As the second round continues, there is only one NBA playoff game on Wednesday night, so all the contests on DraftKings going live this evening include the Wednesday and the Thursday (May 5th) games. If you want a chance to build a roster around the two Game 2’s in the Eastern Conference this round, then this is it. Here is a look at almost all the guys you can use from each night, and why I think you should – or shouldn’t – be targeting them for your lineups.
Kyrie Irving – CLE vs. ATL – $8,300 – Irving has been playing aggressively, and efficiently, through all five of the Cavs’ games so far in the postseason, putting up 18 or more shots in every game, and shooting 46.7% from the floor. He is leading the team in scoring at 26.2 points per game. With the amount he dominates the ball, he has a chance to rack up plenty of other statistics, which has all led to his 41.5 DKFP average so far in the playoffs.
Kyle Lowry – TOR vs. MIA – $7,500 – I would like to say that we just saw Lowry’s worst game of the series, but you’d need more than a small improvement to justify investing in him, and right now, the track record is not showing that that’s about to occur. He has topped 14 points only twice now in the playoffs, struggling throughout Toronto’s first round series with Indiana as well. He’s going to have to improve for the Raptors to advance again, but when a player is shooting 30% and averaging just 13 points a game for any 8-game stretch, I typically want to see at least some improvement before I start believing again.
Goran Dragic – MIA @ TOR – $6,000 – Dragic played a great Game to close out round 1, scoring 25 points on 11-for-17 shooting, and followed it up with a 10-for-20 performance to open up round 2, leading the Heat with 26 points. The combination of someone who can take the pressure off Wade by creating offense off the dribble for himself and teammates, and also be a spot up shooter when Wade is doing the creating, is exactly why he seemed like such a perfect fit when he came to Miami in the first place. Miami will need to continue to rely on the two guards throughout the series, so I would expect to see Dragic continue to receive plenty of minutes and plenty of chances to produce.
Dwyane Wade – MIA @ TOR – $8,000 – See above. When Wade is playing at 100%, he is still the best player on the Heat and often, the best player on the floor. He is capable of producing with big scoring nights, but also routinely pads his fantasy production with his ability to grab rebounds, distribute the ball and record defensive stats as well. Exhibit A: he scored 24 points in game one, good for 46.5 DKFP when you factor in his six boards, 4 assists, 2 steals and 3 blocks.
DeMar DeRozan – TOR vs. MIA – $7,100 – While Wade might often still be capable of being the best player on the floor, DeRozan has been left as the only consistent performer on the Raptors with Lowry’s disappearing act so far in the postseason, and he has not disappointed. Especially if Lowry continues to struggle, the 21 attempts in Game 1 were not an anomaly. He scored 30+ points in the pivotal games 5 and 7 in the Indiana series, both Toronto wins, and they are going to need similar nights from him this time around as the series progresses and he starts to figure out their defensive schemes.
J.R. Smith – CLE vs. ATL – $5,200 – It just doesn’t make a lot of sense for Cleveland to play Dellavedova and Irving at the same time, and they have really no other options at the guard spot. That means that Smith ends up with more opportunities than you might expect, having played a minimum of 34 minutes in every game so far this postseason. He has had a low-water mark of 18.5 DKFP over those five games, with a high of 31.75. That counts as both consistency and upside at this price.
Josh Richardson – MIA @ TOR – $3,100 – Richardson is not the safest play, but when he does come in the game, his job is typically to concentrate on shooting, which makes him a pretty consistent contributor of 15-20 DKFP, which can be valuable at this price, especially in a cash game.
LeBron James – CLE vs. ATL – $11,000 – Whether or not to roster LeBron is really the question of the night tonight, as he is a full $2,200 more expensive than the second-priciest player on the board. His ability to do so many things has made him the perfect cash game option all season long – forget the points, he averaged nine boards and seven assists in the four-game sweep of Detroit in Game 1. He had five steals in Game 1 of this series. He has yet to score fewer than 43 fantasy points in a playoff game, and he flashed his basically unlimited upside a couple of days ago, tallying 58 fantasy points last time out. The answer as to whether or not you should roster him tonight is very likely “yes.” Don’t overthink it.
