TOR vs. BOS (+1) O/U: 215
DEN vs. LAC (-8.5) O/U: 223
The Celtics looked to be the superior team in Game 1, but the Raptors also suffered through an evening of missed shots and costly turnovers. Even if Toronto can't turn things around, that series will be much more competitive than the other series on the docket. Even if the Nuggets play at their absolute best, the Clippers can match up with them at every position and is an exponentially better defensive team than the Jazz.
POSITIONAL BREAKDOWN Aside from the obvious gap from Leonard to the next-highest player, we have two more dips that begin after Jaylen Brown and again after Serge Ibaka. Your choice of guards isn't as appealing on Thursday, and due to the shortage at the position, a higher-priced option becomes almost necessary, especially in cash lineups where variance will be prohibitively high. We can reach deeper at the forward position, where viable value targets rest as low ad 5k and lower. At center, it's pretty much a go-big-or-go-home strategy, with a huge drop after Nikola Jokic and a host of interchangeable big men for $3-5000 less.
ELITE PLAYERS Kawhi Leonard ($10,300) tops the slate, and I think the player pool sets up well to include him. After a six-game series where he averaged 32.8 points, 10.2 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 2.3 steals, he's now the third-leading scorer in the bubble and shows no sign of slowing down. One would expect to see Jamal Murray ($9,300) line up opposite Kawhi in much the same way that Murray squared off against Donovan Mitchell. He'll face a much sterner test against Leonard. Murray ranks third in salary, and until we get a slightly better sample size, Murray will be on the shelf in my builds. A Denver target that has a clear positional advantage is Nikola Jokic ($9,500), who has a decent history against the Clippers. At the risk of exposing too much of this game, I balk at including Jokic and Leonard in lineups. However, I will mix and match the two with similar groups of value targets. Finally, we round out the elite column with two guys who seem to be headed in different directions. Jayson Tatum ($9,200) has taken over the Celtics in the wake of Gordon Hayward's absence, and he's finally performing at a level commensurate with his typically high salary. Conversely, Paul George ($8,200) is still searching for his shot despite glimpses of his usual self in the Dallas series. The Clippers' true potential remains in flux until he gets his groove back, and for DFS purposes, George is a gamble, at best. The results for Boston in Game 1 allow Tatum to enter the conversation as a core for some GPP builds.
EXPECTED CHALK AND OTHER TARGETS We're always on the hunt for players who can elicit elite results at a lower price, and fortunately, we have a few guys that fit the bill, even though they will be very popular. Pascal Siakam, TOR ($7,900) vs. BOS Siakam was a bright spot in a frustrating Game 1 loss with 44 DKFP. He got there while shooting only 37 percent from the floor, so it seems that his ceiling against Boston could be considerably higher. He grades as one of the most consistent options of this series, Kyle Lowry, TOR ($7,300) vs. BOS I think Lowry and Jaylen Brown ($7,400) are almost interchangeable at this price, but I give Lowry a slight edge for two reasons. One, Brown's numbers have a well-defined ceiling that won't pop often, and two, I'm a proponent of a bounce-back game from the Raptors. Both guys are in an odd spot because this salary point is hard to get when you have two elites above the number, but if you have the money to spare, I would trade down further to get Lowry or Walker if I was within $1K of getting him. Serge Ibaka, TOR ($6,100) vs BOS While it seems like I'm endorsing a Toronto stack, that is purely by accident. I'm looking at individual values at different salary levels, and with a couple of exceptions (VanVleet, for example), the Raptors are priced right where they should be, and it some cases, less expensive than you would expect. Ibaka is an excellent example of a guy whose salary decreased despite a value-beating performance. I'm not going to suggest that DraftKings has a Boston bias, but they seem to be giving a lot of credit to the Celtics' win, and it's rare to see a player take a hit after exceeding 5x value.
KEY VALUES Daniel Theis, BOS ($5,300) vs. TOR Even though Robert Williams ($3,600) will cut into Theis' time now that he's the primary backup. If you're in a pinch salary-wise, you could do a lot worse than Williams, but at least in the short term, Theis is setting up fairly well against the Raptors and can be difficult to cover when he hangs out at the top of the key, where he can burn you with a deft mid-range shot. OG Anunoby, TOR ($5,100) vs. BOS I realize I am hammering hard on Toronto in this article, but Anunoby crushed value in Game 1, and there seems to be something to Boston's weakness against this position. The had similar issues against wing guys in the first round, and Anunoby is a better interior player than what the Nets had to offer. Even if he regresses somewhat, he could still reach 5x value with some ease. Patrick Beverley, LAC ($3,500) vs. DEN Beverley is supposed to be back, and his price has fallen to a spot where it's hard to fade a potential starting point guard. PatBev has never been a huge source of production, but even if he only sees 25 minutes, he doesn't need much to be worthwhile at this price. Reggie Jackson and Landry Shamet will threaten his playing time, but he's a dart throw worth taking in GPPs. Also consider: Ivica Zubac, LAC ($4,800) vs. DEN, Monte Morris, DEN ($4,100) vs. LAC