What’s up guys. Alex here, and I am back with my DraftKings NBA Playoff picks for April 13th, 2018. For the first slate of The Playoffs, we get a smaller four game slate. Be sure to follow all of the injury news tonight, all the way up until the 3:00PM EST lock, to see if any new injury news comes up. As always if any of these picks help you win or if you need any advice, let me know on Twitter. @Hunta512.
PG: Damian Lillard: (9,200)
Lillard starts The Playoffs in an awesome matchup vs The Pelicans. This defense has been weak vs PGs all season, allowing the second most DK points to the position. (5.38 opponent +/-) Plus, The Pelicans are a huge pace bump for Lillard, with The Pelicans ending the season as the fastest team in the league, compared to The Blazers, who ranked 20th in pace. This is a 4.9 possession increase for The Blazers and this season in the 13 games that Lillard has seen a possession increase of at least 3.0, he is averaging 54.1 DK PPG.
Furthermore, he is averaging 48.6 DK PPG in the four contests vs The Pelicans season, which is right over five times value at his current salary. The last time they played, just a few weeks ago, Lillard popped off for 70.25 DK points in a win. He should top 50 DK points in game one and I think he is the one of the better high end spends of the slate.
PG: Rajon Rondo: (6,700)
Love or hate him, there’s no denying how good of player Rondo is come playoff time. Before breaking his thumb and missing the rest of the first round last season when he was with The Bulls, Rondo was the key to them getting a 2-0 lead over the number one seeded Celtics. As he always does, he took his game to another level on the national stage, averaging 41 DK PPG through the first two games of the series. He controlled the pace of both of these games and if he didn’t go down with an injury, there was a very strong chance The Bulls would have won this series. Now, he returns to the post season as a member of The Pelicans and even though his price tag is up and fair, I like taking my chances on the upside he has in game one vs The Trailblazers. The matchup isn’t the best on paper, with Portland ranking as the 7th best defense this season (1.14 opponent +/-), but Rondo should play 30-35 minutes, which is plenty of time for him to exceed five times value in this big game.
As I keep preaching, Rondo always steps up his game vs the best in The NBA. During the final month of this season, with The Pelicans fighting for their playoff lives and position, Rondo was huge for the club when facing stronger opponents, with him averaging 40.5 DK PPG in the last four games him and The Pelicans played a team with a record over .500, including a massive 54.75 DK points vs The Spurs in the regular season finale and a 48 DK point outing vs The Warriors last week in The Oracle. I am expecting at least 35 DK points from the veteran, with a ceiling similar to what we saw vs The Spurs on Wednesday. His game log may look very inconsistent, but trust me when I say this, you are going to want exposure to Rondo while his price tag is still reasonable. His price tag is just going to rise as The Playoffs go on and I will be using Rondo in all formats for Saturday’s playoff opening slate.
SG/SF: J.J. Redick: (5,300)
Redick has been very consistent helping The Sixers get to the three seed in The East, with him averaging 34.2 DK PPG in his last five starts. His role has grown with starting center Joel Embiid out the last seven games with a face injury, with him seeing a 3.8% usage increase during this stretch. He is one of the older players on this team and he should continue this expanded role until Embiid returns. The big man has already been confirmed out for game one vs The Heat and Redick should play 30-35 minutes in this contest.
The Heat are a solid defensive squad, but they have struggled vs shooters like Redick as of late, allowing the 4th most three pointers made in their last three games. Also, he is averaging 26.4 DK PPG across his four meetings vs The Heat this season, which is almost exactly what he needs to score to meet five times value at his price tag for game one. Close to 30 DK points is a fair projection for him and I think Redick is a safe mid-tier target for this small slate.
PF: Nikola Mirotic: (6,900)
It’s very difficult to ignore how good Mirotic has been. His minutes were all over the place a few weeks ago, but in the final four games of the season, they relied on him like a starter, at 35.62 MPG. He flourished with the more playing time, scoring an awesome 52.4 DK PPG, including three double doubles. He is going to be a huge part of this team’s offense in The Playoffs and this matchup vs The Blazers is a solid one right now, rating as a 2.22 opponent +/- and with them giving up the 6th most total rebounds per game in their past three.
In the last four games of the regular season, he scored 1.5 DK PPM and with 35-40 minutes of work, Mirotic should score close to 40 DK points, with really nice upside, depending on if he can pick up a double double and how many threes he can knock down. His salary has gone up all the way to $6,900, but I think it is a smart move to keep riding Mirotic and this hot streak.
Kevin Durant: He and The Warriors haven’t had anything to play for recently and he should get right back to being a fantasy stud in The Playoffs with Steph Curry still sidelined. If this game stays close, we can expect 35-40 minutes from KD. In his last seven games he has played at least 35 minutes, he is averaging 60.5 DK PPG.
Draymond Green: Priced correctly, but one of the better center values of the slate. Last year in The Playoffs, he averaged 41.71 DK PPG.
Jusuf Nurkic: 38.1 DK PPG in his last five. Very nice matchup vs The Pelicans, who are a 4.29 opponent +/-. He just scored 53 DK points on them two weeks ago. He has a Vegas prop score of 36.02 fantasy points. (via Fantasy Labs)
Dejounte Murray: He is a really tough player to predict, but he has been solid vs The Warriors this season, at 24.3 DK PPG and this matchup is easier for PGs with Curry still out. (3.33 opponent +/-) If he plays 30+ minutes, like he should, he will exceed five times value playing up in pace.
Ben Simmons: A massive $900 price decrease from his last game. This will be his first playoff game, so we don’t really know he will handle the moment, but he is just too cheap at this salary. He is averaging 47.75 DK PPG in his last seven and he should play close to 40 minutes, assuming this game stays close.
Serge Ibaka: Doesn’t have the highest ceiling, but before sucking in the regular season finale (8.25 DK points vs The Heat), Ibaka topped 30 DK points in five straight games.
Kelly Oubre: It’s odd how bad he has been in the five games Porter sat this season, at 15 DK PPG, but he would he have to be considered if Porter sits this one out. He would start and have to play heavy minutes.
Markelle Fultz: Is a decent gamble at this cheap of a price. He is coming off his first career triple double in only 25.2 minutes this past Wednesday vs The Bucks. (50 DK points) I am not saying he is going to light it up like this, but he has a solid chance of scoring over 20 DK points.
Ian Clark: He played over 28 minutes in the last two games of the regular season. Both of these games meant something and he will hopefully play similar minutes in game one, because $3,500 is just too cheap for someone playing this much.
Kyle Lowry: Just underpriced, but may be chalky. He ended the regular season with a huge 57.5 DK points vs The Heat on Wednesday night.
Evan Turner: Low floor, but he should play 30+ with Mo Harkless still out. Plus, the matchup is strong vs The Pelicans, who are a 3.41 opponent +/-.