The NBA Playoffs roll on. In the West we have an expected fast-paced, high-scoring affair, and over in the East we have a much slower, low-scoring expected game which also has a high chance of a blowout. Let’s get right into the targets!
Russell Westbrook – thunder v. Warriors – $11,000 – Westbrook is a monster for fantasy. He can score 20-40 points, grab 10-15 rebounds, dish out 10-20 assists and has done them all in the same game numerous times. His floor is about 40 fantasy points due to the wide array of skills he has. He has the highest ceiling of any player left in the playoffs, and his team will need him to flash that ceiling if they do not want to get knocked out.
Stephen Curry – Warriors v. Thunder – $10,700 – Steph is back. He is almost a lock for four or five three-point field goals per game. He is also going to set up teammates and is a nightly threat for a double-double. If this game stays close and Steph plays big minutes, I fully expect a 40+ point floor with upside into the 60s.
Kyrie Irving – Cavaliers v. Raptors – $8,200 – Sorry Toronto fans, but without Valaciunas I can not see this series staying close. Kyrie is shooting the ball better and being more assertive on offense. He is getting to the hole almost at will. He totaled 44.5 DKFP in Game 1, and I envision a similar performance tonight.
Shaun Livingston – Warriors v. Thunder – $3,200 – Livingston probably has the safest minutes and highest usage rate of the cheap options at point guard. I’m not expecting him to go off, but a nice 15-20 game would be fine for the salary. Unless Steph gets hurt, we will not see him play huge minutes, but he can still produce fantasy points in the time he’s on the floor.
Klay Thompson – Warriors v. Thunder – $7,900 – I think the Thunder will try something new next game. I think they’ll begin doubling Steph and forcing him to give up the ball. With the transition game and pace of both teams, that should equal more attempts from behind the arc for Klay. He had his worst game from deep hitting only two of eight in the opener, but if he gets back to the 5 or 6 he was hitting per game last series, the extra 10+ points would have made him a 35-40 fantasy point producer and a guy returning 5-6X value.
DeMar DeRozan – Raptors v. Cavaliers – $7,300 – DeRozan is the guy who will need to pick up the slack if Lowry is going to continue to struggle. Without the inside scoring of Valaciunas, DeRozan will need to produce at an elite level. When he takes under 20 shots, the Raptors tend to struggle and lose. When he takes 20-25, his floor tends to be in the high 30s, and I think that is what we will see from him here. I do not think he has 6-7X upside, but 35-40 fantasy points at $7,300 is worth the price tag.
Dion Waiters – Thunder v. Warriors – $3,900 – I do not like playing Waiters any more than you do, but the fact remains he is seeing 25-30 minutes in almost all these playoff games. He is still only giving us 15-25 fantasy points which is not much upside, but he is safe for about a 4X floor.
“There is not much upside here, but there is a case to be made for him seeing more minutes”
Iman Shumpert – Cavaliers v. Raptors – $2,800 – There is not much upside here, but there is a case to be made for him seeing more minutes. J.R. Smith is the scoring guard and Shumpert is the defender. If DeRozan starts asserting himself, Shumpert could be called upon to defend him, which would mean more court time. At his price, a few more minutes could add a few points, rebounds, or assists and each one is a big deal when 5X value is only 14 fantasy points. If he has a 20-25 point game for $2,800, you have huge value.
LeBron James – Cavaliers v. Raptors – $10,800 – The Raptors have no one that can stop James. The only thing that may slow him down here is if the score gets ugly. James is averaging about 1.4 fantasy points per minute, so if he plays 28-30 in a blowout, he gets you a floor of 40 DKFP. If the game stays close and he sees 35-38, he should get us 50+ DKFP. He can fill up the stat sheet in so many ways. The score is the only thing that stops LeBron today, and that is only after he already does enough damage.
Kevin Durant – Thunder v. Warriors – $10,300 – Durant is another guy who is going to get his. His 38-40 point floor seems reasonable every time he steps out on the floor. My main beef with him is whether he has upside. I think Westbrook dominating the ball so much caps any upside for Durant, but he could still get us 45-55 points on a good night.
Harrison Barnes – Warriors v. Thunder – $4,300 – I love Barnes and what he is doing in the playoffs lately. For the price, he is the safest option for a minimum of 5X salary. He is playing over 30 minutes a game in the playoffs and is averaging a tad over 10 points and a little over 5 rebounds. the second stat is the big one for me. The 10 points usually includes at least one 3-pointer, so he’s getting 18-25 a game just by matching those stats up. If he adds a few assists or gets a couple more points, we get really solid upside from him for a cheap price.
“His unique and diverse skill set makes him a great fantasy option”
Andre Iguodala – Warriors v. Thunder – $4,200 – In the first game of this series, Iggy played about 30 minutes and finished with six points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals for about 25 fantasy points. It just highlights what he does. His unique and diverse skill set makes him a great fantasy option. He, too, is playing about 30 minutes per game and is returning 20-25 fantasy points.
James Johnson – Raptors v. Cavaliers – $2,000 – I also wanted to mention a min priced guy with some upside in James Johnson. He is going to be needed to play some defense on LeBron, so he should see minutes at the expense of Terrence Ross and Norman Powell. His upside is capped, because he is not much of a scorer, but at $2K, he can get you 20+ DKFP and be an upside surprise.
Draymond Green – Warriors v. Thunder – $9,500 – Position scarcity alone is the reason to look at him for this slate, as the rest of the power forward options are severely lacking. Draymond has that triple-double upside with the ability to add defensive stats. His floor in the playoffs has been the same 37-40 fantasy points we see out of LeBron and Durant, with slightly better upside. Draymond scored in the 60 DKFP range in three of the five games of the Portland series. Green has not had a big upside game yet in this series, but the 40 point floor at $1,000 savings from the stud SF options is worth taking.
Patrick Patterson – Raptors v. Cavaliers – $4,600 – The Raptors don’t have many big men right now, so the ones remaining are playing big minutes. Scola is old, Jason Thompson is not great so Biyombo and Patterson are seeing a ton of time. Patterson has been playing around 34 minutes a game, which is huge. He’s had some fantasy point games in the 20s and low 30s, so he has upside. I think the price is just too cheap for his role.
Steven Adams – Thunder v. Warriors – $6,300 – Adams is playing 35-40 minutes, so he is clearly the lead option over Kanter. He has returned some fantasy point totals in the mid thirties, but his floor is probably somewhere around 25 DKFP. There is not much upside with him at this price. He’s the likeliest high scoring center with only one other guy having a chance at the position, but using him likely means you’re not getting three superstars in your lineup.
“Adams is safer for cash games, but Biyombo will likely be lower owned and has a tad more upside”
Bismack Biyombo – Raptors v. Cavaliers – $6,200 – Biyombo should continue to see upwards of 30 minutes, especially with the Raptors being so thin in the front court. He is not a major part of the offense, which limits his floor. We have seen him put up double-doubles, and he does have the ability to block shots, so he probably has a higher ceiling than Adams. Adams is safer for cash games, but Biyombo will likely be lower owned and has a tad more upside for tournament play.
Festus Ezeli – Warriors v. Thunder – $2,500 – This is not a safe play, but Ezeli can get you 15-20 points in his 10-15 minutes of action. That’s a return of 6X and saves you the salary to go up and get three high-priced stars in your lineup.