NBA Postseason DFS: Metrics to Exploit -- Eastern Conference

NBA Postseason DFS: Metrics to Exploit -- Eastern Conference

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'll begin with the four Eastern Conference opening-round series in Part 1 and follow up with an analysis of the Western Conference in Part 2:  

Milwaukee Bucks (1) vs. Detroit Pistons (8) 

Season series results: Bucks 4, Pistons 0 

Notable Pistons metrics/areas to exploit: Fifth-highest shooting percentage allowed to opposing backcourts (45.0), including seventh-highest three-point percentage (36.6)/ Sixth-highest shooting percentage allowed to second units (46.3).

Bucks value play(s) to consider: Sterling Brown and Pat Connaughton, SG 

Brown is slated to start at shooting guard for at least the first round during Malcolm Brogdon's ongoing absence due to a foot injury. The second-year guard had already been thriving in that role during the tail end of the regular season, as he posted six double-digit scoring efforts over the last seven games while shooting 48.1 percent, including 36.7 percent from three-point range. 

Connaughton has also benefited from Brogdon's absence, as he's averaged 10.4 points (on 53.4 percent shooting, including 43.9 percent from three-point range), 6.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.0 steal over his last 16 games. Connaughton

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'll begin with the four Eastern Conference opening-round series in Part 1 and follow up with an analysis of the Western Conference in Part 2:  

Milwaukee Bucks (1) vs. Detroit Pistons (8) 

Season series results: Bucks 4, Pistons 0 

Notable Pistons metrics/areas to exploit: Fifth-highest shooting percentage allowed to opposing backcourts (45.0), including seventh-highest three-point percentage (36.6)/ Sixth-highest shooting percentage allowed to second units (46.3).

Bucks value play(s) to consider: Sterling Brown and Pat Connaughton, SG 

Brown is slated to start at shooting guard for at least the first round during Malcolm Brogdon's ongoing absence due to a foot injury. The second-year guard had already been thriving in that role during the tail end of the regular season, as he posted six double-digit scoring efforts over the last seven games while shooting 48.1 percent, including 36.7 percent from three-point range. 

Connaughton has also benefited from Brogdon's absence, as he's averaged 10.4 points (on 53.4 percent shooting, including 43.9 percent from three-point range), 6.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.0 steal over his last 16 games. Connaughton can pile up the production in a hurry from behind the arc, so Detroit's susceptibility to allowing successful three-point shooting to backcourts could certainly bode well for his postseason fantasy outlook. 

Notable Bucks metrics/areas to exploit: Fifth-highest three-point percentage allowed to small forwards (38.4)/ 11th -highest three-point percentage surrendered to shooting guards (36.1) 

Pistons value play to consider: Luke Kennard, SG/SF 

Kennard is well qualified to take advantage of one of the Bucks' few vulnerabilities. Kennard is an outstanding three-point shooter that drained 39.7 percent of his 4.3 attempts from behind the arc this season, following a rookie 2017-18 campaign when he posted an even more impressive 41.7 percent success rate. Kennard finished the season on a high note as well, averaging 11.9 points (on 42.6 percent three-point shooting), 3.1 rebounds and 2.4 assists over 26.2 minutes across 24 games.  

Toronto Raptors (2) vs. Orlando Magic (7) 

Season series results: Raptors 2, Magic 2 

Notable Magic metrics/areas to exploit: Ninth-highest offensive efficiency rating allowed to point guards (25.9)/ Third-highest shooting percentage allowed to point guards (46.1) 

Raptors value plays to consider: Jeremy Lin and Fred VanVleet, PG 

Both Lin and VanVleet have been key components of the Raptors' backcourt rotation. Lin put together six double-digit scoring efforts following the All-Star break, and he logged at least 20 minutes in 11 of 22 games during that span. Meanwhile, VanVleet spent more time behind Danny Green at two-guard as the season went on, but he certainly could see time at point guard as well. The third-year guard finished the regular season with new career highs in points (11.0), assists (4.8), rebounds (2.6) and made threes (1.8) per contest. 

Notable Raptors metrics/areas to exploit: 10th-highest offensive efficiency rating allowed to point guards (25.5)/ Sixth-highest shooting percentage allowed to point guards (45.1) 

Magic value play to consider: D.J. Augustin, PG 

It seems somewhat unlikely to spotlight Kyle Lowry's defense as a potential weak spot, but the Raptors' numbers against point guards are what they are. Augustin enjoyed his best season in years this past regular season, averaging 11.7 points (on career-high 47.0 percent shooting), 5.3 assists and 2.5 rebounds across 28.0 minutes. He also shot 53.6 percent, including 58.3 percent from three-point range in four games versus the Raptors and averaged a solid 12.6 points (on 47.6 percent shooting, including 41.1 percent from three-point range), 6.2 assists and 3.4 rebounds after the All-Star break. 

