If you’ve been reading my NBA articles throughout the season – or at any point during the past 20 years or so – then you already know I’m a diehard Brooklyn Nets fan. So, as you can probably imagine, these past few weeks have been particularly difficult for me. I mean seriously, have you ever heard of a team winning 12 games in a row, being the No. 2 seed in the conference… and then dismantling that very same team before the all-star break of the same season? I’ve never, ever heard of such a thing, but I guess Kyrie Irving forced our hand on this one. Once one domino fell, the rest followed suit.

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My first and only allegiance will always be to the Brooklyn Nets, but Ja Morant’s Memphis Grizzlies are my second-favorite team in the game today. I personally felt they played the NBA champion Golden State Warriors better than anybody else in last year’s playoffs – and don’t forget that Morant went down and missed time. This team has everything you want from a modern NBA roster – a true, showstopping superstar (Morant), a dominant defender who also contributes offensively (Jaren Jackson Jr.), a confident, lights-out shooter (Desmond Bane) and multiple other quality pieces (Adams, Brooks, Jones, Aldama and Clarke, just to name some).

But this is exactly what we don’t want from a fantasy perspective. We don’t want Bane and Jackson returning from injuries and eating into Morant’s usage as a top-tier fantasy producer. We don’t want these young, deep, talented Grizzlies to be so good that they are blowing people out and limiting our fantasy minutes. Let’s take a look at how this situation played out on Wednesday night in The League.

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Basketball is back!

It was a wild offseason in the NBA, one highlighted by more off-the-court news than on. Kevin Durant demanded a trade; then after a long, drawn-out soap opera, ended up remaining in Brooklyn.  The defending Eastern Conference champion Celtics lost their head coach Ime Udoka for the season, after he was suspended for an “improper intimate and consensual relationship” with a female staff member. Lastly and most devastatingly, the basketball world lost all-time legend Bill Russell after 88 of the most accomplished years anyone’s ever seen on this earth.

In terms of impact roster moves, old-school center Rudy Gobert was dealt to the Timberwolves, the Spurs’ best player Dejounte Murray was traded to the Hawks and Donovan Mitchell – after being linked to the Knicks in over 10,000 rumors – ended up being shipped to the Cavs. But without further ado or hoopla, let’s jump right into my NBA preseason predictions and rapid-fire fantasy summaries.

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Welcome back to DFS Dunks, playoff edition. It’s me, cousin Timmy, coming at you with the best plays to win your DFS contests tonight. We have a three-game slate this lovely Thursday. All three series are in Game Six. Phoenix, Philly, and Dallas are in the drivers seat with the chance to close out the series tonight. I think two of them do, more on that later. Devin Booker is OUT for the Suns tonight but could be ready for Game 7 if we get there. Donavan Mitchell is nursing a few injuries and the Jazz look like they are ready to join the bus to Cancun after getting blown out by 25 in Game 5. Finally, I think Toronto, even without Fred VanVleet has a good shot to take this series to a Game 7. Embiid is playing with a hurt thumb and had been minimized by Toronto with his usage rate dropping to 24% in Game 5. His usage rate for the season was 37.5%. Ok enough small talk, you ready for some playoff DFS? Let’s get to my favorite plays of the night.

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Despite being one of the youngest teams in the NBA, the Phoenix Suns were expected to at least perform a little bit better last season. A shaky start led to a quick coaching change, as the team fired head coach Earl Watson after 3 games (and 3 losses) and named Jay Triano the interim head coach. The Suns also made a bunch of in-season personnel moves, with the biggest being the trade of disgruntled point guard Eric Bledsoe to the Milwaukee Bucks for Greg Monroe and some draft picks.

The Suns enter this season with new head coach Igor Kokoskov, the number one pick in the draft Deandre Ayton, and a bunch of new faces thanks to a number of off-season moves. I do not expect the Suns to battle for a playoff spot in the stacked Western Conference, but they should be more competitive this season. Also, there are a number of position battles to keep an eye on this preseason that could have a big impact on fantasy values. So let’s take a look:

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Even though we haven’t even reached the All-Star break just yet, it is that time of year to start looking towards the head-to-head fantasy basketball playoffs. At this point you probably fall into one of four groups:

  1. Playoffs? Playoffs?
  2. If Paul Millsap comes back soon and Myles Turner turns things around then I have a chance.
  3. I just set my lineup for the next month, I will check back in…wait, Cousins is out for the year!?
  4. Wake me in mid-March.

It is never wise to get too comfortable in fantasy basketball, because just like we saw with the DeMarcus Cousins, injury can change things in a hurry. So, in addition to monitoring your waiver wire and reading Razzball on a daily basis, it is wise to start looking at the make-up of your team and how many games your players are expected to have each week during the fantasy playoffs.

In roto leagues, the only games you need to keep an eye on are your maximum games played at each position. In head-to-head leagues, however, knowing the volume of games each player will have each week is vital, especially in the playoffs. So let’s put on our fantasy basketball beer goggles and look to see if your team is one you want to take home when the bar closes at the beginning of April.

[Playoff schedules below are based on Yahoo default public league settings, going from Week 21-23. Week 21 begins March 12th. Week 22 begins March 19th. Week 23 begins March 26th and ends on April 1st.]

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