We learned a lot from last night’s opening game of the Eastern Conference Final. LeBron James $11400 got off to an excellent start (31 PTS, 8 REB, 6 AST) as the Cavaliers snatched away home-court advantage. Tristan Thompson $6000 gets a salary bump after a double-double in 42 minutes and J.R. Smith $4900 was unconscious, draining eight 3-pointers.
Atlanta is in big trouble, as DeMarre Carroll $6700 was helped off the floor with what appears to be a severe left knee sprain. He was the Hawks’ best chance to slow down LeBron; Paul Millsap $8000 isn’t quick enough and while Kent Bazemore $2300 is not big enough, he’s an extreme bargain at that salary, assuming he starts.
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I was wrong about Timofey Mozgov $4800 being a non-factor. He double-doubled (10 PTS, 11 REB) in 24 minutes, providing better DFS value than Al Horford $7900 (16 PTS, 7 REB, 2 AST). The big Russian even attempted a few midrange jumpers.
The 97-89 score was only a bit higher than expected and J.R. won’t get 28 every night. By comparison, in the West opener, the teams combined for 30 more points, which should become a trend and makes those games a better daily fantasy target.
With seven players from HOU @ GSW in my lineup tonight, I am hoping to earn some cash. Thompson, the only player I used from CLE @ ATL in We-Th contests, performed as expected. Today we focus on Th-Fr action — Game Two in both series.
Dwight Howard $8700 (knee) is not a good bet. He’s officially “questionable” and will be limited if he does appear. I have Clint Capela $2000 in every We-Th lineup and am trying to decide between him and Mozgov going forward. This makes the Rockets vitually a three-man team — James Harden $9500, Trevor Ariza $6500 and Josh Smith $5400. All should get strong consideration, as daily grinders don’t care if they win. In fact, we root for overtime.
Because the Warriors were successful going small, with 6’7” Draymond Green $7700 logging a lot of minutes at C, Andrew Bogut $4800 was almost irrelevant (16 minutes) and will be even less of a factor if Howard sits. Stephen Curry $10400 was in MVP form (34 PTS, 6 REB, 5 AST, 6 3PM) and the only Houston player capable of slowing him down is Patrick Beverley (wrist) who is not ready to return. He would have made this series even more competitive.
Harrison Barnes $4900 becomes the PF in Golden State’s small lineup, with Shaun Livingston $2600 joining Klay Thompson $7200 on the wings. I am absolutely stunned that Livingston costs the same after his 18 points in Game One. That was no fluke; it’s what the veteran is capable of when he gets 29 minutes in a fast-paced game — which he should again tonight. I’d give him strong consideration at twice the price.
Jeff Teague $7300 led the Hawks with 27 points while Kyrie Irving $7000 (knee) had just 10 in 27 minutes. If you use Teague instead of Curry, you can afford LBJ, but I’m committed to as many players as possible from the West.
The toughest decision for me is between Bazemore and Capela. Watch for injury updates today before the 9:00 Eastern deadline. If Howard is in the lineup, Capela obviously isn’t as useful and if Carroll is ruled out of tomorrow’s Game Two, Bazemore becomes the play. Today’s sample lineup (above) and the Short List below reflect a hunch that Carroll’s MRI results will be bad news.
|PG||Stephen Curry $10400||Jeff Teague $7300||Shaun Livingston $2600|
|SG||James Harden $9500||Klay Thompson $7200||Kent Bazemore $2300|
|SF||LeBron James $11400||Trevor Ariza $6500||Josh Smith $5400|
|PF||Paul Millsap $8000||Draymond Green $7700||T. Thompson $6000|
|C||Al Horford $7900||Timofey Mozgov $4800||Clint Capela $2000|
The Fantasy Spin features DFS advice every day of the NBA season. Follow Kent Williams @SheridanFantasy for updates.