The NBA is officially back and bringing us slates like never before. Wednesday’s four-gamer tips off at 1:30 p.m. ET with four Game 2s, continuing with games tipping off all the way through 9:00 p.m. ET.
Worth Paying Up For: Luka Doncic, DAL vs. LAC ($11,000)
I wrote up Doncic as a Game 1 fade, and I was flat out wrong. Kristaps Porzingis ($8,900) getting ejected certainly helped Doncic to his 65.75 DKFP, but it was clear that Luka was very much able to handle the perimeter defenders the Clippers threw at him. He’s become a James Harden type of play when it comes to safety.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Alec Burks, PHI vs. BOS ($4,600)
Burks was on a good run to end the seeding round, averaging over 30 DKFP in the last four games. The big question heading into Game 1 was if Burks would still be used in that large a role in the postseason. We got our answer — 28 DKFP in 28 minutes. It seems Burks can be trusted in this postseason round.
There are so many PG plays on this slate, it’s more about how many you can fit in your lineup. Most will have three, and some four, so limit your PG exposure if you’re trying to be contrarian in a large field GPP.
Worth Paying Up For: Jaylen Brown, BOS vs. PHI ($7,500)
Gordon Hayward can’t seem to catch a break in his career as a Celtic, now sidelined for about a month with a bad ankle sprain. Boston is pretty thin with its rotation and can’t afford to scatter too many of these minutes to bench players. That means more for the studs like Brown. Brown went for a 29-6-4 line with five three-pointers in 39 minutes in Game 1. His role can’t afford to shrink moving forward. We should see 40-plus minutes out of him the rest of the series.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Jordan Clarkson, UTA vs. DEN ($4,700)
Clarkson was super chalky in Game 1, since he wasn’t yet priced for Mike Conley’s departure from the bubble. This is probably the last slate we’ll get value on Clarkson before Conley returns, and while you don’t want to force him into your lineups, he still has too high a ceiling at this price. Clarkson was solid last game, with 27.5 DKFP, but he played 39 minutes and shot just 2-9 from downtown. If he heats up, a 40-DKFP outing is entirely possible.
Caris LeVert ($8,200) should be the chalk play at SG, so the decision to roster or fade him is a major one. LeVert’s scored at least 45 DKFP in five of his last six and has 60-DKFP upside, but imagine if Toronto had kept its foot on the gas and completed a Game 1 blowout. There’s more risk here than a play like Brown or Clarkson.
Worth Paying Up For: Kawhi Leonard, LAC vs. DAL ($10,000)
I thought Kawhi was overlooked on the Game 1 slate, and I imagine he will be again for Game 2. Leonard was locked in for the playoffs, playing 38 minutes and scoring 59.5 DKFP despite shooting 1-7 from downtown. He’s played great against Dallas this season and is now averaging 54.5 DKFP in four matchups. A better shooting night from deep and we’re looking at 6X.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Joe Ingles, UTA vs. DEN ($5,600)
Conley’s absence means a lot more minutes and shots for Clarkson, but I completely overlooked how much more it meant for Ingles as a PG. Ingles played 43 minutes in Game 1 (which did go to OT), but 38 minutes in regulation is still a huge boost for him. Ingles handled the ball a lot, finishing with a 19-6-5 line, good for 37.25 DKFP. This is a good game to roster him once more before Conley’s return.
Because PG is so deep, I think it could be popular to play Doncic at SF to roster more of them. I like going the other way on this one. Either play Doncic at guard, or fade him, because there are a lot of really good plays at SF that could see lower ownership.
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Worth Paying Up For: Jayson Tatum, BOS vs. PHI ($9,000)
Like Brown, Tatum’s in position to be called upon even more following a huge Game 1. Tatum had 32 points and 13 boards in 41 minutes, but the Celtics might need him for closer to 44 minutes the rest of this series. Plus, when he is on the floor, he has to be more aggressive to score and be a playmaker in Hayward’s absence. Tatum had just one assist in Game 1, which should rise with Hayward off the floor.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, BKN vs. TOR ($4,700)
TLC showed up big in a couple of seeding games, exceeding 30 DKFP four times. He went off for his biggest game yet in the Game 1 loss to Toronto, dropping six triples on his way to 26 points and 40.25 DKFP. I’m riding the hot hand with this one, and unlike LeVert, he has the potential to remain on the floor in a blowout.
I feel good about trying to get Tatum in at PF, but below him, it’s just a value position. TLC is my favorite of the values, but Denver also has good targets in Jerami Grant ($4,600) and Paul Millsap ($4,300).
Worth Paying Up For: Joel Embiid, PHI vs BOS ($9,900)
It’s pretty clear that the 76ers view Embiid as they key to beating the Celtics, which is also obvious to the rest of us. The problem is that the Celtics just don’t have a way to stop him. Embiid had 26 points and 16 boards in Game 1, good for 53 DKFP. He only took 15 shots to get there, so I’m expecting a more aggressive Embiid to go for even bigger games in this series.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Ivica Zubac, LAC vs. DAL ($4,500)
Zubac has killed the Mavericks this season, averaging just shy of 30 DKFP in just 20 minutes per contest. The limited minutes are the only concern with rostering him, but otherwise you’re getting an extremely efficient play here.
It’ll be interesting to see how ownership breaks down between Embiid and Nikola Jokic ($9,700). Jokic averages 62 DKFP against the Jazz this season, including 60.75 and 53.5 DKFP in the two bubble matchups. However, let’s remember, that was sparked by a double overtime and single overtime game. Embiid has the more pure matchup. I trust him more, and think we can fade Jokic this time around. He’s been lucky lately to get all the overtimes.
OUT (Opt-out players not included)
Ben Simmons (knee)
Gordon Hayward (ankle)
Will Barton (knee)
Mike Conley Jr. (quarantine)
Jamal Crawford (hamstring)
Gary Harris (hip)
Glenn Robinson III (oblique)
Ed Davis (knee)
Kristaps Porzingis (knee)
Jaylen Brown (thigh)
Trey Burke (ankle)
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