The theme for Mondayís two-game slate is fade, fade, fade the elite. The discrepancy between the top players at each position and the bottom feeders is going to be huge, so pick and choose your high-priced studs wisely. Where youíll win your money is in the bargain players and contrarian options, which are plentiful. Join a Yahoo Daily Fantasy Basketball contest now
DeMar DeRozan, TOR at CLE ($39): The Cavaliers canít play defense. They had no answer for Paul George in the first round and likely wonít have one for DeRozan, who averaged 29.7 points per game in three starts against the Cavs during the regular season. DeRozan had an up-and-down series against the Bucks, but he ultimately finished with 30-plus points in two of his last three games to close Milwaukee out. Consider the Raptors superstar more of a cash-game play as a bargain compared to the high-priced James Harden ($62).
Lou Williams, HOU at SA ($18): Point guard is incredibly thin for Mondayís two-game slate behind Kyrie Irving ($40) and Kyle Lowry ($36), so buying low at the position may be wise. Williams had an impressive first-round series versus the Thunder, averaging 18.8 points per game (most behind Harden) while shooting 40.9 percent from 3-point range. We all know the Spurs' defense is always stingy, but it struggled to contain the Grizzlies from beyond the arc, allowing Memphis to shoot 38.6 percent (11th among playoff teams in the first round).
Guard to Avoid
James Harden, HOU at SA ($62): Hardenís ownership percentage will likely be astronomical. Heís the highest-priced player by $4 ahead of LeBron James, and despite the tough draw against Kawhi Leonard and the Spurs, should put up his usual stat line. Harden averaged 29.8 points, 11.8 assists and 9.0 rebounds per game in four starts against San Antonio during the regular season. Heís worth fading in either scenario: A) his ownership percentage being too high or B) the off chance that Leonard shuts him down.
Kawhi Leonard, SA vs. HOU ($48):
You wonít have much of a choice but to play either James or Leonard at small forward. Sure, you could opt for Trevor Ariza
($20) if you donít like winning money. We all know James is going to have the higher ceiling and will likely outscore Leonard, but the latter's price is lower and his ownership percentage should mimic that. He averaged 47.3 fantasy points per game in the six-game, first-round win against the Grizzlies, who are no easy task.
Kevin Love, CLE vs. TOR ($36):
Love should have a much easier time against the Raptors' front line than the Pacers', who limited him to fewer than 30 fantasy points in three of four games in the first round. However, Love had strong numbers against Toronto during the regular season (21.7 PPG, 12.3 RPG) in three games, plus the Cavs havenít played the Raptors since Dec. 5. That long layoff will only play into the Cavaliers' favor at home in Game 1. Love is the cheapest of Clevelandís Big 3 and will also likely have the lowest ownership.
Forward to Avoid
P.J. Tucker, TOR at CLE ($10):
There really arenít any forwards that stand out as a must-fade, but if youíre considering a bargain in Tucker, think again. He was wildly unproductive despite playing over 24:00 minutes per game in the first round. He failed to eclipse 15 fantasy points in any of the six games against the Bucks and didnít attempt more than seven shots in any contest. If youíre looking for a bargain on the Raptors, Norman Powell
($13) is your guy.
Tristan Thompson, CLE vs. TOR ($14):
Thompson posted double-digit rebounds in each of the Cavaliersí four games in the first-round sweep of the Pacers. Though the Raptors did a nice job of winning the rebounding battle in their first-round series against the Bucks, Thompson has better size and is more experienced than Milwaukeeís front court. The one down side of Thompson is the Cavs' ability to blow out the Raptors, which would limit his minutes.
Center to Avoid
Serge Ibaka, TOR at CLE ($26):
Expect a lot of lineups to simply play Ibaka because heís the most clear-cut option at center. However, there are a handful of bargains at center (including Thompson) and youíre going to want to invest more of your salary cap in either James, Harden or another big fantasy point producer. Ibaka has only seen Cleveland once this season, and as mentioned above, thereís always a chance the Cavs run away with Game 1, leaving Ibaka with a low number of minutes.
The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Benjamin Zweiman plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: Fanduel: packattack521, DraftKings: bzweiman521.