This may be the last slate of the second round as both the Celtics and Spurs are in position to eliminate their respective opponents. Both will have to do so on the road, however, so there’s a good chance we’ll have more second round action after Friday.
The most important thing to keep an eye on is the status of Kawhi Leonard, who is currently listed as questionable. If he’s unable to play, minutes are going to open up for several Spurs, and we’ll likely have a handful of cheap value plays to take shots on. Let’s take a look at tonight’s FanDuel picks.
Patty Mills, San Antonio Spurs, $4,600 – Mills is going to be extremely popular after logging 43 minutes in Game 5's overtime win over Houston. Dejounte Murray didn’t see the court, and with the Spurs looking to clinch the series, I expect Mills to play as many minutes as he can handle once again. On a two-game slate with few reliable value options, Mills is a guy you’re going to want a ton of exposure to despite the fact that he’s going to be extremely high owned. If Kawhi Leonard sits, he’ll be a must as he’ll be asked to take on a larger role offensively.
John Wall, Washington Wizards, $10,600 – This series seems destined to go to seven games as the home team keeps winning handily. I fully expect Washington to avoid elimination on Friday to force a game seven in Boston. This should come on the heels of big performance from Wall, who has been a fantasy monster at home in this series. He’ll play all the minutes he can handle in a must-win situation, and I think he finishes north of 50 fantasy points in what should be another fast-paced, high-scoring game.
James Harden, Houston Rockets, $12,400 – With Houston fighting to send this series to a Game 7, expect Harden to play all the minutes he can handle in what should be another close game between the Rockets and Spurs. Harden’s likely to post another one of his huge fantasy lines and should easily eclipse the 50 fantasy point threshold. There are certainly some shooting guard options that are worth gambling on, but your primary focus should be to get as much exposure to Harden as possible. I think tonight we see the kind of score that you won’t be able to finish high in a tournament without.
Manu Ginobili, San Antonio Spurs, $2,800 – Ginobili turned back the clock and stepped up for San Antonio once Kawhi Leonard went down in Game 5, and if Leonard is unable to suit up for Game 6, we can expect an increased role once again. If Leonard is out, Ginobili makes for a fairly simple play given he’ll likely double his recent playing time. If Leonard plays, I think we can still take some shots on Ginobili given his ability to rack up fantasy points quickly and the possibility that Gregg Popovich gives him extra run in a possibly series-clinching game. Plus, the other shooting guard options aren’t particularly appealing as I don’t expect much from the Boston guys on the road, and players like Eric Gordon and Lou Williams don’t have much upside. Bradley Beal continues to be overpriced and doesn’t interest me much.
Jonathon Simmons, San Antonio Spurs, $2,500 – Simmons has played no less than 15 minutes in any of the previous five games on this series, and while 15 minutes isn’t a lot, he still managed a respectable 15.7 fantasy points during that time. Two games ago, he logged 23 minutes, and with Kawhi Leonard suffering an injury in Game 5, he saw 32 minutes of court time. Clearly, if Leonard is out or expected to be limited, Simmons is a must play at just $2,500. However, even if Leonard is a full health, Simmons is a solid punt option given his upside relative to his extremely cheap price tag. Plus, the cap relief allows you to get important players like John Wall and James Harden into your lineups, which, on a short slate, is invaluable.
Otto Porter, Washington Wizards, $5,400 – Porter’s worst showing of this series was a 22.8 fantasy point finish in Game 5, but with the series moving back to DC, I’m expecting Porter to do what he did in Games 1 through 4 I’m penciling him in for another 30+ fantasy point performance in what should be a fast-paced, high-scoring game against Boston. I think he and Jae Crowder have the same range of outcomes, but given Porter is cheaper, he’s the preferred play.
Ryan Anderson, Houston Rockets, $4,200 – As expected, coming off the bench didn’t impact Anderson’s playing time as he logged 36 minutes during Houston’s overtime loss to San Antonio. Expect over 30 minutes once again, and with the power forward position looking bleak, he’s an obvious value play at just $4,200. He’ll be popular, but his low floor makes him an intriguing fade candidate in tournaments. The problem, however, is the lack of attractive plays to target instead, though if Kawhi Leonard is out, LaMarcus Aldridge becomes a player worth paying for.
Markieff Morris, Washington Wizards, $5,500 – LaMarcus Aldridge is the preferred option if Kawhi Leonard is unable to suit up tonight. With Leonard out, Aldrige will take on a much more prominent role on the offensive end of the floor, and he’ll likely grab a handful of extra rebounds as well. If Leonard plays, I’m not terribly interested as Aldridge often becomes an afterthought.
My expectation is that Washington wins Game 6, and given the fast-paced, high-scoring nature of this series, and the fact that head coach Scott Brooks is likely to play his starters as many minutes as possible as long as the game is close, I’m locking Morris in for heavy minutes tonight. I think it’s very unlikely he finishes below 25 fantasy points, and something north of 30 seems probable. He’s a solid play at his price tag.
Marcin Gortat, Washington Wizards, $5,300 – I’m going to continue pushing Gortat at center for a few reasons. One, he’s cheap at just $5,300, and given he crushed value in Games 1 through 3, the upside relative to his salary is the best on the slate. Despite disappointing in the past two games, he still draws a solid matchup, and you want exposure to a guy who can get you 6x or 7x. Two, his salary is very manageable, and the ability to roster studs like John Wall and James Harden is extremely valuable tonight. Gortat is the clear best option at the center position, and he’s the guy I’d look to get the most exposure to.