DraftKings Daily Fantasy Basketball Helper: Monday 8/17/20

Kawhi Leonard leads Monday's DFS slate to kick off the NBA playoffs. What players should you build your lineups around on this four-game slate?

With four games to choose from on today's NBA slate, let's look at how to utilize the DFS possibilities.

Here are some of the top plays on DraftKings. As always, good luck.

Point Guard

Kemba Walker ($6,900) -- Walker surpassed 30 minutes only one time during the bubble, and it was his lowest fantasy outing (15.25). In his five other games, he averaged 14.2 points, 3.0 assists, and 2.0 rebounds per game on limited minutes. Walker was limited because of a prior knee injury, but with the postseason arriving, the Boston Celtics could utilize Walker more, or let him loose.

On the season, with Jaylen Brown ($7,400) and Jayson Tatum ($8,500) in the lineup, Walker has averaged a higher usage rate (25.1%) and more fantasy points per minute (1.06) than both of them. Versus the Philadelphia 76ers' inexperienced guard duo of Shake Milton ($5,100) and Josh Richardson ($5,500), Walker could expose both of them. numberFire's model predicts Walker to record 21.2 points, 5.0 assists, and 4.4 rebounds in 35 minutes.

Donovan Mitchell ($8,00) -- Mitchell played in six of the Utah Jazz's eight bubble games, and he did more than lead the team in scoring. Mitchell recorded nine or more total rebounds and assists in four of six games, and versus the Nuggets on Saturday, he recorded 35 points, 8 assists, and 6 rebounds in 47 minutes of a double-overtime game. Mitchell has now made three-straight postseasons, and for the first time in his career, he won't play the Houston Rockets.

In the 2018-19 postseason, Mitchell recorded 21.4 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 3.2 assists in 38.6 minutes over five games. Against the Nuggets in 2019-20, he's averaging 19.0 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 5.7 assists in three meetings for 35.8 fantasy points per game. Mitchell is likely to lead the Jazz in points and assists versus the Nuggets and should be on everyone's DFS radar nightly.

Shooting Guard

Fred VanVleet ($6,800) -- Over the six games in the bubble, VanVleet recorded a double-double with points and assists two times. He also scored 36 and 21 points in back-to-back games while recording 45 or more fantasy points. Even with the Toronto Raptors back to nearly full strength, VanVleet has remained a focal point in its success. He's played at least 30 minutes in five of six seeding games, and his first-round matchup versus Brooklyn is a favorable one.

In three games versus the Nets this season, VanVleet's averaging 41.8 fantasy points per game compared to his 37.8 regular-season average. He's scoring 26.7 points per game, 6.0 assists, and 2.7 rebounds, while shooting an impressive 51.7% from the field and 48.1% from deep against Brooklyn. The Nets allow the fifth-most points (25.02) to point guards on the season, and with VanVleet being a combo guard, he holds a higher value than $6,800.

Louis Williams ($6,000) -- Williams played in the Clippers' last five bubble games, and played 20 or more minutes in four of them. He found his rhythm in the final two games scoring 18 and 23 points, totaling 32.25 and 38.0 fantasy points in each game. After going three-straight games with no three-pointers, Williams has knocked down two in each of his last two games and shot 50% from the field while averaging 5.0 assists and 2.5 rebounds. Once again, the candidate for Sixth Man of the Year appears back to his old self through five outings. With a potentially high-scoring affair on tap versus Dallas, Williams is a reliable option for $6,000 at either guard spot.

Small Forward

Kawhi Leonard ($9,800) -- Leonard is arguably the most valuable DFS player on the board despite facing two dominant fantasy options tonight in Luka Doncic ($11,00) and Kristaps Porzingis ($8,300). In three games versus the Dallas Mavericks this season, Leonard was outscoring Doncic in fantasy points 52.4 to 51.1 and won all three meetings. Leonard certainly has a leg up on his competition and in game one of the postseason, expect him to be aggressive from the opening tip. numberFire's model projects Leonard to record 26.5 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 5.4 assists in 36.3 minutes.

Josh Richardson ($5,500) -- Since Richardson's 50-point fantasy explosion versus the Blazers, he's only recorded 29 fantasy points in two total games. He's averaged 34.4 fantasy points versus Boston this season, which is an increase from his 25.1 regular-season average. He's also averaged 20 points per game in those three meetings, much higher than his 13.7 on the year. In fact, his 20 points per game versus Boston is his fourth-highest against any opponent this season and shot 21-for-21 from the free-throw line in the process.

Power Forward

Michael Porter Jr. ($7,100) -- Most of the basketball world is hoping MPJ stays in the Denver Nuggets' starting lineup, as he's balled out over the past seven games. At one point, MPJ recorded four-straight 20-point and 10-rebound games or better before his minutes were limited. He played so well the coach had to save him for the postseason at 22-years-old. In his last two games of the bubble, he averaged 14 points and 5.5 rebounds in 24.5 minutes of action on an impressive 10-of-14 (71.4%) from the field.

MPJ has played two games versus the Jazz this season, and he more than doubled his fantasy point production in those meetings. On the season, he's averaging 18.7 fantasy points per game, and versus Utah, it's 41.4. He's totaling 17.5 points, 11.5 rebounds, and 2.0 assists in the two games against the Jazz, and one of those performances was in the bubble for 23 points and 11 rebounds. He's one of the few players to keep an eye on when it comes to starting lineups, but a bench role would be detrimental to his production once the rest of Denver's injured helpers return.

Gordon Hayward ($7,300) -- Hayward did it all for the Celtics during their bubble play. He recorded at least 10 combined rebounds and assists in every game and managed 18.7 points per game over seven games. In five of his seven games, he exceeds his 34.4 regular-season fantasy average, and if Walker continues to struggle or play limited minutes, expect Hayward to be the on to pick his slack up. He's already met the 76ers four times this season and averaged 25.5 fantasy points per game over 35.5 minutes. numberFire's model projects Hayward to total 16.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 3.9 assists in 35.2 minutes.


Joel Embiid ($10,200) -- Embiid's played in three of the four meetings between the Celtics and 76ers this season, and he's double-doubled in two of them. He's averaging 43.8 fantasy points per game versus Boston, 2.6 points lower than his season total, but Ben Simmons played in all three games. Without him, Embiid's averaging 1.61 fantasy points per minute and a team-high 35.7% usage rate. Of the entire Monday DFS slate, Embiid averages the most fantasy points per minute (1.60) on the season.

Serge Ibaka ($5,400) -- Ibaka is an excellent stream versus the Nets for the whole series and worth a gamble in Game 1. The Nets allow the second-most fantasy points (57.85) to centers, the fifth-most points (23.15), and the third-most rebounds (16.32) per game. In four meetings with Brooklyn, Ibaka's averaged 37.3 fantasy points per game in 28.5 minutes, much better than his 30.6 fantasy points per game regular-season average.

Ibaka's totaling 18.3 points and 9.8 rebounds in those meetings, and he's shooting 56.3% from the field, 46.7% from three, and 80% from the free-throw line. Ibaka's averaging 1.11 fantasy points per minute on the season, and when Marc Gasol ($4,300) is off the floor, he's recording the second-highest usage rate (24.7%) on the team behind Pascal Siakam ($7,500).

Vaughn Dalzell is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Vaughn also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his account, username vdalzell. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of