This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
Here we go with a one-game playoff slate between the Spurs and Nuggets on Thursday, April 25.
Because this is a single-game format, the following write-ups will be constructed different. For these contests, DraftKings allows you to roster a "captain" who collects 1.5 times the fantasy points. However, he also costs 1.5x the listed salary. From here, you'll have five remaining utility spots to assemble a lineup. The corresponding analysis will heavily consider the strategy within that while listing viable players to choose from.
Nikola Jokic – DEN at SA ($11,600): Jokic obviously deserves consideration as your captain in this format, even despite the cumbersome salary. Not only is the Denver big man the leading fantasy scorer of this series at 52 FPPG, he's also the most consistent pick from either team. I'm expecting him to be within that range tonight in a competitive draw.
LaMarcus Aldridge – SA vs. DEN ($9,800): Aldridge is averaging 37.6 FPPG in this series, which isn't far off from his season average of 39.7. He was somewhat mediocre in Game 1 while posting 28.5 fantasy points on 6-of-19 shooting. However, Aldridge has racked up 37 or more fantasy points in the other four games of this series. That comes despite a pair of runaway performances in the past two games, and we are expecting a tight one (with heavy minutes from Aldridge) in San Antonio tonight.
DeMar DeRozan – SA vs. DEN ($10,600): You can take Jokic as the captain pick while squeezing Aldridge and DeRozan into the same lineup. The following bargains make that possible, and I believe it's the optimal strategy in this slate. DeRozan hasn't been nearly as consistent as Jokic or Aldridge in this series, and getting ejected in Game 4 didn't help either. However, the Spurs are at home with their backs against the wall, and this seems like a great spot for DeRozan to step into the limelight. Don't worry about his last two mediocre outings, this is an excellent spot for DeRozan to climb back into the 45 fantasy point range.
Jakob Poeltl – SA vs. DEN ($5,600): Poeltl isn't anything special, but he'll suffice as a respectable bargain lift to make the rest of your lineup work. He's averaging 29 minutes and 25 fantasy points over his past three games in this series, and that's a healthy baseline moving forward. That represents better "per dollar" value compared to more expensive options like Will Barton, Rudy Gay, Gary Harris, or Paul Millsap.
Torrey Craig – DEN at SA ($3,800): We are getting into deep bargain territory here, and Craig is a risk/reward pick who deserves your attention. He cracked the starting lineup in Game 4, seeing 37 and 28 minutes with 37 and 15 fantasy points respectively. I'm thinking he'll keep the heightened role, as it has seemingly worked out pretty well for Denver, asking Craig to guard DeRozan. Hopefully he'll see enough shots to come through with a viable fantasy showing. Craig is worth taking a chance on due to the cheap price with respectable minutes.
Marco Belinelli – SA vs. DEN ($2,600): Belinelli hasn't produced more than 17 fantasy points in this series, so he's a "pure punt" acquisition in an effort to roster the aforementioned names. However, it's nice to see that he's getting 20-25 minutes per contest, which could lend itself to respectable production if his shot is falling. The downside comes from a lack of peripheral numbers, but I'll tolerate that considering the $2,600 makes lineup construction much easier through the other five spots.