The NBA is officially back and bringing us slates like never before. Thursday’s four-gamer tips off at 1:00 p.m. ET with four Game 2s, continuing with games tipping off all the way through 9:00 p.m. ET.
Worth Paying Up For: LeBron James, LAL vs. POR ($10,900)
The Lakers had a historically bad shooting night in Game 1, but LeBron still pieced together an impressive triple-double — 23-17-26 for 73.25 DKFP. LeBron was clearly passive, trying to get his teammates involved in the series, and now the Lakers are in a 1-0 hole. I expect him to be more aggressive in this one.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Eric Bledsoe, MIL vs. ORL ($5,300)
Bledsoe’s the cheapest we’ve seen him since he was just returning to play in the bubble, and could easily be a $6,000 play. He finished with 28.5 DKFP in Game 1, shooting just 1-5 from downtown. He averaged closer to 30 minutes against Orlando during the season, along with 33 DKFP. I expect him to pick his game up a bit with more urgency down 1-0.
Goran Dragic ($5,900) takes a $1,500 jump in salary but remains one of the strongest PG plays after going for 42.5 DKFP in Game 1. Malcolm Brogdon ($6,900) is another strong mid-priced play to consider.
Worth Paying Up For: James Harden, HOU vs. OKC ($11,700)
Harden significantly improved his shooting numbers against OKC in Game 1, but he still wasn’t as strong of a chalk play as he was expected to be. With Russell Westbrook (quad) out, we’ve seen Harden flirt with 90 DKFP, but he had just 58.25 DKFP in Game 1. I think the strategy with Harden is simple — you can’t afford to fade him in cash, but I’m absolutely pivoting off in tournaments.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Evan Fournier, ORL vs. MIL ($5,100)
Fournier was awful in Game 1, not hitting a shot until the fourth quarter and only attempting eight in the game. However, he contributed late to get his confidence going for Game 2 and still played 36 minutes in Game 1. Fournier played well against Milwaukee in the regular season, averaging over 30 DKFP against them. A better shooting night in Game 2 should produce the value we’re looking for.
SG is a tough position for me, because I want to fade Harden, but I don’t love the value on the board. I’ll touch on this more at SF, though, as one injury could help create some stronger plays.
Worth Paying Up For: Jimmy Butler, MIA vs. IND ($7,900)
Butler did his thing in Game 1, going for 48.75 DKFP, and even knocking down a couple of uncharacteristic triples down the stretch. He’s averaging 43.7 DKFP in four matchups with the Pacers this season, and I don’t see what stops him from continuing to be great in Game 2.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Duncan Robinson ($3,900)
Robinson was a chalky bust in Game 1, shooting just 2-8 (all from downtown) in 24 minutes. His salary takes a slight cut coming into this game, and all it takes is knocking down a couple more shots to become more valuable, and maybe even earn more minutes. Jae Crowder ($4,000) is questionable with an ankle injury, so if he winds up sitting, there should be some extra minutes on the wing.
SF just sets up as a stronger position, especially with the ability to play LeBron there, so that makes plays like Robinson also a consideration at SG. If Crowder does sit out, I think that creates a larger role for Andre Iguodala ($3,400), who is SG eligible.
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Worth Paying Up For: Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL vs. ORL ($11,300)
Even in the losing effort, Giannis put up a 31-17-7 line in Game 1, good for 65.25 DKFP. He averages over 60 DKFP in four matchups with Orlando this season and should be motivated for a big outing in Game 2. The Bucks obviously need this win, and maybe even get Giannis a real superstar dose of minutes to do it, although that may be wishful thinking.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Robert Covington, HOU vs. OKC ($6,000)
RoCo was nothing special in Game 1, but his saw his usual 31 minutes, and shot just 1-6 from the field. Others were doing damage, and Covington just wasn’t needed. Covington was $7,100 just two games ago and has 30-40 DKFP upside, particularly with Westbrook out.
I think Giannis could see a bit lower ownership after being Game 1 chalk. Harden remains the obvious play, and we could see people make LeBron their second stud play after the huge Game 1. If Giannis is under-owned in this spot, I want a lot of him. It also helps that PF is the weakest position on the slate.
Worth Paying Up For: Bam Adebayo, MIA vs. IND ($7,500)
Bam had his way with the Pacers in Game 1, finishing four assists shy of a triple-double. He averages over 40 DKFP against the Pacers this season, including 46 DKFP on Tuesday. I like Miami to continue its dominance of Indy in Game 2, which involves a lot of Bam in a matchup he seems to thrive in.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Steven Adams, OKC vs. HOU ($5,600)
Adams scored 36 DKFP in 28 minutes in the Game 1 loss for OKC, and his role will be crucial in evening this series up at 1-1. With Houston playing small-ball, Adams has the opportunity to clean up on the glass and around the rim. This is a desperation game that we should see some of that in.
Bam and Adams are my top center plays, but the value with Houston is also there. We saw both “centers” play really well and help space the floor against the Thunder. Both remain cheap.
OUT (Opt-out players not included)
Russell Westbrook (quad)
Domantas Sabonis (foot)
Luguentez Dort (knee)
Zach Collins (ankle)
Ersan Ilyasova (elbow)
Aaron Gordon (hamstring)
Victor Oladipo (eye)
Jae Crowder (ankle)
Michael Carter-Williams (foot)
LeBron James (groin)
Anthony Davis (knee)
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