FanDuel Single-Game Daily Fantasy Basketball: Second-Round Breakdown

Which matchups can we exploit in the second round when building single-game lineups on FanDuel?

Just because the NBA playoffs are here doesn't mean that the daily fantasy basketball fun is over for the season. We'll still have some short slates to focus on, but we now also have the chance to get in on the fun with FanDuel's single-game offerings.

The new format is unique from the standard FanDuel NBA game, but it's easy to learn and will help add a lot of fun to the NBA playoffs. Especially if your team is eliminated.

You simply fill out a five-man roster with your $60,000 salary cap. You need a guard, a forward/center flex, two utility players, and an MVP. The scoring for your positions is the same as usual, except for the MVP. Your MVP choice will have his production multiplied by 1.5. So, for example, blocks and steals go from 3 FanDuel points to 4.5 for your MVP and assists jump from 1.5 points to 2.25. Nailing your MVP pick will be vital.

With all that said -- now that the East is finally determined -- let's break down the four second-round matchups to see who stands out in each.

Western Conference

(1) Houston Rockets vs. (5) Utah Jazz
Regular Season Head to Head: Rockets lead 4-0
Playoff Series: Rockets lead 1-0

Since All-Star Break ORtg DRtg NetRtg Reb% Pace
Rockets 109.8 (6) 101.7 (3) 8.2 (3) 49.8 (17) 98.3 (24)
Jazz 106.9 (18) 96 (1) 10.8 (1) 53.4 (1) 98.8 (21)

Matchup Overview

The Rockets are a perfect 5-0 against Utah this season, including Sunday in Game 1. Houston's net rating against Utah in those 17.5. Put another way, the Rockets are up 84 points on Utah in the season series, and the effective field goal percentage split is 59.8% for Houston and 51.1% for Utah.

MVP Watch

This one is pretty clear cut, as James Harden's 1.50 FanDuel points per minute in the regular season trailed only Anthony Davis' 1.51. He's averaged 55.5 FanDuel points per game against the Jazz through five games, including a 41-point, 8-rebound, 7-assist Game 1 (61.1 FanDuel points). He also netted 76.9 back in November against the Jazz.

Second on the list in per-game averages in this series has been Chris Paul (46.5), followed by Clint Capela (36.6).

Donovan Mitchell's 27.8 per game leads the way for the Jazz, an average that bumps up to 30.4 when looking at his three games with more than 25 minutes in the sample to help weed out his early-season matchups. In that MVP slot, we need upside, and Mitchell's 37.8 FanDuel points back on December 7th was the only time a Jazz player surpassed 35 against Houston, other than Rodney Hood's 41.6 on December 18th, but he's no longer with the team.

Mitchell led the Jazz in Game 1 with 71 touches (Joe Ingles had 64, Rudy Gobert had 61, and Jae Crowder had 60), compared to 81 for Harden, 72 for Capela, and 68 for Paul.

Value Plays to Monitor

Royce O'Neale matched up with Harden on 55.2% of possessions in Game 1 and had 43 touches. With Ricky Rubio missing Game 1 and potentially the whole series, Utah will need to give minutes to another guard, and O'Neale saw 28.5 in Game 1 as a starter.

As for Houston, they've been a hard team to find deep value on all season, and even in a game they controlled on Sunday, Only six players played more than 21 minutes (Paul, Harden, Capela, P.J. Tucker, Trevor Ariza, and Eric Gordon).

(2) Golden State Warriors vs. (6) New Orleans Pelicans
Regular Season Head to Head: Warriors lead 3-1
Playoff Series: Warriors lead 1-0

Since All-Star Break ORtg DRtg NetRtg Reb% Pace
Warriors 108.7 (10) 105.6 (14) 3.1 (9) 48.9 (23) 100.2 (13)
Pelicans 107.7 (12) 103 (5) 4.7 (6) 49.6 (19) 104.2 (2)

Matchup Overview

Through five season meetings, the Warriors own a 6.5 net rating over the Pelicans. Prior to Game 1, the Pels did win the only matchup in the 2018 calendar year by a score of 126-120 on April 7th, but Golden State trounced the Pelicans by 22 in Game 1 of the second round.

