As the NBA action heats up and the second-round of the playoffs begins, tonight's DFS slate presents an intriguing mix of games that promise excitement and ample opportunities for fantasy success. The spotlight shines on clashes between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics, and the Dallas Mavericks and Oklahoma City Thunder lock horns in a battle of skill and strategy, promising a showdown filled with high-flying plays and intense competition. With star-studded rosters and playoff implications at stake, tonight's games are poised to deliver exhilarating moments that DFS players won't want to miss

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Cleveland Cavaliers @ Boston Celtics

Total: 208.5

Spread: BOS -11.5

NBA Injury Report

Cavaliers NBA DFS Injuries

Celtics NBA DFS Injuries

Cavaliers NBA DFS Breakdown

We’re all just sitting around waiting for Jarrett Allen’s status for this game. The report from Brian Windhorst on ESPN Cleveland radio is that Allen is struggling to even lift his arm without discomfort. That is seemingly more doubtful than questionable.

Starters: Darius Garland, Donovan Mitchell, Max Strus, Isaac Okoro, Evan Mobley

Bench: Caris LeVert, Marcus Morris Sr., Sam Merrill, Tristan Thompson (if Allen is out)

The Cavs will go as Donovan Mitchell does. He scored 29+ points in the final three games of their opening round series and 39+ in the last two. Mitchell has a 35% USG rate this postseason and 38% without Jarrett Allen. He’s the only Cavs player this postseason averaging north of 1 FP/min.

Darius Garland and Max Strus picked up the pace towards the end of their opening round series and if Allen isn’t able to play, they’re both incredibly important to Cleveland’s success. I like Garland’s 23% USG rate that he’s posted sans Allen this postseason.

If Allen plays, it’s hard to think he plays a full complement of minutes and if he plays, Evan Mobley takes even more of a hit. He has a 16% USG WITHOUT Allen this postseason. Mobley’s price has risen to an uncomfortable number that I’m prioritizing.

Isaac Okoro will likely be your fifth starter if Jarrett Allen sits. He’s not viable coming off the bench, however. Caris LeVert is probably the only viable bench piece and even he’s been quite inconsistent off the bench.

Top Play(s): Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland, Caris LeVert

Secondary Play(s): Evan Mobley, Max Strus

Punt(s)Isaac Okoro

Celtics NBA DFS Breakdown

The Celtics rotation is quite easy to figure out. Is it possible we see a little Xavier Tillman over Luke Kornet? That’s on the table, but unlikely after seeing Kornet backup Horford after Kristaps Porzingis’ injury.

Starters: Jrue Holiday, Derrick White, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Al Horford

Bench: Payton Pritchard, Sam Hauser, Luke Kornet

Boston basically runs a three-man guard rotation with Jrue Holiday and Derrick White starting and Payton Pritchard filling in the gaps where the others need a break. White has posted a 25.5% USG and 1.21 FP/min this postseason without Porzingis. Both elite marks. Holiday is a low usage player and is nothing other than a final piece into your lineups. He has not been great from a fantasy perspective. Pritchard hasn’t had the same impactful minutes this postseason as he did during the regular season, but if it’s going to happen, it likely happens at home. That’s usually where we see role players shine in the playoffs.

Getting to Jaylen Brown makes more sense to me than Jayson Tatum, but I have no problem spending up to Tatum if you’re comfortable getting there. Despite being locked down by Bam Adebayo for a lot of their opening series, Tatum still leads the team at 1.32 FP/min without Porzingis. Worth mentioning is his 26% USG. That’s noticeable because Brown’s usage without Kristaps Porzingis is a robust 39%.

Al Horford feels very safe, but the ceiling isn’t nearly as high as his teammates. Still, he wasn’t stretched out much in the C’s opening series, which is great for him as the Celtics get deeper into their postseason run. Luke Kornet is OK as a backup, but I don’t love the 4K price tag.

Sam Hauser is the only other Celtic that likely gets run. Hauser had two games in the Miami series in which he made 4+ threes, which he could always do given how good of a sharpshooter he is.