Luol Deng – MIA @ TOR – $6,900 – There is a mighty big drop-off from LeBron to the next tier here, but once you get to Deng, it actually becomes a deep position. All four active teams have a usable option at the spot, and Miami has two (with both Deng and Joe Johnson actually in the starting lineup). Deng was out there for 39 minutes in Game 1, and came through with 26 fantasy points, a little disappointing for the price. The culprit was the fact that he only scored ten points, as this was his worst output of the playoffs so far, as he had five games with 30+ DKFP in round 1.
Kent Bazemore – ATL @ CLE – $6,300 – Coming off an excellent series against Boston, he has now had 37 or more fantasy points three times since the beginning of the Hawks postseason run and, more importantly, has made himself an important piece of several different facets of the Hawks game planning. He can spread the floor with three-point range, crash the lane, and make valuable contributions on defense, all things that increase his opportunities and translate directly into more and more fantasy production.
Joe Johnson – MIA @ TOR – $4,800 – The other Miami small forward, Johnson has also played at least 33 minutes in every game since Game 1 of the Charlotte series. He now has 20+ fantasy points in four of his last five, and a minimum of 27.75 in three of those. With 19 attempts in Game 1 of this series, to go along with seven boards, the is no reason to expect his production to tail off now.
DeMarre Carroll – TOR vs. MIA – $4,300 – In an ideal world for the Raptors, he is not doing a lot of scoring, instead focusing mainly on defense, which, obviously, is why he is priced so low. But since returning to a full allocation of minutes in Game 3 of the Pacers series, he has been above 20 DKFP four times in six tries; great production for the price.
Paul Millsap – ATL @ CLE – $8,800 – The Cleveland defense is strong up front, and now Millsap knows it, after being held to 6-for-19 shooting in Game 1. But the benefit for him is that while Cleveland plays great interior defense, they don’t have a rebounder with dominant size, which should mean that Millsap can exceed his season averages on the glass all series long. He started that off on the right track in Game 1 with 13 boards, which enabled him to crack 50 DKFP despite the poor shooting performance. Despite the tough matchup on paper, I think he has big upside in every game as long as this series progresses.
Kevin Love – CLE vs. ATL – $8,100 – This matchup isn’t as plum as the Detroit pairing for Love, but it seems like it doesn’t matter much. Maybe his great round 1 performances finally took the lid off because he was asserting himself on both ends of the floor against the Hawks last time out. He might have only been 4-for-17 from the floor, but if that number of attempts stays flat, I would expect the FG% to only go up from here. And with the 11 rebounds he added, he was still good for 38.75 DKFP (34.0 DKFP is his lowest-scoring game in the five playoff victories for the Cavs thus far).
Tristan Thompson – CLE vs. ATL – $4,500 – No one else on the list really even plays enough to be considered for any fantasy roster, so, essentially, the choices end here for values. It made sense coming in that the Cavs were going to need to have him out there to combat the size of the Hawks, and that came to fruition in Game 1, as he played 40 minutes. With that much time on the court, he pulled in 14 boards, which is to be expected with his skill-set at that usage rate. The minutes were the most he’s played so far in the postseason, but I see that trend continuing, and that makes him a threat for a double-double every night.
Hassan Whiteside – MIA @ TOR – $7,800 – Rostering him is a pure upside move that should be relegated mainly to GPP-style contests. While he is most likely to get you somewhere between 30-40 DKFP, his floor is closer to 20. Whiteside does posses the upside to get to 50-60 DKFP, which is what makes him an attractive option on this slate. He’s the most expensive center, and rightfully so.
Jonas Valanciunas – TOR vs. MIA – $6,600 – Valanciunas showed an ability to more than hold his own against Miami’s frontcourt in Game 1. This is why defensive rankings on paper can be deceiving – in this instance, Miami has a really big, really good defender in the paint, and he is capable of disrupting the activities in the lane for most teams. Then again, most teams don’t have a big man who can match up to him in sheer physicality, but the way Jonas is playing right now, he is one of the few who can. Fourteen rebounds, three blocks and 10-for-16 shooting an ideal game from your big man. I like JoVal again on this slate.
Bismack Biyombo – TOR vs. MIA – $3,500 – Beyond Biyombo, you are in danger of getting fewer than ten minutes of court time, so choosing someone that inexpensive isn’t even an option. Biyombo is being used to fill the depth-void at PF for the Raptors, and he has upside in the teens-to-low-twenties, not bad for a price this low. He averaged right around 20 DKFP per game for the Indiana series, in which he never went out and got you fewer than 16.