After a final few weeks that saw lots of NBA players resting, the NBA playoffs are finally here. It’s always one of the best times of the year and we no longer have to worry about rest or uneven minutes. The action gets going early today and FanDuel has tons of big tournaments, including a Bud Light Freeroll.
Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder, $10,700 - The question of the day is Curry or Westbrook on FanDuel. It’s a very difficult decision and it’s obviously hard to go wrong with either option. When presented with that choice this year, I’ve leaned towards Westbrook all season long so I’ll side with the $500 savings today and take Westbrook. He’s been the most consistent fantasy force in the NBA all season long, and is a nightly triple-double threat.
Patrick Beverley, Houston Rockets, $5,000 - This Rockets/Warriors game should feature plenty of points, so it’s a game to really target. While Curry is on a different planet offensively, his defense hasn’t been great this year, and Beverley should play big minutes in an attempt to try to somewhat contain the force that is Curry. He played well over his last ten games and is very fairly priced at just $5,000.
James Harden, Houston Rockets, $10,800 - On a site where you only have to roster one SG, I’d consider fading Harden as both Curry and Westbrook are in great spots. However, on a site like FanDuel where you have to roster two SG, positional scarcity becomes an issue as DeRozan is in a grind-it-out series and Klay Thompson is really a guy I only trust in tournaments. Given that, I’m likely to find a way to squeeze Harden into my lineups. We know he’s going to play 40 minutes a game and he averaged 27 PPG, five RPG, and five APG against Golden State in the regular season as well as 28 PPG, 8 RPG, and six APG in last year’s playoffs.
Wesley Matthews, Dallas Mavericks, $5,000 - As mentioned, I’m not in love with the SG options today, but I do like the minute security Matthews offers at just $5,000. He can be a frustrating player to roster as he provides very little peripheral stats, but with Chandler Parsons out, he’s playing 40 minutes a night and his shot attempts have been on the rise. While he doesn’t bring huge upside to the table, he’s also very unlikely to kill you as he’s hit 20 FD points in eight of his last ten games.
Jae Crowder, Boston Celtics, $5,800 - I’d love to list Kevin Durant here, but there is a salary cap and I’m trying to spend up at PG, SG and PF. I think most will take that approach so there is a lot of merit to basing some tournament lineup construction around Durant. That being said for cash games I’ll be looking to the mid-range at SF. Crowder wasn’t great down the stretch, but we’ve seen him show the ability to provide nice value at this price point over the course of the year. The Hawks are just league average in defending SF, and Crowded played well against them in the regular season averaging 15.3 PPG, 7 RPG, and 1.3 APG.
Harrison Barnes, Golden State Warriors, $4,800 & Andre Iguodala, Golden State Warriors, $3,800 - If you’re in dire need of value I actually don’t mind rostering both of them as the Warriors do check in with the highest team total on the slate at 119 points. My guess is the Rockets task Trevor Ariza with chasing Klay Thompson defensively, so Barnes and Ariza should see plenty of James Harden “defense.” Iguodala’s minutes ramped up down the stretch, and Barnes played well against Houston in the regular season averaging 15.5 PPG, 6 RPG, and 2 APG.
Also Consider - Kevin Durant
Paul Millsap, Atlanta Hawks, $8,900 - There are two high-end options at PF in Millsap and Draymond Green, and to be honest with you, it’s really tough to separate the two. The way I’m approaching it is I’m targeting Draymond for cash games as I think he’s the safer option and facing a Houston defense that is 29th in DvP against PF on the season. However, for tournaments I’m looking towards Millsap. He’s more volatile, but he also brings 60 FD-point upside to the table. Now that it’s the playoffs, I’d expect his minutes to spike and the way to attack Boston is on the interior. He flashed his upside in his last meeting with Boston just a few games ago as he ripped off a monster 65 FD-point performance.
Amir Johnson, Boston Celtics, $4,800 - For cash games, I’d probably like to get up to Serge Ibaka in cash games, but I do like Amir’s potential in tournaments. It’s always risky targeting the Boston interior as their minutes are all very unpredictable. However, the way to attack Atlanta is on the interior and they really struggle to rebound the ball as they are 28th in rebounding differential. That means there is some upside if we can guess right as to which Boston interior option gets solid run. Amir played at least 22 minutes in seven of his last eight games and showed upside against Atlanta as he posted 36 FD points last game, and had another game against Boston with 17 points, eight rebounds, four assists, and six combined blocks and steals.
Dwight Howard, Houston Rockets, $6,900 - For a short slate, there are several very intriguing options at center tonight-led by Howard. I wouldn’t trust him for cash games, but I’ll get some tournament exposure as he has been terrific in each of the past two postseasons. Around Houston, they call it “playoff Dwight” and he’s posted 19 career double-doubles in 23 postseason games with the Rockets, including averaging 14 PPG and 14 RPG against Golden State last year. The problem is that this Rockets team has been very dysfunctional and his performance has been very uneven so I don’t fully trust “playoff Dwight” will show up enough to roster him in cash games.
Andrew Bogut, Golden State Warriors, $4,500 - On the other side of the ball from Howard, I also think Bogut is a very interesting option tonight. I’m expecting to see his minutes jump into the 22 to 25 range on a consistent basis with the playoffs here, especially with the Rockets featuring a big center in Howard. He averaged 32 MPG in two regular season meetings with Houston and averaged 11 PPG, 11 RPG, and 3.5 BPG, so the upside is clearly there if he gets the minute boost that I expect.