• Breakdown by Aaron Asmus (@asmussports on Twitter)

    As we head into game 2 of the series for these 8 teams, I think it’s important to not completely overreact to game 1 performances and chase players who had big games with likely price hikes. This is how we gain an edge on the field – by continuing making logical decisions and staying price sensitive with how we build our lineups. Especially in GPP’s, look to take advantage of guys who will have inflated ownership due to a great game 1. 


    Jimmy Butler ($7,900) This is one of the tougher game environments in the first round due to these teams being very good defensively, slower paced but we can take advantage of plays because their rotation is so condensed. Butler dominated USG in the first game with a 31.2% USG, 6 blocks and steals combined,17.5% AST rate and shot 12 free throws in 37 minutes.  While we can’t rely on the 6 stocks every game, I think we’re going to continue to see Butler at this level of USG as he dominated USG in the 4th quarter. He didn’t receive a big price hike which keeps him firmly in consideration for more balanced lineups in cash games. 

    Bam Adebayo ($7,500) Myles Turner has always struggled with bigger centers and Bam was able to take advantage in game 1. Probably the most encouraging aspect of his performance is he got to 35 minutes for the first time in the bubble. That’s excellent news as he possibly could continue to increase that minutes cap as the series goes on. His price only increased $100 which is exactly what we’re looking for with our building block pieces. Lack of opportunity cost makes Bam an excellent play in both cash and tournaments. 

    Goran Dragic ($5,900) Dragic is an excellent example of a guy we shouldn’t automatically include into our lineups. He received a massive $1,500 price hike making him appropriately priced for his role. He’s not out of consideration as a play, but is more of a tournament play for balanced rosters at this tag. 

    Malcolm Brodgon ($6,900) Brogdon is another guy who did not receive a price hike and remains with excellent game context. With Oladipo missing most of the past game, the offense ran through Brogdon in his 39 minutes on the floor. For the season in 210.5 minutes, Brogdon is a 30.2% USG and 1.33 FPPM rate player. The Pacers just don’t have many guys who can initiate offense, so getting a starting PG for $6900 that’s going to never leave the floor is excellent value. Lock in those minutes and USG.

    Cash: Butler– Adebayo–Brogdon–Aaron Holiday (if no VIctor Oladipo)–Justin Holiday

    Tournaments: Butler–Adebayo–Dragic–Iguodola–Brogdon–Aaron Holiday (if no Oladipo)


    Steven Adams ($5,600) Adams for some reason dropped significantly in price, coming off a 17-12 double double in 27 minutes while being subbed out at the 7:40 mark of the 4th quarter because of the blow-out. If we can expect this game to remain close (currently a -2 spread for Houston) Adams can likely get up to 32 minutes. There’s certainly risk for him being played off the floor by the Houston small-ball, but he can make such an impact on the offensive glass especially that I’m not overly worried about it. Wouldn’t matter much anyone as $5600 is just too cheap for Adams in this match-up. He’ll be a staple cash play, but I do think a fade in tournaments is certainly viable at his likely high ownership.

    Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ($6,300) I can’t seem to quit this guy as I truly believe in his talent as a future star in the league. He got a $600 price decrease, but I don’t think his context has completely shifted. There’s some worry that CP3 continues to dominate the ball and have everything run through him, but the game environment is so good for one of the only initiators on the team that will be on the floor 40+ minutes in a competitive game. I doubt we see him only take 8 shots moving forward as well. I prefer Brog in cash to Shai slightly, but he’s certainly a viable option and would be heavily overweight in tournaments. 

    James Harden ($11,700) Play James Harden in cash. 

    Robert Covington ($6,000) Another guy I’m not really sure what to do with as Covington’s minutes and ceiling upside is well-documented. He got a $500 decrease, but the upside is obvious in a more competitive game; he’s going to be out there 38+ minutes. I’m a little worried about his lack of shot attempts, but he’s hard to pass on at this price when we’re used to paying in the high $6k range for him. Not a must in cash games, but certainly fine with him if your build lands here and he’s another guy I’d be heavily overweight in tournaments. 

