Friday presents a three-game slate that begins at 7pm ET. Let’s dive in.
Russell Westbrook recorded the highest regular season usage rate in NBA history at 40.8 percent this season. During two postseason games, Westbrook’s usage rate has increased to 50.5 percent, meaning he has ended half of his team’s possessions while on the floor. His 60.6 percent assist rate is the highest mark in the postseason and six percent higher than his regular season average, and he leads all players this postseason with 112.5 touches per game (per NBA.com tracking data) and 1.78 DraftKings points per minute.
Westbrook costs $14,600 on FanDuel, the highest salary in our database on either site. It’s a steep salary, but based on his last outing — 88.5 FanDuel points in 41.4 minutes — Westbrook may still be underpriced. When the Thunder have been favored and implied to score at least 107 points this season, Westbrook has averaged 72.17 DraftKings points on 81.8 percent Consistency — excluding the final game of the season in which he sat the second half. Based on his salary-implied point total on DraftKings (67.15) and Westbrook’s assist differential of +1.7 at home, he’ll certainly demand excessive shares in guaranteed prize pools (GPPs).
Westbrook: DFS Scouting Report
Jerian Grant will likely move into the starting lineup tonight now that Rajon Rondo is out indefinitely. Grant costs $2,700 on DraftKings and $1,500 on FanDuel; neither salary is a typo. He may record the highest ownership mark since we’ve implemented the Ownership dashboard, and he’s going to be the chalk on every site in every format. In the 13 games Rondo missed during the regular season, Grant averaged 21.56 FanDuel points, or close to five times his salary-implied point total of 4.45 FanDuel points.
Patrick Beverley: He evaded foul trouble through the first two games and provided 39.5 and 28.2 FanDuel points. He and George Hill cost roughly the same salary, and Hill has been limited to 0.68 DraftKings points per minute in the postseason. Beverley may have the wider range of outcomes, and that makes him more attractive in GPPs.
James Harden‘s salary decreased to $11,400 on DraftKings for the first time since March 8th and the 17th time all year. The Thunder didn’t switch as often in Game 2 when defending Harden in the pick-and-roll, and they were willing to bring additional help from the weak side, which allowed open looks that the Rockets struggled to hit.
Harden failed to meet salary-based expectations five times in six games against the Thunder this season. His decrease in salary is enticing, but under the new defensive scheme, Harden committed seven turnovers and made 41 percent of his field goals in the Game 2 win.
Harden costs $1,000 less than Westbrook on FanDuel, but he’s been priced up to a season-high $13,600 there. In the 21 games Harden cost at least $12,200 this season, he averaged 51.31 FanDuel points, which falls short of his salary-implied point total of 57.57.
Harden is the only other player on the slate that offers a similar ceiling to Westbrook’s, and he profiles as a GPP pivot off Westbrook, who is bound to see an increase in ownership after his performance in Game 2.
Harden: DFS Scouting Report
Victor Oladipo and Avery Bradley are two guards who have averaged over 36 minutes per game in the first two games of the postseason. Both are averaging close to 0.65 DraftKings points per minute, and deciding between the two could boil down to their Vegas data: Per our Vegas dashboard, the Rockets-Thunder’ over/under is a slate-best 224, and the Celtics-Bulls’ over/under is 206. Neither player has shot well through two games, and Oladipo is the cheaper option, which may increase his ownership relative to Bradley’s.
Dwyane Wade: He’ll likely share playmaking duties with Jimmy Butler, and in the 10 games Wade played sans Rondo, he averaged 31.25 DraftKings points in 29.7 minutes. He played at least 32 minutes in each of the first two games of the postseason and averaged 33.38 DraftKings points.
Jimmy Butler ranks third in minutes played through the first two games of the postseason, and with Rondo off the court this postseason, Butler has averaged 1.8 DraftKings points per minute and a +11.7 percent usage rate differential (per the On/Off tool). When Rondo didn’t play in the regular season, Butler averaged 46.92 FanDuel points per game, which is on par with today’s salary-implied point total at a season-high salary of $11,200. Butler is the only player on the slate projected for more than 40 minutes, and it’s likely he’ll spend time as the primary offensive facilitator.
Butler: DFS Scouting Report
Andre Roberson has committed four total fouls in two games and averaged 36.2 minutes per game this postseason. His minutes are tied to Harden’s, who is averaging 36 minutes per game. When the Thunder have been favored at home during the regular season, Roberson has provided a +5.16 DraftKings Plus/Minus on 87.1 percent Consistency in 31 games. When the Thunder have been favored at home and implied to score at least 106 points, Roberson has averaged 24.07 DraftKings points and recorded a 95.8 percent Consistency mark.
