Portland Trail Blazers @ Golden State Warriors (o/u 218, GS -8)
The key to this series for the Blazers is their rotation and how Terry Stotts reacts if and when the Warriors decide to go small.
Enes Kanter terrifies me in this series as the Warriors are the exact team that will look to exploit his defensive woes. The Warriors offensive game-plan will be to try and force Enes to switch onto Steph Curry and if that happens we could see Kanter pulled as I don’t expect him to be able to hold his own. One thing in Kanter’s favor is that without Kevin Durant the Warriors won’t be able to go with their traditional “death” lineup, meaning there will likely be a traditional big to matchup with him for good spurts of the game. On DK, Kanter’s price is playable at $5200.
Because of the Warriors style of play, guys like Mo Harkless, Al-Farouq Aminu, and Evan Turner may have more of role. Turner was exceptional in Game 7 and I expect him to see more of a role this series especially if the Warriors go small. The Warriors pace will also help Turner in his peripherals. In the past we’ve seen Aminu used as a small-ball 5 against Golden State however he’s been brutal in the playoffs and Terry Stotts seems to have lost faith. Mo Harkless is the guy who really intrigues me as his defensive versatility plays vs a team like the Warriors, I expect him to pick up more minutes. I don’t expect Rodney Hood to play in Game 1 but if he does he would add risk to both Harkless and Turner.
The direct beneficiary of Kanter’s potential defensive issues is Zach Collins. Collins has looked great and I expect him to start to see more and more minutes as he’s capable of switching on to guards and holding his own. If Kanter struggles and Aminu is out of the rotation Collins is the guy who Stotts will lean on for the majority of the game at center. Foul trouble is a slight risk for Collins.
CJ McCollum has been the breakout star of the postseason and this is a matchup where we should expect McCollum to produce as the Warriors pace will allow points and peripheral production. McCollum has yet to be priced out at $7400 on DK, while becoming a bit pricey on FD at $8600. I view CJ as more of a GPP play as I believe most will either spend down on Middleton or Thompson or spend up on Dame and Curry.
If the Blazers have any chance this series Damian Lillard will have to produce better than he did against the Nuggets. In terms of matchup, this is a better spot for Dame who averaged 42.65 FD and 44.5 DK points in four meetings vs Golden State in the regular season. Lillard’s average usage vs the Warriors was 27.57. I expect Dame to be in the 35% usage range which should see him close to 50 fantasy points. Dame vs Curry will be a continuous one vs one debate on both sites all series long.
The Warriors will start the series without Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins and it’s unlikely either plays in this series. The Blazers are a much easier team to attack in DFS than the Rockets and a better matchup than Denver would have been.
At $9400 on FD and $8700 on DK I’m prioritizing Steph Curry over Damian Lillard. With Durant OFF the court Curry saw a 8.61% usage bump during the regular season. In the playoffs, Curry has seen a .13 FD and .16 DK fantasy point per minute increase with a 8.78% usage bump with no Durant. Curry has also been more efficient with a 9.83% increase in true shooting percentage. Higher usage with more efficiency is something we love in DFS and Curry is under-priced.
Klay Thompson is also a major beneficiary with no KD as he saw a .21 FD and .23 DK fantasy point per minute increase with a 10.57% usage bump during the regular season with Durant OFF the court. During the playoffs Klay’s production is up so his metric bump isn’t as substantial, however, he has seen a 6.1% usage increase. Klay is priced well in my eyes at $7300 on FD and $7000 on DK.
Andre Iguodala continues to be an elite target on both sites. He sees a huge minutes increase without Durant as well as a 2.87% usage bump. On DK at $5400 Iggy is just too cheap.
I’m repeating myself but the Warriors are all priced well in my eyes and that includes Draymond Green. Green has consistently been in the 40+ fantasy point range with 55+ point upside and is priced at $8200 on FD and $7900 on DK. That’s solid value. If you can afford it, I’d rather target Green over guys like Klay and McCollum.
Steve Kerr’s rotation didn’t open up much value for us in Durant’s first absence with Andrew Bogut, Kevon Looney, Jordan Bell, Jonas Jerebko, and Alfonzo McKinnie ALL seeing minutes. Looney is far and away the safest value of them all and I’d consider him an elite target. Bogut and Bell are usable GPP punts with me trusting Bogut slightly more because we expect him to start.
Toronto Raptors @ Milwaukee Bucks (o/u 218, MIL -6.5)
This is an elite pace-up spot for the Raptors as the Bucks have been the fastest paced team left in the playoffs and I’d expect them to keep that pace up, especially at home.
