Basketball Lineups Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

04/17/2018
Doug Norrie

Daily Fantasy NBA Playoff Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - Round 1 4/17/18

The playoffs keep chugging right on along and it's a great time of year for nightly, high-quality hoops. On Wednesday we've got the Cavaliers looking to make up for an embarrassing Game 1 loss to the Pacers, the Thunder looking to keep the pressure on the Jazz and the Rockets playing against an enigma of a Timberwolves squad.

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Indiana Pacers at Cleveland Cavaliers

Pacers lead series 1-0

It doesn’t pay to overreact to one playoff game simply because series are long, adjustments are made and things are never as good/bad they seem for a certain team. And that being said, it’s tough to just gloss over the Pacers’ handling of Lebron and the Cavs in the first game. The handed Cleveland a 98-80 drubbing and took a 1-0 lead in the series. The 18 points loss looks bad for Cleveland, but they aren’t going to keep shooting 25% from three and still have (by far) the best player in the series. Look for a bounce-back mission in Game 2.

LeBron James (FD $12100 DK $11500) was his typical, fantasy-dominant self in Game 1, finishing with 24 points, 12 assists, and 10 rebounds and should be high-owned again on this three-game slate. He played 44 minutes in regulation and that included getting dusted off the final couple because of the blowout. From a fantasy-standpoint, he’s as safe as they come on this slate simply because once again the Cavaliers can’t afford to keep him off the court for long.

It’s the rest of the team where the questions arise. No other Cav was even remotely fantasy-viable relative to his price. Kevin Love (FD $8100 DK $7700) rebounded well but put up only eight shots in 34 minutes. Of all the Cavaliers, I’m most comfortable running him in cash games simply because he should see a full complement of run and almost for sure will shoot more in Game 2. But after that? It’s anyone’s guess really. I wouldn’t call any of their plays safe though still think there is some upside for his price on George Hill if he can stay on the court.

Meanwhile, Victor Oladipo (FD $9800 DK $9000) went into takeover mode on Sunday and ended as one of the best plays on the slate. His 32 points, six rebounds, four assists and four steals will likely have people paying up for him again on this slate. On the one hand, he has the best matchup in that the Cavs are the worst defense on this slate by a wide margin. But I’d caution that he isn’t going to keep shooting 66% from three (6-9) or 58% from the field (11-19).

I’m also encouraged by the minutes from the Pacer starters. Bojan Bogdanovic (FD $5000 DK $5100) saw full run (39 minutes) and took a ton of shots (5-17 from the field). If they are going to feel comfortable out there on Lebron then he makes for elite play once again.

Myles Turner (FD $5500 DK $5700) was much maligned coming into the game but delivered on his prices with a 16 point, eight rebound game that had him easily at value. I’d roll him in cash games again against the weaker Cleveland interior.

Utah Jazz at Oklahoma City Thunder

Thunder lead series 1-0

OKC took down game one on the back of Paul George (FD $8000 DK $8300) just going HAM all over the Jazz. For a guy who struggled shooting for basically all of March, the guy showed no issues in Game 1 when he went 13-20 from the field and an unreal 8-11 from three. While these look great, they simply aren’t sustainable percentages going forward. Look for some regression and I wouldn’t have a problem getting away from him at these prices on this short slate.

Compared to Lebron and Harden, it’s tough to consider paying up for Russell Westbrook (FD $12100 DK $10800) on FanDuel, but he’s priced considerably lower than both those guys on DraftKings. He went for 29/13/8 on an ungodly 25 shots from the field. Westbrook’s energy was able to dictate some of the game's pace and I don’t mind rostering him in cash for the discount on DK.

Also, consider taking some of the savings on Corey Brewer (FD $4500 DK $4200). He played 34 minutes in Game 1, though admittedly he needed every single one to hit value.

Ricky Rubio (FD $7200 DK $6300) was a popular play on Sunday and had a fantastic fantasy performance. The Thunder were fine letting him shoot whenever he wanted and he finished 5-18 from the field. He was able to make hay across the stat line, though I’m not encouraged he can keep up the kind of performance on the defensive end.

Some might be drawn to Donovan Mitchell’s (FD $8100 DK $7800) Game 1 performance, but I’d be shocked if the Thunder allowed him to get up another 22 shot performance in Game 2. Considering he’s the only real scoring threat capable of creating his own shot on offense, don’t be surprised to see OKC scheme more for him to try and really stagnate the Jazz offense.

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Minnesota Timberwolves at Houston Rockets

Rockets lead series 1-0

The Rockets played as bad as could be reasonably expected in Game 1 and still pulled off the victory. They shot 27% from three while looking sloppy and stagnant on offense at times. It wouldn’t shock me if they just blew the doors off Minnesota in Game 2 assuming they got some of the run bad from beyond the arc out of their system. James Harden (FD $12200 DK $11200), along with Lebron, remain elite plays and fitting both into lineups could be in the cards if some of the mid-tier players don’t whet your whistle. Harden dropped 44 in Game 1 and looked unstoppable in the 4th quarter.

Clint Capela (FD $8200 DK $7200) had nearly met value by the end of the first quarter and finished with a 24 points and 12 rebounds. He was also able to keep the interior scoring of Minnesota well within check and it stands to reason he should see significant minutes again in Game 2.

If the Timberwolves are looking to make an early exit from the playoffs (likely almost no matter what they do) then the plan to run Derrick Rose (FD $3600 DK $3600) a ton of minutes is a way to get there as quickly as possible. Rose, for reasons completely unknown, saw 24 minutes in Game 1 and took the second most shots on the team. Sure, his fantasy line paid dividends (and mostly that’s all we care about here) but it’s worth noting he was a -6 while on the court (second worst on the team). There’s no reason for him to be playing this much, but if he’s out there again for similar run then he makes an interesting punt play.

Basically, everyone else on Minnesota was a fantasy disappointment. Whether it was burned off minutes (Teague played 29), or drastically reduced usage (Towns and Butler combined for 20 total shots) the Timberwolves just didn’t get it done fantasy-wise. You have to think they consolidate some of their rotations around the starters in Game 2, but man that’s hard to trust after what we saw in the first game. I have no problem taking GPP flyers on Butler and Towns especially considering some of the upside they’ve displayed in the past. But for cash games, you need to tread lightly.

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