This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
It's Day Two of the NBA Playoffs, and once again we have four games available for our DFS roster builds. Aside from Marcus Smart (oblique), the injury landscape on Sunday is dotted with a few questionable injury spots.
Paul George (shoulder) is perhaps the headliner on the injury front, as he is officially listed as questionable. I expect him to play, but the shoulder injury will likely be difficult to play through.
Blake Griffin (knee) is listed as day-to-day, and of the stars with questionable tags today, he might be the most likely to take a seat for Game One. This situation will have a considerable effect on the DET/MIL game, so it's worth monitoring as games lock.
None of the four games available have an O/U above 225, and as expected the IND/BOS will be the slowpoke of the bunch – but there is still some value to be had due to Smart's absence. The OKC/POR game leads the field with the highest O/U (225), but I expect the UTA/HOU game to rack up the score and exceed their 214 line.
I'll execute my predictions the same way I did on Saturday, with identifying the key players in every game and specify some value spots for each team. This will help aid those who decide to play all four games as well as those who opt only to play part of the slate.
Pacers at Celtics
I need to shake my subjectivity about this series, as the slow pace might have me turning the channel to see if Tiger Woods can win a green jacket. Nevertheless, it's hard to deny Kyrie Irving's ($8,100) value at this price, as he knows how to turn it one come playoff time. On the Indiana side, it's tough to focus on one talent in particular, so you can probably consider both of my recommendations as value plays for the Pacers.
Jaylen Brown ($4,400): Brown gets a significant opportunity to shine with the loss of Marcus Smart, and I think he will rise to the occasion. I expect him to join the first unit today, and while Jayson Tatum ($5,700) will put together a decent game at the wing, Brown should post similar totals for a far lower price. His previous back injury seems to be a non-issue currently, so I would fire him up with confidence.
Gordon Hayward ($5,200): Similar to Brown, I expect Hayward to have an increased presence during the playoffs. He ended the season with three impressive games, but he needs to see a consistent minute total to maintain that kind of value. The slow pace of this matchup is enough to keep me from loading up here, but Hayward could come up as a low-owned GPP target worth considering.
Bojan Bogdanovic ($5,600): Bojan's price is a little steep for me, but the Pacers won't be able to score on the Celtics with brute force alone. His floor is definitely on the volatile side, but his ceiling will reward you if he can get his three-point shot humming. While Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner will get a lot of attention, I think Bogdanovic's shot-making skills will be the key to a successful series for Indiana.
Darren Collison ($4,800): I can definitely see myself considering Collison here as I look for a decent low-cost backcourt alternative for my third or fourth guard. He's limited with only a PG/G/UTIL eligibility, but his assist totals are a definite help to his stat lines, which can vault into the 40 DKFP range without much effort.
Thunder at Trail Blazers
The Paul George question looms over this matchup, and you have to expect Russell Westbrook ($10,300) to pick up any slack George might leave on the floor. While he's a visible anchor for many owners – is there any other value to be found with the Thunder?
Dennis Schroder ($5,500); While his price might be a bit steep to warrant consideration, Schroder is a nightly lock for 30 minutes or more for the Thunder, so the opportunity is there for a sizable total. He hit a dreadful 1-for-12 from beyond the arc when he last faced Portland, so he'll need to see some improvement there to attain a value-beating total. His 8-for-15 total from long range in his last game is a promising sign on that front.
Steven Adams ($6,100): There's no doubt that Jusuf Nurkic's season-ending injury stung, but the Blazers haven't missed a beat and are holding things up inside. While their interior could cause problems for Adams, we'll likely see the center doing less of the pick-and-roll in the post and more shot-making to help George out, who probably won't be able to charge inside with his usual authority. He'll never stretch the floor with a perimeter game, but Westbrook should be able to find him enough to meet value.
Damian Lillard ($8,400): Try as I might to look further down, I don't see myself getting off Lillard here. Dame had one of his best games of the season against the Thunder last month with a masterful 51-point thrashing, and the Thunder's difficulty against opposing backcourts is well-documented. The Lillard-Westbrook duel will be one of my favorite battles to watch in the first round.
