ATLANTA HAWKS @ INDIANA PACERS
We'll likely see some lower scoring contests throughout this series, and it wouldn't be surprising to see the Pacers close it out in five games against an Atlanta club that finished the regular season six games under.500. With that being said, they split the season series 2-2, and actually averaged only 93 PPG to Atlanta's 97.
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Indiana concluded the season on a somewhat underwhelming note, losing 13 of their final 25 games, and scoring fewer than 100 points in all but seven of them. That said, their defense should continue to be rock solid heading into the postseason, and there isn't much to love about the Hawks' guards from a fantasy standpoint. Jeff Teague ($7,200) is overpriced and shouldn't meet value (41 DKPTs) at a consistent enough rate to make him a viable option. Kyle Korver ($4,900) is far too unpredictable and relies too heavily on scoring from beyond the arc. Forwards, on the other hand, stand to see some value, as Paul Millsap ($8,100) is highly underpriced, and should serve as Atlanta's only true scoring weapon, meaning he will probably see upwards of 40 minutes per game. He is certainly someone to consider when setting your lineups on Saturday. DeMarre Carroll ($4,800) won't do much in terms of upside, but contributes in several categories and will be a steal so long as he can accumulate around 30 DKPPG. Atlanta's big man situation is something to stay away from however, as Pero Antic ($4,300) does not contribute enough rebounds and blocks to make him a viable center option, while Elton Brand ($3,800) can't be trusted with Antic in the lineup.
Paul George ($8,800) averaged 42 DKPPG through six meetings with the Hawks in the 2013 playoffs, and makes for an intriguing play being that Kevin Durant ($11,300) is the only other appealing high-end small forward option, and a matchup with Memphis is less than ideal. Lance Stephenson ($5,400) is easily the most appealing value option on Saturday's slate. Despite disappearing for the latter half of the regular season, he finished with a 51.5 DKPT triple-double in his last appearance and will likely receive all the minutes he can handle in the postseason. David West ($6,600) warrants a look in cash game formats, and is a near lock to produce around 35 DKPPG against Atlanta, whom he registered 34 DKPPG against through four meetings this season. Despite the enticing price tag, Roy Hibbert ($5,100) has become a non-factor, and will remain this way until he is capable of rebounding like a capable center. With limited value across the board, George Hill ($4,700) could be a sneaky low-end point guard with shooting guard eligibility. His minutes should climb back up to the low 30's now that the games count again, and his matchup with the Hawks, who struggled against opposing guards to close out the season. There is no value off of the Indiana bench, as the starters are likely to see heavy run unless they run away with things early.
BROOKLYN NETS @ TORONTO RAPTORS
This should be one of the closer series in the quarterfinal round of the playoffs, and we shouldn't see anyone run away with things early. That being said, there is hardly any fantasy value among the bench players on either team, but favorable pricing highlights some quality plays in each of these squad's starting five.
There's certainly some value coming out of Brooklyn, but their unpredictable rotations can create some frustrating for us daily fantasy enthusiasts. Deron Williams ($6,700) labored through a less than stellar, injury laden season, but the Nets will be playing with a purpose on Saturday, and he should log around 35 MPG. 35-37 DKPTs is a fair estimate for Williams, as we should expect a handful of rebounds and assists to accompany his usual 15 PPG output. With so many quality point guard options available, it isn't exactly realistic to target Williams, but at $6,700, he could serve as a mid-level salary cap saver with 40-plus fantasy point upside. Joe Johnson ($5,600) is Brooklyn's wildcard, but he's also probably the most appealing option due to salary alone. Toronto's backcourt defense has been surprisingly solid this season, but Johnson's ability to pour in 30-plus points on any given night creates ideal GPP conditions for the 13th year veteran. Will Paul Pierce ($5,500) see additional playing time now that Brooklyn is in the playoffs? They're looking for his experience and leadership to carry them into the second round, and it's entirely possible that we witness a rejuvenated Pierce on Saturday. He's worth a gamble at only $5,500. Jason Kidd has made it extremely difficult to gauge the fantasy value of Brooklyn's other ten active players. Shaun Livingston ($4,800) and Andray Blatche ($4,900) are worth a look at a reasonable salary, but Mason Plumlee ($5,500) is out of the respectable price range and Kevin Garnett's ($4,600) minutes can't be trusted. Other names such as Andrei Kirilenko ($3,900), Marcus Thornton ($4,100) and Mirza Teletovic ($4,000) possess marginal fantasy value now that the Nets are at close to full strength.
