FanDuel Bargain Bin
The onset of the NBA playoffs is like a new season for DFS. Rotations become much more predictable relative to the first couple weeks of April, and everything is on the line for every team still playing. That helps in some ways, but it makes finding good value a bit more of a challenge. In a slight deviation from my normal format, I’m going to list the players under $6000 on FanDuel that I’d consider for the slate, and then give my opinion on how to approach each position/player.
Raymond Felton $5600
J.J. Barea $4800
George Hill $4500
With four top options at the point tonight, it isn’t the best place to save your salary dollars. That said, going cheap here could be the contrarian move that pays off if your expensive bigs go nuts.
Dallas is the first place to look for value as Deron Williams sounds like he’ll at least be limited tonight (officially questionable). Felton is my first choice to benefit, as he can also play at the two alongside Williams or Barea and has scored well in the past two games. He added value with 11 rebounds in Game 2 and four steals in Game 3 while logging at least 30 minutes in all three games.
Barea is probable to play through his groin injury again and did well Thursday as Williams sat out Game 3. Groin injuries can be debilitating though, and I’m not likely to take the chance on a bad tweak early in the game that forces Barea to the bench.
If you really want to save big and like me, don’t want to risk Barea, Hill is the answer. The starter at home should continue to play close to 30-35 minutes and while he hasn’t done anything DFS worthy yet in the series thanks to Toronto’s very good guard defense, Hill can bust out for a huge game at any time. Given his lackluster stat lines thus far in the playoffs, you can count on low ownership with decent upside for very cheap.
Monta Ellis $5800
J.J. Redick $4800
Wes Matthews $5000
Courtney Lee $3900
Jeremy Lin $4200
Shooting guard is the place to save with at least one slot and there are enough options to allow for unique lineup combinations on this four game slate.
I’m not loading up on cheap Pacers, for the defensive reasons I just gave for Hill, but Ellis is locked into 30+ minutes as well and was pretty solid in the first two games of the series. His peripheral production has been steady, so as long as his shot is falling he’s a good candidate to reach value in the mid-range.
The Clippers-Trail Blazers game is not only the highest scoring game of the night, but Vegas has it even odds. Cheap exposure to this game could be very valuable for your DFS lineups tonight. Redick has scored exactly 17 points in each of the first two games with basically nothing else to boost his fantasy line. As Chris Paul continues to dominate, Redick might be an afterthought, but he feels like a safe value play at SG tonight.
Wes Matthews finally broke out in Game 3, scoring 22 points in the blowout loss and adding five rebounds, two assists, and two steals. Hopefully that performance builds some confidence he can take into tonight’s must win game.
Again, if you really want to save here—and there are good reasons to do so—Lee is always underowned. Miami is a great defensive team, but Lee has played 33 and 42 minutes in the first two games of this series, and you just can’t get that kind of opportunity for his price anywhere else. He hasn’t scored more than 12 points in April, but he does provide some steals, rebounds, and assists and it doesn’t take much to reach 20 FanDuel points. I think he’s good bet for that and more tonight as it’s likely that his usage goes up with Nicolas Batum out.
Which bring us to Lin. Lin has been the primary beneficiary with Batum sidelined this season, but has struggled to put up numbers in this series, despite playing around 25 minutes per game. My take is that Lin will be more popular, but for slightly more salary and equal or lesser production than Lee tonight.
Al-Farouq Aminu $5500
Moe Harkless $5300
DeMarre Carroll $4800
Between Aminu and Harkless, the obvious choice is Aminu, who has been more consistent across the board in these playoffs. Harkless had some great moments to finish out the regular season for Portland, logging most of his minutes at the four, but hasn’t put up great numbers vs. the Clippers so far. With such a narrow price difference, I can’t justify playing Harkless over Aminu tonight.
Carroll finally brought it Thursday night, scoring 17 and logging five rebounds to help the Raptors to a big win in Indiana. I think that’s closer to his likely output going forward than the rusty results of the first two games of this series. Take advantage of the low price tonight.
Serge Ibaka $6000
Myles Turner $5500
Marvin Williams $5000
Patrick Patterson $3900
If we’re thinking of beneficiaries from Batum’s absence, don’t forget Luol Deng. He’s not bargain eligible, but at $6700 should continue to play well tonight. As should Ibaka, who has put together three very good games vs. Dallas in this series, earning back his old nickname with six blocks so far to go along with substantial rebounding and scoring (around 15/8 per game).
Turner remains a bit of a wild card; we know what he can do, but we’ve also seen him disappear, in terms of playing time and production. I’d reserve him for tournaments only tonight given that the price isn’t attractive enough to mitigate a potentially very low floor. The fact that he’s starting over Lavoy Allen will boost his ownership and provides some stability as far as minutes go, but I’m still hesitant.
Williams has been non-existent in this series after a really strong regular season. The minutes are there, and despite the fact that Miami’s frontcourt defense is solid, Williams could be a sneaky good play today as Charlotte needs this home win to stay alive in the series.
Speaking of non-existent players, Luis Scola has done nothing for Toronto so far, opening the door for Patterson to make an impact for near minimum price. He’s put up between about 15-24 FanDuel points in the last three games, which is decent for the price. Sometimes you want security, sometimes you want upside. Patterson is more the former.
Al Jefferson $5800
Mason Plumlee $5600
Enes Kanter $4700
I personally want to spend up at center, but think any of these three make for reasonable punt plays at the position. Jefferson reminded us of the kind of player he used to be in Game 2, putting up 25 points (he’s scored at least 20 points three times this month, actually) on the Heat and like I’ve said, his usage should go up in Batum’s absence as well.
I’m not buying Plumlee, but plenty of people will chase his 45.5 fantasy point performance from Wednesday night. He shouldn’t be terrible, but I think 25 is closer to a reasonable expectation than 45.
It’s clear that Kanter is the preferred option at the five in this series for Oklahoma City, given he’s averaging well over a fantasy point per minute. The upside Kanter offers for his salary makes him a perfect tournament target tonight.