After Monday night, we’ll be three games closer to the end of the first round. With some series having already ended just when some others are starting to pick up, there is still plenty of daily fantasy hoops action to enjoy. Here are a few players to consider from Monday’s slate, at every position and price range. Good luck.
POINT GUARD TARGETS
Derrick Rose vs. MIL ($7,600) – I don’t know about you, but I just love watching this guy play. And lately, he is playing with an explosiveness and an athleticism that actually reminds me – finally – of the guy I saw out there for the Bulls not all that many years ago. Playing without a minutes restriction, he seems to be playing with the aggressiveness that made him such a force when he burst into the league. This is what a healthy Rose should look like – nothing short of a 40-fantasy-point per game average over three games against the #1 ranked defensive team against point guards in the entire league.
Jeff Teague @ BKN ($6,700) – Teague is known for his defense, but he runs the point guard position well on the offensive end, too. And tonight, there is at least he chance he is out there trying to get the Hawks to a clinching game against a backup point guard. With a team that plays with a balanced attack like Atlanta, the sudden appearance of a dramatic mismatch could mean more opportunities than usual for Teague. Unlike a lot of teams, getting him those looks won’t require a complete change to the game plan.
Jarrett Jack vs. ATL ($5,100) – This pick is somewhat contingent on Deron Williams not playing, but based on the descriptions out there of Williams’ health, that is at least a possibility. And even with Williams out there, he proved he had 30+ fantasy point upside off the bench, so even just a small uptick in guaranteed minutes should lead to increased production.
Beno Udrih @ POR ($3,000) – Mike Conley is out after having surgery to repair the fractures in his face, and he could miss more than just the one game (“surgery to repair fractured face” just sounds season-ending to me, but apparently there was a chance he came back for game 4… reason # 9462649 why I am not a doctor). But with Memphis poised to advance, you know they are going to want to get Udrih exposure in case they need to lean on him for even one more game. It’s rare you find a viable option this cheap in a playoff contest, so you might want to just take your chances on this one and spend your money elsewhere.
SHOOTING GUARD TARGETS
Jimmy Butler vs. MIL ($8,300) – Rose isn’t the only guy playing out of his mind for Chicago right now. In a series that figured to be dominated by big men for the Bulls (what with Milwaukee’s nasty on-the-ball perimeter defenders on the wings), Butler and Rose look like they are primed to be the reason the Bulls could advance. Butler had 33-7 in Game 3, and is averaging just about 47 fantasy points per game for the series.
Joe Johnson vs. ATL ($7,200) – Johnson is a name that just seems like it shouldn’t still be fantasy relevant, but there it is: he’s averaging more than 16 shot attempts per game and just a hair under 40 fantasy points for the series.
Khris Middleton @ CHI ($6,000) – Despite a 24 fantasy point outing last time out, with only 10 points and four boards, he is still the guy that averaged 19-3 for the first three games of the series. Oh yeah, and he has TEN steals already. The fact that he has the potential to give you 3 or 4 steals and a block (3 on the series) every night means you don’t have to be rooting for him to do all that much anywhere else to still be a valid fantasy option at only $6,000.
Kyle Korver @ BKN ($5,800) – He’s playing 37 minutes a game. Last time, he got in foul trouble and didn’t do much of anything, but he’s not going to go 1-8 from the floor very often. He had eight threes made in the first two games of the series, and players with that kind of outside shooting ability don’t normally remain silent two games in a row.
SMALL FORWARD TARGETS
Giannis Antetokounmpo @ CHI ($6,300) – Part of me yearns for the days where no one yet considered him a great fantasy option, because then I could look smart for recommending him. And honestly, I have thrown his name out there almost every single time I have written about this team since last fall. So why should I make tonight an exception? With him, you are just hoping for a big scoring night, but thankfully, they seem to have been coming more and more frequently as the season has progressed. But he’s been averaging seven rebounds, three assists, a block and a steal all season, so seeing some scoring get piled on top of all that is more than just a little exciting. Especially when he only costs you $6,300.
