This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Basketball series.
Yesterday's article was not my best showing, but the blowouts really hurt us. After every game was close throughout the first week, the results the last couple of days have been lopsided. That's almost impossible to predict at this time of the season and we don't anticipate that being the case here. We actually have all four matchups featuring a 2-1 series, which should make things as competitive as possible. With that in mind, let's kick things off with the NBA's hottest player...
Luka Doncic, DAL vs. LAC ($52)
Doncic has been one of the best players in fantasy since he was drafted, but he's playing on another level right now. After collecting 44 points, nine rebounds and nine assists in Game 3, he's scored at least 57 Yahoo points in all three games this series. He's reached 65 Y! points in two of those while doing everything for Dallas. You might be concerned Doncic is facing a stingy Clippers defense, but he's averaging over 55 fantasy points over their seven meetings this year. Just take the guaranteed 50-60 Yahoo points and build from there.
Derrick Rose, NYK at ATL ($27)
It's amazing how much of a bounceback season Rose has enjoyed. I legitimately thought his career might be over four years ago, but he's come back and been one of the best players these playoffs. That resurgence actually earned Rose a starting job in Game 3 and he took advantage by tallying 30 points, six rebounds and five assists en route to 46 Yahoo points. That's far from flukey, with D-Rose averaging 33 Y! points across his last 17 outings. We also love he's played 38 minutes in all three matchups this series, giving him an incredible floor as New York's primary playmaker. Not to mention, Atlanta ranked 21st in defensive efficiency during the regular season.
Guard to Avoid
Chris Paul, PHX vs. LAL ($27)
It's unfortunate Paul is dealing with injuries in the postseason yet again, but it makes him impossible to trust for fantasy purposes. He's currently dealing with a nagging right shoulder issue and has failed to reach 29 fantasy points in all three games this series. Paul is actually averaging just 22 Y! points per game against LA while only playing 25 minutes a night over the last two. That's horrifying for someone who obviously needs his right shoulder to handle, pass and shoot, and that makes things even more difficult against the league's best defense.
Kawhi Leonard, LAC at DAL ($42)
Kawhi had a terrible stretch at the end of the regular season, but this is playoff Leonard. He's been one of the best postseason performers over the last five years, and it's hard to understand why he's only $42 on Yahoo. He's shown just that in these 2021 playoffs by scoring at least 56 Y! points in all three games. He posted a nearly identical average against the Mavericks in the 2019 postseason, and it's clear he's hungrier the more important the games get.
De'Andre Hunter, ATL vs. NYK ($12)
Hunter has been on and off the injury report all season, but has been a beast when healthy. In his first 17 games of the year before getting injured, Hunter averaged 31.3 Yahoo points across 33.4 minutes. It was a long road back into the starting lineup, but De'Andre is averaging 24 Y! points per game across 34 minutes over the last two. That's the role we've been waiting for, and Hunter will continue to be a huge value at $12 as long as he sees significant court time.
Forward to Avoid
Tim Hardaway Jr, DAL vs. LAC ($20)
THJ has been one of the most inconsistent players in the NBA, but it's not really his fault. He's always asked to step up when either Luka Doncic or Kristaps Porzingis are out, and he did just that. The problem with that is he's relegated to third-man duties when both stars are healthy. That's led to Hardaway scoring 24 or fewer fantasy points in four of his last five appearances, which is on par with his average when both studs suit up. We hate he has to deal with Kawhi and Paul George on the offensive end, as THJ provides very little defensive fantasy value.
Tristan Thompson, BOS vs. BKN ($15)
With Robert Williams likely missing this game, Thompson should be in for another 30-minute game. He's a double-double machine when given a role like that averaging 10.9 points, 11.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 0.9 blocks in the eight contests he's played at least 29 minutes this year. One of those was their Game 3 victory, in which TT dropped 34 Yahoo points in his second-best game of the year. That's far from surprising when you see Brooklyn surrendered the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing centers in the regular season, especially with how much small-ball they tend to play.
Taj Gibson, NYK at ATL ($10)
Taj is a Tom Thibodeau favorite, and it's becoming evident in this series. He actually usurped Nerlens Noel in the rotation to start at center in Game 3. That has led to Gibson averaging 22.3 Y! points across 27 minutes in these three games against Atlanta. That might not sound like much, but 23 fantasy points from a minimum-salaried player is amazing. It should continue in this majestic matchup with the Hawks ranked 21st in total defense.
Center to Avoid
Andre Drummond, LAL vs. PHX ($21)
Drummond can perform when given the minutes, but he's simply not getting enough right now to make him worth $20. LA has been running with Anthony Davis at center, leaving Drum with 20 minutes a night over his last five fixtures. Any time a player's salary is higher than their minute total, you need to evaluate better options. What makes it even more worrisome is this matchup, with Phoenix ranked Top-10 in both points allowed and defensive efficiency.