We’re onto the second round of postseason play, with a couple of intriguing Game 1s on Monday night. The Raptors are in Cleveland to kick off their series against the Cavs, followed by the Rocket’ highly anticipated series with the Spurs. Things can get a little bit tricky when a new series starts since the rotations might change a bit, but per usual, postseason play is going to be fueled by the studs. I’ll help you identify those guys, then give you some values to target to help round out your lineup.
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Kyle Lowry ($8,000) — The reason I like Lowry over Kyrie Irving is just because we know the Raptors are going to have to lean on him if they’re going to have a chance. Although Irving could always go off, Toronto defends guards well, and Cleveland has plenty of other options to work with. On the other side, the Cavs don’t cover PGs well, which leaves Lowry in a solid spot.
Other Options – James Harden ($10,900), Kyrie Irving ($7,700)
Tony Parker ($5,300) — Outside of Game 3 when the Spurs benched some starters, Parker exceeded value in every other first-round game. Although he’s finally cracked $5K, TP is still underpriced for the production he gives in the playoffs. At his age we know Pop has kept a leash on him all season, and now it’s been removed. Furthermore, a matchup with the Rockets is always good to speed things up and give anyone’s numbers a boost.
Other Options – Lou Williams ($5,200), Patrick Beverley ($5,000)
James Harden ($10,900) — Harden is the guy I want to build around, as his price has come down significantly in the playoffs. That’s odd for a stud, but the way the OKC series went, Houston was better suited getting contributions from across the board. I think that changes with this new matchup against a Spurs team Harden went nuts against in the regular season. Harden’s going to be back to doing it all, which means fantasy performances of 60+ DKFP are likely.
Other Options — DeMar DeRozan ($8,300)
Lou Williams ($5,200) — Even though I expect Harden to take on a bigger workload in this series, he still needs his shooters. Lou-Will was fantastic in the first round, exceeding value in each of the last four games. Williams also saw his minutes go up throughout the series, playing more than 30 in each of the last three games. His scoring ability makes him one of the safer value options.
Other Options – Eric Gordon ($4,900)
LeBron James ($11,400) — LeBron is just a machine in the playoffs. He played 42 or more minutes in all four first-round games and averaged 69.6 DKFP. He’s matchup proof, so I’m not really worried about what the Raptors throw at him. But if I can, I’m using Kawhi Leonard too since I just love the potential for a sped up matchup with Houston.
Other Options — Kawhi Leonard ($10,200)
P.J. Tucker ($3,100) — I don’t love much of the value at SF, which is fine if LeBron and/or Kawhi is in your lineup since you don’t need to use another one. However, if you need to then I don’t mind Tucker. He should get more playing time to try and slow down LeBron, but he can play big minutes and also disappear in the stat sheet. At his price he doesn’t have to do much, though.
LaMarcus Aldridge ($6,500) — It wasn’t the best first round for LMA, but the matchup with Houston could get him going this postseason. As I’ve continued to mention, Houston is going to play a LOT faster than Memphis did, which should mean more numbers across the board for Spurs players. The Rockets are very perimeter-oriented, so they could have some trouble handling Aldridge down low.
Other Options – Kevin Love ($7,400), Serge Ibaka ($6,600)
David Lee ($4,100) — If you’re not playing Aldridge, Lee has been a nice option recently. He’s played 26 or more minutes in three straight games and is in play for all the same reasons as Aldridge. None of these PF values are completely safe, but all of the options below have some upside.
Other Options – Channing Frye ($3,300), DeMarre Carroll ($3,200), Patrick Patterson ($2,600)
Serge Ibaka ($6,600) — There are pretty limited center options tonight, leaving two choices in my mind — Ibaka or a value play. The blueprint to beat the Cavs is to hurt them on the interior, so maybe Ibaka sees some extra work down low. He’s not too expensive and is coming off a good series against the Bucks, who weren’t even a very good matchup for him.
Other Options – Kevin Love ($7,400)
Nene ($4,400) — Nene turned into a beast in the series against OKC, pulling a 45 DKFP game out of nowhere. Anyone with that kind of upside is perfect for a small slate like this at his prices, especially considering the Spurs play big. That means the Rockets will have to use more size than they’re used to.
Other Options – Clint Capela ($4,500), Jonas Valanciunas ($4,300), David Lee ($4,100), Channing Frye ($3,300)
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is jedlow) 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.