New Orleans does own a rebounding advantage through five games but were outrebounded 57 to 42 in Game 1.

MVP Watch

Without Stephen Curry and DeMarcus Cousins, this matchup lacks some star power, but both teams obviously have enough to make up for it. In Game 1, Draymond Green led the charge with 62.5 FanDuel points, thanks to a 16-point, 15-rebound, 11-assist, 3-steal, 2-block triple-double. Anthony Davis (47.0), Kevin Durant (46.6), Klay Thompson (41.2), and Rajon Rondo (39.1) all had big games in the series opener, so this series offers plenty of options in the MVP slot.

Still, Davis led all players in FanDuel points per minute (1.51) this season and has had that carry over into the playoffs (1.52). The Pelicans' hopes will ride on his shoulders. Davis played nearly 34 minutes in the opener despite sitting the entirety of the fourth quarter.

On the other side of the ball, Kevin Durant ranked top-12 in FanDuel points per minute (1.38) on the year and had a strong showing in Game 1. Similar to Davis, KD played 32 minutes but sat the entire fourth quarter. If he's pushed for nearly 40 minutes, he could post a slate-busting score in the MVP slot.

You can always try to differentiate with Rondo, Thompson, and Green -- and even Jrue Holiday -- but Davis and Durant should cannibalize one another's ownership in the MVP spot, helping out with concerns in that regard.

Value Plays to Monitor

The only Pelicans to score in double figures in Game 1 were Davis (21), E'Twaun Moore (15), Jordan Crawford (14 in 8 minutes), and Holiday (11). Moore started and had nine early points in the first quarter in Game 1; with an offensive rating of just 97.3, New Orleans needs to find scoring to complement Davis. Moore can fill that role.

Andre Iguodala started Game 1 and tallied 21.3 FanDuel points in 23.5 minutes, despite sitting for pretty much the final quarter and a half. Iguodala (45), Quinn Cook (47), and Shaun Livingston (44) were the only Warriors other than their current Big 3 to top 35 touches in Game 1. Kevon Looney was a +34 for the game and matched up with Davis nearly half the time.

Eastern Conference

(1) Toronto Raptors vs. (4) Cleveland Cavaliers
Regular Season Head to Head: Cavaliers lead 2-1

Since All-Star Break ORtg DRtg NetRtg Reb% Pace
Raptors 111.5 (4) 105.1 (11) 6.4 (4) 51.8 (4) 98.2 (26)
Cavaliers 111.6 (3) 109 (21) 2.7 (11) 50.5 (11) 100.7 (11)

Matchup Overview

The Raptors won the first game in this regular season series 133-99 in Toronto back on January 11th. They won the effective field goal percentage battle 58.5% to 41.6%. LeBron James doubled up the next-highest-scoring Cav (Jeff Green) with his 26 points. Conversely, seven Raptors scored at least a dozen points, and that includes just 13 from DeMar DeRozan in a game Kyle Lowry missed.

Then the Cavs shot nearly 70% from an effective field goal percentage standpoint (69.9%) in a 132-129 showdown at home in late March. A 112-106 win at home gave the Cavs the regular season edge.

MVP Watch

LeBron averaged 51.0 FanDuel points per game in the regular season against Toronto (1.42 per minute). That ranked him third in per-game fantasy scoring among active players against their second-round opponent. Other than James (61.7) and Kevin Love (24.4), no Cav has averaged even 17 FanDuel points per game in the postseason. James is your only MVP choice in Cleveland.

