You had better take advantage of the playoff contests while they last, the way things have gone so far, we might not have many more chances to make money on basketball this season. You know the teams and players already, though the value has changed somewhat. Here are the players I like for the Sunday/Monday contests:
Sunday & Monday’s Playoff Contests
POINT GUARD TARGETS
Stephen Curry @ HOU ($10500) – 47.25 fantasy-points is nothing to sneeze at. It also happens to be Curry’s worst game in his last five games — not to mention what he had in game two. Curry has done nothing in the playoffs to suggest he should not have been the regular season MVP; it is also unlikely that Houston will suddenly find a way to shut Curry down.
Jeff Teague @ CLE ($7500) – It is a bit strange that Teague saw a slight price increase despite having a below average game in game two. But, Teague still remains a good value, especially now that Kyle Korver is done for the playoffs. Teague is not likely to have a huge game like Curry can, but he is a pretty good bet for 30+ fantasy-points and costs $3000 less.
Dennis Schroder @ CLE ($4700) – Another player likely to see increased value with Kyle Korver out? Dennis Schroder. Not that Schroder was not already a solid option. He has averaged 19.8 fantasy-points per game over his last four games and 21.0 fantasy-points per game against Cleveland this season. Schroder remains the safe option he was in the last game, but now also has a little more upside.
Leandro Barbosa @ HOU ($2200) – To win big sometimes you have to think small. There is nothing exciting at all about getting ten fantasy-points from a player, in fact, it would seem like a waste of money. But, winning is all about value. If you get ten fantasy-points from a $2200 player, that is good value this time of the year. It also leaves you money to afford another stud elsewhere on your team, thus increasing your chances of winning money. That is a long way of saying, I think Barbosa is a nice value.
SHOOTING GUARD TARGETS
James Harden vs. GS ($10500) – As scary good as Harden was in games one and two, it is scarier when you realize that he was on the road for both games and has played better at home. Sure, Harden’s salary went up a good deal after game two, yet Harden is still a good deal even for $10500.
Klay Thompson @ HOU ($6800) – Perhaps I am listing Thompson just to be a contrarian. There is little in Thompson’s last two games to suggest he is a good play in this contest. He has been struggling with his shot and foul trouble. Still, Thompson has averaged 34.1 fantasy-points per game against Houston this season despite poor performances in games one and two.
Kent Bazemore @ CLE ($2500) – Think of Bazemore as Barbosa with more potential upside. Kyle Korver and Thabo Sefolosha are out, which leave Atlanta very thin at shooting guard. That should mean plenty of playing time for Bazemore. While Bazemore is no stud, he has shown the ability to be a solid fantasy player. more importantly, he provides the potential for some very nice value against Cleveland given his $2500 price tag.
SMALL FORWARD TARGETS
LeBron James vs. ATL ($11400) – I liked James last time around at this price so there is no reason not to like him at this price again. LeBron has been a stud in the playoffs and nothing has changed. If you can afford James on your team, he is well worth the hefty investment.
Harrison Barnes @ HOU ($4900) – Only once in the last ten games has Barnes failed to score at least 20 fantasy-points — and he had 19 in that game. In the other nine games, he has had between 20.25 and 29.25 fantasy-points. No, there are no big games from Barnes in those numbers, there are also no games that will hurt your team. Safe and affordable, there is nothing wrong with a player who is both of those things.
POWER FORWARD TARGETS
Draymond Green @ HOU ($8000) – Unlike the other positions, there is no clear-cut, totally reliable, stud at power forward. Not to say Green is a bad option though. He just lacks the upside of guys like Curry, Harden or James — which is reflected in his price. That said, he has scored 39.5, 46.0 and 35.0 fantasy-points in his last three games and has been playing well in the playoffs thus far.
Tristan Thompson vs. ATL ($6300) – Who needsKevin Love when you have Tristan Thompson? No, Thompson will not provide the three-pointers that Love would have, but he has been a monster on the boards and a blocking machine lately. That has translated to at least 30 fantasy-points in Thompson’s last three games and qualifies him as a stud option at power forward in this contest.
Terrence Jones vs. GS ($4800) – Green and Thompson are much safer options than Jones is for sure. They also cost considerably more, and you just cannot afford to stock your team with studs at every position. With Josh Smith struggling, and Houston losing, Jones will likely see some extra playing time, which should equate to more fantasy-points.
Dwight Howard vs. GS ($8800) – Game one reminded us why Howard has been such a maddening fantasy player to own — the injuries. Game two reminded us that Howard has been a fantasy-stud during the playoffs. Howard is a risk given his knee issue, but it does not worry me all that much after game two. Howard has still averaged 43.8 fantasy-points per game over his last five games.
Andrew Bogut @ HOU ($5000) – Sure, Bogut’s five blocks were a lot of the reason he had a big game in game two. A good part of the big game was also the 31 minutes he played. Bogut is a good fantasy player when healthy. He is healthy now with the added bonus of being pretty cheap. Bogut is a risk for sure, but also a risk with a lot of potential.
Timofey Mozgov vs. ATL ($4900) – Al Horford is dealing with a knee issue — which is why he did not make the stud center section. It is likely that Horford will gut it out and play, while that is good for Atlanta’s offense, it is also likely to benefit Mozgov to have a less than 100% Horford defending him.
Thanks for reading, you can catch me on Twitter @STCDub.