The Raptors shocked the fantasy world this season, boasting some of the league's top performers at several positions. Kyle Lowry ($7,700) has arguably been a top three point guard this season in terms of sheer consistency. It's become a rarity that he produces fewer than 40 DKPTs and he is undoubtedly a top play at only $7,700. DeMar DeRozan ($8,000), who enjoyed considerable success alongside Lowry, is also a viable option. We can confidently assume that he'll log 40 MPG and won't be shy when it comes to hoisting up the rock. He has provided enough peripheral stats along the way to make him a premier shooting guard play against the Nets. Jonas Valanciunas ($6,200) has come on strong of late, and although his salary has finally emerged from the mid-$5K range, he has been a consistent fantasy producer and shouldn't have any trouble averaging 35-38 DKPPG against the 29th ranked rebounding team in basketball. I'm confident that Valanciunas will enjoy a productive series against the Nets. Terrence Ross ($4,100) is far too unpredictable as a fantasy option, and not worth rostering at this stage of the game. Amir Johnson ($5,700), who finally appeared to be gaining some traction, has once again hit a snag. The 26th year-old power forward is not worth rostering, especially with his ballooned price tag. Additional options such as Patrick Patterson ($3,500) and Greivis Vasquez ($4,600) could have some value off of the Raptors' bench, but it's best to take the wait and see approach here. It is very unclear on how they will be utilized, but given what we know now, Patterson is the more appealing option due solely to his depressed salary.
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS @ LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS
This series is probably the most intriguing from a fantasy perspective. We have numerous big name players, but none of them will come cheap. With that in mind, high scoring contests should allow many of them to exceed value in what is shaping up to be some very exciting basketball.
Golden State Warriors
Stephen Curry ($10,500) has been on a torrid pace of late. Following a string of pedestrian performances, the fifth year Davidson product has turned up the heat, averaging 33 points, 11 assists, five rebounds, three steals and five threes for a whopping 63 DKPPG over his last five contests. Amazingly, Curry has totaled 63-plus DKPTs in four of his last five games, while shooting 54 percent from the field and 51 percent from downtown over that stretch. Chris Paul won't make things easy for Curry, but it's difficult not to love him considering his recent surge in production. Klay Thompson ($7,100) is someone I typically tend to avoid. He has been shooting better of late, but isn't capable of producing the peripheral stats necessary to salvage a poor performance from the field. At $7,100, you can find safer options with considerably more upside in their auxiliary statistics. Andre Iguodala ($5,000) has erased his name from fantasy relevance since suffering a lower body injury midway through the regular season. However, at $5,000, there is some excellent value in a player who should see an uptick in minutes as the playoffs commence. His defense is a valuable commodity in Golden State, and it's difficult to imagine he won't be able to contribute in several fantasy relevant categories against the Clippers. David Lee ($7,900) is far too inconsistent to consider an appealing option at this point. He has produced well against Los Angeles this season, but will need to prove he is back to full strength in order to warrant consideration at nearly $8,000. The injury to Andrew Bogut's ribs should open the door to ample playing time for both Draymond Green ($5,800) and Jermaine O'Neal ($4,700). It is unclear which one of them will get the nod in the starting five, and quite frankly, neither of them carry the most appetizing of salaries. Green is clearly the more appealing option, especially if he starts, but it's difficult to envision him consistently meeting value (34 DKPTs) with his spiking salary. O'Neal could pay off his price tag with between 27 DKPTs, and is worth a look, but only if he starts. Jordan Crawford ($4,500), Steve Blake ($3,600) and Marresse Speights ($4,400) should not receive enough playing time to warrant a start in any format, but it's worth noting that Andrew Bogut ($4,800) could present some sneaky value in the event that he is able to suit up at some point throughout the series.