Top Play(s): Jaylen Brown, Derrick White, Jayson Tatum

Secondary Play(s): Al Horford, Jrue Holiday

Punt(s)Sam Hauser

Dallas Mavericks @ Oklahoma City Thunder

Total: 218.5

Spread: OKC -3.5

NBA Injury Report

Mavericks NBA DFS Injuries 

Thunder NBA DFS Injuries

Mavericks NBA DFS Breakdown

The Mavericks head into this matchup against the Thunder after winning a six-game series and are largely healthy here. They lost Maxi Kleber, which is important, because he played 16-29 minutes in every game against the Clippers in games he didn’t leave.

Let's take a look at the rotation and what I expect it to look like. 

Starters: Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving, Derrick Jones Jr., P.J. Washington, Daniel Gafford

Bench: Josh Green, Tim Hardaway Jr. (?), Dereck Lively II, Dante Exum

Despite having an awful shooting series, Luka Doncic put up 52+ DKP in all six games in their first-round series and had 59+ in the final three games. Both he and Kyrie Irving are going to play 40+ minutes so there aren’t many minutes for backup guards here. Doncic has a 36% USG and Irving has a 27% mark and nobody else on Dallas has posted a usage higher than 17%.

Derrick Jones Jr. played amazing defense on Paul George in the first series and we’ll see what they do with his minutes with Tim Hardaway Jr. off the injury report and Josh Green also playing well off the bench. I could see Hardaway or Green being cut out or having 1-2 small shifts here, especially if Jones’ impact defensively is similar to the first series.

The front court for Dallas is incredibly interesting now that Maxi Kleber is out. He played a big role and now, it’s very likely we see Dereck Lively II and Daniel Gafford in a 48 minute split. Lively has been significantly better from a FP standpoint averaging over 1 FP/min this postseason while Gafford’s at .7. When you look at the rotations, Lively would’ve closed each of the previous two games if not for blowouts. I lean his direction over Gafford.

Top Play(s): Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving, Dereck Lively II

Secondary Play(s): Daniel Gafford, P.J. Washington, Derrick Jones Jr.


Thunder NBA DFS Breakdown

If you thought head coach Mark Daigneault would shrink his rotation come playoff time, think again. We saw almost everyone on the Thunder play at different points of basically every game.

Obviously we know who’s going to start, but what’s next?

Starters: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Josh Giddey, Luguentz Dort, Jalen Williams, Chet Holmgren

Bench: Cason Wallace, Aaron Wiggins, Isaiah Joe, Gordon Hayward (?), Jaylin Williams/Kenrich Williams

In all four games the Thunder played, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander played 35+ minutes and in the two competitive contests, he played 39 and 40 minutes. He led the team in usage at 32% and 1.2 FP/min during the first-round and does not have any singular defender guarding him quite like Herbert Jones.

What happens with Josh Giddey is anyone’s guess, but the amount of hunting Dallas will do to get him matched onto Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving makes me believe this isn’t going to be Giddey’s series. He did finish the last series playing 26 minutes or more in three straight, but the Pelicans did not have the killers Dallas has. It’s very possible we see a bunch more Cason Wallace and Aaron Wiggins here. Both are decent punts. I prefer Wiggins of the two. Isaiah Joe is a solid floor spacer, but not one I’m using here.

Luguentz Dort is going to work VERY hard to keep Luka Doncic in the “Dorture Chamber” so what will he have to give offensively? He was VERY solid in Round 1 and he’s under 5K with the chance at playing 40 minutes. Worth the roster.

The front-court is great in OKC because it features Jalen Williams, who’s been SO good for OKC, and Chet Holmgren, who’s been great all year long. They’re great for the price points they currently sit at. Williams has 40+ minute upside, Holmgren will probably settle into the 34-36 minute range.

Top Play(s): Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jalen Williams, Chet Holmgren, Luguentz Dort

Secondary Play(s): Josh Giddey

Punt(s): Aaron Wiggins, Cason Wallace

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