• Welcome to yet another Friday edition of Hoop-Ball’s DFS preview. The slate we will be taking a look at is the first round of the playoffs and has 4 games on it. We no longer have to deal with crazy G-League names and random rotations as we generally see teams shorten their benches and run their starters heavy minutes in the playoffs. This is something that we could capitalize off of on the first night before we see a price adjustment.

    I’d like to note how important it is to take a stand on players during playoffs. Every night will have a least a few studs and star players, but it is impossible to get exposure to all of them and remain profitable.  Below are some of my favorite plays, but that does not mean I will not be targeting the other studs on the slate as well. Anthony Davis and Kevin Durant are always in play and the same could be said for the guys from Toronto. Let’s not waste any more time and dive right into Saturday’s targets.

    Point Guard

    Markelle Fultz $3,800– There is some inherent risk involved when it comes to rostering Fultz. His minutes could fluctuate and the matchup against the Heat isn’t the best. With that being said, Fultz is coming off of his first career triple-double and became the youngest player in history to do so. He did it in only 25 minutes in the final regular season game versus the Bucks. If Fultz is going to see similar minutes I am all in. He would stand out as one of the top value plays on the slate and we now know what kind of upside he could offer. We may have to temper expectations slightly as in that game with the Bucks Ben Simmons played limited minutes, allowing Fultz to handle the point more. Still in line to be a fantastic play.

    Rajon Rondo $6,700– To be honest, when doing my initial research for the slate I did not know how I felt about Rondo. He could break the slate anytime and the only thing that generally limits his fantasy production is his playing time. But it is now playoffs and teams tend to shorten their rotations and run their starters for as much as they can handle. This lines up perfectly for Rondo’s playing style and he has been in fantastic form during the Pelicans’ five-game win streak. Makes for a great GPP play.

    Damian Lillard $9,200– The Pelicans and the Blazers are set to have the largest total of the night with 216. We have cheaper spots to turn to at point guard, but if I am spending up I am going to Lillard. We are going to want some exposure to this game and if Rondo starts on Lillard he should have no problem getting his. In four meetings against New Orleans this season Lillard averaged 48.6 DK points per game

    Shooting Guard

    Tyler Johnson $4,300– Johnson has battled his fair share of injury problems in the closing month of the season, but he should be good to go for his normal bench role. There is not a lot I like on the Heat side of the ball, but Johnson is still cheap enough where his average over his last five games (24.9 DK points) gives him 6X value. It may not seem like a lot of value, but in playoffs we do not get as much garbage time as well as tighter rotations and big minutes, making it extremely hard to take fliers on players under $4,000.

    Bradley Beal $7,000– This price is just way too cheap for Beal.  He is averaging 45.4 DK points per game in the four games that the Wizards and Raptors have faced off in during the regular season. Now, John Wall was absent in all of those games, but this game will be competitive and we have seen these two teams have shootouts night after night that they have played each other.

    Small Forward

    Kyle Anderson $4,600– I love targeting Kyle Anderson versus the Warriors. We know the Spurs are going to have to play with their small ball lineup and Anderson should see plenty of minutes trying to cover Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson. Anderson usually flies under the radar in these situations and if game log watchers check his last game versus the Warriors it should continue. That game should be thrown away though because it was on a night that the Warriors had none of their stars.

    Al-Farouq Aminu $4,900– In the only game these teams played since DeMarcus Cousins went down with an Achilles injury, the Pelicans decided to play much smaller. In the past Jusuf Nurkic would be tasked with guarding Boogie, but the Pelicans have shifted Davis to the five forcing Nurkic to pick him up on defense. Davis is much shiftier and quicker than Nurkic and this could get him in trouble early or limit his minutes. This is why I like Aminu. I think the Blazers may try out Aminu on Davis for short stretches and we saw him play 35 minutes and grab a double-double the last time these teams met up.

    Power Forward

    Dario Saric $6,400– Joel Embiid said he does not think he is going to play in Game 1 of the first round. In the past we would immediately plug in Saric knowing Embiid is out, but ever since Embiid has been out we have seen the Sixers use Amir Johnson and Richaun Holmes in a three-way center rotation. Of course Saric gets a lot of time at power forward as well, but we want those rebounds to go to him and only him. I think that this had a lot to do with Saric nursing an elbow injury heading into playoffs. He has had a few days of rest and should be in line for extended minutes during playoffs. The Heat play big as well, so we have to expect the Sixers to combat them with their own. Saric is averaging 37.6 DK points per game in the four games that these teams have met up during the regular season.

    Nikola Mirotic $6,900– Ever since shaving his beard Mirotic has been scorching hot. He was inserted into the starting lineup and given heavy minutes and has yet to look back. In his last five games Mirotic is averaging 49.3 DK points per game and playing 34.0 minutes per game during that span. We are starting to see some of the other Pelicans take some of the offensive workload off of Davis and I cannot see fading Mirotic and Davis. Play one or both.

    Center

    Serge Ibaka $5,100– I think this is a solid spot for Serge. If you throw out last game Ibaka had scored at least 30 or more DK points in six straight. We know the Wizards do not like to play Marcin Gortat a full starter’s run and the Raptors feel the same about Jonas Valacunias. This could force Ibaka to center and even if he is getting his normal allotment at power forward, this is still a little underpriced.

