Damian Lillard, Portland Trailblazers vs. Denver Nuggets, $9,400
Lillard closed out the regular season scoring 52.7 DKFP per game in his final 10 starts and his minutes are going to be huge in this series vs. Denver. The Blazers got swept by the Lakers in the first round of last year’s playoffs, but in the two competitive tilts of that series, Lillard logged a large 42.8 minutes per game.
Since the start of May, the All-Star has generated 1.41 DKFP per minute and Lillard is a steal at this sub $10,000 price.
Other Options: Kyrie Irving ($9,200), Kemba Walker ($7,500)
Rajon Rondo, Los Angeles Clippers vs. Dallas Mavericks, $4,400
Rondo was specifically acquired at the trade deadline to make an impact during the postseason and I fully expect the veteran to be a factor night in and night out for the Clippers. Also in a reserve role, Rondo provided 24.6 DKFP per game during the Lakers’ championship run last summer, topping 25 DKFP in nine of their 18 playoff games.
The point guard plays his best basketball in the biggest moments, and over 30 DKFP is absolutely possible tonight. Rondo has supplied 1.06 DKFP per minute so far this month and I suspect the two-time NBA champ will come with decently low ownership, given that he comes off the bench.
Other Options: Goran Dragic ($4,900), Jalen Brunson ($4,100)
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James Harden, Brooklyn Nets vs. Boston Celtics, $10,300
It has already been confirmed Harden (hamstring) will not be under a minutes restriction for the playoffs, and the superstar is rating as a strong value for Game 1. Before hurting his hamstring back on March 31, Harden was generating 62.75 DKFP per game in his previous 20 starts.
Steve Nash has regularly pushed Harden over 40 minutes this season, and if the Celtics can keep this tilt close, the guard should obtain this type of opportunity Saturday night. This East matchup’s O/U game total is the highest of this four-game slate at 229.5 points on DraftKings Sportsbook, and Harden is averaging 58.9 DKFP per game when the total has been north of 225 points this season.
Other Options: Jrue Holiday ($7,700)
Donte DiVincenzo, Milwaukee Bucks vs. Miami Heat, $5,100
DiVincenzo heads into the postseason playing very well, chipping in with 31.4 DKFP per game in his past seven. During the regular season, the combo-guard had no issues in this tough matchup with the Heat, amassing 29.8 DKFP per game across three meetings.
DiVincenzo should be able to beat his $5,100 price tag and is a solid mid-tier value that is viable for all formats.
Other Options: Marcus Smart ($6,100), Duncan Robinson ($4,600), Reggie Jackson ($3,800)
Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat vs. Milwaukee Bucks, $8,400
Butler dealt with a back injury for the final week of the regular season, but he should be a full go for this rematch with the Bucks. Leading the Heat to the upset over Milwaukee last year, Butler contributed 40.5 DKFP per game for the five contests of the series. Via DraftKings Sportsbook, Saturday’s Game 1 sports a 227-point O/U game total, and whenever Butler has suited up for a total of at least 225 points this season, the forward has been excellent with 50.4 DKFP per game.
Butler always rises to the occasion during the playoffs and this is a great time to invest, considering this is the cheapest he has been since mid-February.
Other Options: Luka Doncic ($10,500), Kawhi Leonard ($8,000)
Bruce Brown, Brooklyn Nets vs. Boston Celtics, $4,300
The last time all three of Harden, Irving and Kevin Durant were available, Brown joined the big three in the Nets’ starting five. He finished with 42 DKFP across 28 minutes in the win over the Bulls that night, and against this Celtics team that primarily plays small ball, Brown should remain a starter for Game 1. The 24-year-old ended the regular season with four straight outings above 30 DKFP and with Brooklyn’s rotation tightening up for the postseason, Brown should obtain right around 30 minutes Saturday night.
He has collected 29.4 DKFP per game with a minimum of 25 minutes this season, and Brown is a strong value play to consider for this playoff slate, assuming he is named a starter.
Other Options: Marcus Morris ($5,400), Joe Harris ($4,700)
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks vs. Miami Heat, $10,700
The Heat have given Antetokounmpo problems in the past, but still, you have to like his chances of exceeding value in a playoff setting. Scoring 1.7 DKFP per minute this season, the reigning two-time MVP is one of the best fantasy producers in the league and he should approach 40 minutes with the Bucks only favored by five points on DraftKings Sportsbook.
Antetokounmpo only needs 53.5 DKFP to reach five-times value at his price for Saturday night and is averaging 60.25 DKFP per game in the last five Bucks’ contests that have been decided by less than 10 points.
Other Options: Jayson Tatum ($10,100), Kevin Durant ($9,700)
Paul Millsap, Denver Nuggets vs. Portland Trailblazers, $3,600
Millsap plays a smaller role for the Nuggets nowadays, but the veteran still has a strong chance of outproducing this low of a salary. In his last 12 games, Millsap has topped 20 DKFP on eight occasions and he posted a solid 19.3 DKFP per game against the Blazers this season in a pair of matchups with the club.
He lacks true upside, but Millsap is a solid salary cap relief option that helps you roster multiple studs for this short slate.
Other Options: Robert Covington ($4,900), Blake Griffin ($4,400), Carmelo Anthony ($4,000)
Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets vs. Portland Trailblazers, $10,600
There a ton of stars to choose from today, but Jokic is by far my preferred high-end spend on the board. The Nuggets will be hosting Blazers to open this best of seven series, and the MVP frontrunner is averaging 59 DKFP per game at home this season. Plus, Denver is only a one-point favorite on DraftKings Sportsbook, and when the spread has been under five in Denver this year, Jokic has bullied his opponents for 60.3 DKFP per game.
The Blazers finished the season ranking second to last in defensive efficiency and Jokic should expose them for nothing less than 60 DKFP.
Other Options: Bam Adebayo ($8,300), Jusuf Nurkic ($7,200)
Serge Ibaka, Los Angeles Clippers vs. Dallas Mavericks, $4,500
Ibaka has been extremely efficient since returning from his 30-game absence due to a nagging back injury. With only 18 minutes per game off the bench in these past two, the former Raptor has supplied 28 DKFP per game. Ibaka has been productive with 1.1 DKFP per minute since joining the Clippers and his playing time should increase to around 25 minutes during the postseason.
In his lone matchup against the Mavs this season, Ibaka posted 27.8 DKFP and we should see a similar output from the big man Saturday night. At only $4,500, Ibaka is one of my favorite values on the slate, and I highly doubt he will come with much ownership.
Other Options: Jeff Green ($3,900), Maxi Kleber ($3,500, if starting), Nicolas Claxton ($3,500)
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