Kawhi Leonard is an absolute stud who remains somewhat appealingly priced. The increased pace should lead to even more production; his likely Giannis or Middleton assignment however could slightly hurt him. Regardless, continue to target Kawhi with confidence.
My favorite Raptor to target Game 1 is Pascal Siakam. Siakam is under-priced on both sites at $7600 on FD and $6600 on DK. The increased pace will lead to increased production for Siakam. The Bucks are also a good matchup for him as they ranked 29th in Advanced DvP against Stretch 4’s and 25th vs Athletic 4’s. I love Siakam while his price is low.
I’m off on Marc Gasol as he will be matched up on the perimeter with Brook Lopez a lot which will limit his rebounding and defensive upside. Gasol’s production during the playoffs has also been minimal.
Kyle Lowry has shown little upside throughout the playoffs as Kawhi has dominated usage. Lowry has consistently been around the 30 fantasy point mark which won’t kill you at his price tag, I just prefer to spend elsewhere.
A key factor for the Raptors is their new found HUGE lineup where they go with Lowry or VanVleet, Kawhi, Siakam, Serge Ibaka, and Gasol. I don’t think that lineup matches up well with Milwaukee’s position-less style but it wouldn’t shock me to see Nurse test it out. If that lineup gets run, Ibaka is a strong value. I view Ibaka as a bit of a risk and a potential chalky flop as that sort of size does not match up well vs the Bucks.
By now we know what Danny Green is. He’s a usable value who will play a ton of minutes. The only way Danny Green wins you a GPP is if he helps fit another stud or he gets hot from 3.
The Raptors potentially will slow the Bucks pace down but overall I expect the Bucks to be able to control the tempo as they have done all year.
Giannis Antetokounmpo vs Kawhi will be the main one vs one debate this round and for Game 1 I’m prioritizing Giannis on DK at only a slightly higher cost however leaning Kawhi on FD at $1500 cheaper. Giannis is a production monster and vs elite opponents he sees increased usage. The Bucks were at their best in the Celtics series when it was the Giannis show. While Kawhi has been unbelievable, he doesn’t carry the same sort of ceiling as Giannis does in that 70+ fantasy point territory. Because of the price discrepancy on FD though, Kawhi’s 60-65 point ceiling works.
Khris Middleton is a rock solid target who won’t be too high owned because of Klay Thompson and CJ McCollum. Who to prioritize between the three of them is a bit of a nightmare as there is a strong case for each one. I view all as borderline elite targets, I tend to view Klay as my favorite. If you’re in need of some cap relief Middleton is a great downgrade.
Game 1 will be perhaps our only chance to get Malcolm Brogdon at his down price. Brogdon played 17 minutes in his return with strong production at over 20+ fantasy points. It’s already been announced Brogdon will play more minutes and I don’t particularly think he has any sort of minutes limit. Brogdon is one of my favorite values on the slate and if his price stay’s down I like him all series long.
The emergence of Brogdon will have a negative effect on Eric Bledsoe, George Hill, and Pat Connaughton. I view Bledsoe as strictly a high risk – high reward GPP target. His minutes were consistently under 30 in Round 2 with George Hill outperforming him. Brogdon steals usage from Bledsoe and potentially late minutes. More Brogdon also probably means less of George Hill. I do think Pat Connaughton is still a good value but he has the chance to see decreased minutes with Milwaukee potentially going with Bledsoe/Hill and Brogdon sets like they did during the regular season.
Nikola Mirotic will continue to start and will likely continue to be high owned. I expect him to play around 25 minutes a game with his usual boom or bust type upside.
If looking for a full punt at PF on DK continue to look at Ersan Ilyasova. Ersan has been solid all postseason and remains priced under $3700. He won’t win you a GPP but he will help you fit guys who will.
That leave us with Brook Lopez. Lopez was brutal in Round 2 matching up against Al Horford and is in a similar matchup vs Marc Gasol. That being said, Lopez is priced at an all time low and if he starts hitting shots he will provide elite value. On FD I like targeting Lopez as the cheapest “starting” center. I don’t think he burns you if he flops with the potential of 30+ fantasy points because of points and blocks.
Steph Curry ($9400)
Curry is the guy I want tonight at PG. I view $9400 as a bargain for KD-less Curry production and usage. Portland is also a team that will struggle to contain Curry as they force Kanter to switch on to him.
Malcolm Brogdon ($5100)
25-28 minutes of Brogdon should yield around 28-30 FD points which is strong value considering how everyone is priced on FD. If not going Brogdon I would look to go Iguodala in this spot. At $1300 cheaper and studs I want to fit in, I’ve prioritized Brogdon.
