Just a two game slate as Round 1 winds down. At least it wasn't sweeps all around, as I like to see some Game 7s in each round of the NBA playoffs. With a brief game analysis, focusing on mainly what we learned last time out and can expect tonight, here are your players to target and avoid for DFS on this fine Wednesday/
Brooklyn Nets @ Atlanta Hawks Over/Under 200.5, Hawks -9
Brooklyn took full advantage of home court and a Hawks team that's struggling to find their mid-season identity right now to even the series at 2-2. All the starters scored double digit points Monday night, but it was Deron Williams out of the blue with 35 to lead his team to the overtime win. He added three of the team's 13 steals and made 7/11 three pointers. I highly doubt we see this again tonight from Williams. His price has come up a bit, in fact is higher than Jeff Teague, who I like more at home tonight. The DWill explosion left nothing for Jarrett Jack, who had a nice start to this series. There are better value options at PG today, even with only two games. Brook Lopez continues to be a rock and a star for this Nets team. He proves worth the salary every time and I expect more of the same tonight. Joe Johnson is a solid cash game option, while the Bojan Bogdanovic/Alan Anderson decision has gotten tougher. Bogdanovic is still my pick, with more minutes and more proven consistent production over the past few weeks, but Anderson's low price provides an easy path to value at SG. Thaddeus Young has been hit or miss, I'd only use him in tournaments.
For Atlanta, things really have to gel at home tonight to get this team right for Round 2, in my opinion. They need, and I think they bring, a dominant performance to the court tonight. Vegas agrees. They are playing almost exclusively their starting five and you shouldn't look to roster anyone off the bench here, even one of my faves, Dennis Schroder. That said, all five starters scored at least 16 points Monday night, with Teague, Kyle Korver, and DeMarre Carroll filling the stat sheet. It was Paul Millsap and Al Horford who came up a bit short on the fantasy side Monday night, with only nine rebounds, one assist, four steals, and three blocks (all Millsap) between them. Look for bounceback games from both.
Avoid: Atlanta bench players, Jarrett Jack ($4800)
Portland Trail Blazers @ Memphis Grizzlies Over/Under 190, Grizzlies -6
Portland got one at home to keep the series alive. The game was back and forth with some big lead swings. The teams both shot well from the field and from the line (91-93%), but Memphis continued to dominate from three point range (50% vs 32%). In the end, a big game from Damian Lilliard put Portland up in the 99-92 victory. Feel confident in continuing to use Lilliard, as well as LaMarcus Aldridge who should bounce back from a mediocre home stand in Memphis tonight (he's averaging 53 fpts on the road, 36 at home this series). With only two games, he's a must play. Nic Batum continues to contribute in all categories and posted a 12/13 double double Monday night. CJ McCollum came off the bench as Arron Afflalo got the start (but did nothing with his 18 minutes) and put up a nice 18/5/2 with 2 stl line. Finally, Myers Leonard! I wrote him up finally last Saturday (not good), then he goes out and gives his team a lucky 13/13 double double. He added two assists and a steal making him a very nice value play. His efficiency has never been in doubt, it's always about the minutes. I'm hopeful that he sees more minutes than Robin Lopez, who was awful for fantasy Monday, again tonight.
Side Note: You may know that Myers Leonard's also a pretty handsome guy. This late in the season, I'm running out of unique cover photo opportunites, so I would have used him as the cover photo today, but we seem to have used up all the Trail Blazers photo space on Greg Oden pics. Thus, I chose a disapproving Aldridge to grace this post.
For the Grizzlies, it was Nick Calathes' turn to start as Beno Udrih dealt with a sore ankle. At near minimum salary, he paid off nicely and I think will get the chance again. He's now got 24 fpts in each of the last two games. Everyone else on the Grizzlies basically did what they do, and I don't expect to see many drastic changes tonight. Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol remain the heart of this team and I think they both come out big at home tonight. The wings for Memphis are what they are: Courtney Lee can score, Tony Allen plays defense and manages 20 fantasy points one way or another every night. I'm not actively targeting either, but for their salaries, I'm okay with slotting either in to make room for some more expensive players elsewhere. I'm out on Jeff Green. He (still) is not part of this team's game plan.