The NBA is officially back and bringing us slates like never before. Thursday’s four-gamer tips off at 1:30 p.m. ET with four Game 3s, continuing with games tipping off all the way through the rest of the evening.
Worth Paying Up For: Kyle Lowry, TOR vs. BKN ($7,800)
The Nets are a very poor defensive team at guard, leaving Lowry as a very safe floor play. He’s averaging 43.0 DKFP in five matchups against the Nets this season, and is still yet to rip off a big game. He’s due for one eventually, and this is the matchup we should see it in.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Reggie Jackson, LAC vs. DEN ($3,500)
Patrick Beverley (calf) is not expected to play in this one, which likely means another start for Jackson. He posted 18.5 DKFP in 26 minutes in Game 2, but he has 30-DKFP upside, which we’ve seen already in the bubble. Jackson will be a chalky play with value more difficult to come by in the postseason.
Luka Doncic ($10,800) is still probably a cash play, but much like James Harden on the other slates, he’s a fade for me when it comes to tournaments. Kemba Walker ($6,600) is another strong mid-priced play to consider.
Worth Paying Up For: Caris LeVert, BKN vs. TOR ($8,100)
LeVert is your cash play at SG, putting up much too consistent numbers to pass on. Even with the Nets potentially getting beat down, LeVert had 47.25 DKFP in a 24-point loss in Game 1. Even when he shoots poorly — like his 5-for-22 in Game 2 — he still winds up with 43.75 DKFP. Now with Joe Harris (personal) out of the bubble, LeVert needs to do even more. He’s as safe as it gets.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Norman Powell, TOR vs. BKN ($4,300)
Powell bounced-back from a poor Game 1 to go for 37.0 DKFP in Game 2. He scored 24 points in the game, but still shot just 1-of-6 from downtown. There’s high upside here in the matchup against the Nets, even if this one winds up a lopsided game.
SG is a very deep position, with safe plays like LeVert and high upside values like Powell. A ton of multi-position eligible players fit in at SG, so your build should be pretty simple. Lou Williams ($5,600) also stands out with Beverley sidelined, coming off 39.0 DKFP in the Game 2 loss.
Worth Paying Up For: Kawhi Leonard, LAC vs. DAL ($9,600)
Kawhi is averaging 56.5 DKFP in this series and 54.1 DKFP against Dallas for the season. It’s just a matchup that really favors him, and the Clippers are in a near must-win situation. Look for him to go 40 minutes and drop 30 in a double-double.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Garrett Temple, BKN vs. TOR ($5,100)
No Harris will have some trickle-down effect for the Nets, and Temple is the obvious name that should slot in for some extra minutes. His salary jumping $500 takes away some of the edge, but Temple went for 33.25 DKFP in Game 2 — his third game with at least 33.0 DKFP in his last four. This is a very safe floor play, even against Toronto’s defense.
SF is a key position on this slate. Kawhi could be considered a pivot play to pay down off Doncic, and some on the best Nets value is also available with a key rotation piece missing. SF is probably the deepest value on the slate, but if you want to load up at guard, you can also add more eligible guards at SF.
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Worth Paying Up For: Jayson Tatum, BOS vs. PHI ($9,200)
Tatum has been dominant in this series, dropping over 50.0 DKFP in each game thus far. With Gordon Hayward (ankle) out, there’s more production to pick up, and means Tatum should see 40-45 minutes in a competitive game. And if Boston blows Philadelphia out again, Tatum likely still has a large role.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, BKN vs. TOR ($4,600)
TLC has been one of the more pleasant bubble surprises, registering five 30-plus DKFP games, including 40.0 DKFP in Game 1 against the Raps. He cooled off in Game 2, going 3-of-10 from downtown, but as we’ve mentioned, he should be called upon to hoist even more with Harris out. His salary drops $200 after a poor shooting game, making him arguably the slate’s top value.
TLC is the obvious value here, and I wouldn’t really overthink it in cash or GPPs. Tatum stands out as the stud to pay for, but Pascal Siakam ($7,300) is getting mighty cheap. Of course, Siakam is yet to crack 40.0 DKFP in the bubble, but he’s priced down and due for a breakout at some point. He’s a GPP consideration.
Worth Paying Up For: Joel Embiid, PHI vs. BOS ($9,800)
As bad as the 76ers look, Embiid is still producing. He has a fantastic matchup against the Celtics that he’s proven he’s capable of dominating. He’s scored 53.0 DKFP in each game of the series, and showed he’s still able to have a big production in a 27-point blowout. He’s the chalk center, but the right call in almost all formats.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Enes Kanter, BOS vs. PHI ($3,700)
I don’t love the chalk value at center, so I’m going a bit off the radar here. Kanter should be a nice tournament play if Brad Stevens continues to trust him in Game 3. He played 22 minutes in Game 2, and was a terrific spark of the bench, finishing a rebound away from a double-double, scoring 23.25 DKFP.
I’m building around Embiid without question, but I do think the cheap chalk plays have very little upside at the position. Whether you agree on Kanter or not, look to be a little different when it comes to value on a second center.
OUT (Opt-out players not included)
Ben Simmons (knee)
Gordon Hayward (ankle)
Will Barton (knee)
Joe Harris (personal)
Jamal Crawford (hamstring)
Glenn Robinson III (hip)
Gary Harris (hip)
Patrick Beverley (calf)
Kristaps Porzingis (heel)
Mike Conley (personal)
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