DeMarre Carroll @ BKN ($6,200) – The problem with Carroll and, frankly, all the Hawks, is that there are too many options. It’s been really hard to count on any single one of them all season, even on nights where you were convinced the team was going to play well. But he had a team-high 22 points last time, with a handful of boards to go along with it, and he is seriously talented – so if this series is just a good fit for him, you might want to take advantage while you can.
Mike Dunleavy vs. MIL ($4,900) – He’s played three games in this series, and the range of fantasy points outcomes so far is only 1.25 points (24.75, 25.5 and 26). Talk about consistent. So even if you don’t hold out a lot of hope for big upside, you should be able to count on him to bring his usual to the table
Jeff Green @ POR ($4,900) – Green is hard to trust. I get it. But small forward is thin tonight, and as consistent as Dunleavy has been, Green’s averages look pretty similar. I am not sure why you would play him over Dunleavy, but he could be useful if you are looking for a cheap option for your F or UTIL spots, and can’t find someone else in this price range at another position.
POWER FORWARD TARGETS
LaMarcus Aldridge vs. MEM ($9,500) – The Blazers might be facing elimination, but it is not because of Aldridge. Averaging just about exactly 52 fantasy points per game for the series, he’s doing it in ways that demonstrate the way he is impacting the game, not just piling up meaningless stats. He’s almost a lock for a double-double right now, getting just about 25-12 in the first three games, to go along with ten blocks, all of which gets you to a respectable fantasy total in a hurry, no matter who is winning the game.
Pau Gasol vs. MIL ($8,700) – Gasol’s 40-to-almost-50 fantasy scoring average is perfectly respectable. He had bigger performances over the course of the season, but I would not expect to see that in this series, not with the way the Bulls backcourt has been playing. The ball flowing through Gasol on the high post is now just a part their offense, and not the whole thing, as it was for so much of the season.
Zach Randolph @ POR ($6,500) – He’s been a value play as a very solid player listed consistently pretty far down the price board, night in and night out, all season long. And for this series, he is averaging 13-7, for just under 40 fantasy points. For a savings of multiple thousands of salary cap dollars, I’ll take it.
Thaddeus Young vs. ATL ($6,400) – Young has been a hit or miss option all year, because of the team he played on, or the situation he was in, or both. But here he is in the playoffs, and he is making the most of it. He had four personal fouls in game 2, and ended up only playing 24 minutes. But he has played 40 in each of the other two in the series, and in those two, he has 33.5 and 37.75 fantasy points. Let’s hope he can stay on the floor this one.
Marc Gasol @ POR ($8,400) – Gasol is the clear best option at center in this one, to the point that you might have expected a bigger gap in prices. He averaged 33 minutes per game all season long, and that number has jumped to more like 38. With three blocks in every game of the series so far, he’s found a great way to supplement his scoring and rebounding (which were already fine).
Brook Lopez vs. ATL ($8,000) – Lopez had a tough job in this one, matchup up with Atlanta’s bigs, and he has proven himself up to the challenge. Atlanta has been ranked #1 against opposing centers all year, and yet Lopez is getting you almost 40 fantasy points per game by averaging a double-double through three.
Al Horford @ BKN ($7,600) – Horford occasionally has games where he score 40+ fantasy points. But remember that those are the outliers, no matter how good he looks when you watch him on TV. The fact is, like all Hawks, he struggles because they just don’t always need him to put up big numbers. What’s good for the team is not always good for your fantasy prospects, and all that.
Joakim Noah vs. MIL ($5,900) – Just no scoring. At all. He has 18 points in this series through four games. Yes, he is averaging 4.5 points per game. And yet, he has had games with 29, 37 and 32 fantasy points over the same stretch, doing it by contributing everywhere else. A guy who can get you one bucket and still earn himself over 30 minutes of playing time has to be doing something right, and in Noah’s case, it’s a lot of things, from rebounding to defense to passing and ball-handling, he can do it all. Except, you know, score. Four or five garbage buckets for him could be the difference maker for your fantasy team, as that kind of scoring would push him into the elite fantasy category when you combine it with 12 boards, five assists, a block and a steal.