NBA DEEP DIVE- April 21, 2017
Boston Celtics (0-2) at Chicago Bulls (2-0)
Isaiah Thomas somehow managed to play through his personal tragedy and play very well in Boston’s game one loss to the Bulls with 38 minutes, attempting 18 field goals and getting to the line 12 times. Game 2 was a different story with Thomas struggling from the field (6 for 15) and the charity stripe (7 for 13). The Celtics are down 2-0 in the series, but have a second life with opposing point guard Rajon Rondo now out of commission with a broken thumb.
Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder and Marcus Smart are all decent tournament options, with Smart really standing out where you can utilize him as a shooting guard.
Al Horford has really been neutralized by Robin Lopez in the playoffs and in three matchups against Chicago in the regular season, Horford averaged 0.90 DraftKings points per minute. Kelly Olynyk has been an excellent discount option and he should continue to be in play throughout the remainder of the series.
Core: Isaiah Thomas
Secondary: Jae Crowder, Avery Bradley, Al Horford, Marcus Smart
Value: Kelly Olynyk
Rajon Rondo is out of action with a fractured thumb. This is going to change the complexion of the series as the Bulls will become even more reliant on Jimmy Butler and Dewayne Wade. While Jerian Grant is going to be quite popular with his new role as the starting point guard, he will probably be on more than three quarters of all rosters tonight. It is fine to go with the flow, since the salary savings he provides will allow us to differentiate at other positions.
There should be some additional production floating around now for, Bobby Portis and Nikola Mirotic who make for high-upside GPP plays as one of them is likely to have a big game (for our purposes, big game means that they will flirt with thirty fantasy point). Mirotic was horrible in Game 1 and rolled his way to the fantasy promised land in Game 2, while the inverse was the case for Portis. Again, both are fine tournament options. Robin Lopez is a strong center option and should be able to flirt with a double double this series as the Bulls need him on the court to shadow Al Horford. Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade are going to be popular with Rondo out of action and we should see Butler surpass 20 field goal attempts (he had 20 and 19 in the first two games) and Wade should be in the high-teens. There are a plethora of wing defenders from the C’s so this is not going to be an easy matchup, but the #8 seed is up 2-0 and they smell the fear!
Core: Jimmy Butler, Dwyane Wade, Jerian Grant
Secondary: Robin Lopez
Value: Nikola Mirotic, Bobby Portis
Houston Rockets (2-0) at Oklahoma City (0-2)
James Harden was excellent in game 1, scoring 37 points with 9 assists and 7 rebounds in 34 minutes of play. If this game stays close, we can expect Harden to see closer to 40 minutes as he lost about 4 minutes of playing time at the end of the fourth quarter in game 1. Andre Roberson is a quality defender, but Harden is essentially matchup proof and contributes in every category. As always, he is a top play on the slate.
Patrick Beverley played extremely well in Game 1 and was solid as well in Game 2. He is a fine play in all formats being in the “sweet spot” of the pricing list. Eric Gordon and Lou Williams are both fine value plays in GPPs as they are capable of getting hot off the bench.
Clint Capela and Nene both have upside as well, with Nene being the preferred play at the center position for Houston. Capela may get more minutes, but Nene is cheaper and likely to close out the games while they are tight.
Ryan Anderson was extremely popular in Game 1 and he disappointed and he got even worse in Game 2. He is someone I will be staying away from tonight, but of course there is merit to looking at him if you are running out a boatload of tournament lineups since The Masses are likely to shy away en force.
Core: James Harden
Secondary: Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, Eric Gordon, Clint Capela
Oklahoma City Thunder
What can Russell Westbrook do for an encore to top his 51 points, 10 rebound, 13 assist triple double? I have no idea, but I want him on my teams tonight!
Victor Oladipo has become nearly a “bargain” play on DraftKings at $5,300 and we know he should see the second most minutes and shot attempts for the team and at some point he is going to put it all together, maybe tonight is the night!
Andre Roberson is getting heavy minutes as the Thunder have tasked him with slowing down James Harden and he has responded with back-to-back 30+ fantasy point outings as a bonus. Expect him to be extremely popular tonight, but he is a top mid-range option even though 30 fantasy points is a lofty goal.
Steven Adams is the key front court option from the Thunder as head coach Billy Donovan has realized that he cannot play Enes Kanter because of his defensive liabilities.
Core: Russell Westbrook
Secondary: Victor Oladipo
Value: Andre Roberson, Steven Adams
Los Angeles Clippers (1-1) at Utah Jazz (1-1)
Los Angeles Clippers
Chris Paul is the top play on the Clippers. He averaged 1.20 DraftKings points per minute against Utah in the regular season and he has not disappointed through the first two games of this series. Rudy Gobert’s absence will weaken the Utah defense and open up even more for Paul.
DeAndre Jordan’s matchup is now much better as well, as Gobert is a great defender and rebounder. Jordan will now likely be matched up with Derrick Favors and Jeff Withey. Since Gobert was injured early in the first quarter, we can use game one and two as a guide to what to expect from Jordan. So a 15/15 is definitely in the mix and at $7,400 on DraftKings, he is just too cheap.
Blake Griffin remains a secondary option as the Jazz, despite not losing Gobert’s defensive presence, are still a very slow paced team and Griffin just has not looked very good this season. Since it is the postseason, there are very few minutes without Chris Paul on the floor and, when Paul is on the floor, it cuts into Griffin’s production. He has tournament upside as he approached 40 DraftKings points in game one on just 9-of-21 shooting, but he is the third-best play on the Clippers behind Paul and Jordan.
Jamal Crawford is viable as a dart-throw GPP option as he has back-to-back games with a dozen field goal attempts. He is no longer the offensive force he once was, but he is in the mix along with fellow shooting guard J.J. Redick as differentiation plays.
Core: Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan
Secondary: Blake Griffin
Value: Jamal Crawford
Derrick Favors is the biggest beneficiary on the Jazz in the absence of Rudy Gobert. Favors has played 73.4 minutes alongside Hill and Hayward without Gobert this season and has averaged 0.82 DraftKings points per minute. He should pay off his salary very nicely tonight.
Once again, Gordon Hayward and George Hill are secondary options since they have to face tough defenders in Chris Paul and Luc Mbah a Moute, and neither one benefits from Gobert’s absence since he is not a high usage player.
Joe Ingles is an option if he draws another start and we have seen that the venerable Joe Johnson continues to see key minutes and with a thing six team player pool, these guys are discounted options on their home floor in the Friday nightcap game.
Core: Derrick Favors
Secondary: George Hill, Gordon Hayward
Value: Joe Ingles