RadThad guides you through today’s top plays in the wonderful world of NBA DFS!
What’s up my peeps? Just when I was starting to like these two-game NBA playoff nights, we’re handed Friday’s two-game mess of a slate. For the most part, there are three things that can ruin a slate: A small player pool (i.e. low number of games), lack of depth at a position and lack of value (or too much value). Today, we hit the trifecta, as we’re struggling with all three of these things.
There’s more than enough beefcake to be had tonight; however, if you want to have exposure to these guys, you’re going to have to do some things that you’re not comfortable with. I always preach about protecting your hard-earned bankroll and tonight will be no different. You’ll certainly want to err on the side of caution.
Remember that the following is a GPP list, so don’t get flustered if you don’t see some of the chalkier names listed below. The meat of the article is in the “notes” section, so I won’t be offended if you go there first.
1. Goran Dragic (MIA)
2. Russell Westbrook (HOU)
3. Eric Bledsoe (MIL)
4. Alex Caruso (LAL)
5. George Hill (MIL)
1. James Harden (HOU)
2. Jimmy Butler (MIA)
3. Khris Middleton (MIL)
4. Tyler Herro (MIA)
5. Danny Green (LAL)
1. LeBron James (LAL)
2. Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL)
3. Eric Gordon (HOU)
4. Jae Crowder (MIA)
5. Danuel House (HOU)
1. Anthony Davis (LAL)
2. Bam Adebayo (MIA)
3. Robert Covington (HOU)
4. Kyle Kuzma (LAL)
5. Jeff Green (HOU)
1. Brook Lopez (MIL)
2. Dwight Howard (LAL)
3. P.J. Tucker (HOU)
4. JaVale McGee (LAL)
5. +Kelly Olynyk (MIA)
Top Stud (over $8K on FD): Giannis Antetokounmpo (followed by Anthony Davis)
Top Stud (over $8K on DK): Giannis Antetokounmpo (followed by James Harden)
Top Value (under $5K on FD): Jae Crowder (followed by Danny Green)
Top Value (under $5K on DK): Markieff Morris (followed by Alex Caruso)
– If you’re taking the “studs and scrubs” approach Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL), Anthony Davis (LAL), James Harden (HOU) and LeBron James (LAL) have the highest ceilings on the slate (in that order). The runner ups in this category include Jimmy Butler (MIA), Bam Adebayo (MIA) and Russell Westbrook (LAL).
-On Fanduel my current cash core of players consists of:
Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL): Due to position scarcity and lack of value across the board, Giannis ends up being my de facto stud in cash games on Fanduel. He’s put up 43.5 and 51.3 fantasy points against Miami in the playoffs (29.8% usage rate) and could really stretch closer to his ceiling if he actually played the entire game (averaging 36.1 minutes per game against Miami in the playoffs).
Khris Middleton (MIL): Middleton allows me to get a great combination of ceiling and floor, at a reasonable price. Don’t get me wrong, I like James Harden (HOU) and Jimmy Butler (MIA) as much as the next guy, however, at $7500, Middleton is too hard for me to pass up. He’s dropped 44.7 and 39.2 fantasy points in his last two games (29.7% usage rate) and could be even more productive if they went need him on the court for more than 33 minutes. That’s happened only once over the past month, but with Milwaukee in a “must win” situation they need everything he’s got.
Brook Lopez (MIL): First of all, I’d like to apologize to the earlier slates for saying that there was no depth at the center position. Tonight’s slate certainly wins that award. Lopez is pretty much your only option at the center position on Fanduel. Your only other option in cash games is locking in some potential value with Dwight Howard (LAL), but that’s just not a road I’m willing to go down tonight. Lopez has performed admirably against the Heat, with fantasy performances of 33.2 and 29.4 fantasy points. It just would have been nice to have more options.
Robert Covington (HOU): I had a feeling that Covington would bounce back once Russell Westbrook (HOU) rejoined the team and I wasn’t disappointed. He’s put up 42.9, 47.0 and 52.5 fantasy points in his last three games (16.9% usage rate). While my expectations for a repeat performance against the Lakers are tempered, Covington represents a reasonable combination of ceiling, floor and salary when compared to the rest of your options.
Jae Crowder (MIA): Crowder has played 34 minutes and 35 minutes in each of his last two games and seems to have stepped it up a bit so far in this series. Okay, well at least he stepped it up in his last game with 32.2 fantasy points (19.0% usage rate). I wouldn’t put him under the “beefcake” category, however, I’m more than happy to pair him with Giannis in cash games.
-On Draftkings my current cash core of players consists of Antetokounmpo, Covington and:
Russell Westbrook (LAL): We haven’t seen “vintage” Westbrook since he returned from a hamstring injury (27.7, 22.3 and 31.8 fantasy points in his last three games), however, his usage rate over those three games is sitting pretty at 28.6%. I’m expecting him to step it up a bit against the Lakers, giving him nice cash game value as a core play on both sites.
Eric Bledsoe (MIL): Bledsoe’s fantasy production has been mediocre, at best while playing in the bubble, however, a nagging hamstring injury could be part of the reason for his subpar play. He did play 31 minutes in his last game against Miami, which is encouraging. He hasn’t seen that much court time since August 8 (against the Dallas Mavericks). At this stage of playoffs, you’re looking for players that get a lot of minutes and have reasonable upside. Bledsoe checks off both of those boxes.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (LAL): Do you remember when I said that you “have to do some things that you aren’t comfortable with” if you want exposure to some beefcake? Well this is what I’m talking about. More specifically, rostering anyone in a Los Angeles Lakers uniform not named James or Davis. Everything on the Lakers team runs through James and Davis, making anyone else a fringe option at best. Unfortunately, you’re going to have to roll with a couple of those “fringe options” in your lineup today. Caldwell-Pope, Kyle Kuzma (LAL), Alex Caruso (LAL), Danny Green (LAL), Dwight Howard (LAL) and even JaVale McGee (LAL) will find themselves in your roster in some way shape or form. Those are a lot of potential “snowflakes” waiting to happen. It’s up to you to “pick your poison”. What could go wrong?
-Here are some strategies to consider in tournaments:
Suck it up and go with a cheap center. As I said before, the center position is very thin tonight. Lucky for us, everyone else is in the same boat. I’m not expecting any career performances from any of these guys, however, saving a couple of dollars at the position could help you stock up on beefcake somewhere else.
Roll with the Los Angeles Lakers dynamic duo. While some players will go ahead and take a risk on rostering LeBron or Davis, not many will go the extra step by rostering both of them. James is averaging 56.8 DraftKings points per game against Houston, while Davis is averaging 51.4 fantasy points per game against the Rockets. If you jammed both of them into your lineups during their previous encounters against Houston you were heavily rewarded.
Opt for LeBron over Giannis. I expect Giannis to command an ownership level almost twice that of LeBron tonight. That makes James a “no-brainer” when it comes to GPP pivots. Make no mistake, I’m not saying that I expect Giannis to have a bad game tonight, I’m just saying that there is certainly room for LeBron to outscore him at much lower ownership.
Go back to the well with Jimmy Butler (MIA). After putting up 53.8 fantasy points against Milwaukee in Game 1 of the second round of the playoffs, “Playoff Butler” was the talk of the town. Butler followed up that performance with 32.6 fantasy points in Game 2 of the series, so expect his ownership levels to drop. Speaking of dropping, his salary also took a little hit, so this is where you attack in tournaments.