Two teams face elimination while another top seed in Boston might be on the ropes. Playoff NBA basketball is at its most do-or-die tonight and that means there should be some interesting places to look when building lineups on the daily fantasy sports site of your choosing. We also may have some news to keep an eye out for throughout the day with Marcus Smart upgraded to questionable, something that would affect all of the Celtics if he’s ruled in. More on that below but that bit of news is crucial on a three-game slate.
And tonight we do in fact have three games! That fact alone should be an improvement on the two games we had yesterday in which options were limited and a 30% owned resurgent and healthy-looking $3,800 Derrick Rose was the key to success.
Playoff basketball, what a world. Check outAwesemo’s rankings and ownership projections, tune in to our live-before-lock show at 6PM Eastern on the Awesemo YouTube, and let’s get to the slate.
Milwaukee Bucks (99.25 implied points, -11.5 on their last 10 games) at Boston Celtics (103.25 implied points, -1.6 on their last 10 games)
The Bucks were carried by their home crowd to a big Game 4 win to even the series at 2-2 but now they return to Boston in a down total game that may have a little less fantasy goodness to go around. Giannis Antetokounmpo is under $10,000 on DraftKings for the first time since the 2016-17 season and he should find some ownership as a result. He hasn’t been great in the series, in particular since John Henson went out, but the shots are there and his peripheral stats can always return. He’s the one of only three players with an A production and B in value on Awesemo’s rankings. Khris Middleton has been a steadier play relative to his salary but he’s currently at the top of his price point, something that comes with a little risk relative to the value Giannis represents. Jabari Parker has been stellar since Henson went out and he groused about his role posting two straight games of 25-plus minutes with a 25% usage rate. His price is better on FanDuel by a fair margin but he looks like a decent play on both sites, albeit one with the margins of success narrowing on DraftKings. Malcolm Brogdon received 31 minutes last time out and did nothing with them, continuing his trend of per-minute underperformance. The price is tempting but I really wouldn’t want to go back to him after he’s burned folks as a semi-value play his last two times. Eric Bledsoe stunk last time out but his price is still interesting. I wouldn’t trust him but he’s playable, particularly after badly burning 30% of DFS players in his previous slate appearance. Thon Maker took more minutes away from Tyler Zeller despite Zeller being super effective to start the game with John Henson sidelined. Maker is playable but with a low floor and questionable ceiling while Zeller shouldn’t be trusted if he can’t get extra run while ripping boards and blocks.
On the Celtics’ side, the currently questionable Marcus Smart is a big key. If he plays (reportedly he’s been physically cleared so it’s up to how well he can tolerate pain), he should be in consideration and would likely put a dent in almost everyone’s usage on the team, but particularly Terry Rozier. For now, I’ll try to cover this from the possibilities of him playing or not playing/playing ineffectively. Jaylen Brown was the star last time out and he’s been great all series from an offensive perspective as well as, frankly, looking like the player who cares the most on the floor about not blowing this series. It’s tough to pay so much for him but he’s been a different player in these playoffs and he’s also been more effective on a per-minute basis this year with Smart on the court. Jayson Tatum and Terry Rozier would be viable plays if Smart sits but both would likely cede more usage to Smart and his ball-dominant ways. Al Horford has been similarly effective with and without Smart; he hasn’t been great this series but he should be in consideration as a decent shot to get to 5x. I don’t want to trust Marcus Morris after he killed a lot of my lineups last game but his usage was there and if he hit more than 4-14 shots, he would have been a good play. Aron Baynes has been a consistent low-upside value play lately and if he fits your roster construction, I have no issues running him out there…though it’s worth noting his minutes came down a bit last time so it may be a tighter squeeze for him to get to 5x.
Miami Heat (102.5 implied points, -2.4 on their last 10 games) at Philadelphia 76ers (112.5 implied points, -5.6 on their last 10 games)
The Heat are facing elimination and Vegas seems to think the Sixers will stomp them out to end the series tonight in Philly. As we saw with Portland this weekend, that likely means the Heat will throw everything they can at the Sixers to stave off elimination. Goran Dragic is at a stellar price given how much of the action he pushes and the minutes he gets. He ceded some ballhandling duties to Josh Richardson before Richardson injured his shoulder, something that really helped get Hassan Whiteside going on the offensive end, which also reengaged him on the defensive end.
