Ah, our first round two write-up of this bizarre's season's playoffs. The Raptors enter this game as 2.5 favorites, which flies in the face of what we saw when these two teams met during the bubble regular season. The Celtics built a 40 point lead in that game before coasting to a 22 point victory. The starters were out there for both teams in that game, and I can't imagine that Gordon Hayward's absence accounts for all that much. Still, it's just one game, and we have the rest of the season to look at as well. Boston did win the season series 3-1, and while both teams had guys coming and going throughout the season, I think it's safe to at least say this will be a closely contested series where blowouts aren't a top concern.
A relevant piece of news heading into this one is the status of Kyle Lowry (FD $7500 DK $7900), who tweaked his ankle last Sunday against the Nets and has missed every practice since. If you think he's at full strength, our system thinks he's a great play at these reduced prices. He's a warrior, and he'll be out there if he can be, but if he's operating in a limited capacity the Raps will have to rely even more on Fred Vanvleet (FD $7600 DK $7700) than usual, and our system likes him as a great DFS option today. I also like OG Anunoby (FD $5000 DK $4700) as a high floor option at a shallow small forward position.
Meanwhile, our system is racing out of the door to play Marcus Smart (FD $5300 DK $5600) and Jaylen Brown (FD $6500 DK $7100) at these price points, given that both looked to be locked into 40+ minute rotations at the same prices they were at when they were playing 35 minutes a game. Jayson Tatum (FD $9600 DK $9200) and Kemba Walker (FD $7800 DK $7200) look like respectable plays, and I wouldn't be shocked to see Kemba slice up the hobbled Toronto back court. Heck, our system thinks you can even sprinkle in Daniel Theis, given that the Celtics might need to rely on his size. In case you're keeping track at home, that means our system likes every one of the Celtics' starters.
Mavericks (10.5) vs. Clippers (-10.5)
Who do you think is happier about having a few days off than the Dallas Mavericks? After getting embarrassed in game 5 the Mavs have had a few extra days to rest Luka and lick their other wounds as well. It might be all for naught given that Kristaps is out for the series, but it at least lets a few cracks of daylight through where otherwise things would look pretty grim.
It's a tricky situation, though, because while Luka Doncic (FD $11400 DK $11200) would be utterly automatic regardless of the spread in an elimination game normally Dallas has at least some reason to pull him if things get out of hand due to the injury. Still, our system likes him well enough and I think the Mavs give him a chance to go out on his terms.
Given that the Mavs rate to be behind, I think they rely on Trey Burke (FD $5000 DK $4800) and Tim Hardaway Jr. (FD $5400 DK $6000) perhaps more than they'd like, and both should play their full minutes and then some as the Mavs try to hang. Both are great plays in any format, though this is where my interest in Dallas stops.
Paul George (FD $7800 DK $8300) woke up in a big way in game five, and seems to have shed the mental demons that were plaguing him earlier this playoffs. He led the Clips with 35 points on an insanely efficient 12-18 from the field, and he just isn't priced like the superstar he can be. Great cash game play.
Marcus Morris (FD $5300 DK $5700) and Kawhi Leonard (FD $10800 DK $10100) are great plays as well, and you can even consider Zubac, though I'd be more hesitant given that he could get written out of the game if the 10.5 point spread is to be believed.
Jazz (-2.5) vs. Nuggets (+2.5)
The Nuggets looked downright frisky in game five of what could be the best first round series, with their stars (such as they are) rising to the occasion to bring the series to a sixth game. Jamal Murray (FD $8600 DK $8600) had the best game of his young playoff career, scoring 42 points on 17-26 shooting. He's not priced to that level of production, but can we count on him sustaining it given that Utah has had a few days off to prepare to stop him? I'm not sure.
I do like a few other Nuggets plays, though. Jerami Grant (FD $4800 DK $4800) can absolutely disappear on you, but given that he played 40 minutes last game the floor just seems super high. Nikola Jokic (FD $9300 DK $9500) has been strong this series, even in the games where the Nuggets were blown out. He's been one of the few guys who has had success against Gobert, and I don't mind him if he fits into your lineups on Sunday. I don't trust any of the rest of the Nuggets, though, as each has demonstrated an ability to play themselves out of the rotation for various reasons. Michael Porter Jr. could be an interesting big tournament play, though.
Our system is pretty bearish on the Jazz on their current prices, with Rudy Gobert (FD $7300 DK $7800) being the glaring exception. He's by far the best center play on the slate as far as our lineup optimizer is concerned. Our system doesn't see Donovan Mitchell being able to sustain the production that has risen his prices to these levels, and on a day where every dollar matters I don't know that you can afford him or Mike Conley.
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