Friday’s slate of NBA playoff games includes the Jazz and the Clippers fighting to break a 1-1 tie and the Celtics and Thunder trying to stay out of an 0-3 hole. Here are a few names to consider at every price point as you start building your lineups.
Russell Westbrook vs. HOU ($13,900) – Even if it would be nice to see Westbrook-Harden go at it for five more games, DraftKings players don’t need to care if the Thunder get swept or who wins the MVP, at least not for tonight. Westbrook is basically getting some kind of fantasy points for you every time up and down the court, and in a close Game 2, he played 41 minutes, the kind of playing time you should expect in every game of the series going forward.
Other Options – Chris Paul ($9,100)
Patrick Beverley @ OKC ($5,900) – I’ve recommended him in both of the first two games of the series, and I continue to feel like he is underpriced for Game 3. His cost just hasn’t increased much since the series started, even though he has returned more than 5X value in both of the first two games. He is getting enough shots that you can expect him to score in the double-digits, a nice floor for someone who produces so consistently in multiple categories (36 points, 16 rebounds, seven assists and three steals through two games).
James Harden @ OKC ($11,400) – For a $2,500 savings, I do not blame you for going for Harden over Westbrook, assuming you can’t work both of them into a GPP lineup. But the games in OKC should be close, and Harden will be asked to do a lot, and while you might never see 43 shots out of him, he probably has a floor in this game of around 50 fantasy points, with upside, making him a solid buy for any format contest.
Avery Bradley @ CHI ($5,500) – His price has dropped enough now to make him very usable, considering he shot 10-for-28 from the floor through two games, and still managed to get you 25 fantasy points a night, not a devastating total in a cash game for a $5,500 price tag. Bottom line, the Celtics have to see him play better if they want to stay alive in this series, and an uptick in scoring could definitely be coming for a player who will also get you a handful of rebounds, assists and defensive stats night tonight.
Joe Johnson vs. LAC ($5,000) – His value will be determined in large part by whether his shot is falling, and that variability makes him more of tourney play than a cash option for me tonight, but he is getting his looks in this matchup with Los Angeles, with 13 and 15 shot attempts in Games 1 and 2 – the only difference being his 3-for-4 from three in Game 1 vs. 0-for-4 in Game 2. At home tonight, I expect him to be able to hit enough shots to make him a useful part of your fantasy lineups.
Other Options – Dwyane Wade ($6,400)
Gordon Hayward vs. LAC ($7,300) – He has played 39.5 minutes a night so far for the series, as the focal point of the offense. He is hitting threes and getting to the line, and rebounding enough to give him a solid floor combined with 40+ point upside as the Jazz try to break the 1-1 series tie at home, where Hayward shot just under 50% from the floor for the year.
Other Options – Jimmy Butler ($9,900)
Paul Zipser vs. BOS ($2,800) – Sometimes you just need to fill in the very bottom of your roster with someone dirt cheap, and he is getting 25 minutes a night so far on the year, about as much as you can hope for at this price. He has been averaging one three made a night at home all season long, and he’s been getting enough looks to keep that up for another game here, putting him in a position to get you 15-20 fantasy points, very good value for the price.
Other Options – Jae Crowder ($5,100)
Blake Griffin @ UTA ($7,900) – Having Gobert out is definitely a boon for Griffin’s fantasy value for the series, even if that hasn’t really been the case through two games. But Blake is now averaging 41 minutes a night for the series, and while he hasn’t been rebounding enough to give him the upside to make him a tourney option for me, he is almost a lock for 20+ points as the main dominant force in the middle, which is enough to make him a solid cash-game option if you’re locking up mid-priced options instead of going with top studs and some fill-ins.
Nikola Mirotic vs. BOS ($5,100) – He took nine 3s in Game 2, and 14 so far on the series. He is completely hit or miss, both on the court for the Bulls and for your fantasy team, but compared to the options up front for the Celtics you don’t want to use right now, at least Mirotic gives you a bit more confidence that he might do something.
Jonas Jerebko @ CHI ($2,000) – A leap of faith, and there obviously aren’t any stats to back it up when you’re considering a guy who is averaging 3.8 points and 3.4 rebounds a game for the year. But, Coach Stevens hinted strongly that Jerebko could get the start in Game 3 in an attempt to shake up the underperforming front court for the Celtics, and in case you didn’t notice, $2,000 is really cheap.
DeAndre Jordan @ UTA ($7,400) – When your center shoots 9-for-11 from the floor and grabs 15 rebounds in a game against the Jazz, and looks like the most unstoppable force in the league… Gobert must not be playing. But that’s what happened in Game 2, and while Blake should see an increase in efficiency with Gobert gone, Jordan sees a huge bump in both usage and efficiency, making his increase in fantasy value almost exponential, with both his floor and his ceiling taking a big step forward without the commensurate increase in his price tag.
Other Options – Al Horford ($6,700)
Derrick Favors vs. LAC ($5,600) – He got the start with Gobert out, and should again tonight, giving him another shot at 30+ minutes and an excellent chance at solid fantasy value for the price. He is certainly not replacing Gobert’s production, but the Jazz function better with a big man in the middle, and so he’s gotten you double-digit scoring and a handful of rebounds each night, and there is no reason to expect that to stop tonight.
Robin Lopez vs. BOS ($5,300) – It is easy to imagine rostering a couple of centers tonight, with plenty of inexpensive options available, including Robin Lopez, who the Celtics have simply had no answer for through two games. He is able to throw his size around inside against this team in a way that has allowed him to average 16 points and nine boards through two games, a huge departure from his averages of 10 and six for the year, and the price tag has not increased enough to match that increase in production.
Other Options – Clint Capela ($5,400), Steven Adams ($4,700)
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theasquad) 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.