This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
We have three playoff games on the docket for Friday. And with both the BOS/IND and TOR/ORL games posting undesirable O/U lines, there's little doubt the industry will be flocking to the OKC/POR game with its 221 O/U and reasonable point spread checking all the boxes as the biggest producer on paper.
With that in mind, I think it's essential to mix in some low-ownership targets in the other two games if you plan on entering any GPP's. While Kyrie Irving ($8,900) and Kawhi Leonard ($8,200) will be respectable cash plays for those games, I'll be attempting to find secondary value in both of the low-scoring affairs and rely on a few standouts in the OKC/POR game for my GPP builds. I think it's entirely possible for you to stack heavily on big names with your cash lineups, and it will just be a matter of finding three value guys to get you over the line.
Although Russell Westbrook ($10,200) will be playing at home, I can't justify his price tonight after posting two dreary stat lines (by his standards) to start this series. If you think a big night is in the offing with the Thunder up against it, then I can see a way for you to get him in a cash lineup or two to provide a solid floor - but that's about it. I don't think we'll get enough value for the money in hopes of an explosive ceiling. I already mentioned Irving, and he should go for 40 DKFP tonight and might be my favorite cash guard play.
PORTLAND STACK – Damian Lillard ($9,100) and C.J. McCollum ($6,900): The home crowd in Oklahoma City will be pumped, but I elect to keep rolling with a Portland backcourt as the Blazers move to close this series out on the road. Lillard has been playing out of his mind and making Russell Westbrook look like a kindergartener defensively, but McCollum is finally rounding into form. The Thunder don't have much to offer at the two, and C.J. has taken full advantage - and joined his teammate with a DKFP score in the 50's in Game 2. Despite the obvious ownership spike for this play, it's hard to keep their exposure down. The duo will get about 80 percent exposure for me in tonight's builds.
Michael Carter-Williams, ORL vs. TOR ($4,000): I am averse to going low at guard on this slate. But if you expect a bounce-back from Orlando, Carter-Williams could provide 7x value at this price. Although most of the Magic underperformed in Game 2, the talented rookie flirted with a double-double in only 25 minutes of work. It's a challenge to find a lot of value at this salary level, but you'll need one or two guys at this price to afford the big guns.
I don't think you can go wrong with any of the top three elites at your forward spots. I think it mostly comes down to your opinions about how tonight's games shake down. I've been an Orlando apologist for a while now, so a close game there makes guys like Kawhi and Pascal Siakam ($7,300) reasonable plays, but with the Thunder against the wall, my cash lineups will probably gravitate to...
Paul George, OKC vs. POR ($8,700): A 50.7 DKFP average for the season is a super-human achievement for any player, but it's a truly exceptional feat when you have to share output with a guy like Westbrook. Unlike his teammate, George stacks up favorably against the Blazers defense and could very well save the day for the Thunder tonight with a sold-out home crowd providing momentum. Don't be surprised to see a double-double and a total approaching 50 DKFP at this spot tonight.
Aaron Gordon, ORL vs. TOR ($6,200): Toronto decided that the best way to contain Orlando was to smother Nikola Vucevic, and I think they'll continue that strategy tonight. This scheme should allow Gordon to provide more power in the paint and stretch Toronto's defense when he roams the perimeter. The Magic also have an excellent record at home this season and - as I've already mentioned - I'm high on Orlando evening up this series.
Jayson Tatum, BOS at IND ($6,100): I apologize for not giving you something cheaper here, but Tatum's two-year history in the playoffs is difficult to ignore. He's shot a red-hot 53.3 percent from beyond the arc against the Pacers this season, and so far Indiana's usually reliable defense has yet to find a solution for him. I expect the team to play him for 35 minutes tonight, giving him ample opportunity to post a big number.
Marc Gasol, TOR at ORL ($5,600): I'm leaving a lot of guys out by sliding down to Gasol, but the Raptors proved to be especially effective in silencing Nikola Vucevic - with Gasol a key component to that effort. While his ability to contain Orlando's big man doesn't necessarily show up on paper, the Raptors' utilization of their newest player gives the team a different look. With Serge Ibaka at an identical price, it's easy to start second-guessing this spot, but I think Gasol will be the lesser-owned option.
Steven Adams, OKC vs. POR ($5,900): Adams is another low-cost center who can provide a reliable floor tonight, and represents a nice pivot away from the higher-owned options. While he's been equally solid at home and away, I think the crowd in OKC will play a significant factor tonight, and a robust interior attack will be the key to a W for the Thunder. They should have that angle figured out by Game 3, as it was one of the only ways they made headway in the last game. Adams was effective in disrupting Enes Kanter, who remains a big piece of the puzzle for Portland.