Welcome to the NBA Playoff Targets post. Here's a preview of each matchup and my thoughts on the top picks, other value picks to consider, and some players to avoid for tonight.
ATL @ BKN over/under 199, Hawks -4.5
The Hawks have begun to play their starters much heavier minutes over the past two games as the Nets have started to really push them in this series that was expected to be a cakewalk. That’s predictably been great news for all of their fantasy values as their prices were simply too low after cruising through the season. Al Horford has scored 45 or more fantasy points in both games he’s topped 35 minutes in this series and could easily do that again tonight at a steal of a price. He’s much more valuable than Brook Lopez and DeAndre Jordan right now. Jeff Teague is another, who was playing right around 30 minutes in most games prior to the last two and has exploded for 40 fantasy points in nearly 40 minutes in each of the past two games. He rolled his ankle last game, but returned, so be sure to keep an eye on that before locking him in. If he couldn’t go or is limited, that could help us find some value at a position without any in Dennis Schroeder who has really struggled over the past few games. Each of the Hawks wings, DeMarre Carroll and Kyle Korver have been playing heavy minutes all series and make for excellent cash game plays with some upside if they are hitting jumpers. Paul Millsap remains Paul Millsap, a guy who can score 25 fantasy points just as easily as he can score 50 and good luck figuring out which days he’s going to do that. The extended starters minutes have really left the entire bench out in the cold in terms of fantasy value.
The Nets are playing a very tight rotation as well, essentially seven guys in Game 5. Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez have been the cornerstones of their attack and make for really consistent plays. Johnson remains underpriced and is going to continue to be heavily owned until that price rises when he’s playing over 40 minutes per game. There’s very little downside there with the way he’s been rebounding. Lopez is a little pricey for me with Al Horford looking so good, but he has easily as much upside as Horford when he’s blocking three shots per game as he has in the last four games. The rest of this team remains inconsistent. We saw one great game from Deron Williams, then saw him cede most of the point guard playing time and production to Jarrett Jack last game. I don’t love either, but I’d rather take the risk on Jack at a much lower price. Thaddeus Young is a fine GPP play, but plays the most stacked position on this slate, while the other wings offer little help to us in fantasy. Alan Anderson has some scoring upside, but can disappear, while Bojan Bogdanovic has been much more productive at home this season and this series, where he’ll play tonight.
SAS @ LAC over/under 203.5, Clippers -2
The Clippers eked out another impressive road win in this series to send it to a do-or-die Game 7 for both of these teams. The Spurs got contributions from all over the place with Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili all playing very limited minutes in that one, while Kawhi Leonard struggled from the field, going just 3-for-15. Leonard will get it going again in Game 7 and play heavy minutes, making him a heavily owned play you can only really fade in GPPs and even then it’s tough to do at such a weak position. I’d expect Parker and Ginobili to each see more minutes than they did last game, but it doesn’t look like Gregg Popovich is afraid to go away from them down the stretch at this point. They each have high-upside, but are more GPP value plays than guys you can count on for much. Duncan has been an amazing fantasy asset when he plays heavy minutes in this series, averaging over 50 fantasy points when he plays at least 38 minutes. I’d expect them to get every last minute they can out of him in Game 7 and he’s far and away my favorite play on this entire slate for his price. Marco Belinelli poured in more fantasy points than minutes in Game 6 and while I don’t trust him, he makes for an interesting GPP play at his price on a slate without many. One of Belinelli or Ginobili is likely to have a great game. Boris Diaw and Tiago Splitter both posted serviceable games last time out, totalling over 50 fantasy points between them. Assuming Duncan plays more minutes, one of them is likely to take a hit though. I’d expect that to be Splitter with rumors the Clippers will play small without Glen Davis.
The Clippers have been draining everything they can out of their two stars, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. They are both consistently playing over 40 minutes per night and have racked up ten 50 fantasy point games in the series. If you can play both, I’d play both, but that’s no easy task with the lack of value on a two-game slate. The rest of the Clippers have really struggled. DeAndre Jordan has been fine, but far from worthy of his price as a stacked center position. JJ Redick has been playing heavy minutes, but hasn’t been productive due to the Spurs excellent wing defense and his lack of peripheral production, but he has some nice upside if he gets hot. Matt Barnes has ceded most of his fourth quarter minutes to an equally bad Jamal Crawford. I’d prefer to avoid both of them if possible. Spencer Hawes will likely pick up Glen Davis’ minutes and he’s incredibly cheap, but has low upside and the Clippers have been doing everything they can not to play him whenever possible.