You can read my introduction to these series here. The big picture pace, offensive and defensive efficiency, and matchup considerations haven't changed, so from here on, I'll just focus on what has happened and for today specifically, what we've learned from Game 1. I'll highlight a few players to target, avoid, or find value with from each game.
San Antonio Spurs @ Los Angelos Clippers Over/Under 207, Clippers -1.5
The Clippers badly want to win this series. It's fun to see them healthy and playing so well. LA shot 51.3% from the field and 55.6% from 3 point range Sunday night. That's unreal. Blake Griffin was dunking...they made it worth staying up for even for us East Coasters. San Antonio had been one of the hottest teams in the league heading into the post-season, but shot just 36.6% from the field in Game 1. They did dominate the offensive boards, but that can be partly attributed to the shear number of shots they missed. I expect a bounceback shooting performance from the Spurs tonight, and a much closer game.
Kawhi Leonard (18/6/3, 4 steals) sees his price drop $100 after a 33.7 fantasy point performance. Continue to use him against the Clippers one small weakness--wing defense. Tony Parker also saw a small price drop after an underwhelming outing (10/2/1) in which he turned his ankle. He'll play through it, but even with a couple days rest may not be 100%. He's still worth a slot in a GPP lineup at $5100. This particular grouping of games forces a tough C decision. Tim Duncan is certainly in the conversation, as it's foolish to count him out after one sorta low-key 11/11 double double. Adding a couple assists, two blocks, and a steal helps the stat line, making Duncan a relatively safe cash game play if you're not spending up. Danny Green's 12 fantasy points were a let down. He's rarely that bad, but none of the Spurs were feeling it. He can come out hot any time, which makes him a perfect GPP play at SG.
For the Clippers, continue to pay up for Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan if you can. They all saw minor salary increases after good Sunday performances. I'd prioritize Paul because PG is the weakest position in this slate. 32/6/7 is perfectly attainable for him night after night, except the assists might actually go up. Griffin also did a little bit--or a lot--of everything, stuffing the stat sheet with a huge 26/12 double double while tacking on six assists and three steals. Jordan was relatively quiet with 9/14 and failed to add to his four first half blocks, but that's literally the least you're going to get from him. Jamal Crawford scored 17 points but did nothing else, which was disappointing even at his price. He's $100 cheaper today, so play him again. I will continue to fade Matt Barnes and JJ Redick in favor of Crawford as an odds play, but which one is dominant will probably shift night to night.
Avoid: JJ Redick ($6200), Matt Barnes ($4900)
Brooklyn Nets @ Atlanta Hawks Over/Under 202.5, Hawks -9.5
Brooklyn kept this one close and actually out-shot the Hawks from the field, but ultimately Atlanta's superior 3P shooting and FT shooting (95.5%!!) got it done for the top seed in the East. Atlanta also dominated in transition, while the Nets owned the paint, ending with 8 more rebounds and 12 more points in the paint than the Hawks.
Al Horford dislocated a finger and is listed as a GTD tonight but he's fully expected to play. He may be less effective, though he managed a 10/10 double double Sunday night despite the injury. We'd like to see more than 25 fantasy points from Horford, and he did see a small salary drop owing to the less than stellar effort. Ditto for Paul Millsap, who was hurting going into Game 1. A mediocre 13/4/2 line for Millsap is not what we paid for Sunday night. He appears to be feeling better and coming off the meh game, could make for a sneaky GPP play today. To round out the disappointment that was the Hawks fantasy stats we have Jeff Teague. I said I rarely use him, and then of course, did use him Sunday :(. His 17 points (four different players scored exactly 17 points in this Game 1, incidentally) and little else did not make for a winning DFS lineup. There will be better games from Teague ($400 salary drop today), and all of the Hawks big 3. It's nice that they can win without their studs really doing much, but expect the big performances to come like we saw them all year. It was Kyle Korver who was a bright spot Sunday, a top value play for sure with 20 points (five 3PM), two steals, seven rebounds and three assists. DeMarre Carroll went off for 31.1 fantasy points on a full line (17/8/3), which is a good sign as he rarely meets value on shooting alone. Inexplicably, his salary went down $100. We'll take it.
For the Nets, Brook Lopez was terrific (17/14, 2 steals). He's the strongest challenger to Jordan for your C spot, at $700 less. Thaddeus Young was also everywhere with 15/10 and makes for a good mid-range PF play today. It was Joe Johnson that surprised me the most. He's one of the least consistent players in the league, but whether it was the boos from his old fans or something else, his 17/6/6 and 2 steals in 42 minutes kept the Nets alive. This is who Johnson is...very up and down. For GPPs, I get using him, but he's the poster child for not chasing points. The minutes were there for value play Bojan Bogdanovic (32), but the production was nowhere to be found Sunday night. His 10.8 fpts were worse than Teague's 19. Here, I say trust the minutes. His salary did go up a little, but if he's getting those minutes, the chances are better that he'll pay off the inexpensive salary tonight.
Attack: Brook Lopez ($8500)
Avoid: Joe Johnson ($6000)
Portland Trail Blazers @ Memphis Grizzlies Over/Under 189, Grizzlies -6.5
Well, Portland looked awful Sunday night. Every single starter had a negative +/- as the team shot a season low 33.7% from the field. Memphis cruised on the strength of their defense, with Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph leading the team to a big win in Game 1. The Grizzlies' starters turned the ball over only 4 times and owned the edge in transition as well as in the paint. The physical style of Grizzlies basketball certainly disrupted Damian Lilliard who took the expected 21 shots, but made only 5 from the field. He ended with 14/8/3, a disappointing performance that led to a $400 salary drop. He's safe to target tonight...don't let one bad game steer you away from Lilliard at his lowest salary of the year. LaMarcus Aldridge was the one Trail Blazer who didn't disappoint. It took a LOT, but his 32/14 with 4 blocks was nearly the line of the day (told ya Griffin would beat him if I used Aldridge, but when it's 60 fpts vs 56 fpts, who really cares?). Ray McCollum played 36 minutes but managed only two points and five rebounds. He's another value play I can't give up on based on the court time he's getting. Nic Batum was fine--he played 38 minutes--and put up decent numbers. He won't wow you but should be serviceable. Robin Lopez was the only starter to play under 20 minutes. Myers Leonard was the beneficiary there and was his typical efficient self...and the only Trail Blazer with a positive +/- (+9).
Memphis found a spark in Beno Udrih. I mean, that was amazing. He put up 20/7/7 in just 24 minutes in relief of Mike Conley, who should still be avoided. Conley also played 24 minutes, and managed 16 points, but nothing in the way of peripherals. A time share is likely and paying nearly $2K less for Udrih is the way to go here if you're inclined to take advantage of Portland's notoriously bad backcourt defense. Use the bigs for the Grizzlies; I said it Sunday and it's still true despite a $500 increase for Gasol. This team runs through them. Tony Allen is not really "back", but I still like Courtney Lee, who in what is apparently a recurring theme with value picks from Sunday, played nearly 30 minutes and produced under 15 fpts. If you want to work a CP3, Griffin, Aldridge lineup, Lee is the kind of player you'll need to slot in. Minutes are the best indicator of production, and I don't think Udrih will be that hot every night.