NBA DEEP DIVE- April 22, 2017
Toronto Raptors(1-2) at Milwaukee Bucks (2-1)
It is not an ideal matchup for point guards and it feels like a trap after the first three games, but Kyle Lowry is very much in play as a contrarian point guard option at just $7,700 on DraftKings. It will be a surprise to see him on more than 15% of all tournament rosters and if we want to find a path to glory, we are going to have to take some chances.
DeMar DeRozan has met his match and his ball-dominant ways just do not translate well against an energetic defense that can handle any switch. While he has the upside to get 50 raw points if literally everything goes his way, it is hard to see him eking out more than 30 on the Buck’s homecourt.
Throw out his Game 3 dud and recall that Serge Ibaka matches up incredibly well with this Milwaukee team and it has shown in his production against them throughout the season and in the first two games of this series. Milwaukee is most vulnerable to spot-up shooters and Ibaka leads the Raptors in catch-and-shoot attempts this season. As an added bonus, he has also closed both games at center.
Patrick Patterson should see 25-30 minutes as the Raptors have figured out that he is mobile enough to stay with the athletic Milwaukee frontcourt and not completely embarrass himself. He is in play on all sites in all formats as a discount option that is still going overlooked by the average daily fantasy gamer.
Core: Serge Ibaka
Secondary: Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan
Value: Patrick Patterson
Giannis Antetokounmpo averaged 1.35 DraftKings points per minute against Toronto in the regular season and is underpriced for the minutes he is going to play and the role and upside that he has. In Game 3 he managed a forty burger on just ten field goal attempts and we should see something closer to the 22 he averaged through the first two games of this series. The Greek phenom is a go in all formats on Saturday.
Malcolm Brogdon is averaging 33 minutes and 10.3 shots per game over the first three contests and while he is not a traditional point guard playing alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo, that is where the sites have him listed. He continues to contribute a little bit of everything and he is a viable option in what is essentially a “must win” game for the Bucks.
Khris Middleton has seen his production trend up in each of the games this series and he is among the team leaders in several key categories. It is hard to remember just how good he was last year, prior to his injury and it looks like he may be peaking at just the right time and under-the-radar as well.
Greg Monroe this is a risky play, although Monroe still has plenty of tournament upside. The concern is that he is losing crunch time minutes to Thon Maker, but he should still be able to flirt with a double double… it is just his upside that is curbed without unlimited minutes.
Thon Maker himself makes for a very interesting GPP option and is a fine play in all formats on FantasyDraft or DraftKings where multiple centers can be employed. He has been impressive on both ends of the floor by all accounts so far and averaged 0.87 DraftKings points per minute this season. If he sees another 20-25 minutes tonight he could leave his supporters smiling all the way to the bank.
Core: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton
Secondary: Malcolm Brogdon, Greg Monroe
Value: Thon Maker, Matthew Dellavedova, Tony Snell
Washington Wizards (2-0) at Atlanta Hawks (0-2)
Once again, coach Scott Brooks relied heavily on his starters and it makes them very strong options regardless of format. John Wall has a great opportunity to really put his stamp on this series today in Atlanta. The great thing about te Wizards is that we know exactly where the majority of their fantasy production will be derived.
Bradley Beal has been great as option 1B on the Wizards offense and as long as his shot continues to fall, his near 40 minutes of court time per game will afford him plenty of opportunities to produce.
Otto Porter has a nice ceiling at a very low price, but there is still risk to rostering him. Other than Gortat, he played the least minutes of any starter and we saw him lose minutes to Kelly Oubre at the end of the season as Oubre turned into a bit of a defensive specialist for the Wizards. Fortunately, it does not take much to pay off a price tag in the low $5,000 range so there is merit to rostering him in GPPs as a last guy in when considering that he has made only 1 of 7 from beyond the arc this series which is low when compared to his 1.7 three-pointers made during the regular season.
Markieff Morris has done very well against Paul Millsap since joining the Wizards as Millsap is not as good of a defender away from the basket as he is close to it and Morris is a capable shooter. The downside is that Morris is prone to fouls when he gets lazy and that can curtail his night very early. If he stays engaged, 40 fantasy points is very much in play.
Marcin Gortat as long as Ian Mahinmi is sidelined, Gortat should continue to see at least 30-32 minutes per game and he should be in the mix for a double double.
Core: John Wall, Markieff Morris
Secondary: Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Marcin Gortat
Value (very risky): Jason Smith, Kelly Oubre
Now that the Hawks are healthy, they are really spreading out their minutes loads which dampens their upside potential. That could change now that they are in a two game deficit in this series. Dennis Schroder was not particularly good against the Wizards in the regular season, averaging just 0.81 DraftKings points per minute. That said, he remains a strong tournament option because he has shown significant upside for his price all season long and he will need to play really well throughout the series for the Hawks to have a chance at upsetting the Wizards.
