Armando Marsal breaks down tonight’s Showdown NBA DFS playoff slate!
Welcome to post season basketball. Just like I did during the regular season, I’ll be using FanDuel positions as they are less flexible than they are on DraftKings, but you should have plenty of options at each position to build on DK as well given the roster flexibility and multi-position eligibility of many players on their site.
Memphis Grizzlies at Golden State Warriors
It’s win or go home tonight, as the winner of this contest will enter the playoffs as the eighth seed and the loser’s season will come to an end. This game has an over/under of 221 points, with the Warriors favored by 4.5 points. These teams faced off three times in the regular season, Golden State won two of the three games. All three of their meetings where competitive, which is what should be expected this evening. Two of their games ended in a 214-point total, while the other ended with a 219-point total. The Grizzlies finished the regular season ranked 16th in defense efficiency, while the Warriors ranked 12th. Both teams were top eight in pace, so this should be an up-tempo contest.
On the injury front, the Grizzlies will once again be without Sean McDermott, which does not impact the rotation. Golden State continues to be without Kelly Oubre, while Damion Lee who has not played since April 19th, is doubtful for tonight. Outside of that, both teams are fairly healthy.
Golden State ran a tight eight-man rotation (see image below) in their first play-in tournament against the Lakers. Of the eight players in the rotation, only three exceeded 30 minutes. A similar rotation should be expected this evening against the Grizzlies.
Stephen Curry played 40.6 minutes against the Lakers and led the team with 37 points in the 103-100 loss. He attempted 23 shots, sporting a healthy 35.1 percent usage rate in that contest. Let’s not forget that he led the NBA in points per game (32) and finished the season with a healthy 33.1 usage rate. I am expecting another heavy usage night for Curry against Memphis. He played in just one of the three meetings against the Grizzlies this season, but made his presence felt in that game. He scored 46 points with seven rebounds, nine dimes, one block, and one steal in that contest. That performance was good for 73.3 DK points. The Grizzlies surrendered the 12th most three-pointers and the 13th highest three-point field goal percentage to opposing teams during the regular season. This is something that Curry can certainly take advantage of since he generates 50 percent of his scoring from beyond the arc. Curry is the best player on the slate tonight and should be the staple of all of your lineups.
Nobody on the Warriors team played more minutes than Draymond Green in their first play-in game, as he was on the court for 41.4 minutes. Green is a volatile player who offers a pretty high ceiling in comparison to his price tag, but the floor is also low. As we saw in the game against the Lakers, Green generally does not score a ton of points, but he is very capable of filling the stat sheet, offering triple-double upside whenever he steps on the court. Green played well against the Grizzlies this season, averaging 34.3 minutes, 7.7 points, 9.3 rebounds, 8.3 assists, 1.7 blocks, and one steal per game in their three meetings, scoring at least 40 DK points in two of those games. In the one game that Curry played in against Memphis, Green finished one rebound and one assist short of a triple-double. The Grizzlies ranked 23rd in defense efficiency against the position this season, allowing seventh most rebounds, sixth most assists, and third most steals per game. This is a matchup that Green has not only fared well in, but one that he should continue to dominate in.
Andrew Wiggins played 39 minutes against the Lakers on Wednesday and should be in for heavy minutes again this evening. He had one of his best, if not his best performance of the season against the Memphis team back in March, scoring a season high 40 real points, as well as a season high 66 DK points. It’s worth noting that Curry did not play in that contest, which led 24 shot attempts. However, Wiggins has played well against this Memphis team in their three meetings, averaging 35.3 minutes, 27 points, nine boards, 2.3 steals, two dimes, and 0.3 blocks per game. He has scored at least 20 real points and 37.75 DK points in each of their meetings, and even had a double-double in the game that Curry did play against Memphis. The Grizzlies are a team that surrendered the 12th most points inside the paint in their final 15 games of the season, which bodes well for Wiggins who generated 43.8 percent of his scoring from inside the paint. He is the second scoring option on this Warriors team and should play a big role for this offense tonight. Keep in mind, he has now scored 20 or more real points in seven of his last 10 games and is shooting the ball well as of late.
Kevin Looney played just 20 minutes against the Lakers but should play minutes in the mid-20’s in tonight’s contest (I have him projected for 28-31 minutes). In the last meeting against the Grizzlies, Looney played 31 minutes, finishing with six points, 11 boards, and three assists. He comes at a cheap price this evening and has exceeded expectations in 63 percent of his games over the last month. Despite the lack of major upside, Looney is arguably the safest cheap option on DK and rostering him allows you to fit in some of the heavy hitters this evening.
Kent Bazemore, Jordan Poole, Juan Toscano-Anderson, and Mychal Mulder are the other players on the Warriors team who got run in the last game. Bazemore started on Wednesday and played 24.5 minutes. With that said, this is a Memphis team that he has struggled against this season and as of late, Bazemore’s production has taken a dip. Poole came off the bench on Wednesday but did play the fourth most minutes for the Warriors, including the entire fourth quarter. He should play minutes in the mid-20’s tonight once again and is a viable affordable option. Toscano-Anderson has played no less than 25 minutes in each of his last 11 games and should play minutes in the mid-20’s in tonight’s contest as well. He is under $6K on DK, which gives you some salary relief for a player who is relatively safe from a minutes perspective. Mulder is a wild card, but an extremely affordable one. He played 22 minutes against the Lakers on Wednesday, though he has played fewer than 20 minutes in two of the last five games. His minutes are volatile, but at his $2200 price tag on DK, he is someone to strongly consider given the salary relief he provides. He is risky, but he also allows you to get in the top plays on the slate tonight in one lineup.
