The NBA is officially back and bringing us slates like never before. Tuesday’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: LeBron James, LAL vs. POR ($10,700)
LeBron finally got going in his last few games in the bubble, going for over 50 DKFP in the last two full contests he played, and 26 DKFP in 14 minutes against the Kings. James can tend to ease into a series and get his teammates involved, but this is too good of a matchup to pass up. The Trail Blazers have been downright awful on defense, and going against top level competition in the postseason, it’s going to show more than ever. LBJ is a safe 50-DKFP with upside for much more.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Goran Dragic, MIA vs. IND ($4,400)
Dragic scored over 30 DKFP in each of his last four in the bubble, averaging 35.9 DKFP during that span. He’s going to be used in an expanded role in the postseason, yet his salary is down $900 for this contest. The Pacers have struggled defensively against PGs.
PG is probably the most flexible position on the slate. There’s an obvious mix of studs, mid-priced plays and cheap targets to work into your lineups. Who you roster at PG has more to do with how your build will look for the rest of your lineup.
Worth Paying Up For: James Harden, HOU vs. OKC ($11,700)
Harden’s the obvious chalk play on this slate. In cash and single entry tournaments, he’s a very difficult fade. We just saw Harden drop 74 DKFP against the Lakers and 89 DKFP against the Pacers with Russell Westbrook (quad) out of the lineup. His usage is obviously going to be through the roof. And while Russ was on the floor for all three matchups against OKC this season, Harden was not at his best, averaging just 45 DKFP on 32.8% shooting (15% from 3). In large field GPPs, Harden’s an easy fade for me.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Evan Fournier, ORL vs. MIL ($4,900)
Fournier hasn’t played in over a week, but was only sidelined with an illness. Last we saw him, he dropped 30 DKFP at $5,300, and he’ll now be counted on for more minutes with Orlando entering this series so banged up. Fournier played well against the Bucks this season, averaging 31.2 DKFP in 29 minutes over four games. Expect those minutes to go up if the Magic can avoid a blowout.
SG is another position that you can do a lot with because of how many PG/SG and SG/SF eligible plays there are, but the guard position as a whole is really about if you’re playing Harden or not. In cash, you pretty much need to, so you’ll need to identify value. But in GPPs, I love fading Harden, which opens up room to do as you please.
Worth Paying Up For: Jimmy Butler, MIA vs. IND ($7,600)
The last time we saw Butler on the floor playing without a minutes cap, he was dominating the Pacers for over 50 DKFP in 29 minutes. While he’s deemed his beef with T.J. Warren ($8,000) dead, he’s still going to be highly motivated in this matchup, which is also a favorable one on paper. Butler averaged 42 DKFP against Indy this season, and is priced very fairly.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Duncan Robinson, MIA vs. IND ($4,300)
The Heat in general are pretty affordable on this slate. Miami really scattered/limited the minutes of starters in the bubble, so Robinson’s game log doesn’t tell the whole story. He should be in position to get plenty of looks from downtown in this matchup, and brings 30-DKFP upside. Robinson is down $1,000 from his highest price in the bubble, and was $6,000 prior to the shutdown.
LeBron is another SF play, so there are plenty of options here. If you love a contrarian PG play and want to fade Harden, play that guy. You could still slot Butler at SG and LeBron at SF and be a little different. I think the Bucks are too cheap overall against the Magic, so if it’s not a complete beatdown, Khris Middleton ($7,300) is another consideration — he averaged 38.8 DKFP against Orlando this season.
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Worth Paying Up For: Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL vs. ORL ($10,500)
As I said, the Bucks are too cheap on this slate. Milwaukee arguably just didn’t try in the seeding round, which is why Giannis is about $1,000 cheaper than in the regular season. Welp, now it’s the playoffs. Giannis averaged 61.1 DKFP against the Magic in the regular season.
Best Bang For Your Buck: James Ennis, ORL vs. MIL ($3,400)
Ennis has been getting extra minutes with Orlando down bodies, and while guys will be worked back in for the postseason, they still won’t be back to 100%. Ennis was also taking a chunk of Jonathan Isaac’s (knee) minutes, who’s done for the season. Ennis has scored 20-plus DKFP in six straight and is cheap enough that you can afford to miss.
PF is a play that I am interested in eating the chalk in Giannis. A lot of people will be trying to cram him with Harden, so if you’re fading Harden, you can roster Giannis without worrying about not being contrarian enough.
Worth Paying Up For: Anthony Davis, LAL vs. POR ($10,400)
I think Davis is going to go somewhat overlooked on this slate, but he has a terrific matchup. He can get Portland’s bigs into foul trouble, and then really take advantage of one of the worst defenses in the NBA. AD averaged over 60 DKFP against Portland this season and is a great pivot off chalky studs in tournaments.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Brook Lopez, MIL vs. ORL ($4,700)
Like the rest of the Bucks, BroLo takes a decent price cut despite playing really well in the bubble. He scored over 45 DKFP twice, and scored 34.75 DKFP in 20 minutes in his last game. His size will be needed on the floor against Orlando, so he could see some extra minutes.
I don’t think there is a chalky center play on this slate, but Milwaukee and Miami are the underpriced teams, so along with Lopez, Bam Adebayo ($7,400) should be a popular play and is worth rostering.
OUT (Opt-out players not included)
Russell Westbrook (quad)
Domantas Sabonis (foot)
Luguentez Dort (knee)
Zach Collins (ankle)
Ersan Ilyasova (elbow)
Michael Carter-Williams (foot)
T.J. Warren (foot)
Aaron Gordon (hamstring)
Derrick Jones Jr. (neck)
LeBron James (groin)
Anthony Davis (knee)
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