Thursday’s NBA DFS contests will feature Game 2 out West on Thursday, and Game 2 in Atlanta on Friday. The options haven’t changed, but maybe you think you have that little bit of information you needed on how these games would go to make a better decision. Maybe. Here are a few reasons to target just about every available option over the next two days or, well reasons not to. Good luck!
POINT GUARD TARGETS
Stephen Curry vs. HOU ($10,400) – We all know you aren’t sitting there deciding “hmmm, Steph or Teague? Steph or Schroder?” You are sitting there deciding between Steph, Harden, and LeBron. For his part, Curry came through 34-6-5 that included five three-pointers, and came out to 55.5 fantasy points in Game 1. But bigger picture, there are two series left. In one of them, the two teams combined to score 216 points in Game 1, and in the other, they scored 186. That is a trend that’s likely to continue, and it makes it hard to trust anyone from the Eastern Conference MORE than you trust guys from the West in the same price bracket. If you go with a Cav or a Hawk, you just better be sure they’re the one producing that night.
Jeff Teague vs. CLE ($7,000) – Speaking of – Teague had 27 points in Game 1. And if the second half of the last series is any indication, he plans on keeping this up. He has basically determined that the Hawks need more offense to get past these teams, no matter how good their D is, and that theory is only getting more true with Carroll going down. He put up double his season average in shot attempts last night, a really good way for a player to create instant DFS value for himself.
Kyrie Irving @ ATL ($7,200) – Irving played on a banged up knee in Game 1, aggravated it, and is playing on it again in Game 2. The Cavs are going to really, really need Irving at his best if they want to dispatch the Warriors like they’ve been doing the East, and Irving was ineffective in the 27 minutes he did play, playing bad defense, and getting locked up by Teague. Maybe that’s because Teague locks people up, maybe it’s because Irving wasn’t 100%, maybe both. But the Cavs can win this series without him, and they should think long and hard and possibly trying exactly that.
Dennis Schroder vs. CLE ($4,800) – There are no points guards worth playing on Houston, really, so here’s Schroder – playing more minutes and getting more looks than you would really expect, and averaging just north of 20 fantasy points per game over the Washington series and Game 1 of this one.
SHOOTING GUARD TARGETS
James Harden @ GS ($9,500) – It’s Harden, Curry or LeBron. That’s the question. And just like he has all season long, Harden is making a case that it should be him, no matter what else is going on in Houston. With better than 50% shooting on 20 shot attempts, 11 boards and 9 assists, it was not Harden’s fault they lost game 1. And while he has put up exactly 20 shots in each of their last four games, up from his season average, Dwight has also been performing. And if his offensive contribution dips, expect Harden to get even more involved. With 62.75 points, he had the best fantasy game of anyone in Game 1 with only the third highest price tag, a trend that could easily continue.
Klay Thompson vs. HOU ($7,200) – The deal with Thompson: he has to be scoring. The problems with Thompson in this series: 1.) the Rockets can defend wing shooters, primarily because of their length on the perimeter when fighting through screens (something that doesn’t apply as much to Steph, who creates his own offense), and 2.) Stephen is going to get all the looks in this one. Without Beverly around to play D, Curry isn’t going to leave a lot of meat on the bone for his SG teammate.
Kyle Korver vs. CLE ($5,300) – I mean, I said it before the game: no upside. He took five shots, got three assists, and actually blew up with seven rebounds, three more than his average. I hope you are really hoping for 20 fantasy points when you draft him, and no more, because that’s what is coming.
J.R. Smith @ ATL ($4,900) – Eight. He hit eight three pointers. And with Carroll down, there is even less of a reason than before to play Shumpert for defensive purposes. You needed to have him in your lineup to win, basically, with the game 1 performances shaking out the way they did. For $4,900, with 50-point upside, apparently, he could always be the steal of the night. And he’s never going to break the bank.
