• Good afternoon, it is Friday April 19 and we have three playoff games to look at for tonight’s DFS slate. As you know here at Hoop Ball we are partnered with DraftKings so we will be using their pricing as a base.

    I am switching things up a little for today’s article and instead of just listing my favorite value on the card I will be going game by game, listing the players who I will have in my player pool tonight. I generally run out multiple lineups and making sure they correlate is extremely important. For example: If I am looking to play a stud from both the Thunder and Raptors you could easily correlate it by playing Russell Westbrook with Kawhi Leonard or Paul George with Pascal Siakam. Both options would allow you to spend up at small forward, while still having exposure to at least one of the highest projected scorers on for each team.

    This is just one example on a way to correlate, but there and hundreds of ways. An example of negative correlation would be playing a power forward and center from the same team. Yes, they could both hit value, but in a GPP we are looking for the best possible outcome to win a tournament and they those two positions tend to eat into each other’s rebounding upside. I will get to a specific example of this negative correlation in this article.

    Now let’s jump right into some playoff action!

    Raptors @ Magic – 211 ½ Game total – Raptors +4.5

    Raptors

    Kawhi Leonard – $8,200 – Leonard put the Raptors on his shoulders during Game 2 and will look to continue doing so throughout this series. Small forward is generally a spend up vs. spend down position. Leonard is at a fair price and I am expecting this game to stay a little closer than the last with the game being in Orlando.

    Pascal Siakam – $7,300 –Siakam has taken on a scorer’s role during the playoffs. Over the first two games of the series Siakam has shot 40 times and has averaged 39.5 minutes per game during that stretch. I am expecting decent ownership, but he feels like a great cash option with some GPP upside.

    Kyle Lowry $6,800 – Lowry said coming into playoffs that he is expecting to be more of a facilitator. Well, he dropped 43.5 DK points while only dishing seven assists. He is still sporting a usage rate of 20.3 percent and while I am not expecting another 43 DK points I do think 35 is on the table. We have a lot of great point guard options on tonight’s slate and lineup correlation is important with the Raptors’ starters.

    Magic

    Nikola Vucevic – $7,800 – This is just a stupid low price for Vucecic. He maintained a salary over $9,000 for the majority of the season should be hovering around $8,500 right now. Obviously the matchup is difficult, but the Magic are at home and need Vucevic to perform in order to stay in the game. He has a 26.6 usage rate and it is bar far the highest of the centers on the slate.

    Aaron Gordon – $6,200 – I never feel too comfortable about playing Gordon, but he is underpriced and makes for a solid pivot off of Vucevic if you are still trying to have some exposure to the Magic. Power forward is not that deep today and Gordon offers cash and tournament upside. I would not play Vucevic and Gordon in the same lineup unless I was stacking this game up.

    Celtics @ Pacers – 203.5 Game total – Pacers -3

    Celtics

    Kyrie Irving – $8,900 – Irving is simply the driving force of this team. He has been looking to get his teammates more involved on offense, while still scoring at a monstrous clip. We have plenty of good options at point guard and we have seen how low scoring these games could be, but he is clearly the best option on Boston.

    Marcus Morris – $4,700 – Morris was the chalk two days ago and everyone who started him suffered. I do not expect him to light the world on fire, but we need value and I am hoping Morris left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth and we see a slightly depressed ownership.

    Pacers

    Myles Turner – $5,700 – Let me start by saying I do not feel comfortable with any of the Pacers on tonight’s slate, but someone has to get there right? Turner has been getting the Horford treatment throughout the series and while I do not expect that to end I know there is still upside for tournaments in there. His price tag has dropped low enough to the point where we could temper expectations, but still hold out hope for a big rebounding and blocks game. Thad Young and Domantas Sabonis could be in play as well if you find you want to get some exposure on the Pacers side, but did not want to occupy your center position.

    Wesley Matthews – $3,900 – Matthews may have cost the Pacers a shot at winning Game 2, but he is a veteran and is under $4,000. There is not much of a ceiling, but if you are starving for value there are worse spots you could go.