No Raptor has averaged even 32.0 FanDuel points per game or hit 40 in a single game against Cleveland this season, a three-game sample at best. Again, Lowry played them just twice, and the Bench Mob limited DeRozan to 29 minutes in their first meeting.

Jonas Valanciunas actually led the team with 1.20 FanDuel points per minute in the regular season (1.10 for DeRozan and 1.08 for Lowry), a trend that extended into the first round of the playoffs (1.24 for JV, 1.07 for Lowry, and 1.02 for DeRozan). Still, no player has single-game upside on LeBron's level, making him hard to replace in the MVP slot.

Value Plays to Monitor

In the most recent matchup on April 3 (a 112-106 win for Cleveland), eight different Raptors played at least 21 minutes, and a ninth hit 17. Just six Cavs topped 19 minutes. Similarly, seven Raptors had at least 40 touches, while three Cavs had more than 35 (James had 81, Love had 53, and Jose Calderon had 50). George Hill didn't play in that game.

Toronto has too many options, while the Cavaliers don't have enough. But OG Anunoby matched up with LeBron on 50.0% of the possessions in that game, and Pascal Siakam was on him 23.0% of the time. They could be key pieces to try to limit LeBron.

On the flip side, George Hill matched up with Lowry on 60.6% of possessions in his only game as a Cavalier against Toronto this season. His ability to contain Lowry will be vital, and that'll lead to fantasy opportunities.

(2) Boston Celtics vs. (3) Philadelphia 76ers
Regular Season Head to Head: Celtics lead 3-1

Since All-Star Break ORtg DRtg NetRtg Reb% Pace
Celtics 107.4 (15) 103.3 (7) 4.1 (8) 51.1 (7) 98.2 (25)
76ers 111.5 (4) 100.8 (2) 10.7 (2) 53.1 (2) 103.4 (3)

Matchup Overview

The Celtics won the first three matchups in this regular season series before the 76ers earned a win, but that's all out the window now with Kyrie Irving done for the year. These teams also haven't played since mid-January, so a lot has changed -- for both sides -- since their past matchups.

The Celtics outscored the 76ers by 9.6 points per 100 possessions with Kyrie Irving on the court but just 0.4 when he was on the bench. The defensive rating was at or below 95.0 in either split, but the offense dipped by nearly 9 points per 100 possessions (from 104.4 to 95.5).

MVP Watch

Joel Embiid averaged 1.46 FanDuel points per minute this regular season, a top-10 number in the league. Against the Celtics, Embiid produced 38.3, 39.5, and 59.2 FanDuel points this regular season in three games. By contrast, Ben Simmons didn't have that floor: 22.4, 30.7, 31.9, and 42.7. Each have maintained per-minute averages of at least 1.32 FanDuel points in the playoffs.

On the Boston side, Al Horford leads the way with 1.07 FanDuel points per minute in the playoffs, with Terry Rozier (1.01), Greg Monroe (0.95), and Jayson Tatum (0.94) trailing him. Horford also was the only Celtic other than Irving to eclipse 36 FanDuel points in a game this season against the 76ers. He had 42.1 back on November 30th.

Horford (37.5), Rozier (36.4), and Tatum (31.3) led the Celtics in FanDuel points per game in the first round.

Value Plays to Monitor

The guard-heavy rotation for Boston could lead to bigger minutes for T.J. McConnell, who averaged 1.12 FanDuel points per minute against the Celtics in 64 regular season minutes. J.J. Redick (0.93) and Dario Saric (0.89) can always cause problems for the defense by stretching the floor. Boston does well to defend the three-point line, so they could prove to be vital pieces in this series.

Marcus Morris averaged 1.06 FanDuel points per minute against Philly this season, and Aron Baynes was at 0.98. Each should see the court to try to contend with the 76ers' frontcourt, but this series could go a lot of different ways depending on which lineups the coaches rely on. Jaylen Brown's doubtful status for Game 1 could cause bigger minutes for Marcus Smart (and possibly Shane Larkin).