attempting fewer than nine shots over that span. It's clear the moment is getting to him and makes it impossible to trust him in a Game 7. We know Zinger is center-eligible on Yahoo, but he's really a forward and we have a big name we want to fade at center.
Dwight Howard, PHI vs. ATL ($13)
It looks like Embiid may sit here, and if that's the case, Howard is one of the best values on the board. In the last game Embiid missed against Washington, Howard collected 30 Yahoo points in only 16 minutes. He probably would have played more if the contest stayed closer, but we believe he's in line for 20-25 minutes here with someone needing to match up with Clint Capela's size. In the 15 outings where Dwight has played at least 22 minutes this year, he's averaging an absurd 30.8 Y! points. If you get that and squeeze in Doncic and Kawhi into your lineup, you're way ahead of the pack.
Boban Marjanovic, DAL at LAC ($10)
Boban is one of the best per-minute producers in NBA history, and fans love he's getting the starting center nod this series. While he hasn't played more than 20 minutes in his three appearances in this series, Marjanovic is still averaging 20 Y! points per game as a starter. He's proven he can be a beast when given the opportunity by providing nearly 1.3 Y! points per minute this season. That means if we just get another 15-20 minutes, Boban should easily provide at this very reasonable salary.
Center to Avoid
Joel Embiid, PHI vs. ATL ($46)
This one is pretty simple. Embiid was just diagnosed with a meniscus tear a few days ago, and that makes him impossible to trust. It usually takes weeks to recover from an injury like that and there's no way this he'll be ready for a full workload after suffering that injury less than a week ago. We honestly don't think he'll play at all. But even if Embiid does, he could be limited or reinjure himself and there are decent values at center.