    Blazers @ Thunder – 222 Game total – Thunder -7.5

    Blazers

    Damian Lillard – $9,100 – Lillard time has already begun and I do not see the reason to jump off now. Having C.J. McCollum back has freed up some space for Lillard, but I just love this matchup. He is only $200 more than Irving, but the expected pace and game total of this game is much higher. Lillard and Russell Westbrook have a feud brewing and these two guards get up to play against one another.

    C.J. McCollum – $6,900 – Honestly, I feel like we could jump off McCollum after a big game, but he is still underpriced and that leaves him in my player pool. Much of this will come down to ownership to me and if I get the feeling that everyone is on him by around lock and I will pivot elsewhere. When we only have three games on the slate taking a stance is important. Now, I am not fading him, but I will be under the field on him.

    Enes Kanter – $6,500 – Kanter burned some people last game and I was one of them. He took a trip to the locker room and when that happens it’s hard to come back and hit value. I expect Kanter to play more than the 20 minutes he did last time out and his salary has dropped $500.

    Al-Farouq Aminu and Moe Harkless are in play, but they are not grading out for me as spectacular plays. It would come down to them just fitting into my lineup, rather than going out of my to play them.

    Thunder

    Russell Westbrook – $10,200 – There is not much that needs to be said. Westbrook is severely underpriced for a player who provides 80 DK point upside. I mentioned the rivalry forming between him and Lillard and Westbrook is an emotional player who uses that to fuel his fire. It is going to be hard to avoid Westbrook, especially knowing he is only $1,300 more than a popular Irving.

    Paul George – $8,700 – George says his shoulder is fine, but I do not believe that completely. Still, we know his upside and now his price has dipped below $9,000. I like Westbrook more, but small forward tends to be a garbage position and locking in one of the studs could be worthwhile.

    Steven Adams – $5,900 – Adams will continue the fly under the radar throughout the series, but he simply has the best matchup on the court. We never expect Adams to come out and shoot a ton, but he gets to value without scoring and could in this matchup if he needs to. I will have a lot of exposure to this game and while Adams may not be my first option at center I still think he is one of the better cash plays.

    Dennis Schroder – $5,200 – Schroder is strictly a tournament play. In the first game we saw him play 36 minutes and take a boatload of shots. In the last game we saw his minutes dip down to 20 and he let everyone down. I am throwing that game out the window for blowout purposes and leaning towards the first game representing a better sample size. We may not get the 36 minutes that we are looking for, but I feel confident he plays at least 28 minutes and takes 10-plus shots.

    As always you can find me on Twitter @MikeApotria with any of your questions or comments.

Fantasy News

  • Trajan Langdon - Team - New Orleans Pelicans

    The New Orleans Pelicans are hiring Brooklyn Nets' assistant GM Trajan Langdon as next General Manager according to Shams Charania of the Athletic.

    David Griffin makes his first big hire as the new Head of Basketball ops, getting a guy who played an essential role in the Nets' impressive turnaround. Langdon joins the league's most fascinating team from a front office perspective, holding the keys to what could either be a contending team or a jump-start rebuilding one depending on what is done with Anthony Davis.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Bradley Beal - G - Washington Wizards

    The Lakers are looking at adding a litany of veteran players via trade this offseason, including: Kyle Lowry, Derrick Favors and Bradley Beal according to Sean Deveney of Sporting News.

    The Lakers acquiring the fourth pick in the 2019 NBA draft will make them all the more competitive on the trade market. It has been well documented how LeBron James' teams have preferred established players over rookies, and that should be no different after coming off of the disaster that last season's Laker team was. The connection between the Lakers and Beal has been established for months, but it's worth keeping in mind as we get closer to the draft. Aiming to add vets like Lowry and Favors also makes sense, but obviously Beal would be the big get of that bunch.

    Source: Sporting News

  • Mike Conley - G - Memphis Grizzlies

    Multiple teams are looking into trading for Mike Conley according to Sean Deveney of Sporting News.

