The NBA is officially back and bringing us slates like never before. Monday’s four-gamer tips off at 1:30 p.m. ET with four Game 1s, continuing with games tipping off all the way through 9:00 p.m. ET.
Worth Paying Up For: Kyle Lowry, TOR vs. BKN ($7,900)
With the news of Mike Conley Jr. leaving the bubble for the birth of his son, Donovan Mitchell ($8,000) turns into a chalk play. You can’t argue with the safety of rostering Mitchell, but I think it makes Lowry a sneaky pivot. The Raptors looked tremendous to start bubble play, and then took their foot off the gas with the 2-seed wrapped up. Lowry averaged 44.6 DKFP in three games against the Nets this season, who despite all the bubble hype, still stink on defense. This should be a statement game by the defending champs to start the postseason.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Alec Burks, PHI vs. BOS ($3,900)
With Ben Simmons out, Burks has taken over a significant role in the rotation. Including the game Simmons went down, Burks is averaging 32.6 DKFP over his last four, scoring no fewer than 29 DKFP. Boston is a tough matchup, but for the price, you know some production will be there.
Mitchell is the cash play at PG with the Conley news, it’s how you react in GPPs where you’ll want to be different. Lowry isn’t the only play that intrigues me, though. I feel the Raptors and Nets could wind up in a low scoring series, yet I still feel there are some must-plays in that game with how underpriced some targets are.
Worth Paying Up For: Caris LeVert, BKN vs. TOR ($7,600)
LeVert enters the postseason scoring 55.75 and 61.5 DKFP in each of his last two contests. The Raptors will surely make things tough on him, but the usage here will be through the roof. LeVert averaged over 35 DKFP in 28 minutes per game in three outings against Toronto this season. The blowout potential is the only downside here.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Jordan Clarkson, UTA vs. DEN ($3,800)
The biggest individual beneficiary of Conley’s departure should be Clarkson. He’s the third-best guard on the team, and already counted on to carry a heavy scoring load off the bench. He should see plenty of extra run now, and his salary is down $1,400 since the regular season.
Clarkson feels like a must-play in all formats, with way too much scoring upside for far too cheap. Mitchell can also be rostered at SG, so I feel like this position is a lot about Utah.
Worth Paying Up For: Kawhi Leonard, LAC vs. DAL ($9,800)
While the Raptors are the defending champs looking to set the tone, Kawhi is also a defending champ that’ll look to get his new team off to a championship-type of start in the postseason. Kawhi comes alive in the playoffs, and he’s dominated the Mavericks this season. In three matchups against Dallas, Leonard averaged over 52 DKFP.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Joe Harris, BKN vs. TOR ($4,700)
Another underpriced play in the BKN-TOR matchup, with Harris playing well enough for a salary boost, but taking an $1,100 price cut from his highest salary during bubble play. Harris has scored no fewer than 27.75 DKFP in his last five in the bubble, hitting 41.75 DKFP against Washington.
SF has a lot of options, and Luka Doncic ($11,000) should be a popular one. If Kristaps Porzingis ($8,300) sits out, I think Doncic is too risky to fade. But KP is probable, and Doncic has a tough matchup with the Clippers. It’ll be his playoff debut, going up against some premier perimeter defenders. Averaging 51 DKFP against the Clippers this season, I’m okay fading to create a balanced lineup. If the salary is there, Luka is still safe to roster.
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Worth Paying Up For: Pascal Siakam, TOR vs. BKN ($7,500)
The Raptors are all too cheap! I’m going to keep saying it. Siakam was recently $8,800 in the bubble, and his salary drops $1,300 for a playoff game against an awful defense. That just doesn’t add up. Siakam averaged 45 DKFP against Brooklyn this season.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Marcus Morris, LAC vs. DAL ($4,200)
The Clippers probably get Montrezl Harrell ($5,900) back for this game out of quarantine, but how much will he realistically play. Harrell hasn’t seen the floor in the bubble yet, which should mean Morris is still locked into a hefty role. That said, Morris’ salary is down $1,000 since we last saw him, but we know the 30-DKFP upside is still here.
Outside of Siakam, PF is a great position to target value. I’d use this spot to afford more strong guard and SF plays, or roster an underpriced Siakam.
Worth Paying Up For: Nikola Jokic, DEN vs. UTA ($8,700)
Joker hit $9,700 in the bubble, but is down $1,000 for a playoff matchup he’s been fantastic in. Jokic scored over 60 DKFP in a bubble game against Utah, and averages 64.8 DKFP in three contests against them this season.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Ivica Zubac, LAC vs. DAL ($4,100)
Zubac’s been huge for the Clips in the bubble, and should still benefit from Harrell slowly getting back involved. Zubac finished the last five meaningful games (playing at least 20 minutes), with 30-plus DKFP in each. He averaged 29.4 DKFP in just 20 minutes per game against Dallas in the regular season, including 44.75 in a bubble game against them.
Center is stacked as always, but Jokic is impossible for me to fade at this price. Lock him in as a core play, then use UTIL for a second center play in a later game if it works with your build.
OUT (Opt-out players not included)
Ben Simmons (knee)
Will Barton (knee)
Mike Conley Jr. (personal)
Gary Harris (hip)
Jamal Crawford (hamstring)
Glenn Robinson III (oblique)
Montrezl Harrell (quarantine)
Patrick Beverley (calf)
Landry Shamet (foot)
Kristaps Porzingis (heel)
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