Thursday’s NBA slate features Game 2 of Warriors-Blazers at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN.
If you’re new to single-game formats, be sure to check out my previous work on the subject:
- 5 Tips to Dominate the DraftKings NBA Showdown Format
- How Does the Single-Game NBA Format on FanDuel Differ From DraftKings?
Portland Trail Blazers @ Golden State Warriors (-7) – 219.5 total
Steph Curry is the most expensive option on today’s slate, and it’s hard to avoid paying up for him. He’s dominated in his last two games without Kevin Durant, including scoring 60.0 DraftKings points in Game 1 vs. the Blazers. He also played just 35.5 minutes because the game turned into a blowout, and he’s currently projected for 39.1 minutes in our NBA Models. His ceiling on this slate is absolutely massive.
The Warriors have had to revert to their old style of playing with Durant and DeMarcus Cousins sidelined, and Curry has unsurprisingly been one of the biggest beneficiaries. He’s been a fantasy monster with both players off the court since Cousins joined the rotation on January 18th, posting a usage rate of 40.3% and averaging 1.63 DraftKings points per minute.
Curry has also historically done some of his best work vs. the Blazers. He’s averaged 51.04 DraftKings points per game over his past 21 matchups, resulting in an average Plus/Minus of +6.35 and a Consistency Rating of 71.4% on DraftKings (per the Trends tool). He’s been even better when facing them at home, averaging a Plus/Minus of +9.32 over 10 contests.
Curry definitely deserves to be on your roster tonight. The only question is whether or not you should pay up for him at Captain on DraftKings. Stars and scrubs backtested as the preferred strategy during the regular season, but there are less “scrubs” to choose from in the postseason.
Brook Lopez was the winning Captain in last night’s contest between the Bucks and Raptors, so its possible that the preferred strategy during the postseason is to put someone cheaper in the Captain slot in order to pay up at more utility positions.
There’s really no decision on FanDuel. Just put Curry in the MVP spot and move on to the rest of your lineup.
No one on this slate can really match Curry’s upside, but there are still a variety of high-priced options to consider pairing with him.
On the Blazers, Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum will both look to bounce back after disappointing Game 1 performances. That said, both players are going to have to deal with difficult individual matchups for the duration of the series.
Lillard struggled vs. the Warriors during the regular season. He spent the majority of their matchups being guarded by Klay Thompson, who held him to -15.6 points per 100 possessions below his regular season average. Andre Iguodala was on him when Klay wasn’t, and he held Lillard to -10.1 points per 100 possessions below his average.
Guess who spend the majority of the time on Lillard during Game 1? Klay and Iggy did a masterful job in that contest, and I wouldn’t expect much to change with the Warriors’ defensive philosophy in Game 2. Lillard is a tough sell at his current salary.
McCollum has a slightly better matchup. He’ll still see some of Klay and Iguodala, but he also saw a bunch of Curry during the Game 1. Unsurprisingly, McCollum’s best offensive production in that contest came when he was matched up with Steph, and he was able to score nine of his 17 total points over those 31 possessions. He’s the better value in the Blazers’ backcourt.
On the Warriors’ side, Thompson and Draymond Green are worth some consideration. Thompson has been fantastic recently, scoring at least 40.0 DraftKings points in each of his past three games. He has unsurprisingly seen a usage bump with Durant out of the lineup, and his mark of 33.0% in his last contest was his highest of the postseason. He only shot 33% from 3-point range in that game, so he has the potential for a bigger output in today’s contest.
I’m less bullish on Green. He has been fantastic during the postseason, scoring at least 40.25 DraftKings points in seven of his past eight games. That said, he doesn’t see nearly the same bump in usage as Curry or Thompson with Durant and Cousins off the court.
He can still rack up fantasy points in a variety of ways, but his fantasy output was slightly inflated in his last game by five combined steals and blocks. He scored just 33.0 DraftKings points in his first game without Durant this postseason. His salary has reached a point where he’s now the third-most expensive option on both DraftKings and FanDuel, so some fade consideration is warranted.
Our Models are definitely favoring a stars-and-scrubs approach tonight. Very few players in the $4,000 to $8,000 range on DraftKings are popping, with only one player in the price range owning a top-11 rating.
Kevon Looney is that player, and he just barely fits the description at $4,000. He’s taken on a larger role since Durant got hurt, playing at least 20 minutes in each of his past three games.
He’s posted a positive Plus/Minus in each of those contests, which is not surprising given his average of 0.92 DraftKings points per minute during the regular season. He has a strong matchup in this series, evidenced by an Opponent Plus/Minus of +2.64.
If you’re looking for a more contrarian option, consider Moe Harkless. He’s not exactly cheap at $6,000 on DraftKings, which should result in minimal ownership on today’s slate.
That said, he was the Blazers’ best defensive option on Curry in Game 1, so he could potentially see a few additional minutes on today’s slate. His playing time was limited vs. the Nuggets — the offense of guys like Rodney Hood and Seth Curry was more important in that series — but he’s going to be crucial if the Blazers want to pull off the upset vs. the Warriors.
There are a few interesting punt plays worth considering on DraftKings:
- Jonas Jerebko ($2,200): He’s seen slight bump in playing time with Durant out of the lineup, seeing 12 and 14.9 minutes in his past two games. That’s not a lot, but he doesn’t need to play much to potentially pay off his $2,200 price tag. He scored 18.75 DraftKings points in Game 1 of this series.
- Andrew Bogut ($1,400): He got the token start in Game 1 vs. the Blazers but only saw 8.5 minutes of playing time. Still, he racked up 13.5 DraftKings points in that time frame, and he did play 11.6 minutes in his prior contest. He could approach 15-18 DraftKings points, which would be a lot at just $1,400.
- Jordan Bell ($1,200): Bell spent most of the early part of the postseason accumulating cobwebs on the bench, but he’s been dusted off in the past two games. He’s played at least 10.8 minutes in back-to-back games and has posted a positive Plus/Minus in each.
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Pictured above: Trail Blazers guards Damian Lillard (0) and C.J. McCollum (3)
Credit:Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports