Today we kick off the second round of the NBA playoffs with a two-game slate featuring the Wizards and Hawks, and the Warriors and Grizzlies. Despite the small slate, there are plenty of good plays to work with. The challenge is building a lineup with right combination of players, while also avoiding players who may underperform. Here are some of the players I’ll be targeting on FanDuel. Good luck!
Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors, $10,300 – Curry has already been putting up big stat lines in the playoffs, and those will continue in this next series against Memphis. Memphis is a great defensive team, but no one can stop Golden State, and with Mike Conley out, the combination of Nick Calathes and Beno Udrih will be tasked with slowing down Curry. That’s just not going to happen. Expect a big game from Curry as he carries his team to a win in Game 1.
Nick Calathes, Memphis Grizzlies, $3800 – Assuming Calathes remains the starting point guard for Game 1, he’s a near must-play for me given the price and opportunity. Golden State is going to force Memphis to play way up in pace, which means a lot of extra opportunities for the players involved. Calathes can be a hit or miss option offensively, but when you’re presented with a solid value option on a short slate, it’s very hard to pass on that opportunity. Calathes has a great chance to score in the mid-20s, and the flexibility he provides goes a long way toward building an optimal lineup.
Kyle Korver, Atlanta Hawks, $5800 – Korver scored 29 or more fantasy points in five of six games against Brooklyn with the other game being the unexpected dud where Atlanta was routed. Korver has certainly been a terrific fantasy option during the playoffs, and even though Washington is a tougher matchup, it’s very difficult to pass on a player that has been giving you an amazing per-dollar return at a position where that is often hard to come by. Take the savings with Korver, and use the cap space to spend elsewhere.
Courtney Lee, Memphis Grizzlies, $4200 – Shooting guard is where you want to be saving, and Lee is a great option to help you accomplish that goal. He’s not going to light up the scoreboard with a huge game, but his consistent 20+ point fantasy performances have made him a very viable play. The matchup with Golden State is certainly more difficult than Portland, but with Mike Conley out, Lee is going to need to keep playing big minutes, which should lead to another productive day.
Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors, $8200 – Green had a huge series against Portland, and although things will be more difficult against Memphis, I don’t recommend fading him. Green contributes in every possible category, and given how well he’s been playing, the upside cannot be ignored. He’s likely going to see 40 minutes of court time, which makes him a near lock for at least 35 fantasy points with upside well into the 40s.
DeMarre Carroll, Atlanta Hawks, $6100 – I don’t want to get cute at the small forward position if I don’t have to. After Carroll, the options are fairly bleak, and the only alternative is to play Paul Pierce and hope he gets you at least 20. Carroll is a much better option, and he has high upside to go with a heavy minutes role and a safe floor. Atlanta is very much a balanced team offensively, but Carroll contributes a steady supply of defensive statistics to along with his scoring, and I think it’s reasonable to expect at least 25-30 fantasy points with upside over 40. On a two-game slate, that’s a very reasonable return for a $6100 player at a thin position.
Paul Millsap, Atlanta Hawks, $8500 – There isn’t much at power forward, especially when you consider Golden State’s starting power forward is small forward eligible. That leaves three starting power forwards, and one of them, Nene Hilario, doesn’t play 30 minutes, and has been an afterthought when he’s been on the court. Millsap is one of only two power forwards that are usable for today, and fortunately he’s been playing very well. Washington is a difficult test for opposing frontcourts, but Millsap doesn’t have to have a big day scoring the basketball to be a good play. He contributes in every category, and he’s capable of returning a very solid score even if he doesn’t score 20 real points.
Zach Randolph, Memphis Grizzlies, $6700 – Randolph is the only other safe option at power forward. He hasn’t been a good play in the postseason, and he’s still overpriced relative to his recent production. However, there is simply no one else to use. I’m not going to put my faith in Nene Hilario or Drew Gooden. The recommended play is to use Millsap and Randolph, then make the rest of your lineup work. Fortunately, aforementioned value plays will aid in that process.
Additional Plays: Drew Gooden
Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies, $8400 – Gasol carried Memphis during the first round, and if Memphis wants a fighting chance against Golden State, he’s going to need to come up big again. With Mike Conley out, he’s going to see even more touches and more responsibilities facilitating the offense. Things are going to run through Gasol, and given the expected bump in pace for Memphis, he’s going to see even more opportunities than normal to score and produce defensive stats. I think he’s a lock for at least 35 fantasy points with upside close to 50.
Marcin Gortat, Washington Wizards, $7300 – Gortat has been terrific, and if you need some salary cap savings, he’s a solid play over Marc Gasol. He draws a good matchup against the much less physical Al Horford, and he should be able to take advantage of it. He’s a much more likely candidate for a big game than Horford, and I believe he has a higher floor as well.
Additional Plays: Al Horford