Malcolm Brogdon Returns (FD $5000, DK $4400)
Brogdon will make his return to the Bucks rotation tonight and is expected to be limited off the bench. Unless a minutes limit of 20-25 minutes is defined we can’t realistically target Brogdon with any confidence. Brogdon’s return, however, has a massive effect on some of the Bucks values, particularly Pat Connaughton and George Hill. Neither are complete fades but both are priced as if they are getting their typical minutes without Brogdon. If Brogdon only plays 10ish minutes, there is a chance we just see Sterling Brown out of the rotation with Connaughton and Hill seeing their typical minutes one last time. It is doubtful we get a real answer to the Bucks rotation until after the game but my guess is Brogdon plays 15-18 minutes with Hill seeing the biggest minutes drop. There is also a chance Eric Bledsoe’s minutes take a hit as George Hill has outplayed him this series. Brogdon’s return complicates some of the usable Bucks values on this slate, all of have risk.
James Harden ($11800)
A slight change for me as I’ve been Giannis over Harden throughout the second round but tonight, I’m leaning Harden. On the road is where Harden typically sees even higher usage and while Giannis has absolutely dominated the Celtics the last two games, Boston HAS to go back to their Game 1 gameplan of flooding the paint every time Giannis touches the ball. That will limit some of his upside. An argument can also be made that Giannis will see the slightest usage drop in Brogdon’s return AND the Bucks don’t have to rely on him as much at home than on the road. Both are elite targets, but I’m leaning Harden tonight at a slightly lower cost.
Kyrie Irving ($9800) vs Steph Curry ($8700)
Kyrie has been maligned this series for being inefficient but in terms of NBA DFS production, he has put up 46+ FD points in back to back games. That is production we can live with at his price and if Kyrie’s shots start falling, we have 60+ FD point upside at under $10k. Kyrie’s risk, of course, is we’ve seen stars fold in elimination games as they’re about to head into free agency with many thinking they’re on the move. If not going Kyrie, I’d look to go with Curry as this is a solid price for him and playing at home should help him shoot the ball with more efficiency. Curry’s Game 4 performance was still considered “poor” by pundits but for DFS purposes, I saw Curry be aggressive early, taking 25 shots finishing with 46.8 FD points at low ownership. I like Curry quite a bit tonight and, dollar for dollar, prefer him over Kyrie.
PJ Tucker ($6700)
I don’t love the price for Tucker, but I slightly prefer him over Marcus Morris as the Celtics rotation in an elimination game coming off of back to back poor performances scares me. FD makes it tough for us with not many middle priced options or values to choose from, Tucker has been over 30+ FD points in his last three games. He’s a solid but slightly overpriced target. The problem is, there is nowhere else to really go.
Brook Lopez ($4700)
Full disclosure, I don’t like Brook Lopez tonight. What I do like is his price and while he’s shown zero upside this series, I think we can get away with saving at center and going Brook even if he’s in the 18-22 FD point range. Brook also does carry legit 30+ FD point upside as the minutes have still been there and will likely be on the low owned side. There isn’t really anyone on FD in Brook Lopez’s price range who carries his sort of upside. I’m for taking the Lopez risk and if he flops, his flop won’t kill you at his price as he allows you to fit other studs in your lineup.
Shaun Livingston ($3500)
Huh? This strictly means there aren’t any sub $5k FD values I’d play. George Hill is the cheapest “non drop-score” candidate we can play at the position. If in need of someone cheaper than Hill, play Livingston at the minimum as your expected drop. Rozier’s role isn’t the same with Marcus Smart back.
Austin Rivers ($4400)
The minutes are there for Rivers as the Rockets primary Steph Curry defender. He’s not an elite value but FD doesn’t have any. He’s usable at this price because of his minutes.
Marcus Smart ($4100)
I’m not a big Austin Rivers DFS fan and would actually prefer to take the risk and go Marcus Smart, who didn’t play much in his first game back but Brad Stevens has repeatedly stated is not on a minutes limit. With the Celtics in desperation mode and with them being a better team with Marcus Smart on the court, I think the minutes will be there.
Nikola Mirotic ($4500)
Mirotic is a contender for being affected the most by Brogdon’s return, but he’s literally the only usable cheap SF.
Take The Zero – Alfonzo McKinnie ($3500)
My favorite spot for our expected drop score is one of the SF positions tonight. If not going Giannis, there isn’t much there to justify spending on two spots and IF going Giannis I wouldn’t want to spend again at SF.
Ersan Ilyasova ($4400)
Ersan is a pro who will play his 16-18 minutes and produce 16+ FD points. He won’t win you a GPP, but FD continues to overprice everyone. Ersan helps fit multiple studs.
