It’s playoff time! Alex here, and I am back with my DraftKings NBA picks for April 15th, 2017. The first playoff slate is a smaller slate with only four games to attack. Even though we mostly know everything at this point, be sure to still follow all the injury news up until the 3:00 PM 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.
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SF: Kawhi Leonard: (8,500) Leonard was a great value going into game one, but he just became an even stronger play with The Grizzlies best wing defender, SF Tony Allen ruled out with a calf injury. Allen would have been the player who defended Leonard the most in this series and, with him sidelined, Leonard will take on some much weaker individual defenders, like Vince Carter and James Ennis (if he is active).
Even though this will still be an above average defense overall, Leonard should have no problems against these wing players, and I am expecting around 45 DK points out of the 2014 NBA Finals MVP. The Spurs are nine point home favorites, which is a small concern, but realistically, Leonard’s salary should be closer to $9,000, with this being the playoffs, and him averaging 44.3 DK points vs The Grizzlies this season. His price will rise as the playoffs go on, but right now at $8,500, he is an excellent option in all formats for this opening playoff slate.
PF/C: Marreese Speights: (2,500) During the playoffs DraftKings lowers their minimum price all the way down to a floor of $2,000. It is risky to take any player in this range, but Speights at only $2,500, seems like a decent flier if you want to get in multiple studs. He isn’t going to play much, but he is easily the most productive fantasy player under $3,500, with him averaging 1.12 DK points per minute this season.
He will be the primary big man off the bench for The Clippers this postseason and he should log 10-15 minutes a night. Even with this being a bad matchup vs The Jazz (-1.12 current opponent +/-), and him playing a very small role, he still has a shot at scoring around 15 DK points, which would be a great six times return value. The ceiling clearly isn’t high for him, or any player this cheap for that matter, but if you need an extreme punt for this slate, I think Speights is the most viable option.
C: Pau Gasol: (5,100) This is a tough matchup for Pau going against The Grizzlies, who have allowed the 2nd least DK points to opposing centers, but I think we see the veteran step up and perform well in his first playoff game as a Spur even vs this tough defense. The Spurs signed him this past offseason with the intention that he would be the piece that could help them fill the void for Tim Duncan, especially in the playoffs.
His minutes were hard to predict at the end of the season, with The Spurs knowing they were the two seed, but I think we see him log at least 25 minutes a game now in the postseason. With this high of minutes, Gasol should crush value at his price, with him averaging 35.5 DK points in the last six games he has played over 25 minutes. He is going to be a big part of this Spurs playoff push, and I think we see him drop close to 30 DK points on Saturday night.
SF/PF: P.J. Tucker: (3,400) Another player who I believe will be a big part of their team’s playoff success is P.J. Tucker. He is a gritty hard-nosed player, who will play a huge role defending the opposing teams best guard or wing player, specifically Giannis Antetokounmpo in this series vs The Bucks. He will still come off the bench, but he should be the SF who ends up playing the most minutes for The Raptors.
I am projecting 25-30 minutes for him off the bench and 20+ DK points against this Bucks defense that has struggled vs SFs all season, allowing the 3rd most DK points to the position. (1.65 opponent +/-) Tucker has already exposed their flaws twice this season, averaging 26.3 DK points in his last two games vs The Bucks. $3,400 is a nice price for Tucker in this matchup, and he is one of my favorite cheap plays of this very small slate.
Also Consider: Jonas Valanciunas, Jamal Crawford, Zach Randolph, Vince Carter, J.J. Redick, Tony Snell, Cory Joesph, Serge Ibaka, Patty Mills, Manu Ginobli, Lance Stephenson, Tristan Thompson, and Greg Monroe.