The playoffs continue and so do daily fantasy leagues. Friday we will be treated to a very interesting player pool. Most notably, I found no big man values that excited me. Anyway, here are the guys I like tonight:
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POINT GUARD TARGETS
* Kyrie Irving @ CHI ($8700) – Chris Paul might or might not play tonight, even if he does, it is a huge risk to spend $9500 on a guy playing at less than 100% — even if that guy is Chris Paul. Irving is 100% or as close to it as any player can be at this point in the season. Better yet, Irving played better on the road than at home this season, and was even better against Chicago than he has on the road.
* Derrick Rose vs. CLE ($7700) – Rose likes playing against Cleveland. In his first five games against Cleveland this season, Rose has averaged 5.7 more fantasy-points per game than he has on average. Throw in the fact that he played better at home than on the road, and has considerably fewer games of wear and tear on his body this season than the players he will be facing, and you get the recipe for another good fantasy game out of Rose on Friday.
* Austin Rivers vs. HOU ($4300) – Obviously, Rivers is a much better play if Chris Paul is out — though Paul was out Wednesday and Rivers was less than impressive. Even if Paul plays, odds are Paul’s playing time will be at least somewhat limited. There is a pretty wide spread to what Rivers can do tonight — realistically anywhere from five to 35 fantasy-points. With Paul hurting I am expecting 15+ fantasy-points.
* Pablo Prigioni @ LAC ($3100) – You cannot expect a guy playing 20 minutes a game to provide huge numbers, so you should not expect Prigioni to do so. What you can expect, is some points with a 20’ish fantasy-point upside from Pablo. No, that is nothing exciting, but it is acceptable from a $3100 player, and gives you extra money to spend elsewhere.
SHOOTING GUARD TARGETS
* James Harden @ LAC ($10100) – Yes, that is a lot of money for one player. As you might have noticed, Harden usually ended up being a good value this season despite lofty price tags. Harden managed 50.75 fantasy-points in game one, followed that up with 48.25 on Wednesday. Better yet, Harden has been dishing out more assists than normal lately so even if he struggles shooting the ball, he is a pretty safe play.
* Jimmy Butler vs. CLE ($8400) – I like guys who play better in the playoffs than they did in the regular season, that is exactly what Butler has done so far. IN game one he had 41.8 fantasy-points against Cleveland, in that and his previous two games he averaged 42.8 fantasy-points — his season average was 37.5 fantasy-points per game. He did struggle with his shot in game two, but Butler shooting only 35.7% from the field again on Friday is not very likely. Butler is a bit of a risk, but also has some nice upside.
* Jamal Crawford vs. HOU ($4900) – Crawford is probably the biggest risk/reward play tonight. He has games of 11.75 fantasy-points and 35.75 fantasy-points already during the playoffs. Since the 35.75 fantasy-point game came against Houston, and Crawford averaged over 32 fantasy-points per game against the Rockets during the regular season, I am expecting a reward from Crawford on Friday.
SMALL FORWARD TARGETS
* LeBron James @ CHI ($11200) – If you have not noticed yet, James has been a monster in the playoffs. Better yet, his worst fantasy game in the playoffs so far has been 42.0 fantasy-points. James is expensive for sure, but he is safe with a ton of upside too.
* Trevor Ariza @ LAC ($5700) – It is the small things that impress me sometimes. The little thing this time is Ariza’s splits. He has been better on the road than at home, he has been better against the Clippers than he has been in his average games, plus he put up 36.25 fantasy-points against the Clippers in game one, 37.8 in game two.
* Matt Barnes vs. HOU ($5300) – For a player who averaged 20.9 fantasy-points per game during the regular season, 6.3 fantasy-points is a big deal. 6.3 fantasy-points is how many more per game Barnes has had this season against Houston than in his average game. Yeah, I think that helps qualify Barnes as a value.
POWER FORWARD TARGETS
* Blake Griffin vs. HOU ($10500) – Simply put, Griffin has been the best fantasy player thus far in the playoffs. I suppose you could complain about the lack of three-pointers, but if you do, you really have a problem. All Griffin has done is average 63.2 fantasy-points per game in his last five games. That makes him a great value even with a $10500 price tag.
* Pau Gasol vs. CLE ($8500) – If you just cannot manage to get Griffin on your team, Gasol is a pretty good fall back option. As you might expect, he has been good at home this season. He did have a bad game on Wednesday, but that was his only game with fewer than 33 fantasy-points in his last ten games.
* Dwight Howard @ LAC ($8300) – Where was this Howard during the regular season? Howard has scored 57.25, 48.5 and 59.5 fantasy-points in his last three games, and over the last four is averaging 48.4 fantasy-points per game, despite a 28.25 fantasy-point game included in that average. While Howard has only played the Clipper twice this season — both playoff games — he has averaged 54 fantasy-points in those two games.
* DeAndre Jordan vs. HOU ($7800) – If you like centers who cannot shot free throws then you are in for a treat Friday. Luckily, Draft Kings does not punish for missed free throws so Jordan’s 40% free throw percentage does not really matter. What does matter is the fact that Jordan has averaged 44.5 fantasy-points per game in six contests against Houston this season.
Thanks for reading, you can catch me on Twitter @STCDub.