The Western Conference teams are getting some rest until Friday and Saturday, so we’re left with a two-game FanDuel slate spanning Wednesday and Thursday, with the Hawks at the Cavs (-7.5, 197 total on the NBA odds board) and the Heat at the Raptors (-4.5, 188.5). Out of the two games, I’d prefer to target the Atlanta/Cleveland, because the game in Toronto was pretty ugly last night.
Dennis Schroder, Atlanta Hawks, $3,900 – After his Game 1 performance and at this price, he is going to be the chalk at PG. He outperformed Jeff Teague in Game 1 and was able to take advantage of the Cavs’ weakness on defense against the PG position. For cash games I’d roll him out there, but I think he makes for an interesting tournament fade; this is a rare instance where the backup will be highly owned, but the starter will not be. Atlanta’s PG rotation has been far from predictable this season, so it’s certainly possible that Teague plays well and goes back to receiving more minutes at PG.
Goran Dragic, Miami Heat, $6,500 – Kyrie Irving is a quality option, but I was having a tough time squeezing him in my lineups. Dragic is a guy that has been off my radar for most of the playoffs, but he’s really picked up his game lately. He’s posted two straight very strong games, and Kyle Lowry just has not been himself these playoffs. The Raptors matched the Heat by inserting Norman Powell into the starting lineup, so both teams are playing small, which could help open up some driving lanes for Dragic.
DeMar DeRozan, Toronto Raptors, $7,400 – It’s a really tough choice between Dwyane Wade and DeMar DeRozan at SG because they are basically the same price. For cash games, I’m leaning towards Wade, but for tournaments I think DeRozan will the lower owned of the two after Wade’s big Game 1. This is a must win Game 2 for Toronto, so I think we see DeRozan come out with a strong outing, and he did perform very well against Miami in the regular season.
J.R. Smith, Cleveland Cavaliers, $4,700 – A guy like Terrence Ross is an interesting punt option for a tournament, but I can’t trust him in a cash game. Smith is typically thought of as a volatile option, but he’s been very steady at an affordable price. He’s posted at least 21 FD points in four of his last 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.
LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers, $10,600 – He’s the first guy I’m putting into my lineups. Not only is he the biggest star on this slate, but this is also a great matchup for LeBron. 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. He once again had a big Game 1 and it just doesn’t seem like Atlanta has any answer for him.
Kent Bazemore, Atlanta Hawks, $5,800 – I faded Bazemore in the series opener, and it was a mistake so I’m back on board now. I was worried about the matchup with LeBron, but Bazemore was incredibly active on both ends of the court. He was aggressive in looking for his shot and was also really attacking the glass. He’s still just $5,800 and has played well the entire playoffs.
Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers, $7,600 – Love really struggled shooting the ball in Game 1, but still managed 34.7 FD points, which is a very good sign moving forward. He should be able to post strong rebounding numbers against a weak rebounding Atlanta team, and PF is thin on this two-game slate.
Paul Millsap, Atlanta Hawks, $8,900 – PF is paper thin on this slate; only 3 PF on this slate even started in Game 1. I don’t love the price on Millsap, but I’ll do my best to squeeze him in due to the weak position. His minutes were really extended -- he played 40 minutes and despite a poor shooting night, he was able to post 47 FD points.
Tristan Thompson, Cleveland Cavaliers, $4,800 – He’s the clear cash game option for me; he’s just too cheap. This series matches up perfect for him because his strength is rebounding, which happens to be Atlanta’s weakness. He played 40 minutes in Game 1 and put together a strong outing, and has performed well against them all season long.
Jonas Valanciunas, Toronto Raptors, $6,200 – If you’re looking to get unique for tournaments, Valanciunas should be lower owned than Thompson due to their price differential. The matchup is tough on paper, but Valanciunas was very good in Game 1. If Toronto sticks with their small lineup, his rebounding sees a boost, and the 36 minutes he played in regulation were notable, although it’s tough to trust coach Dwane Casey on a game to game basis with Jonas.