This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
It took a while, but the Warriors finally put the Clippers away, and they'll now face their toughest test yet against a well-rested Houston squad that's been practicing in the Bay Area all week. To make matters worse for Golden State, they may have to cope with limited workloads from two elite playmakers, Stephen Curry (ankle) and Klay Thompson (ankle). Fortunately, these injuries aren't too serious, and both of their salaries are at levels where making a play based on their restrictions might be a smart contrarian option.
This leads us to a discussion about our elites, and due to the issues with Thompson and Curry, you have to lean towards making Kevin Durant ($9,100) one of your chalk plays today. After a 50-point blitzing of the Clippers and an overall brilliant series, it's hard to dispute the value of rostering Durant, who can beat value in the 9k salary range. James Harden ($10,100) could achieve that as well, but in all honesty, I think I can find value further down and (gasp) perhaps pass on Harden tonight. I'm going to elaborate a bit more on this in the guard section.
The elites in the BOS/MIL series are going to be a bit vexing. These two teams met three times in the regular season, and the Bucks won two of those games convincingly and lost a squeaker to Boston, 117-115. Giannis Antetokounmpo's averages over those three games are, in a word, unimpressive, as he mustered only 36 DKFP per game against Boston. Kyrie Irving ($8,300) fared a bit better. I'm much more enamored with the HOU/GS overall, but I think we can still manage to fit some guys in on this game.
Chris Paul, HOU at GS ($6,900): Paul missed out on the opportunity to help close out the Warriors in the postseason last year due to injury, but the Rockets are now completely healthy. If there's an X-factor to turn the tide in this series, I'm confident that it will be Paul. Fading Harden could be a fool's errand but loading up on Paul is going to be sensible from a mathematical perspective, but it will also be an emotion-driven play for people who just want the Warriors to lose, and I have to admit I fall victim to that kind of subjectivity. If you followed our postseason draft at RotoWire, I shocked many of my counterparts by picking Harden first over Giannis and Durant, and I did it because I think Houston can win this series – and I think Paul's the key. His numbers against Utah were solid but unspectacular, but that's about to change in this series.
Eric Gordon, HOU at GS ($4,900): I'll keep stacking Houston's support staff today, and Gordon is a bit of a no-brainer. I'm a little surprised he isn't priced higher –- at this price he's a cinch to beat value, as his 25 DKFP floor has been there for most of the postseason. He averaged almost 20 points per game over three meetings with the Warriors, and with the Rockets laser-focused on taking this series, I think Gordon will rise to the occasion.
Sterling Brown, MIL vs. BOS ($4,300): As long as Malcolm Brogdon (foot) stays out – he'll miss at least Games 1 and 2 – I like Brown's opportunity for increased production. While Pat Connaughton has emerged as a bit of a fantasy darling of late, it's Brown that's been the most solid contributor in Brogdon's absence. Solid assist totals like the 13 he collected in his last game will be critical to his success. If you aren't high on Eric Bledsoe ($6,300), Brown is an excellent fit.
Khris Middleton, MIL vs. BOS ($6,300): We've got a lot of hybrid guard-forward eligibility on this slate (Gordon, Brown) and Middleton is an addition to that pool, so a lot of these positional endorsements are interchangeable. Middleton's price has started to warrant his static output, as his almost too-solid floor can beat value in this price range. He can occasionally pop up into the 40 DKFP range, but DKFP scored in the 30's is a near-certainty when you fire him up. His three-game split against Boston this season leaves a bit to be desired, however.
Gordon Hayward, BOS at MIL ($5,200): Hayward sees enough minutes to warrant slotting him in at this price, as Marcus Smart's absence has presented a bit of opportunity all around – Hayward has made the most of his chances. He finished the series against Detroit with a solid 32-point performance, and while he's more of a GPP play, I'm willing to take a chance on him today.
P.J. Tucker, HOU at GS ($4,600): Tucker's postseason numbers have far outpaced his regular season averages. It just goes to show how a little playoff motivation can light up a stat line. He's averaging 12.3 points and 7.3 rebounds over the past four games, which is plenty enough to get him to value at this price. If we can get anywhere near the four balls he swatted in his last game; we could see totals well in the 30 DKFP range.
Clint Capela, HOU at GS ($6,500): Although I said Chris Paul was the key to victory for the Rockets, the final blow might very well come under the basket. I don't think Andrew Bogut or Kevon Looney will be any match for Capela, who had some struggles against DeMarcus Cousins in the past, but that hurdle is no longer a factor. He was on the receiving end of many assists fro Harden and Paul in the series against Utah, resulting in more than a few alley-oops. The one knock on Capela is that some of the other role players (like Tucker) have been stealing his rebounding totals, but there should be plenty to around today for everyone.
Al Horford, BOS at MIL ($6,400): Which Boston Celtic has had the most success against the Bucks this season? You guessed it. Horford averaged 19.5 points, 11 rebounds, 6.5 assists and two blocks over two games against Milwaukee, and I have no problem going with Horford here on a night where there isn't much to get at this position. Capela and Horford are the only two guys I am going to consider at center today. That's it. Going anywhere else is a fool's errand, in my opinion.
It looks like you CAN shove Harden into a Durant/Paul stack and still have some room left over for some value plays, so I went on ahead and did that with a few builds. f you don't go that way, you need to bolster the Durant/Paul stack with higher-priced guys like Middleton and Horford to build your core up, because you likely won't be able to get everything you want with Harden in the mix. I admit I'm taking a pass on Giannis in all but a couple of builds tonight.