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Here are some players to target for tonight’s main eight-game NBA slate on DraftKings:
Russell Westbrook, OKC at POR, $10,300 — It’s playoff time, so the normal heavy and high usage workload figures to grow even larger for Russ. Last season, he played 39.2 minutes per game and I expect a similar amount of playing time tonight. The three extra minutes may not seem like a ton, however he scored 1.63 DKFP per minute on the season. Those three extra minutes are worth 4.89 extra DKFP per game at his current per minute average.
Darren Collison, IND at BOS, $4,800 — Collison didn’t have huge fantasy games to finish the season, however this was mostly because of rest as the Pacers geared up for the playoffs. He averaged under 20 minutes per game in the last two contests of the season. He was priced around $6,000 for most of the games after Victor Oladipo went down with a knee injury and his salary is at its floor because of rest games. His light workload should have him fresh for the playoffs.
James Harden, HOU vs. UTA, $10,100 — The matchup isn’t great, but we have the best fantasy producer of the entire season — as well as the possible MVP — playing in his first playoff game of the season. The price discount should make up for the matchup after he averaged 62.1 DKFP during the regular season. Perhaps the matchup shouldn’t be too much of a concern for Harden because he played extremely well against the Jazz in the regular season. He averaged 79 DKFP in his last two games against Utah.
Dennis Schroder, OKC at POR, $5,500 — The biggest name on the injury report is Paul George ($9,200). I have to assume he will be ready to play for the playoffs, but in the event he can’t play, Schroder figures to move into the starting lineup. In games missed by George and Westbrook in the regular season, Schroder started and had great fantasy success. In 14 starts, Schroder averaged 37.82 DKFP.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL vs. DET, $10,400 — After taking off two of the final three games of the season, Giannis should be rested up for today. After we saw how Joel Embiid looked physically yesterday, the 76ers probably wished he was rested more. Coming into the playoffs fresh is huge and he still played well toward the end of the season when in the lineup. He scored at least 45 DKFP in his final nine games despite playing limited minutes in most of them.
Jaylen Brown, BOS vs. IND, $4,400 — Prior to the postseason, the Celtics suffered one of the most costly injuries of any title-contending team. Marcus Smart was diagnosed with an oblique injury and it will keep him out for four to six weeks. Given the toughness of Smart, I expect he will return on the shorter end of the timeframe if Boston is still alive in the playoffs, but we know for sure he’s out today. Brown is one of the benefactors and could end up in the starting lineup. He averaged 31.95 DKFP in his last five starts.
Paul George, OKC at POR, $9,200 — As mentioned above, George is questionable to play tonight. Ultimately, I think this game matters too much for George to watch from the sidelines. He is dealing with a shoulder issue, which has been an ongoing issue for the last six weeks. It is clearly effecting his efficiency from the field, but George is still producing plenty of fantasy points. He needs 46 DKFP to hit 5x value and he’s gone for at least 40 DKFP in 14 of his past 15 games.
Gordon Hayward, BOS vs. IND, $5,200 — With Smart out, not only will Brown see extra playing time, but Hayward should as well. For the most part, Hayward struggled this year coming back his devastating ankle injury, but it looked like he finally started to find his form toward the end of the season. He averaged 35.42 DKFP in his final three games of the season and we have to remember that he was an All-Star just two seasons ago.
Andre Drummond, DET at MIL, $8,800 — After a great season for the Pistons, Blake Griffin ($7,500) is clearly hurt from carrying the team all year. He’s listed as questionable to play and I think there is a stronger chance of Blake sitting than Paul George. He missed the final game of the regular season, which was a must-win scenario to clinch a playoff birth and he played just 18 minutes the game before. Without Griffin on the court, Drummond sees an uptick in his usage and rebound rate.
Thon Maker, DET at MIL, $3,800 — If Blake plays then we can forget about Maker as a value play, but Maker has started in recent games where Griffin was out. He’s had mediocre production, averaging 18.5 DKFP in five starts, however, there is plenty of room for upside. He played 31.3 minutes in his starts and his upside was limited by poor shot making. Maker is only shooting 26.7% from the field as a starter and that number figures to regress to his career 42.1% shooting.
Editor’s Note: Griffin (knee) has been ruled out for tonight’s Game 1.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is gehrenberg) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.