Defenses to avoid: San Antonio Spurs, vs MEM: The correct answer for this section is almost always “none” in the playoffs, and on Tuesday that may be the case as well. That said, the Spurs are an elite defense, they are playing at home, and they’re facing a suddenly tight series and need to win on their home court. The only Grizzlies player that has consistently hit/surpassed his expected value is Mike Conley, and the argument can be made that if the Spurs are expected to be the better team, they should win this game and do so convincingly.
Offense to use: Houston Rockets, vs OKC: The Rockets’ offense has been too much for the Thunder through four games, and on Tuesday they get a home game with a chance to close out the series. The Rockets have gotten their usual strong contribution from James Harden, but they’re getting solid games from whole plethora of different players. If anything, it’s not the Thunder defense that slows them down, it’s other players on their own team getting hot enough to limit others’ minutes. But overall, the Rockets should put a big number on the board on Tuesday.
James Harden, HOU vs OKC ($10,600): Through the first three games of the series, Harden averaged about 60 fantasy points per game to Russell Westbrook’s 75. Then, in Game 4, Westbrook scored 85 fantasy points to Harden’s 35. Suddenly, for Game 5, Westbrook is priced in the $14Ks while Harden is in the $10Ks. Westbrook is clearly the most explosive guard on the night, but for almost $4k less, Harden may be the better value play, even if he’s coming off of a minor ankle injury.
Mike Conley, MEM at SA ($8,000): Conley is averaging 44.6 fantasy points in the series, fresh off a 60.8 fantasy point effort in an overtime victory in Game 4. That level of production would be a surprise, but he’s solid value at his price as a player with an expected value in the low 40s of fantasy points with upside for more.
Tony Parker, SA vs MEM ($4,500): Parker was inexplicably bad in Game 3, going scoreless with 0.8 fantasy points in 19 minutes. However, he bounced back big with 35.5 fantasy points in Game 4, and has been generally productive in each of the other games in the series.
Kawhi Leonard, SA vs MEM ($9,600): Leonard turned in a monster, 71-fantasy-point effort with a lot of overtime heroics in Game 4, and even after a down Game 3 is still averaging 50.3 fantasy points for the series. On Tuesday he is back at home with his team needing a win to maintain home court advantage, so he should be expected to play well.
Gordon Hayward, UTA at LAC ($7,400): Hayward had to leave Game 4 early with food poisoning but isn’t listed on the Game 5 injury report. He was slightly below par in the first two games of the series, then exploded for 60.8 fantasy points in Game 3 before missing most of Game 4. On Tuesday, he’ll be leading his team into a Game 5 with a chance to take the series lead, which gives him a good chance to reach an expected value of around 40 fantasy points.
Andre Roberson, OKC at HOU ($5,700): Roberson has been consistently productive all series, averaging 34.5 fantasy points through the first four games. He actually performed slightly better in the two games in Houston than he did for the two in Oklahoma, so the fact that Game 5 is on the road shouldn’t be daunting.
Rudy Gobert, UTA at LAC ($7,900): Gobert returned in Game 4 but only played 24 minutes due to a minutes restriction. Even with that restriction, he still produced a strong 37.3 fantasy points. There is no official word yet whether he will be similarly restricted in Game 5, but he has shown he can produce either way and, if he can play full minutes, he has elite production potential.
Marc Gasol, MEM at SA ($7,100): Gasol is in this space by default, as there aren’t a lot of excellent, moderately priced prospects at center on Tuesday. Gasol has averaged a solid 36.6 fantasy points in the series, is coming off a 37.5 fantasy point effort in overtime in Game 4, and does have a 46.3 fantasy point effort in San Antonio under his belt this series.
Clint Capela, HOU vs OKC ($4,600): There are three main combatants for this final center spot. Steven Adams and Nene Hilario both had huge Game 4 efforts, after pedestrian efforts in the rest of the series. Capela, on the other hand, had two awful games in Oklahoma but was a consistent rock for the month before including the first two games in Houston. The series returns to Houston on Tuesday, and Capela’s price has dropped into the Adams/Hilario range, so he has a solid chance to bounce-back to his normal levels and outproduce that price in Game 5.