Yahoo will once again be combining two days of playoff matchups in their NBA DFS offerings on Saturday. The Cavs will attempt to right the ship against the Celtics on Saturday, while the Rockets will try to go 2-1 in the series on the road against the Warriors. Yahoo will lock games as they happen, so you will still have Sunday to fiddle with any Houston or Golden State plays.
I think the home-field advantage for the Cavs and the Warriors will play a huge role in this weekendís slate. While the home crowd in Cleveland may be a bit deflated by their squadís performance against Boston thus far, it will still prove to be a hostile environment. The Oracle Center will also be set for high drama in Oakland, with one of the rowdiest crowds in the league cheering on the Warriors.
The toughest nut to crack on this slate will be where the production will come from in Cleveland if you arenít named LeBron James or Kevin Love. Hereís a sobering fact: after James and Love, EVERY remaining Cleveland player sports the minimum salary of $10. Thatís not exactly a rousing endorsement for the teamís chances, but youíll have to consider one of them if you are looking to select a few elite names.
Speaking of the slateís top dogs, no one will be surprised to see LeBron James ($57) and James Harden ($51) atop the list. Both players are priced appropriately but are definite fades if you arenít willing to go extremely cheap at other positions. Durant rounds out the first tier at $48, and I think the Warriors will return to form at home. I would rank Durant ahead of Harden here, and just behind James in terms of overall production. After Durant, we see a $9 drop before we hit other targets in the $30 range, which is where weíll begin our highlighted selections.
Iíll now identify one higher-priced player and one budget option at each position, along with a player to avoid at each spot.
Jaylen Brown, BOS at CLE ($24): I drop down to Brown due to the fact Steph Curry is definitely showing some rust with his shot and Chris Paul is battling soreness in his knee. While they arenít fades, their conditions certainly make Brown an excellent value at this price. His return is a big reason why the Celtics are sitting in the catbird seat. The team has never lost a series with a 2-0 lead, and they wonít be squandering this advantage if Brown continues his tear.
Eric Gordon, HOU at GS ($22): This is not the position to go too low on, so Iíll stick around the median price and go with Sixth Man of the Year candidate Eric Gordon, who drilled six threes in Game 2. If the Rockets know whatís good for them, theyíll continue to ride this wave and give Gordon all the minutes he can handle, especially if Chris Paul continues to have knee trouble.
Other guard to consider: Marcus Smart, BOS at CLE ($21)
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GUARD TO AVOID
Shaun Livingston, GS vs. HOU ($10): Rather than saying Ďevery guard in Clevelandí (which I still endorse), Iíll make a case for fading Livingston at home. It appears the Warriors prefer giving Nick Young more looks against the Rockets. Livingston is a great defensive player but his lack of usage doesnít give him enough pop as a fantasy option.
Al Horford, BOS at CLE ($31): Horford is a no-brainer at this price. While many will pivot to sexier names on the Celtics, Horford has been a pillar of consistency in the postseason and has a rock-solid floor in the 30 YFP range. Heís been a nightly contender in my cash lineups and should put up another big stat line on Saturday.
Trevor Ariza, HOU at GS ($13): Much like Gordon, Ariza proved to be the offensive sparkplug the Rockets needed to unseat the Warriors in Game 2. While I doubt Golden State will be caught off-guard by Ariza again, the tandem of Ariza and P.J. Tucker will still play a big role if Houston hopes to win. I think it will be a game-by-game toss-up between Ariza and Tucker as to who will post the bigger line, but Iíll go with the hot hand. Heís also the best singer in that insurance ad.
Other forward to consider: Kevon Looney, GS vs. HOU ($10)
FORWARD TO AVOID
Luc Mbah a Moute, HOU at GS ($10): I will again avoid saying Ďevery Cleveland forwardí because itís simply too easy. Mbah a Moute is shooting horribly Ė heís even missing layups. His shoulder issue continues to saddle him inside, and the Cameroonian just doesnít look confident on the floor at all. I expect his numbers to stay low for the duration of the series.
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In my opinion, you wonít see a winning lineup that goes cheap at center. You should start constructing your lineup at this position as youíll sacrifice huge value by jamming in a placeholder here.
That being said, I like Kevin Love ($30) on Saturday because, letís be honest, LeBron canít be the only source of production in Game 3. The offense has to flow somewhere else, and I think he will be the lesser-owned player, with many opting for Clint Capela ($35) and Draymond Green ($31) instead. I like both of them without question, but I favor Love in terms of ownership. If you just simply HAVE to go low, Iíd play Aron Baynes for $10. Iím no fan of him, but heís seeing enough minutes to be relevant.
CENTER TO AVOID
Tristan Thompson, CLE vs. BOS ($10): Youíre pretty much setting money on fire if you go anywhere else at center, so Iím just using Thompson as the most popular mistake that will be made at this spot. Fielding Thompson is on par with praying for a miracle. And while Iíve been wrong about him before, anchoring your lineups with a solid center is the sensible play.