With a couple of series already over, the slates are getting a little thinner late in the first round. But with two huge Eastern Conference Game 5s on tap for Wednesday night, you still have a few top options to choose from and plenty of tough decisions to make. Don’t forget the early 6:00 tip-off time.
John Wall vs. ATL ($10,400) – His usage rate fell off somewhat in Atlanta, but at home for Game 5 I will be looking for him to assert himself in a big way here. With the way the Wizards like to push the ball that makes him the best choice on the board in my mind for a 50+ fantasy point performance.
Isaiah Thomas vs. CHI ($8,900) – This series has been the tale of two ITs, and one narrative is that Rondo made all the difference. Another is that for the first two games of the series, he just wasn’t himself for obvious personal reasons. For a player who averaged two points more per game on much more efficient shooting at home this season, I think he is primed for perhaps his biggest game as the series returns to Boston for a pivotal Game 5.
Other Options – Dennis Schroder ($7,800)
Marcus Smart vs. CHI ($5,100) – Of all the cheaper PG options, he’s the only one actually getting minutes. Although, with Rondo unavailable tonight, there should be some value in the Bulls’ guard rotation. Smart has returned at least 23 fantasy points in every game this series, decent enough value for the price.
Other Options – Brandon Jennings ($2,900)
Dwyane Wade @ BOS ($6,700) – Tonight is going to be the Jimmy Butler show, but the Bulls are going to need to try to slow the game down, and when that happens, having two options that can create their own shot in the half-court is immensely valuable. I expect to see Wade backing down some smaller Celtics’ defenders every time the matchup is right tonight, looking to spend clock and end with either a bucket or a foul, at a minimum.
Other Options – Bradley Beal ($7,700)
Avery Bradley vs. CHI ($5,600) – He is playing 35 or so minutes every game, and he should be good for the 25-30 points you need from him to not kill you in a cash game lineup. But he can be a streaky shooter, and if he is getting open looks tonight at home, he has as much upside as you’re likely to find in this price range tonight, with the possibility of getting you to that 40-point threshold that could be helping you win contests of any type.
Tim Hardaway, Jr. @ WAS ($4,900) – He’s playing 28-30 minutes for the series, and getting double-digit looks. They need him to provide some scoring, and he can do that, with some looks from three point range that only help to improve his fantasy stock (he has hit seven so far in the first four games).
Jimmy Butler @ BOS ($10,000) – Shooting guard actually gives you a few decent options tonight, but Jimmy Butler is the clear class of the group, and unless you’re expecting a repeat of his Game 3, he could easily be construed as the best value as well. He is producing in multiple categories, giving you defensive stats and threes to go along with his ability to score, rebound and distribute giving him, along with Wall, the best chance at 50+ points you’re going to find.
Otto Porter vs. ATL ($5,000) – There aren’t enough looks to go around to make Porter anything more than a cheaper flyer in a cash game because the upside just isn’t there.
Taurean Prince @ WAS ($4,200) – He is out there almost 30 minutes most of the time and is basically returning the same floor and upside as Porter for $800 cheaper. You’d like to see him getting a few open looks to get warmed up, especially from three, and that could happen early and set the tone in a fast-paced Game 5 in Washington.
Other Options – Kent Bazemore ($4,700)
Paul Millsap @ WAS ($8,700) – The clear best PF on the board, he has had 43.75 fantasy points at a minimum in each of their last three battles with Washington. He has at least nine rebounds and 19 points in each of those last three, playing like a guy capable of taking over a game from inside against this Washington front court, and you have to assume Atlanta’s coaches noticed. There is a chance they decide they don’t need to match small-ball with the Wizards, instead trying to make Washington come up with a way to guard their size inside, and Millsap could benefit.
Ersan Ilyasova @ WAS ($3,000) – There is just not much out there for this position or in this price range, but Ilyasova could be a helpful buy if everything breaks right at this price. In Game 1 of this series, he went 3-for-6 from three-point land and hasn’t been asked to really do it again. But he has proven himself capable before, and if there is going to be a tight game here, his shooting could be a big part of keeping it that way.
Other Options – Nikola Mirotic ($5,400), Markieff Morris ($5,300)
Dwight Howard @ WAS ($6,500) – Coming off a double-double, some upside is obviously possible, and he has been at least 25 fantasy points in three of four. The trouble is, 25 doesn’t really cut it for a cash game lineup at this price, so this, for me, is more of a GPP pick where you are looking for a repeat of something at least similar to Game 4. In that game he totaled 16 points and 15 boards.
Marcin Gortat vs. ATL ($5,900) – I would prefer him to Howard as a value, saving the $600 and giving you the same kind of both floor and upside. He also has had three double-digit rebounding games in series so far, and is returning home, where he fared much better on the offensive end than he did in Atlanta. At this price, for me, he can be a building block piece you simply start with every time, regardless of tourney size or type.
Other Options – Al Horford ($7,000)
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.