Tim Hardaway, Jr. has seen solid minutes this series, but his shot has not been finding the bottom of the net. He is an interesting tournament play now that he is back in the familiar shooting environment of Philips Arena.
Paul Millsap had a terrible game in Game 1 and, honestly, it was embarrassing to watch. Markieff Morris called him soft in an interview before the game and then proceeded to score against him at will and get in his face after pretty much every basket with Millsap doing nothing to stop the scoring or the talking. The roles were completely reversed in Game 2 with Millsap posting 27 points and 10 rebounds and most impressively getting to the line 15 times and sinking 14 of his free throws. The Wizards do not have a secondary plan on how to handle him if Markieff Morris is in foul trouble and Atlanta has a road map on how to get their franchise player unleashed.
Dwight Howard just does not look motivated. Perhaps playing in front of his “hometown” crowd will shake things up, but at this point it seems like a better play to just let other gamers assume the risk of another dud.
Core: Paul Millsap
Secondary: Dennis Schroder, Tim Hardaway, Jr., Dwight Howard
Value: Kent Bazemore, Taurean Prince
San Antonio Spurs (2-1) at Memphis Grizzlies (1-2)
San Antonio Spurs
Tony Parker is looking like a situational player at best and we should see more minutes from Patty Mills as the Spurs will likely look to limit Parker’s minutes if they can get by without him. This sort of neutralizes both players from a fantasy perspective.
LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard will continue to be the two most popular players from the Spurs, and rightfully so. Aldridge matches up well with a Memphis frontcourt that struggles to defend stretch fours. Leonard has seen more freedom without having to deal with the defense of Tony Allen who is on the shelf with an injury. Most casual gamers have still not picked up on this and we can use this information to our advantage and confidently roster Kawhi.
Pau Gasol makes for an excellent GPP play because he has the ability to post 30 fantasy points in any matchup and he should flirt with that milestone in one game before the end of this series.
Core: Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge
Secondary: Pau Gasol
Value: Patty Mills, Tony Parker
Golden State Warriors (2-0) at Portland Trail Blazers (0-2)
Most of these plays hinge on the health of Kevin Durant who sat out Game 2 and he will not be back until he is fully healthy. There is risk since he could easily be a game-time-decision and this is the final act of the four game Saturday slate. If we do not have confirmation of KD’s status, he would be one-heck of a contrarian option if his health is still in doubt.
Steph Curry has a very nice matchup against a Portland backcourt that struggles to prevent opposing guards from scoring and, without Durant on the floor with the starters this season, Curry has a 29.4 percent usage rate and is averaging 1.33 DraftKings points per minute. Additionally, he will also almost certainly see minutes without Thompson on the floor and, in those minutes this season, he is averaging 1.72 DraftKings points per minute with a 43.4 percent usage rate.
Klay Thompson also benefits from a good matchup and will see more looks without Durant. In 549.5 minutes alongside Green and Curry without Durant, Thompson has a 29.6 percent usage rate and is averaging 1.16 DraftKings points per minute. In 293.1 minutes without Curry on the floor either, his usage rate jumps to 38.2 percent.
Draymond Green is less affected by Durant’s absence, but he has been very good against Portland this season and should see plenty of minutes at center tonight, which makes him a very strong play. He averaged 1.21 DraftKings points per minute against Portland in the regular season but his salary has seen a significant price bump on most sites, so he is by no means a “jam him in there” play.
Matt Barnes is questionable for the game. If he plays, he will be a strong value option. If not, we should see increased minutes for Patrick McCaw and Andre Iguodala. Iguodala is the more appealing of that duo, as he averaged 0.84 DraftKings points per minute this season without Durant on the floor, compared to 0.61 for McCaw, and he saw 32.7 minutes in game 1 even with Durant active. Those numbers decrease as you add Curry, Thompson and/or Green to the floor, but Iguodala remains the more productive of the two.
Core: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green
Wild Card: Kevin Durant (if no official news is released)
Value: Andre Iguodala
Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum will be the deciding factor in Portland’s playoff fate. Both players are better left to GPPs as the Warriors are a strong defensive team and neither play has shown consistent success against them. They both have showed high ceilings, however, so they definitely are strong tournament options.
Evan Turner and Mo Harkless are going to see plenty of minutes starting and closing out games as the Trailblazers are forced to play small in the absence of Jusuf Nurkic. Al-Farouq Aminu is a secondary value option as well, though he looks to be capped at 22-24 minutes in the rotation.
Core: Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum
Value: Mo Harkless, Evan Turner, Al-Farouq Aminu