— NBA Türkiye (@NBATurkiye) April 22, 2018
There’s an interesting dynamic there, one that tells me that I would be more inclined to trust Richardson (assuming he suits up with the aforementioned injury) and Whiteside in the same lineup but less inclined to trust Whiteside and Dragic or Richardson and Dragic. Dwyane Wade has played this series like vintage Wade and he went balls out in the last game, posting a 40% usage rate in 26 minutes. Wade took some joy in ethering the Philly crowd in Game 2 and if his shot falls, he can smash value tonight. James Johnson has been the steadiest player in the series and I’m totally fine with him tonight despite his price getting a bit uncomfortable. Kelly Olynyk is entirely dependent upon Whiteside’s effectiveness or lack thereof so only play him if you see Hassan faltering. Wayne Ellington is the lone value bin play I’d look at here given his ability to fill it up from deep but as is always the case in playoff NBA, it’s better to focus on guys with more solid minutes and usage.
Ben Simmons has been Mr. 5x Value this series and I see the same for him tonight, a fine safe but perhaps lower upside pivot to Giannis. Joel Embiid put up 40 DK points despite only hitting two shots last time out. He doesn’t seem to love the facemask or matchup with Miami but he’s a good value at his price, something that earns him an A in points and a B for value in Awesemo’s rankings. I like the potential bounceback spot for Dario Saric given his minutes and usage lately; it wouldn’t take a lot for him to safely hit value at his current price. JJ Redick put up 18 shots last time en route to crushing value and I could see a similar performance from him as well. Robert Covington’s price is appealing but he feels a bit like a trap given how little he’s shot relative to the other guys on the floor. He can fill it up and gets regular minutes so he’s a fine GPP play but not one you can trust. Ditto Marco Belinelli who saw his role return to what one would expect but his ability to score in bunches could help him be a lower-owned play with upside tonight, particularly as a Redick pivot.
San Antonio Spurs (96.75 implied points, -6.8 on their last 10 games) at Golden State Warriors (107.75 implied points, -2.1 on their last 10 games)
The Spurs are facing elimination still after avoiding a sweep at home in Game 4. Rudy Gay got 37 minutes in the last matchup and looks like one of the safer plays on the board for tonight. He hasn’t crushed value in the last two games so he may go lower owned than he should given how much he’s been on the court and his usage. LaMarcus Aldridge has had a tough time this series but his price has gotten very appealing as a result. He still has a similar upside to Ben Simmons at $1400 less on DraftKings so he should be considered more than most players will have ownership of him tonight. Dejounte Murray recovered from his poor, hardly-getting-minutes series last time out and looked effective for stretches. I don’t trust him as a guy to have a lot of ownership of but he could be an interesting flyer given his ability to rebound and even hit some threes as he did in Game 4. Patty Mills was mediocre last game but got the minutes you’d want to see of him. He’s an okay play but not a great one given how inconsequential he can be to the Spurs’ offense at times. Manu Ginobili was stellar off the bench in Game 4 as a player the team turned to down the stretch to fight off the sweep. Again he’s a guy who can have value tonight but I wouldn’t roll out at high volume if you’re playing multiple lineups. Tony Parker has posted a high enough usage rate in his limited minutes that I could see rostering him as a super-cheap flyer to afford other guys you love but with the same feelings of risk as Ginobili.
Kevin Durant did everything he could to try to finish off the Spurs last time and given the spread and his usage rate, I like his chances of replicating that performance tonight. I believe his floor is lower than Ben Simmons, particularly if this game does blow out, but his upside is higher. Javale McGee looks like the same limited floor, possible 5x play he’s been all series. Klay Thompson gets Bs in points and value in Awesemo’s rankings and his shot seems like it’s due for some regression to the mean after two straight duds. Draymond Green has been solid in his last two games and he still has some upside at his price. Shaun Livingston has been really effective this series, way more than Andre Iguodala has been in his time in the point guard role. I have no issue with Livingston as cheap salary filler who might be able to get to a wildly unimpressive 6x value.
And there we have it, three more playoff games in the books. Make sure to go sign up for Playline today to get a free $5 for signing up, a deposit bonus, and the chance to join our contest tomorrow, keep an eye on Awesemo’s rankings and ownership projections, and I’ll see you guys tonight at 6PM Eastern for our live-before-lock show on the Awesemo YouTube.