Philadelphia 76ers (3) vs. Brooklyn Nets (6) 

Season series result: Sixers 2, Nets 2 

Notable Sixers metrics/areas to exploit: Fifth-highest offensive efficiency rating allowed to power forwards (26.5)/ Sixth-most points in the paint allowed per game (51.2) 

Nets value plays to consider: Rodions Kurucs and Jared Dudley, PF

Neither Kurucs nor Dudley were trustworthy from a fantasy perspective on a game-to-game basis, but both have potential against a fast-paced Sixers squad that proved vulnerable to the power forward position all season. Kurucs posted eight double-digit scoring efforts after the All-Star break, including three in his last four games of the season. Meanwhile, Dudley logged over 20 minutes in five of his last seven games and averaged 7.9 points (on 51.4 percent shooting, including 42.9 percent from three-point shooting), 3.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists across 23.3 minutes over that span.  

Notable Nets metrics/areas to exploit: Sixth-most points in the paint allowed per game (51.2)/Seventh-highest offensive efficiency rating in the paint allowed (61.1)/ Eighth-highest offensive efficiency rating allowed to power forwards (25.8)/ Sixth-highest offensive efficiency rating allowed to centers (35.2) 

Sixers value plays to consider: Greg Monroe, Jonah Bolden, Mike Scott, Amir Johnson, PF/C  
Boban Marjanovic, C 

The cast of thousands in the Sixers frontcourt could all play important roles to varying degree during the series against the Nets, especially as long as Joel Embiid remains out with his knee injury.  

Monroe saw a larger role over the last three games of the season. He averaged 13.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists over 17.3 minutes in those contests. Monroe brings plenty of offensive upside and could play a key role off the bench against the vulnerable Nets frontcourt. 

Meanwhile, Marjanovic figures to play a highly significant role as long as Embiid remains out, and even if the big man returns with any type of limitations. Marjanovic finished the season with three straight double-digit scoring efforts, and he averaged 14.0 points and 8.3 rebounds in the last three games in which he logged at least 20 minutes. 

Bolden, Scott and Johnson also could benefit to varying degree, although Bolden enters the series with knee soreness of his own. 

Boston Celtics (4) vs. Indiana Pacers (5) 

Season series result: Celtics 3, Pacers 1 

Notable Celtics metric/area to exploit: 11th-highest offensive efficiency rating allowed to centers (33.0) 

Pacers value play to consider: Domantas Sabonis, C 

The Celtics don't have too many weaknesses on paper, but one of their few vulnerabilities could come at the center position. Sabonis averaged a solid 13.8 points (on 60.0 percent shooting), 7.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists over four games against the Celtics this season, and he posted career bests across the stat sheet during the regular season. His playing time also remained locked in, as he averaged 24.8 minutes per contest. While he suffered from a sore ankle at the end of the season, Sabonis is expected to be ready to go without limitations after last having taken the court April 7.

Notable Pacers metric/area to exploit: Post-Victor Oladipo defense versus shooting guards 

Celtics value plays to consider: Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier, SG 

Marcus Smart's surprise oblique injury, which could well keep him out the entirety of the postseason, was already going to vault Brown and Rozier into relevance to begin with. However, the two have the added benefit of targeting one of the rare soft spots in the Pacers defense. Wesley Matthews is certainly no Victor Oladipo defensively, and Indiana's shooting guard defense saw a decline following Oladipo's season-ending knee injury Jan. 23.

It's also worth noting Brown finished the regular season blistering hot, as he shot 54.5 percent, including 51.2 percent from three-point range, over the final 12 games of the season. He also enjoyed plenty of success against the Pacers this season, averaging 16.7 points (on 52.8 percent shooting), 6.0 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.0 block across 29.0 minutes over three games. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Juan Carlos Blanco
Winner of the FSWA 2016 Newcomer of the Year Award, Juan Carlos Blanco has been playing fantasy sports for over 20 years and covers NBA, MLB, NFL, CFL and Arena Football for Rotowire.com, including serving as the beat writer for teams in multiple sports. He has previously written for KFFL.com and remains an avid season-long and daily fantasy player in multiple sports as well.
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