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Yahoo DFS Basketball: Wednesday Picks

Alex Rikleen

Rikleen writes the NBA column "Numbers Game," which decodes the math that underpins fantasy basketball. A certified math teacher, Rikleen decided the field of education pays too well, so he left it for writing. He is a Boston College graduate living in Delaware.

Wednesday's two-game slate offers a pair of teams looking to reclaim their dignity after getting embarrassed in Game 1 on Monday night. The Cavaliers were so confident of victory over the Raptors by the third quarter that The King stopped to grab a drink. Although the final margin of that was only 11 points, it felt much more dominant than that. Where possible, I'll limit discussion of the Rockets-Spurs "contest," because I don't want to make Spurs fans cry.


Kyle Lowry, TOR at CLE ($36):
Matchups after a Game 1 blowout can be particularly tough to predict. Was it an aberration, and the rest of the series may be relatively competitive? Or was it because the winning team is just that much better, and maybe only one or two games will be at all competitive? The advantage Lowry provides over many of his teammates is that, in either scenario, he is able to produce a solid box score. While most Raptors were putting up disappointing numbers Monday, Lowry managed to score 20 points with 11 assists on his way to 38.9 fantasy points. He's had a few duds over the past month, but most nights he's a good bet for at least 30 fantasy points.

Tony Parker, SA vs. HOU ($17):
Parker scored at least 21 fantasy points five times in six games against the Grizzlies. Over the last three, he averaged 31.9. Despite his minutes dropping to only 23 in the Game 1 destruction at the hands of the Rockets Kawhi Leonard was the only starter to play 32 minutes Parker still had enough time to score 11 points and 18.8 fantasy points. Even if Parker doesn't play as well as he did against the Grizzlies, this price is very cheap, and the Rockets are not a great defensive team. The Spurs aren't likely to fall 30 points behind before halftime two games in a row, so Parker's minutes are likely to rise in Game 2.

Other suggestions: Lou Williams, HOU at SA ($18); Patrick Beverley, HOU at SA ($19)

Guard to Avoid:

Deron Williams, CLE vs. TOR ($10):
Williams has scored at least 13.5 fantasy points in four consecutive games, making him the minimum salary guard with the best recent track record Wednesday. But while the final scores have been good, the paths he has taken to get there are nearly random. He doesn't have any single category that he is consistently good in or even consistently mediocre. He has played between 13 and 22 minutes during this stretch, a big range with some frighteningly low values. Each night, he has the chance to go out and double his salary, but he also has a very realistic chance at scoring fewer than 5.0 fantasy points.

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LeBron James, CLE vs. TOR ($58):
The word disrespectful gets tossed around too often in sports these days, but attempting this play, three minutes into a second round playoff series, simply shows that he does not consider his opponent a serious threat. But why should he? Playoff LeBron James is still, by far, the best player on the planet. He's averaging 33.2 points, 9.8 rebounds, 8.0 assists, 2.6 steals, 1.8 blocks, for 62.7 fantasy points per game. His worst playoff game was a 35 point double-double when he scored 55.0 fantasy points.
Norman Powell, TOR at CLE ($13): Powell enthusiasts were delighted when coach Dwane Casey finally unleashed Powell halfway through the Bucks series. Powell averaged 18.0 minutes during the regular season, in addition to a handful of DNP-CDs, but there was a cadre of fans and media personnel who wondered why he didn't play more. Powell averaged 25.0 fantasy points over the last four games of the Bucks series, and posted 18.4 in only 21 minutes during Game 1. The Raptors struggle to contain the Cavaliers' outside shooters, and so they may need to use Powell even more to keep up along the perimeter.

Other suggestions: P.J. Tucker, TOR at CLE ($10)

Forward to Avoid:

Ryan Anderson, HOU at SA ($19):
There are many bad forward options Wednesday, so I'm writing about the one that's most interesting and least obvious. This pick may seem counterintuitive, especially after Anderson's marvelous Game 1 showing where he scored 33.7 fantasy points in 35 minutes. But Anderson has also disappeared for several playoff games, posting three games with fewer than 13 fantasy points out of only six appearances. More importantly, Anderson was guarded by Kawhi Leonard for much of Game 1, and Leondard is one of the three or four best defenders in the league (and even that may be selling him short). The Rockets did a good job scheming to trap Kawhi in no-man's-land, having Anderson spot up miles away from the ball, but Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is one of the best in the league at strategic adjustments.


Serge Ibaka, TOR at CLE ($26):
Center isn't as weak as forwards Wednesday, but there aren't a ton of good options. Ibaka edges out the competition because the Cavaliers' style of play all but requires that the Raptors play Ibaka as much as possible. Ibaka is already averaging 30.3 minutes this postseason, but that seems likely to increase this series as the Raptors struggle to contain the Cavaliers along the perimeter. The Cavaliers lead all remaining teams in efficiency behind the arc this postseason, and they only have one rotation big man who is not an outside shooter. Ibaka has scored at least 23 fantasy points in six of seven playoff games, and at least 37 in three of them.

Other suggestions: Tristan Thompson, CLE vs. TOR ($14)

Center to Avoid:

Jonas Valanciunas, TOR at CLE ($14):
Considering his baseline skill level (high), one might reasonably consider this salary (low) to be a bargain. However, Valanciunas is having difficulty staying on the court during these playoffs, averaging only 21.0 minutes through seven games. The Cavaliers are a particularly tough matchup for Valanciunas, as their slew of jumpshooters can force him out of the paint, where he is too slow to keep up and his size advantage becomes marginalized. He played 21 minutes in Game 1, and it is not hard to imagine that being the most minutes he sees all series. The most fantasy points he has in any playoff game this season is 20.9.
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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.