    The article lists a couple teams that have already been linked to Conley such as the Jazz and the Pacers, but one particularly interesting one that was introduced was the Miami Heat. The Heat may be looking to move on from Dragic, who is set to accept a player option that will book him for $19.2 million for the 2019-2020 season. With a combination of expiring salary and a lottery pick in the upcoming draft, the Heat could present themselves as an intriguing trading partner for the rebuilding Grizz.

    Source: Sporting News

  • Frank Ntilikina - G - New York Knicks

    The Knicks are shopping Frank Ntilikina for a late-first or 2nd round pick according to Marc Berman of the New York Post

    The paltry return they're searching for tells the story for the former lottery pick. It hasn't been a strong first two years for the young PG, but there will likely be an offer or two for him out there from a bottoming-out team who may want to take a filer on him for his defensive upside. Still though, Ntilikina has a long way to go before he can be considered a reliable NBA player.

    Source: New York Post

  • Goran Dragic - G - Miami Heat

    Goran Dragic is unlikely to opt out of the last year of his deal according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.

    This is unsurprising given how Dragic will be set to make $19.2 million in his final season, a total that he is all but assured not to see on the open market. Dragic's most productive days are behind him, but that doesn't mean that the Heat won't be able to find a suitor who'd be looking to clear some cap space with his expiring deal.

    Source: Miami Herald

  • Stephen Curry - G - Golden State Warriors

    Stephen Curry scored 36 points in Saturday's 110-99 Game 3 win over the Blazers, adding six rebounds, three assists and five turnovers.

    Curry led his team offensively, contributing 36 points on 11-for-26 shooting. On a night where teammate Draymond Green was the primary facilitator, Curry settled in on scoring the bulk of his team's points from off the ball screens and shots from behind the arc. The Warriors have the luxury to allow for multiple ball-handlers and Curry seemed happy to acquiesce as he and Klay Thompson combined for 55 points with seven 3-pointers. Look for Curry to continue to lead the team in scoring as Kevin Durant is not expected to be back this series.

  • Damian Lillard - G - Trail Blazers

    Shams Charania of The Athletic is reporting that Damian Lillard has been playing through separated ribs in the Western Conference Finals.

    Charania and Sam Amick have since reported that the injury occurred in Game 2 when Kevon Looney landed on Lillard's ribs. To this point he's playing with a pad on his torso, though his current run of poor shooting extends back into the second round before the injury was sustained. The Blazers are facing a deep hole down 0-3 to the Warriors, and Lillard will surely be finishing out the series despite his injury. Between the ailment and Golden State selling out to stop him, Lillard has had to battle through quite a bit in the WCF.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Damian Jones - C - Golden State Warriors

    Damian Jones got the start for the Warriors but played just three minutes after picking up three fouls in the first quarter to finish with no other countable statistic in Saturday's win.

    Jones got the start and then got the hook early after drawing three fouls in the first 3:17 of Game 3. Jones got the start over Andrew Bogut after playing just two minutes in Game 2 and two minutes in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals. Bogut and Jones played a combined six minutes this game and did not contribute anything offensively. Jordan Bell and Kevon Looney picked up the slack and ended up playing 42 minutes and contributing 14 points. It is unlikely that Jones will start again going into Game 4.

  • Draymond Green - F - Golden State Warriors

    Draymond Green went off on Saturday's win, posting a monster 20-13-12 line and adding four steals and one block.

    Draymond was all over the court for the Warriors posting his seventh career postseason triple-double. With his team down 13 points to start the second half, Green channeled his inner Magic Johnson and rallied the Warriors with six rebounds, six assists and two steals to take the lead going into the fourth quarter. His defensive intensity continues to be a catalyst for the team and is a major reason why the Warriors continue to dominate in this series.

  • Maurice Harkless - F - Trail Blazers

    Moe Harkless scored six points and added three rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks in Saturday's loss.

    Harkless did all of his damage in the first half and looked to be on his way to a great game scoring six points and adding two steals/blocks. Unfortunately he would not score again and added just one assist to his stat line in the second half. Fellow forward Al-Farouq Aminu added just two points in the losing effort and he and Harkless continue to get marginalized in the Blazers' small-ball lineup. Harkless has the ability to contribute for the team and they will need him to re-find his aggressiveness if the they plan on making this a series.