Memphis ran a 10-man rotation (see image below) in their first play-in game against the Spurs. That said, their starters played the majority of the minutes, as they all topped 30 minutes and only on player off the bench played more than 11.7 minutes. We can expect a similar rotation this evening.
My favorite Memphis player tonight is Jonas Valanciunas. He has been red hot in recent games, averaging 33.5 minutes, 22.2 points, 16.7 rebounds, 2.5 blocks, 1.7 assists, and 0.3 steals in his last six contests. During that stretch, he has topped 45 DK points in every single game and has scored over 52 DK points in three of those contests, including a 53.5 DK point performance against this Golden State team. In fact, the Warriors are a team that Valanciunas has done incredibly well against this season, averaging 1.6 fantasy points per minute against them. Keep in mind, the Warriors are a team that has struggled against opposing bigs this season. In addition, they are an awful rebounding team, allowing the fourth most rebounds per game to opposing teams. Moreover, Golden State gave up the fourth most second chance points this season. I fully expect Valanciunas to turn in a dominant performance here this evening and have his way under the basket. He is right behind Steph in the priority list this evening.
Ja Morant delivered a solid performance against the Spurs on Wednesday, scoring 20 points with six boards, six assists, and a steal, while playing a team high 40.7 minutes. Tonight, he faces a Warriors team that he has struggled against this season. In three meetings against Golden State, he has averaged 34.3 minutes, 14.7 points, 6.3 assists, 2.7 rebounds, 0.7 steals, and 0.3 blocks, while scoring 33.8 or fewer DK points in each of those contests and shooting just 34 percent against them. This is not all that surprising given that Golden State ranked ninth in defense efficiency against point guards and surrendered the seventh lowest field goal percentage against the position. Morant is the type of player that has slate breaking upside and we saw it a few times this season. That said, he is also the third most expensive player tonight and faces a team he has struggled against in a big way.
Jaren Jackson didn’t have a great game against the Spurs on Wednesday, scoring just 10 points with four boards, four dimes, a steal, and a block. That said, he attempted just six shots and although he is not someone that generally takes a ton of shots, he had attempted no less than eight shots in his previous five games, including 11 or more in four of those contests. Tonight’s game will be faster paced than it was on Wednesday, so I fully expect some more shot attempts for Jackson. In addition, this is a better rebounding matchup for him. Jackson did well against this Warriors team less than week ago, scoring 14 points with seven boards, three steals, two blocks, and two dimes in 31 minutes. Jackson is in a good position tonight for a productive outing and is someone that can be penciled in for at least 30 minutes.
Dillon Brooks had himself a game against the Spurs on Wednesday, scoring a team-high 24 points with seven boards, three dimes, two steals, and a block. As I pointed out in Wednesday’s article, Brooks relies heavily on scoring and in three games against the Warriors this year, he has scored at least 18 real points twice. This is a good game environment for Brooks, being that this will be an up-tempo contest. However, it is worth noting that Golden State was incredibly tough against the shooting guard position this season, ranking second in defense efficiency. Despite the difficult matchup here for Brooks, he is a lock to play big minutes tonight and will have plenty of scoring opportunities. Taking price into account, he is my fifth favorite Grizzlies player tonight, though he does offer more upside than Jackson and Anderson.
Kyle Anderson is the other Grizzlies player who should play upwards of 30 minutes this evening. He is not a high usage player, but does contribute to peripheral stats, giving Anderson a nice floor. This is not a team that he has played incredibly well against this season. In three meetings against the Warriors, he has averaged 26.7 minutes, 10 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.3 steals, and 0.3 blocks per game. That said, we know the minutes will be there for Anderson tonight and he is the cheapest of the Grizzlies starters on DK. Anderson should benefit from the pace of this game and from the fact that the Warriors are not a great rebounding team.
The rest of this Grizzlies squad is difficult to trust, especially with the way they ran their rotation in the last game. Desmond Bane was the only other player from Memphis to play more than 11.7 minutes against San Antonio. Despite playing minutes in the mid-20’s last game and potentially playing similar minutes tonight, it’s difficult to recommend Bane given his lack of upside. Outside of him, De’Anthony Melton, Tyus Jones, Xavier Tillman, and Grayson Allen all got some run last game, but none of these player topped 11.7 minutes. They are all incredibly risky tonight, and the risk/reward factor isn’t all that great when taking everything into account. Therefore, it is incredibly difficult to feel good about rostering them this evening.
DK: Stephen Curry, Jonas Valanciunas, Kevin Looney, Jaren Jackson
FD: Stephen Curry, Jonas Valanciunas, Jordan Poole, Jaren Jackson