Kawhi Leonard ($10500)
I want one of Kawhi or Giannis in my lineups and on FD Kawhi is much easier to fit than Giannis and his $12k price tag.
Pascal Siakam ($7600)
Don’t be scared to target both Kawhi and Siakam in the same lines. I’m a huge fan of this stack in Game 1 and Siakam has the best individual matchup of everyone in the Conference Finals as an athletic and perimeter-centric PF vs the Bucks.
Fred VanVleet ($3500)
I’d rather punt PG completely than target Seth Curry. Curry’s minutes are safer, his production has been terrible. There’s a slight chance VanVleet sees added minutes if the Raptors counter with their small-ball lineup.
Danny Green ($4700)
With Pat Con over $5k Green is the only realistic sub $5k option.
Evan Turner ($4400)
If Rodney Hood can’t go expect to see a lot more Evan Turner. Turner will likely be high owned and has the potential to be elite value.
Mo Harkless ($4000)
Harkless is my favorite GPP value on the slate because his defensive flexibility SHOULD ensure decent minutes. Harkless has not shot the ball well at all and thus has seen less and less minutes but Portland will need his defense. If Rodney Hood plays, and I don’t think he will, that will add to Harkless’ risk as it appears Evan Turner leaped him in the depth chart from his Game 7 performance.
Kevan Looney ($4800)
He’s no longer THAT cheap but Looney is a strong value.
Al-Farouq Aminu ($4300)
Aminu scares me the most out of all of the Portland values but the Warriors matchup could present Aminu with added minutes with low ownership if Kanter struggles.
Ersan Ilyasova ($4200)
He’s a way safer PF in Aminu’s price range.
Brook Lopez ($4500)
As bad as Lopez has been this is a very target-able price for him on FD, there’s upside.
Andrew Bogut ($3500)
I don’t want to spend up on center this round but particularly in Game 1, if not going Lopez, I’d go full punt with Bogut.
Steph Curry ($8700)
Love the price and the scoring even more on DK than on FD. This is too cheap for Curry without KD in an appealing game environment.
Andre Iguodala ($5400)
With Iggy only $400 more than Brogdon lock in Iggy and his 30+ minutes and increased production. This is just too cheap of a price for him.
Giannis Anteokounmpo ($10300)
DK’s pricing makes it so I want Giannis over Kawhi. Target either with confidence.
Pascal Siakam ($6600)
Siakam made my core on FD and at $1k cheaper on DK I’m going right back to him. I view Siakam as a low risk high reward target in an elite matchup. I don’t expect his price to remain under $7k much longer.
George Hill ($4100)
I don’t love this price with Brogdon back but Hill is still target-able. It’s tough to play one of FVV or Curry as super cheap options on DK as we don’t have the FD luxury of dropping them if they flop.
Pat Connaughton ($4200)
For how Connaughton has produced throughout the playoffs this remains a really good price. Even if Pat’s minutes are down to around 20-23 he can still get us where we need to go while providing good cap relief.
Evan Turner ($3200)
I expect Evan Turner to be very high owned at this price tag particularly if Rodney Hood can’t go. Turner would provide safe and elite cap relief based off of his impressive Game 7 performance. The Warriors willingness to go small could also help Turner see increased minutes.
Al-Farouq Aminu ($4000)
Aminu is a GPP risk. He’s been brutal this postseason and Stotts has seemed to have lost faith in him. His only appeal is that we’ve seen him see increased run against the Warriors in the past.
Mo Harkless ($3800)
Here’s what I said about Mo Harkless earlier:
Harkless is my favorite GPP value on the slate because his defensive flexibility SHOULD ensure decent minutes. Harkless has not shot the ball well at all and thus has seen less and less minutes but Portland desperately needs him. If Rodney Hood plays, and I don’t think he will, that will add to Harkless’ risk as it appears Evan Turner leaped him in the depth chart from his Game 7 performance.
Zach Collins ($4500)
Cheaper than Mirotic and only $100 more than Ibaka, Collins is where I’d go if looking for a value at PF/C. He was great in Round 2 and we could see added minutes for him if Kanter struggles to defend.
Brook Lopez ($4300)
Lopez is a very usable cheap GPP option at center. Because of DK’s positional flexibility, Lopez is less attractive on DK than on FD.
Kevon Looney ($3700)
I expect Looney to be a popular target as this is an elite price for him. He’s been great with his minutes since Durant went down.
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.