Brook Lopez ($4700)
James Harden ($10200)
With positional flexibility and pricing, James Harden vs Giannis Antetokounmpo is a legit 50/50 toss-up. Ultimately, I’m leaning Harden. As I mentioned earlier, we should see Harden’s usage go slightly up on the road in a crucial Game 5 while Giannis could potentially see a slight usage drop. One note I want to make, although I prefer having one of Harden or Giannis, DK’s pricing makes it so it’s not necessary to have one. We can build some really strong balanced lines. With that being said, gun to my head; Harden is part of my core.
Eric Bledsoe ($4900)
Yuck. I feel like a sucker for including Bledsoe as his production has justified his price. Bledsoe is also a possible production victim with Brogdon’s return. So why Bledsoe? It’s the price. Even though his minutes and production are down, there are not many people on this slate with 40+ DK point upside at under $5k. I’m also of the mindset that Bledsoe is a much better producer than he has shown his last three games. He’s an ideal bounce-back candidate at home, where he’s averaged 33.25 DK points vs 27 DK points on the road.
PJ Tucker ($5100)
Tucker remains too cheap on DK. Over the regular season, it’s tough debating whether to target Tucker, but the playoffs are a different animal where Tucker will play close to 40 minutes crashing the defensive glass while carrying elite defensive upside. The Rockets went small with Tucker at the 5 for a lot of last game, that’s how Tucker hits his ceiling. Expect him to be heavily owned.
Kevin Durant ($9300)
I’m not sure what Durant needs to do to be priced over $10k on DK but until that time comes, continue to target KD with confidence. $9300 is just too cheap for someone who has 60+ DK point upside and a 45 DK point floor. Durant has a 50 burger in six of his last eight games.
Eric Bledsoe ($4900)
George Hill ($4200)
Hill may see fewer minutes with Brogdon back in the picture, but this is still a decent price for him. Eric Bledsoe’s risk is George Hill as the veteran PG has outperformed him all series. Hill can hit his ceiling in 20-22 minutes.
Austin Rivers ($3500)
The cheapest usable PG/SG is clearly Austin Rivers, who provides strong cap relief without a ton of risk.
Andre Iguodala ($4800)
I don’t really care that he’s banged up, Iggy remains an elite value on DK and came close to making my core.
Jaylen Brown ($4700)
Brown did not see his minutes decrease last game in Smart’s return, meaning we can continue to view him as one of the premier values tonight. Iggy and Brown are both elite targets in my eyes.
Pat Connaughton ($4000)
Brogdon’s return scares me in terms of Connaughton – but Brogdon will be limited and Pat is still priced down. This might be one of the last times we can target Pat this year and expect Brogdon’s return to lower his ownership. There’s more risk than there has been but there’s still upside.
Gordon Hayward ($4100)
Hayward has rightfully been getting killed by Celtics fans for his no show last game. Hayward played four fewer minutes last game in Smart’s debut but at his price, 27 minutes is plenty for Hayward to hit any sort of value. The biggest question for Gordon is a qualitative one, will the effort be there? More often than not big named players show up after an embarrassing performance, Hayward has GPP appeal.
Nikola Mirotic ($4600)
Mirotic is starting, under $5k, and usable, however, I do think he’s slightly overpriced. Brogdon’s return doesn’t help so ultimately, I’m not looking to force Miro into my lines on DK.
Brook Lopez ($4300)
I prefer to target Lopez at $300 less than Mirotic if in need of a cheap center. The production has not been great but Lopez is cheap and has proven upside.
Ersan Ilyasova ($3200)
If in need of a true punt Ersan is the man I’d go with, as he’s $600 underpriced. He won’t be the reason you win a GPP, but he allows you to fit targets that can win you one.
Although he did not make my DraftKings core, I really like Steph Curry tonight on both sites. This is an ideal bounce-back spot for Curry, whose production was pretty good for his price last game. Curry is more efficient at home, which should lead to a ceiling game with a motivated Curry looking to shut his skeptics up.
The Balanced approach with neither Harden nor Giannis on DraftKings tonight does carry a ton of appeal as you can easily fit a line with Curry, Kyrie, Middleton, Tucker, Iguodala/Brown/Bledsoe, and Durant. The risk with going this route is if one of the studs goes for 65+, you’re in trouble at their high ownership.
Draymond Green is still too cheap on DK. It’s not the easiest to fit my DK core AND Draymond, but it’s certainly do-able.
I get the appeal of going Clint Capela on DK at his decreased price-tag, but I’m ultimately against it. The Rockets went small for A LOT last game and it worked out. We’ve seen teams play their center limited minutes vs the Warriors in the past and it appears we’re seeing that with the Rockets now. Capela has had some success vs the Warriors in the past so he carries some GPP intrigue.
Stefano Vaccarino is the NBA Product Manager for The Quant Edge. Formerly known as Rotodamus NBA on Twitter, Stefano provides consistently accurate NBA insights and predictions. His perception of the game and understanding of analytics allows him to identify profitable NBA situations.