Al-Farouq Aminu ($4,700): Enes Kanter ($6,600) has obvious value in this series, and there's no need to highlight it, but we can give a little bit of love to Aminu, who has also played effectively as the Blazers fill the hole left by Nurkic. In four games against the Thunder, Aminu's DKFP average is right at 30 DKFP, which is enough for 6x value at this price. Especially impressive against the Thunder are his rebounding totals, as he's averaged 11.5 board per game over those four contests.
Pistons at Bucks
Detroit stands in the way of what seems to be the march of destiny for the Bucks. Blake Griffin is still a game-time call, and that will undoubtedly hurt the Pistons' chances today. If he doesn't go, you have to consider Andre Drummond ($8,800) as the primary play, and Thon Maker ($3,800) will see a lot of time if Blake doesn't suit up.
You can't look at this matchup without looking at Giannis Antetokounmpo ($10,400), and for good reason. The MVP candidate has torched the Pistons with a 47.6 DKFP average over four contests. I'm not here to deliver the obvious, however, so let's find some more value here.
Reggie Jackson ($5,000): The pricing gap between Jackson and Wayne Ellington has closed, so going with Jackson is a more credible call to make. Ellington's potential ceiling loses value when these prices are so similar, and I think Jackson will ultimately see the most minutes. He's also enjoyed more success against the Bucks, far more than Ellington or Ish Smith, and I think we'll see low ownership as the public money will flow elsewhere.
We'll leave the second endorsement with Thon Maker as the best option with Blake hurting, and move on to the Bucks,
Eric Bledsoe ($6,200): His spectacular play recently is no longer a secret, and I expect many to flock to Bledsoe at this price today. He had some weird totals at the end of the season, but they were primarily due to load management. When he saw his usual complement of minutes over the past month, he was absolutely brilliant and was arguably the hottest floor general in the league over that span. The explosion into 40 DKFP territory is a threat on any given night, and while the Pistons were one of the best defenses in the league earlier in the season, they've lost some ground to opposing backcourts recently.
Nikola Mirotic ($5,100): Feeling lucky? I think he's far too expensive to take a risk on today, but I doubt the Bucks would let him on the floor if they thought his fractured thumb was an issue. The nature of that injury and the necessity of a full recovery for Mirotic to take the floor gives me an iota of confidence in slotting him as a GPP target today. If the Bucks can get a healthy Mirotic on the floor, they open up a whole new dimension in their offensive attack that could make them tough to stop.
Jazz at Rockets
Many are viewing this series as a toss-up, and it's hard to argue that point, as there's a lot of firepower on both sides. James Harden ($10,100) is your elite play here, and since you're bound to lose pace if you don't fire up Westbrook, Giannis, Dame or Harden today, it comes down to personal preference and an examination of the game flow. Based on the injury situation in Utah's backcourt, I think you have to give a bit of an edge to Harden and Westbrook as an elite stack, but you can't ignore the cheap options on either of these rosters.
Joe Ingles ($6,300): Mitchell and Rubio won't be at 100 percent today, which should leave Ingles with some additional duties, most notably finding a way to get the ball to Rudy Gobert. He'll also create his own shots at the perimeter, where he's had considerable success lately, shooting 48 percent in 35 attempts from long-range over the past five games. If he can drill some bombs and collect around 5-5 assists, the points will come.
Jae Crowder ($4,500): No one can be certain about how extensive Crowder's contribution will be in the playoffs, especially with Derrick Favors ($5,400) fully healthy. The $900 difference is considerable, though. It begs the question of Crowder's potential to yield huge value from that salary gap. If you go with him today, you'll be taking on some risk, but I think this situation could crystallize further as this series moves along.
Chris Paul ($6,900): There's no doubt about it – Paul and Harden need to show up big to get anywhere in this playoff bracket. If they can manage to clear Utah, they'll have to face Golden State, and a hot streak from Paul is critical to jumping that considerable hurdle. CP3's recent play has been somewhat encouraging, with his previous four games yielding an average of over 40 DKFP per game. If he can keep his assist and rebound totals at a consistent level and finds his stroke from long-range, look out.
Eric Gordon ($4,100): The dynamic duo will need breaks from time-to-time, and Gordon will be vital in keeping the momentum going when they head to the bench. Before his sub-par game against the Thunder to end the season, he went on a nice six-game streak of double-digit performances that could easily meet value at this price, but we need to see a little more from Gordon to make him truly valuable. This is why I would only consider him in GPP contests.