The playoffs are their own particular animal when it comes to approaching them from a DFS perspective, because you can basically throw a team’s recent production out the window and only focus on what they’re bringing to the table as the postseason version of themselves. While history versus an opponent's defense by position can have some effect, a lot of our homework can be done by simply looking at the previous box score. On such a small slate, choosing the top eight scorers from two games might seem like a simple task, but you won’t get anywhere in a tournament by going to all the obvious spots. It might work well for a cash game, but the big tournament money winner will combine around 5-6 starters with 2-3 high-scoring bench players, which is why I’ll endeavor to bring you one of each at every position.
One big advantage we have Monday is that these games will have likely outcomes. Both the Warriors and the Sixers were dominant and they’re both working without marquee players (Steph Curry and Joel Embiid, respectively). That’s not to say that the Heat and the Spurs don’t have desirable targets – in fact, they may be easier to spot than a team with a big lead.
As we look at the slate, the two highest-priced targets are no surprise. Kevin Durant ($50) and Ben Simmons ($48) are both excellent choices and reasonably priced when you consider their output. Both will be highly-owned and could also be stacked a lot, but you almost have to ignore ownership levels here if you want to keep pace in any tournament field. One of these guys should be sitting on your roster.
Along with the two players at each position already discussed, I’ll add one non-highlighted player and a player to fade at each spot.
Klay Thompson, SA at GS ($23): The Spurs had no answer for Thompson, but no team has an answer for Klay when his shooting stroke is as hot as it was Saturday. He was the game’s leading scorer and he could well end up repeating that feat Monday, as the Spurs looked lost against the Warriors backcourt.
Marco Belinelli, PHI vs. MIA ($13): Belinelli hopped off the bench early to score 39.4 YFP in 33 minutes on the floor. While the Sixers are saying that J.J. Redick’s hand injury was minor, Redick comes at a higher price and is dealing with a sore back as well. I have no problem going with him at $18 if I have other guard spots to fill.
Additional guard to consider: Goran Dragic, MIA at PHI ($25)
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GUARD TO AVOID
Dejounte Murray, SA at GS ($23): Murray looked largely ineffective Saturday and it appears that Gregg Popovich is using a fleet of guards in heavy rotation, which limits all of their potential. ‘In Popovich We Trust’ has never been uttered by any experienced DFS player – ever.
Draymond Green, GS vs. SA ($31): He won’t come cheap, but Green’s 44.1 YFP in Saturday’s game vaults him into first place in my predictions. He’s a player I wouldn’t give exposure to in cash games if I’m also playing Durant, as I’d want to minimize my risk, but a Golden State stack is never something you can completely fade.
Ersan Ilyasova, PHI vs. MIA ($21): You really can’t go wrong with any of Philly’s three forwards, as Dario Saric ($21) is also playing extremely well and Robert Covington ($30) is an absolute beast defensively, but I will lean towards Ilyasova as the guy with the lowest ownership share of the three tonight. One reason I favor Ilyasova is that he played a lot inside and acted almost like a hybrid center but then, next thing you know, he was drilling long-range balls as well. His 14 rebounds were his best total since facing his previous team (Atlanta) at the end of March.
Other forwards to consider: Rudy Gay, SA at GS ($12); Justise Winslow, MIA at PHI ($12)
FORWARD TO AVOID
LaMarcus Aldridge, SA at GS ($37): He could very well surprise us all with a big game Monday, but with so many other reliable options on the slate I can’t justify a spot for him on any of my rosters, especially at this price. The risk outweighs any potential benefit for me against the Warriors.
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Hassan Whiteside, MIA at PHI ($26): This is a calculated risk that initially looks highly questionable for most, but Erik Spoelstra’s choice to bench Whiteside didn’t result in a win for the Heat. Kelly Olynyk ($19) played well and will likely be targeted heavily, but I have a hunch that Spoelstra will give Whiteside a lot more time on the floor Monday. Olynyk will probably get his share of minutes as well, but he won’t see the kind of totals he saw in Game 1. At this point, Miami needs to do whatever they can to find an answer for Philly and putting Whiteside back out there could certainly help.
JaVale McGee, GS vs. SA ($10): He’ll likely be widely owned after he made a splash in Game 1, and you might not even need to go this low on this slate, but it’s hard to see why not. Steve Kerr says he is going to start him for the whole series, so expect more of the same from McGee as long as he stays out of foul trouble.
CENTER TO AVOID
Richaun Holmes, PHI vs. MIA ($11): This might have been the biggest head-scratcher of Saturday’s slate. Where in the heck did Holmes go? There’s no doubt that Ilyasaova’s dominating presence inside compromised Amir Johnson, but they didn’t even give Holmes a chance to play. The situation inside could very well be in flux if Whiteside gets more minutes Monday, as that could force an adjustment due to Whiteside’ size advantage, but I don’t know that I can risk the roster spot on Holmes this time around in the event that nothing changes for him.