Los Angeles Clippers
One of the most underpriced players amongst the eight teams playing on Saturday is Blake Griffin ($9,400), who has routinely out-produced his salary. The absence of Andrew Bogut should boost his fantasy value, and a 50-plus DKPT game is certainly a possibility. He and Paul Millsap have the most appealing price tags of all the power forwards. Chris Paul ($10,300) has been phenomenal against the Warriors this season, and we can expect that trend to continue this weekend. You'll have to decide between him and Curry, but the higher floor definitely goes to Paul. He is the safest point guard option on the table, but won't always produce monster fantasy totals. For that reason, it's understandable to favor Curry in this series. DeAndre Jordan ($7,700) is a double-double machine who won't shoot much, but generally scores when he does. His 68 percent shooting is among the best in the league, and he's likely to log upwards of 40 MPG throughout this series with Golden State. 40 DKPPG should be a regular occurrence for Jordan, and he can do so with limited scoring. J.J. Redick ($4,600) is back in the mix, and it's difficult to ignore him at such a cheap discount. The Clippers will need his instant scoring against the high-powered Golden State offense, so 30-plus MPG wouldn't come as a surprise. Much like Redick, Jamal Crawford ($4,800) is another premier scoring option for Los Angeles. He too comes at a discounted price and possesses considerably more upside than anyone with a comparable salary at his position. Crawford is definitely worth considering. With Redick and Crawford both healthy, Darren Collison ($5,300) just doesn't justify the price tag anymore. You'll stand a better chance with each of the former options, while still saving between $500-700 in the process. Lastly, Matt Barnes ($4,700) could serve as a viable value play in this high scoring series. It's realistic to expect between 25-30 DKPTs from the L.A. forward, assuming he'll continue seeing around 30 MPG.
MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES @ OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER
Memphis should manage to slow down the pace of this series, but that shouldn't take too much value away from Oklahoma City's top tier players. We should see tightly contested games throughout, keeping most of the starters on the hardwood for 40-plus minutes per game.
The Grizzlies aren't necessarily the first team we turn to when looking for fantasy points, but there are some safe plays coming out of their frontcourt. Marc Gasol ($7,500) is arguably the most versatile big man in the league outside of Joakim Noah, and is virtually matchup proof considering his skillset. He averaged 42 DKPPG through five playoff games against the Thunder last season, but more importantly, Gasol averaged 42 MPG, while playing few than 40 minutes only once in that span. Outside of Gasol, Zach Randolph ($7,900) could serve as a capable cash game play, despite owning a less than favorable salary. He averaged a 17 point, 11 rebound double-double against Oklahoma City through four regular season games in 2013-14, and posted 18 points and 11 rebounds per game through five postseason games with OKC last year. With David Lee still struggling with his health, Randolph makes for a better play at the same price. There is nothing that stands out in terms of backcourt potential in Memphis. Mike Conley ($7,300) likely won't meet value, and the remaining options are low floor/ceiling plays. It's best to look elsewhere for guard value.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Oklahoma City presents a couple somewhat notable names --- Kevin Durant ($11,300) being one of them. Memphis is not an easy matchup, as Durant actually averaged less than 49 DKPPG through four meetings this season, but this is the playoffs and he should shine. Durant is by no means a must play option against the Grizzlies, but he possesses the highest upside on any given night, and is never what we'd call an ill-advised play. Russell Westbrook ($9,000), on the other hand, is priced in the sweet spot. It's still yet to be seen if his playing time will increase in the playoffs, but he is one of the highest fantasy point per minute producers available, and shouldn't be hindered by a less than favorable matchup. He is a perfect play in the event that you are looking to fade Chris Paul and Stephen Curry. Reggie Jackson ($4,900) falls into the same grouping as Jamal Crawford and J.J. Redick. With Westbrook back to playing 30-33 MPG, Jackson's production has taken a hit, but he is still worth considering as a contrarian GPP play. With that being said, Oklahoma City's backcourt is now crowded again with Thabo Sefalosha back in the fold, and Jackson could see less minutes now that defense will be more of a focal point in the playoffs. Serge Ibaka ($7,500) is the only other option with any appeal in OKC. He is actually averaging nearly 40 DKPPG over his last eight contests though, and could serve as a viable power forward play if you lack the confidence in David Lee and Zach Randolph.