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.
WAS @ ATL over/under 200.5, Hawks -7
The Wizards have gone all-in on their small-ball lineup with Paul Pierce at the power forward position and Drew Gooden backing him up, giving them two three-point threats at the position. It’s really opened up the lane for John Wall-Marcin Gortat pick and rolls as well as cuts by the all of a sudden heavily involved Otto Porter. Both Peirce and Porter make for excellent value plays at a weak small forward position on this slate and I wouldn’t hesitate in the slightest at rostering both. John Wall is dealing with a swollen hand, which would lead me to prefer Stephen Curry at the position, but it’s hard to argue with the masterful performance Wall turned in for the Game 1 victory. If Wall sputters at all, the red-hot Bradley Beal would be the biggest beneficiary. Nene Hilario continues to start, but he’s backing up Gortat at best once he plays the first 5-6 minutes of each half and played just 17 total minutes in Game 1.
The Hawks resumed limiting the minutes of both Jeff Teague and Al Horford in game one of this series, but Horford had a monster game anyway. He feels pretty close to a must-play on this slate as he could do some ridiculous things if he gets into the mid-to-high 30s in minutes in any of these games. Teague is a solid play at his price, but he’s not going to consistently provide you with big games in just 29-31 minutes. He needs bigger minutes to produce consistently and be worthy of the opportunity cost of passing on guys like John Wall and Stephen Curry. Paul Millsap, Kyle Korver and DeMarre Carroll all make for elite plays thanks to averaging nearly 40 minutes per game in the playoffs. Millsap is the highest upside guy, but is also far and away the most expensive of the Hawks and now that Draymond Green is listed at power forward, it’s one of the deepest positions on this slate. None of the Hawks bench players topped 20 minutes and they can all be avoided.
Attack: Al Horford, Jeff Teague, DeMarre Carroll, Paul Millsap, Bradley Beal
Avoid: Nene Hilario, Dennis Schroder
Value: Kyle Korver, Otto Porter, Paul Pierce
MEM @ GSW over/under 196.5, Warriors -11
It remains to be seen if Mike Conley will be able to suit up tonight following surgery for his facial injury, but it sounds like he’ll warm up at least, which is a great sign. It clear the Grizzlies don’t trust their backup point guard duo of Nick Calathes and Beno Udrih right now as they played 3 different stretches of Game 1 without a true point guard on the floor, running most of the offense through Marc Gasol as the facilitator. I don’t think either of the point guard options are playable if Conley does not suit up and Conley is a tournament play at best despite his nice price tag if he does go. If Conley can’t go, both Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph make for great plays as both as more involved int he offense, while the rest of the Grizzlies are a fantasy wasteland for the most part. When Tony Allen is your third leading scorer in a playoff game, you know you’re having trouble finding scoring, but he’s playing heavy minutes defending Stephen Curry and that makes him a more than adequate fantasy play with his defensive prowess.
Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry are simply underpriced for the Warriors when they are playing 37+ minutes a night in the playoffs. They are each elite scorers who can perform better in peripheral categories than they did in game one. The biggest thing is keeping Memphis in the game if they don’t have Mike Conley, because the Warriors held a commanding lead, with an average lead of 11.6 points in Game 1. Draymond Green was limited to just 28 minutes due to foul trouble in each quarter, but he’ll likely bounce back to around 35-40 in Game 2. The Warriors continue to try and limit Andrew Bogut's minutes in games like Game 1, so I wouldn’t count on anything more than 25 minutes from him unless the game is coming down to the wire. Harrison Barnes has taken a major backseat to Andre Iguodala in the playoffs, but neither is a recommended fantasy option right now as the Warriors are going to rely on their starting backcourt for most of their scoring.
Attack: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol
Avoid: Mike Conley, Harrison Barnes, Nick Calathes, Beno Udrih, Courtney Lee
Value: Andrew Bogut, Tony Allen