SMALL FORWARD TARGETS
LeBron James @ ATL ($11,400) – LeBron played a great game, going off for 31-8-6 and 50 fantasy points in game 1. And the Hawks came into this series with a plan. The best defensive team in the league, arguably, was going to use their best defensive player to try to limit James’ easy hoops, and that is now all out the window. They might still stop him from producing at the power forward spot, like he did against Chicago, but they have no one to contest his shots or keep from penetrating as much as he wants into the paint – and if the bigs turn him away, he’s just creating for his teammates. The issue here goes back to what I wrote about Steph – if you’re going to pay up for a superstar, aren’t the odds of a great performance fantasy-wise just better in the series that’s going to consistently average many more points per game? (Hint: Yes.).
DeMarre Carroll vs. CLE ($6,700) – Out. Important for lots of reasons.
Trevor Ariza @ GS ($6,500) – I almost want to start him and Smith. And so, I think, do the Rockets. Aria played more minutes, Smith got up more shots and had more fantasy points. If you’re taking Ariza is because of the minutes, and the consistency.
Josh Smith @ GS ($5,400) – And if you’re taking Smith, it’s because of the upside. This game 1 performance is something like what the Hawks were looking for for so long – 27 minutes, 17-7-5 with 3 blocks. He still took too many three’s, but whatever – the 16 shot attempts you like, no matter if he played a half-dozen fewer minutes than Ariza.
Harrison Barnes vs. HOU ($4,900) – It’s not as if you think to yourself Carroll is out, maybe I’ll use Barnes! You use Barnes if you want to save as much money as you can for someone else while still getting at least a few points to help your cause at the same time.
POWER FORWARD TARGETS
Paul Millsap vs. CLE ($8,000) – Millsap is going to need to step up his offensive game to match up for the big loss Atlanta suffered in Game 1, but the question is, are there enough points to go around? The hawks just might not score enough to have more than one or maybe two players worth considering in a DFS contest like this, when the series on the other side is dropping 30+ more total points every night. If Millsap can exceed his average and get to 20 points instead of 15 or 16, it’s not enough. He still needs double-digit boards to even be a consideration.
Draymond Green vs. HOU ($7,700) – He went for 13-12-8, and he only gets more useful if Howard misses time or is ineffective – those twelve boards are the difference between a good night and a tremendous value, and if Houston goes small, Green might be the most effective rebounder on the court for long stretches.
Tristan Thompson @ ATL ($5,800) – He was out there for 42 minutes. He is exactly the kind of body that the Cavs need to run with these Atlanta bigs, and he gave them just what they were looking for. 14-10 with two blocks? The Cavs will take that all day. And as long as he gets to 10+ in both, so will you, for this price.
Terrance Jones @ GS ($4,400) – He plays good defense, which makes him useful to an NBA team, but not to a fantasy team. End of story. What I will say about him is that he is more useful than David Lee or anyone else below him on the player list.
Dwight Howard @ GS ($8,700) – Howard is listed as questionable with a left knee sprain, which is a big blow to the Rockets, since this did seem like once spot where they had somewhat of an advantage. He had 27.75 fantasy points in only 26 minutes of action (13 boards) in game 1, so if he does return at full strength, he immediately becomes a player you have to consider strongly.
Al Horford vs. CLE ($7,900) – Horford is also going to need to shoulder more of an offensive load with Carroll out, so that could help his fantasy value from a pure numbers perspective, especially if he continues to play as efficiently as he did in game 1 with the increased volume. But seven rebounds isn’t going to cut it – if the Hawks are going to stay in any of these games, he needs to be dominant on the glass, and he can be, so he could be a very solid source of double-doubles for however many more games this series lasts.
Andrew Bogut vs. HOU ($4,800) – Apparently Bogut was sick before game 1, and needed an IV after only 16 minutes on the court, so the Warriors should consider themselves lucky Dwight didn’t play 40 minutes. But if Dwight misses time, Bogut is just not going to see the court much, as the Warriors and the Rocket will each be deploying their own unique version of small ball.
Timofey Mosgov @ ATL ($4,800) – Mosgov held his own last night with the Atlanta front court, finishing up with 10 points and 11 boards, very solid production for this price point. He can’t really defend anyone, which is obviously a problem, but the Cavs could try to force the Hawks to adjust to him (as crazy as that sounds) if he continues to use his size to convert at a 60% rate from the field.