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Kyle Lowry, TOR (vs. BKN), PG, $7700:
Defenses to Avoid
Brooklyn Nets at Toronto Raptors: A matchup between two of the league's bottom-10 teams in pace doesn't figure to produce many high-scoring affairs. Between that reality and the uncertainty surrounding the Brooklyn rotation, it's probably best to wait a game before using any of the Nets' key players. Coach Jason Kidd has really spread the minutes around this season, and while he'll presumably tighten up his rotation for the playoffs, the Nets won't necessarily have any 40-MPG players during the postseason. Joe Johnson ($5,600) and Deron Williams ($6700) are the safest bets for playing time, but Williams' price is hard to palate given his recent struggles.
Offenses to Use
Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles Clippers: One of the more memorable features of last season's playoffs was Andrew Bogut hobbling around at about 75 percent speed. There's a small chance we'll get to see more of the same down the road, but Bogut (broken rib) won't play Saturday, and probably won't be suiting up in this series. The timing couldn't be any worse, with the Warriors up against an offensive juggernaut that features Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan up front.
The Dubs are still a solid defensive team without Bogut, but his absence might be too much to overcome in this specific matchup. The Clips led the league in offensive rating (109.4) this season, while playing at the league's seventh-fastest pace (98.39). The Dubs finished third in defensive rating (99.9) and sixth in pace (98.53), but both marks would likely be higher were it not for Bogut.
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Lowry hasn't been piling up assists lately, but he's made up for it by scoring 22 points or more in each of his last five games. While I don't necessarily expect that trend to continue, Lowry will undoubtedly be right at the center of things for Toronto, one way or the other. I'm not in love with the matchup, yet this price is simply too good to pass up for a player who's a threat to score 50-plus DraftKings fantasy points in any game. Lowry's price hovered around $8500 for a good portion of the season, before dropping to $7700 over the last two weeks. Given that he averaged 39.9 DraftKings points over his final five regular-season games, Lowry makes for one of the better bargains on Saturday.
Other suggestions: Russell Westbrook
, OKC (vs. MEM), PG, ($9000)
Jamal Crawford, LAC (vs. GSW), PG/SG, ($4800):
Crawford has played just 14 games since the All-Star break, but his pre and post-break numbers are eerily similar on a per-game (or per 36) basis. He proved his health by dropping 34 points in Wednesday's regular-season finale, and finished the year with 28.6 DraftKings points per game. I'm admittedly worried about the Clippers' deep backcourt, which will probably limit Crawford's playing time, but there aren't many bargain-bin options available in the playoffs, and he offers good upside at this price.
Other suggestions: Joe Johnson
, BKN (at TOR), SG/SF, ($5600)
Lance Stephenson, IND (vs. ATL), SG/SF, ($5400):
Stephenson was listed in the $7500-range at one point this season, and while he clearly wouldn't be a good pick at that price, he's an excellent value at just $5400. Sure, he finished the season slow and isn't one of the key pieces in his team's offense, but he can contribute in every category and may top the 40-minute mark. Stephenson built some heading into the playoffs by dropping a triple-double in his final regular-season game Sunday against OKC. His price is very likely to rise before the end of this series, even if the series only lasts four or five games.
Other suggestions: Andre Iguodala
, GSW (at LAC), SG/SF, ($5000)
Blake Griffin, LAC (vs. GSW), PF/C, ($9400):
I'd like Griffin at this price if Andrew Bogut
were playing, so there's no question I'll be taking him with the Aussie big man sidelined. Coming off a breakout regular season, Griffin and teammate DeAndre Jordan
get to face a Warriors starting frontline of David Lee
and Jermaine O'Neal
. Given the Dubs' strong perimeter defense and current lack of size, the Clips will likely look to pound the ball inside early and often. Griffin should put up plenty of points in this one, and hopefully Jordan will leave him a few rebounds.
Other suggestions: Elton Brand
, ATL (at IND), PF/C, ($3800)
Roy Hibbert, IND (vs. ATL), C, ($5100):
Another sliding Pacer at a price that's just too tempting to pass up. Yes, Hibbert has been awful lately, but his postseason production in years past should be just as hard to forget as his terrible finish. Last year, Hibbert averaged 11.9 points and 8.3 boards during the regular season, then posted a 17-10 over 19 playoff games. While it obviously isn't fair to expect such a drastic jump this year, Hibbert should be able to take advantage of a friendly matchup. The Hawks finished 26th in rebounding rate (47.9 percent), and have been even worse than that (47.4 percent) since Al Horford
went down for the season in late December. After starting 16-13, Atlanta finished 22-31 after losing Horford, although other injuries were also a factor. One thing to be careful of – this isn't a good matchup for Hibbert to pile up blocks, as the Hawks ranked 24th in the league in number of shots taken within five feet of the basket. That isn't exactly surprising, given that Atlanta ranked second with 25.8 trey attempts per game.
Other suggestions: Jermaine O'Neal
, GSW (at LAC), C, ($4700), DeAndre Jordan
, LAC (vs. GSW), C, ($7700)
has a broken rib and is unlikely to return during the playoffs.
(knee) has been ruled out for the first round.
(abdomen) missed the last four games but should play Saturday.
(toe) practiced Friday and expects to play Saturday.
(hamstring) missed the final nine games but expects to play Saturday.