We’re back to a two-game slate tonight with Cleveland at Atlanta (+3, 200 total on the NBA odds board), and San Antonio at Oklahoma City (+2, 198.5). Both of these games were on yesterday’s slate, so the analysis will remain mostly the same with the exception being we don’t have the options from Toronto and Miami.
Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers, $7,900 – I certainly don’t mind Russell Westbrook if you have the cap space, but I’m prioritizing a guy like LeBron James as my top option on this slate. Westbrook also saw plenty of Kawhi Leonard in San Antonio so the matchup isn’t ideal, and outside of Westbrook, Kyrie has been the most consistent option at PG for these playoffs. Atlanta is a solid defense but they just don’t match up well with Cleveland, and their struggles date back to last year’s playoffs and this regular season. Kyrie is unlikely to give you 50 FanDuel points, but he’s been consistently producing 35 to 40 FD points, which is better than the other options on this slate.
Jeff Teague, Atlanta Hawks, $6,200 – Nailing down a second PG is pretty tough on this slate. For cash games, I’d rank Dennis Schroder and Tony Parker ahead of Teague, with Parker probably being the safest of the group. However, for tournaments I think figuring out this Atlanta PG is situation will be key. Vegas is telling us Atlanta is going to be play better today, and the Cavs weakest position on defense is PG. That means one of Teague or Schroder have some solid upside here, but the problem is which one to target as their minutes really fluctuate on a game to game basis. Given the price discrepancy and Schroder’s scoring outburst in Game 1, I think Teague will be the lower owned option, so that’s where I’ll look to in a tournament lineup. His minutes are iffy, but he’s shown 40 FD point upside at times this season and did averaged 20 PPG and 7 APG against Cleveland in the regular season.
J.R. Smith, Cleveland Cavaliers, $5,000 – With DeMar DeRozan and Dwyane Wade off the table, there is nowhere to spend at SG. That leaves Smith as the clear-cut top option at a very affordable price. He went off in Game 2 and is shooting the ball really well right now. Prior to his Game 2 explosion, he posted at least 21 FD points in four of his previous five games, and he is seeing 35 minutes a game. With all of the attention that LeBron will draw, he should also continue to see some solid looks from three point land.
Danny Green, San Antonio Spurs, $4,100 – I’m avoiding Kyle Korver because the Cavs have not left him at all this series and are even face guarding him at times. That means I’ll be dropping down to the one of the SG options for the Spurs, and it’s a tough choice between Green and Manu Ginobili. For cash games, I’ll take the minute security with Green. Kawhi Leonard has spent plenty of time guarding Russell Westbrook, which means the Spurs need Green to play more minutes on Durant. As a result, he played 26 minutes in the Game 1 blowout and then 36 minutes in the Game 2 loss. He’s still shooting reliant, but his minutes should be secure this series. As far as Manu goes, his playoff minutes look like they’ll be in the 20 minute range. At just $3,800, he can easily average a fantasy point per minute to pay off his salary, especially when he’s matchup with the defense of Dion Waiters.
LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers, $10,600 – Even with Kawhi Leonard and Kevin Durant as SF options today, LeBron is the first guy I’m putting into my lineups, as this is a great matchup for him. Atlanta just doesn’t have anyone to deal with him and he’s had a ton of success against this Atlanta team dating back to last year’s playoffs. The only reason he didn’t put up a monster Game 2 performance was due to the blowout, and he’s averaging near 1.5 FD points per minute in this series. With this game in Atlanta it should be more competitive, which should mean he returns to his 40 MPG and another big stat line.
Kent Bazemore, Atlanta Hawks, $5,800 – With LeBron, Durant and Kawhi all on this slate, spending up at both SF spots should be popular. For tournaments, I’ll switch things up and spend up at PF and then roll with Bazemore at the other SF spot. He ruined a ton of lineups in Game 2 (including mine), but I’ll go back to the well as he’s otherwise played well in the playoffs and was solid against Cleveland in the regular season. Vegas is expecting this game to be much more competitive, so we should see a few of these Hawks bounce back with solid efforts.
Paul Millsap, Atlanta Hawks, $8,900 – Millsap was the one Atlanta player that was half-way decent in Game 2, as he put up a double double and had 31 FD points in only 27 minutes. He’s averaging well over a fantasy point per minute against Cleveland and the matchup with Kevin Love is certainly not one to fear. If Atlanta is going to keep this one close like Vegas thinks, Millsap as Atlanta’s top player should be a major reason why.
LaMarcus Aldridge, San Antonio Spurs, $8,600 – I’m looking to spend up at PF and Aldridge is just crushing Serge Ibaka in this series. He’s not going to continue to shoot 75%, so I understand the arguments for the fade, however, he’s always played well against Ibaka. In Portland, he averaged 27 points, 9 rebounds and 2 assists in 2014-2015 and then 26 points, 13 rebounds and 2 assists in 2013-2014. My worry here is not Aldridge shooting regression, but rather whether OKC changes their defensive strategy to give Ibaka some help and double Aldridge. If they don’t make that change, I think Aldridge continues to put up bigtime numbers in this series.
Tristan Thompson, Cleveland Cavaliers, $4,800 – He only put up 14 FD points in Game 2, so he was a quality fade, but that is not going to scare me, as he only played 19 minutes due to the extreme blowout. He’s still averaging .75 FD points per minutes in this series and this series sets up perfectly for him because his strength is rebounding, which happens to be Atlanta’s weakness. With this game holding a three-point spread, he should return to his 35 minutes, and given his per minute production he should put up a quality outing like we saw in Game 1.
Steven Adams, Oklahoma City Thunder, $4,900 –I’m looking to save at center today because the Cavs have done a great job of limiting the upside for Al Horford. I’m giving the slight edge to Tristan Thompson due a better matchup, but I also do like Steven Adams. This series looks like it’s going to set up better for Adams than Enes Kanter because the Thunder need his defense, rebounding and physical presence on the interior. The Spurs are an elite interior defense, but Adams has been terrific in the first two games. He’s also not as affected by the Spurs interior defense as he’s not reliant on scoring, but rather racks up rebounds, blocks, and easy shots off of penetration and/or offensive rebounds.