Paul Zipser costs $2,800 on DraftKings, and he, Denzel Valentine, and/or Cameron Payne may be relied upon to play more minutes. Zipser already played 21.8 and 29 minutes in the first two games of the series when Rondo was healthy, and he was on the court over Nikola Mirotic in the fourth quarter of Game 2. Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg’s rotations are anything but static, which makes Zipser more of a tournament option.
Jerami Grant: He’s getting extended minutes as the backup power forward due to his ability to switch on defense. He costs less than $3,700 on DraftKings and FanDuel, and in the last four games he played, Grant recorded between 17 and 22 DraftKings points.
Jae Crowder: His salary dropped to $5,100 on DraftKings for the first time since the beginning of January. He played 35 minutes in Game 2 after dealing with foul trouble in Game 1, and he provided value at $5,700.
Blake Griffin underwhelmed in the first two games of the playoffs with a cumulative Plus/Minus of +3.2 against a Rudy Gobert-less Jazz team in 40 minutes per game. Despite the stagnation in his production, Griffin’s salary has risen $200 on DraftKings and $1,000 on FanDuel since the first game of the series. He likely offers the safest minutes floor at his position, but it comes at a steep cost. He’s played 13 total minutes without Chris Paul thus far, and he’s averaged a subpar 0.63 DraftKings points per minute. Based on the alternative at the position, Griffin provides the safest floor. However, he’s shown an inability to smash value in this series, which leaves spending down at power forward a viable strategy in order to pay up for studs like Westbrook, Harden, or Butler.
Griffin: DFS Scouting Report
Derrick Favors is expected to remain in the starting lineup. He followed up a strong Game 1 performance with a mediocre outing in Game 2. “Value” is a relatively loose term at power forward, and Favor’s salary on FanDuel increased to $6,100 for the first time since the middle of December. Favors possesses an 86 percent Bargain Rating on DraftKings, and the competitors at his salary range appear to be Trevor Ariza and Ryan Anderson, both of whom struggled to meet salary-based expectations through the first two games.
Marreese Speights: He costs $2,700 on DraftKings and FanDuel, and he’s played close to 14 minutes in the first two games of the series. In his limited action, Speights provided 15 and 12.75 DraftKings points. Although his playing time may not be conducive to cash games, he played more minutes in Game 2 than the Thunder’s Enes Kanter, who is one of two available power forwards on the slate with a projected usage rate higher than Speights’.
Bobby Portis: Nikola Mirotic has played all but three of his minutes with Rondo on the court, and in that span, Mirotic has averaged 0.33 DraftKings points per minute. The sample size is notably small, but when Rondo was off the court after the All-Star break, Portis averaged more points per minute than Mirotic, who suffered a -6.0 percent effective field goal differential during that time. Both are risky plays more suited for GPPs given their low floors.
The Clippers have recorded a postseason-best 87.5 percent defensive rebound rate, and DeAndre Jordan has corralled 30 total rebounds while recording a 26.8 percent rebound rate — the highest mark through two games. His success in the first two games sans Gobert makes him a solid bet to meet value, and Jordan offers a 99 percent Bargain Rating on DraftKings. At the very least, he costs less than Griffin, who is also center-eligible on DraftKings. Jordan leads all center-only eligible players in projected minutes, and his dominance on the glass has helped him record a double-double in seven straight games.
Nene and Clint Capela are virtually splitting the 48 available minutes at center, and Nene played the final seven minutes of their win in Game 2. Nene has converted 33-of-41 shots in six games against the Thunder this season, and he’s exceeded salary-based expectations every time (per our Trends tool):
Robin Lopez has dominated the Celtics on the glass through the first two games of the series, and among centers projected to play at least 30 minutes tonight (per the Player Models), Lopez offers the most savings on DraftKings. When Rondo has been off the court in the last two games, Lopez’s production has not dropped, and his rebound rate has actually improved by 3.2 percent.
Kelly Olynyk: Amir Johnson was replaced at the start of the third quarter of Game 2 by Tyler Zeller and didn’t play again the rest of the game. Olynyk has averaged the sixth-most minutes on the Celtics as part of the core rotation — one that excludes Johnson — and over the last two games, Olynyk has recorded 27 and 29 DraftKings points.
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