    Cash: Adams–Gilgeous-Alexander–Cp3–Harden–Jeff Green–Covington

    Tournaments: Gilgeous-Alexander–Cp3–Gallinari–Shroder–Harden–Covington–Green


    This is the game to be extremely careful of the Magic value plays that all smashed in game 1 with a low percentage result of the game. Aaron Gordon is currently questionable and if he is back, he’s going to severely cut into Ennis, Clark, Ross projections. They all got price bumps as well making them even less of a priority. Essentially, don’t rely on this game for value like most did for game 1. 

    Eric Bledsoe ($5,300) Minutes were pretty weird for the Bucks in game 1 as Budenholzer refused to extend any of his core guys, despite trailing the entire game. Perhaps he was willing to concede the game to make sure his guys stay fresh for the next series? Regardless, I’m expecting a full bounce-back from the Bucks in this game and a more consistent minutes floor for the key cogs. The Bucks never extend Bledsoe, but $5,300 is just too cheap when we expect him to get 30+ minutes. He fits especially well in builds that are building around 2 expensive studs.

    Brook Lopez ($5,000) I’m strongly considering a 2 center cash build with Lopez and Adams for this slate. Lopez, as expected, got 30 minutes in order to match up with the big body Vucevic. I expect more of the same in this game and think Lopez has one of the safer minutes floors because his defense is needed on that match-up. The 0.5 FPPM he produced in game 1 is a pretty big outlier as he’s been a 0.97 FPPM, 18.7% USG player this season in 1822 minutes played. Historically, he’s been a great FPPM producer as well, he’s not a guy who gets extended all that often. I’d rank Adams ahead of Lopez in cash slightly, but wouldn’t fault you for playing BroLo if needing the savings. 

    Markelle Fultz: ($4,500) Fultz got fairly unlucky in that first game with so many of the other role players going off and crushing value and still put up a decent line of 15 points, 6 assists, 2 rebounds, 1 block on 6/11 shooting in 29 minutes of play. It’s likely he starts again and I think his minutes ceiling is much closer to 33-34 minutes with the other Orlando guys falling back down to earth a bit. It’s about the worst possible spot you can ask for as a guard who thrives around the rim, but he’s still one of the better value plays available on the slate and needed to unlock the studs we want to play. He’s the only Magic player I have interest in for cash games. 

    Cash: Giannis–Bledsoe–Lopez–Fultz

    Tournaments: Vucevic (game stacks)–Fournier (cheap, too volatile)–Fultz–Giannis–Lopez–Bledsoe


    LeBron James ($10,900) I’d like to be able to use the same write-up about LeBron as I did James Harden, but we unfortunately live in a world with a salary cap. I think Harden-balanced or Harden-LeBron teams are both extremely viable cash builds for this slate. Playoff LeBron was fully engaged in the last game with a (79.7% AST, 26.5% USG, 18.9% TRB in 41 minutes). I think it’s likely LeBron looks for his offense more in this one as he was actively looking to distribute even with the likes of Gary Trent defending him. I haven’t quite decided if the two stud build route is correct but if we get more value opening up (Jae Crowder out, Aaron Gordon out), then this build becomes much better. 

    Anthony Davis ($10,500) Davis makes a tremendous tournament pivot off the LeBron, Harden and Giannis tier of studs. He was simply ok in the first game and being priced so closely to the above tier, is going to be largely ignored. His upside is right there with him and it’s unlikely he shoots 8 for 24 again against this defense. 10-15% Davis in MME or 1 of your lineups in 3-max would be ideal exposure to him at his lowered ownership. 

    Damian Lillard ($11,000) Same as Davis. Going to be significantly lower owned than the chalky stud tier and has shown his ability to reach a ceiling as good as anybody. One tournament build I really like is starting with Dame and Davis and then not worrying about the rest of your lineup ownership nearly as much letting you play the good value plays. 

    Cash: LeBron

    Tournaments: LeBron–Lillard–Melo–Davis

    That’s it! Another fun slate of playoff basketball with some real opportunities to be different and not completely overreact like some of the field is going to do. Please reach out to me @AsmusSports if you have any questions about the slate or want to see something new in the article. Best of luck!

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