    LaMarcus Aldridge $9,700– Well, I think we know who is going to be taking on the offensive burden for the Spurs this game. Aldridge is averaging almost 50 DK points per game this season versus the Warriors and without Curry this game could stay closer than anticipated. Now, I am not banking on that and to be honest, I’ll fade all of the Warriors star players on the opening night of playoffs.

Fantasy News

  • Damian Lillard - G - Trail Blazers

    Damian Lillard put up an instant classic performance featuring a game-winning deep three, 10 total triples and a 50-spot in Tuesday's 118-115 closeout win over the Thunder in Portland.

    Lillard started off Game 5 with 34 first-half points while playing all 24 minutes. He finished with seven boards, six dimes, three steals and a block while shooting 17-for-33 from the field and 6-for-8 from the line. Despite a big second-half Thunder run, Lillard kept it going all the way until the buzzer as his shot from near the logo fell, giving him an even 50 and a series win as he waived goodbye to the Thunder.

  • CJ McCollum - G - Trail Blazers

    CJ McCollum put up 17 points (8-of-19 FGs), two rebounds, two assists, one triple and two blocks in 32 minutes in Tuesday's closeout win over the Thunder.

    McCollum sat a little more than usual in the first half after getting his third foul early, though he also ended with three fouls in another example of why coaches should just leave players in until they get their fourth or fifth. McCollum had been on fire in this series, averaging over 26 points per game coming into tonight's game. He and the Blazers now wait to see if they'll get the Nuggets or the Spurs in the next round.

  • Enes Kanter - C - Trail Blazers

    Enes Kanter toughed out a 13-point, 13-rebound double-double over 32 minutes in Tuesday's Game 5 victory over the Thunder.

    Kanter also had four assists and a block while shooting 6-for-9 from the floor tonight. He got pretty banged up in the first half, injuring his shoulder which was heavily wrapped after the game. Kanter averaged over 13 points and 10 rebounds in under 30 minutes for the series and he looks like one of the best mid-season signings in the league at this point.

  • Maurice Harkless - F - Trail Blazers

    Maurice Harkless had 17 points on just nine shots with seven rebounds, an assist and a steal in 33 minutes on Tuesday vs. the Thunder.

    It's not wise to rely on Harkless, but he can be the wildcard the Blazers need every few games. After closing out the Thunder tonight, they'll await the winner of the Spurs and Nuggets series.

  • Paul George - F - Oklahoma City Thunder

    Paul George had a huge game with 36 points (14-of-20 FGs, 5-of-8 FTs), nine rebounds, three assists and three 3-pointers in Tuesday's 118-115 road loss to the Blazers.

    George was feeling it early, making his first five shots. He battled through first-half foul trouble and likely some lingering pain from his injury. But it wasn't quite enough as Damian Lillard out-played him in this one to end the series in Portland.

  • Russell Westbrook - G - Oklahoma City Thunder

    Russell Westbrook put up one final triple-double with 29 points, 11 rebounds and 14 assists as the Thunder were eliminated from the playoffs by the Blazers on Tuesday.

    Aside from making all three of his free throws, it was a microcosm of Westbrook's season. He shot just 11-of-31 (4-of-11 from three) and had four steals, two blocks and five turnovers in 45 minutes. There's no better value if you're looking to punt three categories next season.

  • Dennis Schroder - G - Oklahoma City Thunder

    Dennis Schroder went for 17 points on 7-of-10 from the field in addition to two rebounds, three assists, two treys and just one turnover in 33 minutes in Tuesday's Game 5 loss.

    That makes it three straight games of 17 points and two threes for Schroder. It'll be interesting to see if he can carve out a slightly bigger role as he returns to OKC next season with the Thunder possibly looking to make some changes.

  • Jerami Grant - F - Oklahoma City Thunder

    Jerami Grant had an incredibly efficient 16 points (7-for-8 FGs) to go with eight boards, one assist, three blocks and two threes in 44 minutes in Tuesday's close loss to the Blazers.

    It was quite the fantasy line for Grant, though it will be his final one until October. The Thunder had a great shot at a win tonight, but the Blazers closed the game and series out in miracle fashion.

  • Jamal Murray - G - Denver Nuggets

    Jamal Murray knocked down plenty of shots again on his way to a game-high 23 points (9-of-16 FGs) in 28 minutes in Tuesday night's 108-90 home win over the Spurs.

    Consistently inconsistent, the streaky Murray put together a second straight great game tonight. In addition to the shooting, which included 4-for-9 from deep, he added four boards, seven dimes, two steals and a block. The Nuggets often go as he goes, so they'll look for him to keep it up in Game 6 in San Antonio.

  • Nikola Jokic - C - Denver Nuggets

    Nikola Jokic had another double-double on Tuesday vs. the Spurs, going for 16 points (5-for-11 FGs, 4-for-4 FTs), 11 rebounds, eight assists, two steals, one block and two threes in 33 minutes.

    The Joker wasn’t needed down the stretch as the Nuggets put this game out of reach early. It’s been a great series for him with averages of 19.6 points, 11.6 rebounds and 9.0 assists. He'll try to help secure a series win this Thursday night in San Antonio.