Is the Eastern Conference side of the playoff bracket about to be flipped on its head? Less than 24 hours after the Bucks were eliminated in Game 5 by the Heat, the reigning NBA Champion Raptors find themselves with their backs against the wall. Toronto comes into Wednesday down 3-2 to Boston, who enjoyed a relatively easy victory on Monday. Can the Raptors stay alive and force a Game 7? Or will another squad with big ambitions be leaving the bubble?
Let’s break down everything you need to know from a DFS perspective for tonight’s two-game slate position-by-position.
Kyle Lowry, TOR at BOS, $8,200 - If the Raptors have any chance of winning this series, they’re going to need a big game from their longest tenured player. Like most of his teammates, Lowry didn’t play well on Monday, managing just 23.0 DKFP in the loss. Putting aside Game 4 against Brooklyn — where the veteran exited in the first quarter with an ankle injury — it was the first time in these playoffs where Lowry was held below 36.0 DKFP. He’ll be tasked with a heavy workload if things stay close and, in the three contests in this series where he’s exceeded 40 minutes of action, Lowry’s averaged 50.3 DKFP.
Patrick Beverley, LAC at DEN, $3,600 - If you’ve been waiting to use Beverely, it feels like now’s the time to strike with the guard. Beverely’s seen his role increase slightly in all three games of this series against the Nuggets, as he’s worked his way back into form following a calf issue. This culminated on Monday, with the veteran logging 21 minutes and scoring 20.5 DKFP in the process. If Beverely can get up in the neighborhood of 25 minutes, we could be looking at an asset that returns 6x or 7x value on Wednesday evening.
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Paul George, LAC at DEN, $8,500 - After being the butt of a lot of jokes in the first round, George has responded in a big way so far in the Clippers’ series with the Nuggets. In fact, through three games, George leads all Los Angeles players in minutes (115) and points (73), while maintaining a pristine .640 true shooting percentage. Considering Jamal Murray’s ($8,600) cooled significantly since his memorable Game 6 battle with Donovan Mitchell, George truly appears to be the class of this position on this slate.
Gary Harris, DEN vs. LAC, $4,600 - Harris’ price tag might soon be worth monitoring, but I don’t think there’s any question that the guard has proven himself capable of handling a heavy workload in this series. After seeing his time on the court steadily increase the past week, Harris logged 35 minutes in Denver’s Game 3 loss, racking up 28.75 DKFP thanks to six assists and four steals. That specific performance might be difficult to replicate, but the fact that Harris is 6-for-11 from 3-point range in his past two starts shows the 25-year-old’s varied skillset.
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Kawhi Leonard, LAC at DEN, $10,300 - Leonard’s shooting just 26.7% from 3-point range in the playoffs, yet he’s still averaging 29.1 points per game with 9.7 rebounds. This isn’t exactly new commentary on the reigning Finals MVP, but the man is a machine. Yes, a series with the slower-paced Nuggets has drained some of Leonard’s DFS value, but when you compare the forward’s results with Jayson Tatum’s ($9,300), it’s not hard to figure out why there’s still a price discrepancy. While Boston’s young star has surpassed 41.5 DKFP only once in five starts against Toronto, Leonard’s done so in every contests he’s played in this playoff run. His floor is staggering.
Editor’s Note: Raptors C Serge Ibaka (ankle) will be available to play tonight vs. the Celtics.
Norman Powell, TOR at BOS, $3,900 - It was mostly the result of a lopsided game-script, but Powell got some serious run in this Boston series on Monday and the results weren’t half bad. The UCLA product logged 31 minutes and scored 16 points, which could be the exact sort of offensive boost the struggling Raptors need in Game 6. Also of note is Serge Ibaka’s (ankle) health. If the big man is unable to go tonight, Toronto might choose to go small with Pascal Siakam ($7,800) at the five. That would open up more opportunity for Powell on the wing. It’s certainly an interesting thought with Powell’s salary dipping below $4K for the first time in weeks.
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Jerami Grant, DEN vs. LAC, $5,100 - This just isn’t a position where I think you should be spending up. You wouldn’t be wrong in using the aforementioned Tatum, but I think there are assets with higher ceilings above $8K. Siakam could also be a GPP option — as his outputs have fluctuated wildly — but, if I’m rostering Toronto players, I’m leaning towards their backcourt. So, that leaves someone like Grant in the mid-tier. While the veteran doesn’t have a ton of upside, he’s logged 82 minutes in Denver’s past two games. He’s 6-for-23 (26.1%) from the field in that span, but I’m too enamoured by the volume to get caught up in the efficiency.
Nikola Jokic, DEN vs. LAC, $9,900 - Following back-to-back 60.0 DKFP performances, I’m just not sure how you could completely fade Jokic on this slate. It’s quite clear that the Clippers do not have a player that matches up well defensively with the Nuggets’ All-Star and, more importantly, Jokic and Mike Malone seem to be aware of this fact. After posting a 29.1% usage rate than was second on the team to Murray in round one, the center has ramped that figure up to 35.5% across his past two starts. Basically, a triple-double is well within the range of outcomes for Jokic on Wednesday night.
Daniel Theis, BOS at TOR, $5,400 - For as much as Robert Williams ($3,700) has stolen some headlines with his flashy dunks and blocks, Theis is undoubtedly the better player at this point in his career. He’s shown that throughout the first five games of this series, with both solid interior defense and rebounding. Obviously it’s not really the type of DFS asset that’s going to wow you with ceiling, but Theis has exceeded 30.0 DKFP twice in his past five starts and he’s yet to register less than 20.0 DKFP versus Toronto. There’s value in consistency.
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