Three games tonight! We’ve got some options to consider thankfully after last night’s two game slate featured roughly every competent player active in the NBA at about 40% ownership. There are some trends I’ve observed from a playoff roster construction level that I’ll drop on you in today’s piece as we get dive into each matchup.
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And for now, let’s get to the games. Yay basketball!
Washington Wizards (103.75 implied points, +1.1 on their last 10 games) at Toronto Raptors (110.75 implied points, +5 on their last 10 games)
The Wizards have been the John Wall show since he’s returned from injury and despite many media outlets encouraging the story that the Wizards hate John Wall and he’s killing their team, Wall has been dishing out crazy amounts of assists that have balanced out the fact that he’s shot like 30% in every game. If his shot falls, his ceiling is even higher than what he’s done lately. Bradley Beal’s price is getting to a point of silliness and even though Wall has soaked up a lot of Beal’s usage, I still think Beal can be productive enough at his price. A lot of players I’ve noticed in tournaments have avoided rostering guys like Beal or LaMarcus Aldridge who haven’t performed well lately despite consistent usage and last night we saw how that works with Aldridge going off at 20% ownership. It’s an inefficiency out there to capitalize on. Markieff Morris was a stellar play last time out with Otto Porter dinged up and, although Porter may recover with some extra time to heal, Morris strikes me as the safer play. Porter’s price is hard to debate though, a reason he’s one of precious few A values in Awesemo’s rankings for the day. No one else on the Wizards should be considered on this time unless you’ve got some wild feeling about Marcin Gortat.
Serge Ibaka was the lone good play on the Raptors’ side last time out and I’m down to look his way again. DeMar DeRozan has not been good in a while now and I’m not dying to pay up for him with some of the other matchups. But either he or Kyle Lowry will likely need to accomplish something today to pick up the win after they middled their way to a victory last time out. Delon Wright was a solid play last time out with Fred Van Vleet sidelined. Van Vleet is doubtful again today as a game-time decision but, if he sits, Wright can be a sneaky play with many playoff DFS players focusing intently on starters they feel they can trust, as mentioned above, and his price on FanDuel is very tempting.
Milwaukee Bucks (98 implied points, -11.8 on their last 10 games) at Boston Celtics (100.5 implied points, -1.6 on their last 10 games)
The Bucks and Celtics had a barnburner of an overtime game last time out but don’t be mistaken, almost all of the guys on both sides were incredibly productive in regulation. Khris Middleton got a ton of buckets, including the killer overtime-forcing shot:
KHRIS. MIDDLETON. CLUTCH.
We're headed to overtime! pic.twitter.com/6675hO7Q9k
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) April 15, 2018
Middleton straight up got buckets versus the Celtics’ supposedly intimidating wing defense. That said, his usage rate actually went down from his regular season efforts, he just happened to be extra efficient with them. He’s done that all year versus Boston but the margins may be a bit narrow for Middleton’s value given how popular he’ll be after his big game. Eric Bledsoe is the opposite with poor performances all year versus Boston despite a higher usage rate than Middleton. One would think eventually things will level our for Bledsoe but I don’t know that I can advocate for him here until he shows he can do it, maybe Brad Stevens has a voodoo doll of him. Hard to say. Giannis Antetokounmpo looks like a fine play today depending upon where you want to spend your money; pricing for studs on these playoff lineups can be tough. Malcolm Brogdon got 32 minutes and a usage rate over 20% last time out in his return from injury. He’s at a phenomenal price and will likely be a popular play to free up some cash. John Henson gets minutes and is mediocre. I can see playing him but I’m not exactly enthused by the opportunity.
Al Horford drove a lot of the Celtics’ offense and looked like the max player they signed up a couple years ago. He was buoyed by a lot of trips to the free throw line but Horford filled up a bunch of categories in a way he hasn’t all year. Terry Rozier barely got to value last time out with the help of overtime and while he isn’t insanely appealing to me, he does have some upside if he can get hot from the floor. Jayson Tatum was a guy I locked in on last time whom I was shocked to find at around 7% ownership. He’s got the best DVP matchup on the floor, solid usage, and gets boards. I see no problem at all with him again today. Jaylen Brown also put up a bunch of shots, somehow more than Tatum and Rozier. Both he and Marcus Morris look like acceptable plays to me and, despite the mediocre team total, I’ll likely consider having a fair amount of Horford, Tatum, Morris, and Brown.
New Orleans Pelicans (104 implied points, -9.4 on their last 10 games) at New Orleans Pelicans (110 implied points, +7.3 on their last 10 games)
The Pelicans picked up a narrow win last time out where the offense flowed heavily through Rajon Rondo, Anthony Davis, and Nikola Mirotic. Each of those guys look like solid plays to me and although Mirotic’s price in particular is getting a bit uncomfortable, he’s still got some ceiling to hit with the amount of shots he’s taking. As does Jrue Holiday and while Holiday forfeited a lot of the playmaking to Rondo last time out, he can score enough to still hit value at his price. Ian Clark is super cheap flotsam getting solid minutes if his “barely hitting 5x at $3500” upside may help you accomplish a lineup you want to hit. No one else here should be looked at unless you think E’twaun Moore’s minutes will convert to more shot attempts this time out.
Damian Lillard shot 6 for 23 last time. After the year he’s had, it’s hard to believe he’d fail that hard (while still putting up 42 DK points) again. Evan Turner put up 15 shots, more than he has in all but one game this season. One can never trust Turner but he looks like a good play to me given the price, shots, and ability to pick up peripheral stats. Jusuf Nurkic saw a fair amount of his minutes going to the more mobile Zach Collins and Ed Davis last time out in order to better match up with Davis and Mirotic. While coach Terry Stotts could decide that the way to combat New Orleans is to use more Nurkic this time out — remember: the playoffs are all about adjustments and matchups, particularly when a team is coming off a loss. See last night’s Miami-Sixers game for a very recent example — I’m not terribly confident that’s a move they’re going to make tonight. If Lillard’s shot falls, they win that game and I think they’ve settled on their approach last time as a gameplan they think can beat the run-and-gun Pelicans despite the Game 1 loss.
And there it is, another playoff slate in the books. Follow me on Twitter @ChrisSpags, subscribe to the Awesemo YouTube to get notified when Josh Engleman and I go live before lock tonight at 6PM Eastern, and I’ll see you guys tomorrow for some meaningful basketball action.