Defense to Avoid:
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Houston Rockets: This appears to be a strange suggestion on the surface, but this is a must-win game for a hungry Thunder team. Oklahoma City has been tough in their home building all season, as they rank seventh in defensive efficiency at Chesapeake Energy Arena. What makes the Rockets hard to trust is the inconsistency of their fantasy options, as James Harden is the only guy that you know will go off. There are simply too many weapons on this Rockets team and it makes them hard to trust. With all that said, it will be almost impossible to avoid all the Rockets players simply because it's a limited three-game slate.
Offense to Use:
Boston Celtics at Chicago Bulls: Let's go with another team in a must-win situation, as the Celtics should ride their starters big minutes. What makes Boston especially intriguing is how good they've been on the road, ranking seventh in offensive efficiency away from home. Chicago is not a defense to be scared of either, as they have a 108 defensive efficiency for the season. The Celtics provide plenty of cheap fantasy options as well, with no player priced above $8,500.
Isaiah Thomas, BOS at CHI ($8,500): This is a must-win game for the Celtics, so they should lean on their superstar heavily. Thomas has had success against Chicago all season, averaging over 40 fantasy points per game against them, and $8,500 is simply too cheap for his expected minutes and usage.
Rajon Rondo, CHI vs. BOS ($7,200): Rondo is averaging 45 fantasy points per game in his two playoff appearances this year, and that extends a run that he started when he re-captured the starting point guard job last month, as he is averaging 12.3 points, 8.5 rebounds, 9.1 assists and 2.1 steals per game over his last eight. That's the Rondo of old and that success should continue against a bad defender like Isaiah Thomas.
Avery Bradley, BOS at CHI ($5,500): Shooting guard is a tough position on Friday's limited slate, so Bradley makes for a nice, cheap pivot. Not only is he averaging over 30 fantasy points per game for the season, but he is averaging over 28 fantasy points in six games against the Bulls. He's in the same situation as Thomas too, as Bradley will surely be looking at 40 minutes in a pivotal Game 3.
Derrick Favors, UTA vs. LAC ($5,600): Favors may not be priced like a premium option, but he should be with his new role. He has played at least 32 minutes in his two playoff games, and the Jazz desperately need him to keep playing big minutes in the absence of Rudy Gobert. This is a guy who was a $7,000 player in the past too, so he has the potential to provide monster value at this diminished price.
Trevor Ariza, HOU at OKC ($5,000): Ariza has been terrible in these first two playoff games, but he's too good to be priced at just $5,000. He is averaging 27 fantasy points per game for the season and averaged 32 per game against the Thunder in the regular season. He's bound to get out of this slump too, as he's playing close to 40 minutes every time out. It's certainly risky to use a guy whose struggling, but Ariza has too much upside.
Andre Roberson, OKC vs. HOU ($4,900): Roberson has just killed the Rockets all season and it's one of the few matchups where he remains a reliable option. The reason for that is his counterpart, as Roberson is asked to cover James Harden for nearly 40 minutes per game. Roberson is averaging 30 fantasy points in 35 minutes per game in six matchups against the Rockets this season, which destroys his season averages against everyone else.
Al Horford, BOS at CHI ($6,700): Horford is the final piece of a Boston stack, as he too should be looking at a huge workload. He has had success against Chicago this season, averaging over 30 fantasy points in five games against them. The other three center options ahead of Horford are hard to use as well, with DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin facing a dominant Utah defense and Rudy Gobert injured.
Clint Capela, HOU at OKC ($5,400): Capela has scored at least 27 fantasy points in 12 of his last 13 games, and he's done work against OKC this season, averaging over 29 fantasy points per game in five games against them. What makes that all the more impressive is that he is doing it in fewer than 23 minutes per game, so if he sees closer to 30 minutes, Capela could end up obliterating his price.