Daily Fantasy NBA Playoff Picks for FanDuel and DraftKings - Round 1 4/29/18
It's just a two game slate, with Boston and Milwaukee finishing their series and New Orleans and Golden State starting their series. With Steph Curry ambiguously listed as "questionable" just a week after Steve Kerr claimed he'd be out a while, so things are still fairly up in the air here. Let's see if we can make sense of things.
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Indiana Pacers at the Cleveland Cavaliers
Series tied 3-3
Welp, it turns out we don't know anything about this series after all. Indiana looked like the same team that jumped out to a 2-0 on the Cavs, and the Cavaliers looked like a joke.
After three straight games of being shut down, Victor Oladipo (FD $9000 DK $8700) replicated the 11-19 from the field that he put up in game two, but added enough rebounds and assists to cobble together a triple-double in the process. On a two game slate it's hard to believe he won't be chalk here. The real question when it comes to the Pacers is: what do we do with the rest of these guys? Our system is going to want to play guys like Myles Turner (FD $5400 DK $4600) and Domantas Sabonis (FD $4600 DK $5300) because the prices are too cheap for their projected minutes - but how can we really project minutes given the crazy game scripts for these guys recently? I'm still a believer that Turner should play 30+ minutes in close games where he's not in foul trouble, but I understand why it's tempting to use the recent game sample to try and stay away. I'm still not sure that will be possible on DraftKings. Collison and Bogdanovic are also playable here.
As for the Cavs, oy. We're not on two straight games where LeBron James (FD $12300 DK $12100) was the only Cav to top 30 fantasy points, and I'm not sure I see any reason why that changes here. LeBron is still a fine play on both sites if you feel like you can find the value, but even he is looking kind of tired and human right now. Still, with their backs against the wall it'd be shocking for him to not lead all players today in overall time of possession. You're not playing Kevin Love at his current price tags, and after him you're just filling things in around the edges with sub $4,000 wings. Any of JR Smith, Kyle Korver, or Rodney Hood are playable filler for cash games on a two game slate.
Utah Jazz at the Houston Rockets
Series tied 0-0. Implied Vegas total is 205.5. Houston is favored by 9.5.
This series will feature two solid defensive teams with somewhat known rotations, so we're not exactly left with piles of conventional values to pull from. This might leave us with a classic NBA playoff mid-range lineup, leaving aside some of the more expensive options for solid up the middle guys. The total isn't too enticing here, and there's presumably more blowout risk than the Cavs-Pacers game, but we aren't going to be able to avoid playing some guys here, so let's get to it.
The Jazz finished things off against the Thunder, but left worse for the wear with Ricky Rubio being sidelined for at least game one here. While at first it's not apparently obvious where the additional value will come from, we saw an interesting shift for the Jazz - they just played all of their starters a bunch more minutes. Joe Ingles (DK $6200) played 42 minutes, Derrick Favors (DK $5800) played a series (and season) high 39 minutes, and both Donovan Mitchell (DK $8900) and Rudy Gobert (DK $7200) played nearly 40 minutes as well. All of these guys are heavy favorites to play value if the Jazz are just going all in on a short rotation. I'm not exactly sure what to make of Royce O'Neale and Jae Crowder, though. O'Neale could get some minutes, but I'd guess that Mitchell will have the ball in his hands for most of this one. Again, on a short slate it could be worth it.
The Rockets are sort of a different animal here. They have a very tough and slow match-up with the Jazz, have blowout risk, and also have a tendency to play their starters a wide variety of minutes. Trevor Ariza (FD $4700 DK $4500) played 38 minutes even in a blowout in the final game against Minnesota, and looks like a solid value on both sites here. P.J. Tucker (FD $3900 DK $3600) is classic cheap filler, and with 30+ minute upside it'll be hard for him to kill you. Paul, Harden, and Capela all look to expensive to me in a match-up like this, but Capela is the best bet among them on the sheer fact that the Rockets will need someone to contend with the Jazz's considerable big men. Still, we might need to wait until the next round to really want to invest in a lot of Rockets for DFS purposes.